What’s Next—a Choke Chain?


My family and I went for a walk uptown the other evening for some ice cream. When we got to the ice cream store, my 6-year-old noticed a young boy, maybe 2, who had a leash. For those of you who don’t know what I’m referring to, there is a harness that the child wears that is connected to a real leash, which the parent holds onto.

My daughter looked at me to explain what she clearly perceived as something bizarre. I simply said, “I guess some parents feel that they need a leash to keep their kids close and safe.”

As I thought about it, I was aware that I was feeling pretty judgmental about these parents. Who the heck needs to tether their child—especially inside an ice cream store? I can understand in a crowded festival or an airport or something like that, but an ice cream store? If anyone needs to be tethered, it’s our U.S. Senators. Anyway, I thought to myself, “Do they know how silly they look?”

On the other hand, I acknowledge that some parents do not know how to (or even recognize that they can and should) maintain control of their children in public and so a leash makes sense to them. Maybe their child ran into the street once and was almost turned into a kid pancake. That would be enough to make a normal parent paranoid.

So I’m struggling with how I feel about the leash. I mean for young children. If you’re putting a leash on your six-year-old, then you’ve really got problems.

Let me know what you all think of leashes for children. I’m curious what collective wisdom and experiences are out there.

Now that I think of it, leashes for teenagers doesn’t sound like such a bad idea…

Photo by: niimo

Artist’s Comments

We had just sat down for a bite at this beachside/streetside grill when this child and her mom came strolling by, both of them munching on some snacks. My camera sat on the table in front of me. I instantly clicked it on, didn’t even take it from the table for the sake of time and remaining unnoticed. I swivled it to face them. The height of the table was perfect, the distance was ideal.

I don’t mean to criticize this mother in particular, I don’t know her circumstances, I don’t know her life. But this photo makes me wonder how she intends to help guide her child once she is too old to be leashed, too old to be controlled. Unfortunately a leash is not the same a discipline… I think it is summed up well by a statement I heard recently: We in America are seeing a major problem with four year old terrorists because parents won’t discipline their kids.

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2 thoughts on “What’s Next—a Choke Chain?”

  1. Child harnesses/leashes aren’t exactly a new thing. I’m 43 years old and my mother still delights in pictures of me at age 5 in a harness/leash combo. Apparently she didn’t know how to keep me safe either without it. Not my favorite pics.

  2. I thought child harnesses/leashes horrible and cruel until I took my 3 year old to a large, crowded amusement park. He wanted out of his stroller so bad. I was afraid to let him walk for fear of someone snatching him.. At that point I wished I had a harness for him so he could freely walk/run.. However– I would not ever have used one somewhere like the ice cream store! I wouldn’t have needed one. My child knew to stay with me..

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