Shani Rhoda

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Ever walked around a mall and seen parents who keep their children on leashes. What's that about?


Continuous debates have been circulating regarding the use of child leashes by parents who choose to have ultimate control of their toddlers’ movements. For those of you who are uncertain what this is all about, it’s basically attaching your child to a leash in a dog-like manner.

Various views and opinions have been raised on the topic as it raises many ethical concerns. Is this method of parenting sensible or is this comparison between children and animals becoming too real? Are overprotective parents depriving their children of their freedom? Or are careless parents depriving the public of their sanity?

As a parent, of an adopted dog at least, and as a witness to the chaotic behaviour of kids in public, I have many opinions on this issue. Although the child leashes may resemble weapons of slavery and the outbursts from those captured may seem unbearable, the leashes tend to be protective and in the interest of the general public. I say this as an experienced grocery-shopper. You have not seen dangerous until you’ve seen a mother deny her 5-year-old the right to that new chocolate on the market.

Put your child on a leash and they might just play the part
Put your child on a leash and they might just play the part

Now, this type of behaviour can be prevented. Either by disciplining your child before you enter the public eye, or by keeping them where you can see them. In this regard, having your child on a leash would be the safer option – for everyone involved.

A benefit of using a leash when walking your kids (walking WITH your kids, I mean) is that you can rest assured that their level of safety has increased. As opposed to allowing your children to roam freely, leashes put you in control of how far your child strays and which spaces they enter (away from dogs or busy roads or deep waters or those lurking paedophiles). This thought I would apply to my dog as well. I wouldn’t want her coming into close contact with a child that’s out to terrorise her with overwhelming hugs and filthy kisses.

I can imagine the stares of disapproval I would receive if I decided to take my dog for a walk in a public area without a leash and she expressed the same type of behaviour. Understandable, I suppose, as not everyone is fond of babies that are born with hair and never outgrow the coiling phase. Since we live in a democratic country that boasts of the importance she places on equality, I believe this law should apply to the form of parenting in general, despite the prejudice terms attached to children like “dogs”.

So, ignore the deadly stares and sighs of disapproval and consider it. At leash they’re safe.