04 September 2012

To Leash or Not to Leash

The other night, Don and I were watching an episode of Modern Family (I love them!).  It was the episode where the entire family went to Disneyland for a vacation.  Mitchell, Cameron and Lily's story centered on the much talked about and very controversial child leash.

About 4 years ago, I remember telling my brother that I am uncomfortable with the fact that his youngest son (Ethan was 3 years old at that time) is walking around Mall of Asia with a child leash attached to his belt.  People were staring at us.  My brother laughed then turned serious when he told me that he is as uncomfortable as I am.  He told me that he does not put a child leash on Ethan when they are in Davao.  He and his wife decided that while they are in Manila (for vacation), they will use a leash on Ethan whenever necessary.  So, they can stare all they want, he said.  Knowing that child kidnapping happens especially in crowded places, he firmly told me that he will not risk his son's safety.  I did not agree with my brother and sister-in-law but I respected their decision.

At that time, I was quite certain about my stand on the use of a child safety harness or a child leash.  Then came Julia.  Don and I talked about it and we have not really decided yet on whether we will use one for her.  We both agree that we will cross the bridge if we see one (Ha!).  

For obvious reasons, the child leash can prevent your active and eager-to-run toddler from wandering off or getting lost.  It is the great compromise:  The child can move around while parents feel secure because they know the child will not be able to wander off.  Others argue a leash is not meant to be use for kids.  Some even go as far as accusing parents who use this as lazy, disgusting, non-attentive and horrible.

At 18 months, Julia loves to walk, run and hop.  Don holds her hand while walking.  But often times, she prefers to walk and run around freely.  We can still manage to catch up with her but she would protest with a loud cry whenever we carry her.  When Don and I are tired of running around, we put her in her stroller or she comfortably settles in her SaYa when I babywear her.  We really don't know for how long this set-up will work.  

Personally, I do not want to use a child leash on Julia.  This is why Don is teaching Julia the importance of holding hands while walking in public places.  We also teach her how to behave and be obedient.  It is not easy, of course.  Our hearts melt each time she throws a tantrum or cries out loud every time we discipline her.

But I am not closing my doors on child leash.  If necessary, I will use it.  I know that doing so will not make me a bad parent.  So, people can stare all they want.  The point really is:  We should not judge other parents for using a child leash.  You know, we should not judge parents period.  Each child is different, every family is unique.  Unless we see a child hurt or injured, let us give credit to parents and respect them on their choice of parenting style and the decisions they make in raising their child.

What's your stand on child leash? Will you use one for your child?
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