or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Gentle Discipline › Are those leashes/harnesses for kids demeaning?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Are those leashes/harnesses for kids demeaning?

post #1 of 251
Thread Starter 
My sister is giving me a hard time, it looks like I am walking a dog when my little guy wears his.

We have been practicing with it around the house because we are going to the zoo next weekend and he keeps running away from us out in pubic so I want to use it at the zoo to keep him safe. He hates the stroller and his baby brother will be in the stroller anyway.

He loves the harness, it is like a monkey and I hold the tail part.

My sister says it's demeaning to have my child on a leash and will harm him emotionally. :

Is that true?
post #2 of 251
Only if the child feels it is. But for a lot of children, they get what they want - a bit more freedom to wander - and the parents get what they want - safety. The only two people who get a vote are the parent and the child involved. If either of them don't like it, it's a no-go, but if they both like it, then yay!
post #3 of 251
As long as your child is okay with it, I don't see the problem. At least a leash gives more room for movement than a stroller. The only way I think that would cause emotional abuse would be if the child was forced to wear it under protest and/or was old enough to be embarrassed by it. Of the children I've seen wearing a leash, they've all been of the 2 and under crowd, which pretty much means they will have no memory of the event since memory doesn't usually start until closer to 3.
post #4 of 251
Not demeaning.
It keeps your child safe. Who cares what other people think, as long as your child is safe?
My 2 year old hates the stroller. He throws himself sideways to get out of it, making it not such a safe option. He doesn't want to be in a carrier anymore, and is really too heavy for me to carry for long anymore anyway. He doesn't want to be held in arms all the time, not that such a thing is much of an option. He yanks his hand out of mine to run every chance he gets. We've found that a harness is the best option. He asks for his "backpack" and makes sure I'm holding my end of it. It seems to make him feel more secure, while also giving him some freedom. That doesn't sound like a child who's being emotionally harmed, IMO.
post #5 of 251
Thread Starter 
She said people will 'bark' at him at the zoo, and I would just die, really I would.


Please tell me that won't happen.
post #6 of 251
I don't think so, unless as people have said it's wildly age-inappropriate or something. It's funny how our culture works: strollers are not demeaning, car seatbelts are not demeaning, being required to hold hands is not demeaning, but leashes look like dogs, or something.

For me I'm a huge fan. At about 14 months - close to two, my son had the understanding about stop and stuff (we played a lot of red light, green light), but not the impulse control to be reliable about it.

I felt that holding hands with him all the time as a control mechanism (not just crossing the street, but to prevent dashes) was uncomfortable for him (put your arm above your head for 5 minutes) and unnecessarily restrictive in some places, like along a sidewalk where it wasn't crowded/busy or at the zoo. I didn't want to have to stick him in the stroller all the time.

I noticed that with the leash he could explore with both hands at his level, bend down to look at ants and things -- and I could relax that he was safe & not going to get separated so as to support the exploration rather than hovering nervously.

We still had plenty of park time, and walking together without the harness time. It was a bonus for certain situations. He's coming onto 4 now and walks fine, holds hands crossing the street, etc.

If he had hated it, I would have probably rethought it a bit but he didn't at all.
post #7 of 251
Thread Starter 
He loves it at home, and he looks adorable in it. He wanted to wear it to bed last night!

My sister is such a pain sometimes, I think she does these things to sabatage my happiness.

Now she has me all worried that people will be looking at us, or saying things, or barking at my little boy.
post #8 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gentle~Mommy :) View Post
She said people will 'bark' at him at the zoo, and I would just die, really I would.


Please tell me that won't happen.

At our zoo there are tons of young kids in harnesses. In fact, the zoo even rents them out. They look like monkey backpacks with a leash.
post #9 of 251
I also think they are fine as long as the kid likes it. I have seen the ones like you describe with the little tails, and I think those look even less like "dog leashes."

I will say I have heard other people complain about kid leashes - so I don't think your sister is alone in her feelings. But most of the people I've heard say that sort of thing don't have kids themselves (and wouldn't say it to your face anyway), so I wouldn't worry about it.

No, I don't think anyone will be barking, and if they did, they'd just be making themselves look foolish!
post #10 of 251
Looks like I'm going to be the black sheep here, but I personally don't like them. DS has never used one. Whenever we've gone to some place like the Zoo, we've used a lightweight stroller (like an umbrella stroller) and that's it. If DS wants to get up and walk around, we let him know that he must hold our hand.

I don't necessarily find them demeaning, they just look uncomfortable for the child.
post #11 of 251
I held DD's hand, or wore her (usually the latter), so we never owned one. I do have German friends who were just over staying (i'm in the UK) and they were HORRIFIED to see a baby on a lead, like really really shocked when they saw i, then silent for about 20 minutes while they processed it. So for some people it does bring up big issues i guess.

I personally don't like them because i remember reading about an abuse case where a mom had run the lead loop under the cot mattress and basically tied her little boy into bed that way. *shudder* bad association obviously does NOT equal that they are inherently harmful, just that some people see them as such. If he loves it and you love it why even consult the sister?
post #12 of 251
If you and your child are comfortable and happy with it, and it keeps your child safe then I see no harm. It is the misuse of them that I have a problem with. I've seen parents use them like a leash, snapping the child back to them instead of gently guiding them. That is demeaning.
post #13 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuits & Gravy View Post
If you and your child are comfortable and happy with it, and it keeps your child safe then I see no harm. It is the misuse of them that I have a problem with. I've seen parents use them like a leash, snapping the child back to them instead of gently guiding them. That is demeaning.
I've seen a lot of people yank their kids around by their arms too.
post #14 of 251
We have the backpack-type harnesses (a dog and a monkey) and I have not once heard anyone 'bark' at us. If they did, I think I might just bark back! Other posters are correct; you'll probably see lots of the backpack 'leashes' at the zoo, and other large, spacious, crowded places. My daughter didn't mind hers (she's almost five now, and she still plays with it in the house) and my middle son didn't complain about his either. Neither one uses them now (too old), and my youngest son (just turned two) does so well holding hands while walking, I feel like he's safe without it. Regardless, before he learned how to walk without running off, I was all set to get it out again for any day trips. As far as I'm concerned, I'd rather keep my kids safe and close, while giving them a chance to 'explore' on their own at a comfortable distance from me.

FWIW, I was born in the early 70s (okay...more like 69 ) and back then they used those leather harnesses. I had one, and as far as I know, I didn't suffer any emotional damage from it!
post #15 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
I held DD's hand, or wore her (usually the latter), so we never owned one. I do have German friends who were just over staying (i'm in the UK) and they were HORRIFIED to see a baby on a lead, like really really shocked when they saw i, then silent for about 20 minutes while they processed it. So for some people it does bring up big issues i guess.

I personally don't like them because i remember reading about an abuse case where a mom had run the lead loop under the cot mattress and basically tied her little boy into bed that way. *shudder* bad association obviously does NOT equal that they are inherently harmful, just that some people see them as such. If he loves it and you love it why even consult the sister?
I was tied into bed with a really pretty pink ribbon around my ankle. I really think people need to get over these associations because people who do abuse will use whatever they can -the associations mean nothing as far as reality goes.
post #16 of 251
I NMY but I think I would say to sis, "Gee, whatever emotional scars I cause by having my kid wear a monkey backpack that he loves I'm sure is far less than the emotional trauma of getting lost." Then I would change the conversation, point having been made, and be over it. Don't give this issue power. It isn't worth it.

Jenne
post #17 of 251
My mom used a harness with me, and I have no recollection of it (I was born in '71).

I tried to use one on my older DS when we were travelling, and he would have no part of it.

My way of thinking is that we put dogs on leashes to keep them safe. Why it is demeaning to do the same thing for your child?

I'll tell you what....sometimes when I was trying to cross a busy parking lot while pushing the carriage with DS2 sitting inside it, holding DS1's hand was a bit difficult. It's easy to hold hands when you have nothing else to carry and only one child. Of course, that means the child can't use his hands to explore while he's out.

If I used a harness and someone barked at me, I'd make donkey or pig noises back at them.
post #18 of 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by soccermama View Post
Looks like I'm going to be the black sheep here, but I personally don't like them. DS has never used one. Whenever we've gone to some place like the Zoo, we've used a lightweight stroller (like an umbrella stroller) and that's it. If DS wants to get up and walk around, we let him know that he must hold our hand.

I don't necessarily find them demeaning, they just look uncomfortable for the child.

I agree and have never thought about using one-- with four kids. But, if it works for another family, and the the toddler doesn't mind, then who am I to say it's not appropriate. If you are comfortable with it, don't worry about what other people think.

I do think, personally, it looks funny Just cause I saw a little girl with one on her back last weekend and the dad was seriously jerking her around, the opposite way she appeared to want to go. She clearly was not liking it.
post #19 of 251
I think it's funny that most people don't think twice about confining their kids to a stroller, preventing them from having any control over their own movements, but think it's horrible for a child to have the freedom of walking around on their own with a harness.

That said, I don't own one myself, despite having a "dasher." I've certainly thought about it.
post #20 of 251
My grandma and I were just talking about this! She used one with my mom when she was small. Mom was a runner apparently and she was very small (still is!) she didn't fuss about having her backpack on though. Fwiw mom is not scarred by it. The reason it came up, is because right now I'm housebound due to my wild babe She runs. And runs and runs and runs. Laughing maniacally the whole time. She's my 3rd so I always thought she would be like her sisters who listened, could stick within eyesight etc etc. That's not the case though. She'll grow out of it, but it really sucks right now (oh and she fights the stroller like it's on fire)

So if I was taking her to the zoo? She'd have herself a monkey "backpack" and I wouldn't care who stared.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Gentle Discipline
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Gentle Discipline › Are those leashes/harnesses for kids demeaning?