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« 10 Parenting Lessons I Learned from our Cat | Main | Domestic Archaeology: When a Teenager Finally Cleans Her Room »

July 23, 2009

Kids on Leashes and Dogs in Strollers

Sometimes it feels as if the world is turned upside down. I am a student of my surroundings, even more so since I began blogging, and I am truly amazed at the oddities I encounter on a regular basis. Friends have begun to confirm my status as the magnet for the absurd.

Kid-leash-monkey Strolling down the boardwalk on Sunday we came across this couple taking their toddler for a walk... on a leash! Now, I know there are all sorts of parenting trends out there that have their defenders. And each generation comes up with their theories on better ways to raise their kids; deeming the generation before them ignorant, rather than experienced. But this one? Nope, sorry. I am not buying that harnessing and leashing your child is beneficial. 

If your kid is a wanderer (and I had one so I know what it is like), keep your eyes on them at all times. If they are unruly, teach them not to be. If they run away, run after them. This is not brain surgery, folks. These are the basic skills of parenting and teaching your child to evolve in a civilized manor. Treat them like an animal and they will act like one.

Someone did bring to my attention that she had an autistic child and this could be the answer to being able to go out in crowded public places with a child that would otherwise not be able to. She also pointed out that there are kids who have an aversion to skin to skin contact and will not hold hands. Ok, I am open-minded. This would be a wonderful solution for those parents. But I find it hard to believe that all those leashed kids in the malls and on city streets across this country fall into these categories. I would guess they are simply the children of lazy parents.

This particular kid was not only leashed, but she had a monkey on her back. No, as far as I could tell she was not a heroine addiction, she had an actual stuffed monkey on her back. In researching child leashes (of which there are a disturbing amount on the internet) I came across a version that is a stuffed backpack with a leash coming off it. I assume this is meant to ease the pain of being treated like a pet by including a warm and fuzzy friend for the child. Craziness!

Dog-in-stroller As if this were not odd enough, moments later I came across this dog in a stroller! What was this, some bizarre opposite day taking place to mess with my sense of reality? Parents treating their kids like pets and others treating their pets like kids. What was most concerning was that this was a double stroller. Either these folks were missing their kid or another one of their dogs! 

Finding the humor in most situations I could not help but share this. A friend told me that she was walking down the street in the city and saw two women out for a walk. One had a toddler on a leash and the other a dog. She said the kid and the dog seemed to be great friends.  What concerns me is how that mom will deal with her son lifting his leg when he needs to pee.

It is an odd culture we live in. I can see how a childless person would be inclined to treat their pet like a child. The parental instinct comes out when you love a being that you are caring for. Although some take this to an extreme, it is harmless and loving something can't be bad. Although pulling a Leona Helmsley and leaving your fortune to your dog is a bit extreme.

But treating a child like a pet? As my mom used to say, "No good will come of this."

Original 50-something Mom Blog post. Any also blogs at i could cry but i don't have time and leaving the zip code.