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Would You Leash Your Child?

There’s a bit of a controversy brewing over at Parents magazine, after the print column “Judy on Duty,” written by Judith Goldberg, brought up the topic of parents who leash their children. The New York Times Motherlode parenting blog has also picked up on it. Here’s what Goldberg said:

“Leashes are for dogs. You wouldn’t put your child in a crate, or let him poop on the sidewalk, right? If you have a bolter, invest in a cheap umbrella stroller with a buckle.”

Now, what amazes me is that there is a controversy. There are parents out there who not only leash their children but are proud enough of the act to defend themselves in public? Yes, and apparently more than 100 letter writers thus far have written to Parents to defend the practice.

Here’s what I think of people who leash their children: I’m not going to go so far as to call them bad parents, but I will call them lazy parents. I get that kids can be unpredictable (I have one and live in a neighborhood teeming with them), but I also get that it’s your job as a parent to teach your kids how to behave. That means in public, on a sidewalk, in a crowd, at the mall, at the airport, and, yes, even at Disney World (for some reason this seems to be a particular place of child-leashing cited in the New York Times comments).

Now, I suppose if you decide you don’t want to take the time to teach your kids to stay by your side in public, listen to you when you say “stop,” or take a small stroller with you (see my post about the fabulous Maclaren Volo), then a leash might be better than losing your child, but I still think that makes you a lazy parent. Yes, even if you have twins.

Please tell me that I’m not the only one who finds the practice demeaning to children and indicative of lax parenting.

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