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Why All the Hate for Kid Leashes?

Would you ever use a leash to keep tabs on your children? In her recent article on Your Tango, Eden Strong is sure your answer should be a resounding "Yes!" and she doesn't hesitate to give several reasons why. Her explanations vary from short attention spans to the chaos of large crowds. She is 100 percent a believer in using a leash to keep her kids close—so much so that she believes leashing your children makes sense for every parent. But the Internet is throwing a fit over her advice.

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While I'm not exactly comfortable with slapping a one-size-fit-all label on any parenting practice, she makes some great points. We don't currently own a kiddie leash, but I have found myself inspecting one at Target a time or two. Different situations call for different strategies. My older daughter has never been a runner, but who's to say my newly walking 1-year-old won't find a twisted sense of pleasure in bolting at her first chance at freedom?

Although I have never used a leash, I really identify with this mother. My husband and I are what some might call helicopter parents. I prefer to say we're cautious. I have the upmost respect for parents who chose a free-range approach, but it isn't for me. We bolt furniture to the wall, keep our kids in eyesight at all times, and we don't apologize for our careful approach.

A mother should never have to apologize for choosing what she feels is best for her child.

It took some time for me to learn to brush off the criticism of our parenting style. During the early days of new motherhood, I felt embarrassed and apologetic of my desire to keep my child close. But I am 100 percent on board with raising independent and brave children. I'm simply not willing to sacrifice my peace of mind to accomplish it.

I really expected the author of this piece to get serious backlash for her prescription of a leash for every "sane" parent. Who wants to be told how they should be parenting by a stranger?

What I didn't expect was the outpouring of indignation over her choice to use a leash for her children. Some commenters equated her choice to use a leash to keep track of her two toddlers to treating them like dogs. I found this reaction a little dramatic—and terribly offensive.

Something in this mom's gut told her that her children would be unsafe if she tried to venture into a crowded place without a leash. I say: Good for her for doing what she felt was the safest choice even though she suspected she would be criticized.

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I hate that people have taken it upon themselves to tell mothers they can't trust their instincts when parenting their children. Shouldn't our response be closer to "Hooray! I can really see you love your children and work hard to protect them"?

Maybe you're not ready to cheer on mothers who parents differently from you, but a mother should never have to apologize for choosing what she feels is best for her child.

Image via Flickr/Wendy

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