Disturbing. On so many levels.

05Jan08

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Seen near Southbank, Melbourne.

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32 Responses to “Disturbing. On so many levels.”

  1. WTF? I agree with you. Disturbing!

  2. Yea, Well, it’s to let the kids have their freedom and yet the parents have a “leash” on them. No pun intended.

    I am not endorsing it and yes, I agree it’s not right.

  3. Shocking…really don’t have words.

  4. 4 Swen

    Even though I really dont like kids i don’t think that they deserve this !

  5. Well.. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in it. As much as “we” think it’s shocking, it honestly lies on the kid’s perspective. If anything, the kid should be blissfully unaware of the leash’s existence.

    Freedom is overrated anyway!!

    And we have no right to judge the mom unless we become a parent. So well, I would just add it to the pointers on how to manage kids ;-)!

  6. @Baph The things we do for love eh?

    @rads Yes mam Supermom… πŸ˜›

    @ruhi My sentiments exactly…

    @Swen I thought you’d implement this sometime.

    @Guru Well…I saw this family at the aquarium as well and when the dad was holding onto the leash, the kid was pretending to be a dog and was on all fours…so I guess the kid was aware of the leash! πŸ™‚

  7. I saw these pics on Johnny’s Picasa. Wasn’t able to understand why you clicked them. Now I do.
    Well, I just hope that it’s not exactly what it looks.

    p.s. By the way, the Jaws background score rocks πŸ˜›
    http://picasaweb.google.com/johnnyjacob/TravelMelbourneDay1/photo#5151852258206688514

  8. I’m guessing you don’t have kids. My kids are 13 months apart. When they were toddlers, we had these. They wouldn’t stay in their strollers (kept climbing out) and holding their little hands requires their arms to be straight up in the air.. imagine how uncomfortable that would be after awhile. Imagine trying to shop with two toddlers. The harness allow the child to have some freedom, touch things, move around, and allows the parents to look at something else momentarily or pick something up. My kids liked them, and yes, sometimes they would pretend to be puppies. So what? It was funny. Think about why you put a dog on a leash… to protect it, to prevent it from running away, to keep someone else from snatching it, to make sure it doesn’t get into things. All good reasons… isn’t a child at least as important as a dog?

  9. PS You only have to experience the panic of your child being lost in a store or public place ONE TIME to understand the value of these harnesses.

  10. … isn’t a child at least as important as a dog?

    Let me give my response in one line:
    He/She is NOT a DOG for god’s sake. It’s your child.

    I am not sure how to respond, without being aggressive. May be I should provide you things from my experiences:
    1. I was lost as a kid, and not in shopping mall, but on a railway station. Let me assure you, even then I was never bound. My parents accepted it to be their own fault.
    2. I haven’t YET seen anything like that in India (I haven’t traveled abroad)…. and I am not sure if you have seen Indian crowd.

  11. You clearly missed my point. Of course a child is not a dog. How is having a harness, attached at the back, so the child’s hands are free and they can move around without having to hold an adult’s hand (straight up in the air) the same as being “bound”? Your parent’s accepted your being lost as “their fault”. Ok, a mamentary lapse in their attention (all too human) caused you to be lost. It can happen in the briefest moment, the blink of an eye. THANK GOD you weren’t hurt or taken by a stranger. The relief they felt at your safety when you were eventually found must have been immense. But the whole situation could have been prevented by a harness. Parents aren’t perfect and even the most well intentioned parent can’t watch a child every single second of every day. Child safety is of paramount importance to a parent and these harnesses provide them with an extra measure of peace of mind. But that is something you can’t possibly understand until you become a parent yourself. Until then, try not to judge a mom who is taking an extra step to keep her kid safe.

  12. I had one of these as a child, and i can remember mum having one with my little sister because walking was difficult for her with the whole are in the air scenario… it may look disturbing but it is all a matter of safety whilst the kids are young and just learning to walk ‘unaided’… easier to prevent them from falling etc…

  13. For safety!
    Well, agreed.

    But the trade-off is way too high, IMHO.
    Con-incidentally, I just discovered a video titled “5 Dangerous things you should let your kids do“. I think you guys should have a look at it.

  14. That’s a cool link, thank you for it. My kids own pocket knives and have done a couple of those things (along with other things, like going on the roof with their dad to take down Christmas lights-against my better judgement), but they are 9 and 10 years old. Nothing there suggests that you should let your toddler child walk around untethered. The harnesses offer them MORE freedom, not less, because what is the alternative? Holding mom’s hand or being carried or being buckled into a stroller. Not a lot of freedom there, and guess what? Toddlers are stubborn and freakishly strong creatures. If they don’t WANT to hold your hand or be carried, they collapse on the ground, twist themselves around, hurl themselves right out of your arms. If they don’t WANT to sit in a stroller, they will arch their backs so that you can’t buckle it, or they will twist and wriggle out, or, if that fails, scream their little heads off. I have never seen a kid resist a harness, in fact they like it and it tires them out to walk, so later they may even take a nap (every mom’s dream). There is a book you should read called, “I Was a Really Good Mom, BEFORE I Had Kids”. The title says it all.

  15. 15 Talula

    I actually hunted up and eventually found one of these for only one of my children over 34 years ago. You see, My son was VERY FAST & VERY FRIENDLY & HAD HIGHLY DEVELOPED MOTOR SKILLS. He actually walked unaided at 9 months old — (very rare! >for those without kids) So finally out of total desperation for his safety and my sanity – I bought and used one of these WAY BACK THEN. With it I could actually take him out ion public without totally going into panic mode when I had to set him down to write a check at the store counter. It did him absolutely no harm and I wasn’t always frantically searching him out in crowds and finding him talking to each grandfatherly figure sitting on any bench (and this was before the age of daily snatchings of kids by perverts). He is an amazing personality and now teaches/adminstrates at a local high school, having coached lots of youth on his sports teams – as you can plainly see — still friendly & not exactly behaving like a dog! That mom is actually being extremely safety minded in this dangerous & pervert-filled world we live in now!

  16. 16 Ravenent

    First off, in the interests of full disclosure, no kids here, so no first-hand experience handling one. [Unless you consider a mercifully short stint baby-sitting my cousin sister, a wee li’l devil disguised as a cherub who gleefully proceeded to pinch off my nose and pull out what was left of my hair, after which she wanted to poke out my eyes… (I guess, I didn’t stick around to confirm!) Thankfully, kung-fu and Cartoon Network saved me from a truly gruesome experience, though I’m pretty sure my aunt has looked askance at me ever since… :|]

    Just a couple of comments though:

    1) It might work, but personally, it looks degrading (despite companies slapping on cutesy-pie window-dressing on it and giving it ‘fun’ names), maybe ‘cos we’re conditioned to seeing dogs at the ends of leashes and not kids.

    2) I wonder… How come moms (including ours) have taken care of kids for ages and never yet had to resort to a leash? Something to do with better parenting skills, or that moms today are so busy as to fear losing their kids often enough to need one? The former is a slippery slope I’m in no way qualified to traverse, but the latter does seem more than a bit plausible. Esp. ‘cos this looks like a typically Western invention for the modern harried mom who’s trying to multi-task so hard that it’s tough to concentrate on any one thing for an extended period, even if it’s your kids.

    As Johnny Storm might say, Flame On! πŸ˜‰

  17. 17 indcoup

    what ever happened to holding hands?

  18. They didn’t have seatbelts (aka ‘restraints’) in cars once upon a time either, does that mean they’re bad?

  19. Moms, before they got too darn busy to look after their kids, could hold the little munchkins on their laps while driving. Who needs a car seat?

  20. 20 Talula

    Look people I WAS a stay at home mom then and it took every available hand in the group (mom, grandma, greatgrandma) to hold on to my little guy but he still managed to get out of locked doors, strollers, etc. and take off running fast as the wind — but I learned a LOT of useful information parenting him that I then used to get an education and career from as an early childhood educator for nearly 30 years at every level from daycare teacher to university-based Early Childhood Lab School Director! Not only did he teach me to have fun with the process; but the experiences helped me to teach thousands of teachers and families. And I had lots of fun showing upper level admainistrators what it was like in the trenches of those classrooms by challenging them to spend just one hour as the sole adult in there with all the little people. Which by the way – No one ever made it the whole hour! So you at least know that kids scare the hell out of you – a grown adult! let’s just put down the flame-thrower and say that kids as a group are an acquired taste – however like Scotch – can be rather mellow to the brave folks out there who do try it!

  21. 21 Jose

    I don’t know about the practicalities involved but it sure looks cute.

  22. 22 Ravenent

    @indcoup, Jose: I agree! πŸ™‚ That’s the way we were brought up as well…

    They didn’t have seatbelts (aka ‘restraints’) in cars once upon a time either, does that mean they’re bad?

    Ok, let’s not get into the whole “all new inventions are necessarily good” debate, ‘cos that’s not gonna end anytime soon.

    All I’m trying to say is, I can very well appreciate how tough it is to watch over a child in the comfort of your house, so keeping an eye on one (or worse, more) while trying to shop etc. might very well be a harrowing experience indeed. However, let me ask you this – for those championing the leashes, did your moms never take you out to a mall etc. when you were kids? Have you grown up traumatised by the way you were stuffed into a stroller or made to hold an adult’s hand all day? Has it left a deep emotional scar on your psyche that makes you run to the shrink weekly complaining about deep-rooted Oedipal/Electra complexes?

    Standards of parenting have indeed changed over the years, mostly for the better, but some inventions just seem to be a reactionary by-product of our increasingly busy lives rather than being intrinsically great ideas. Never mind how the products are marketed, since as we all know, the ones hawking their wares are certainly not impartial observers. What I’m trying to do is draw attention to the fact that a product like this is essentially a modern invention to deal with larger modern social ills and I sincerely feel that instead of looking for quick-‘n’dirty fixes, we need to take a long, hard look at where we’re going, how and why.

    Not to sound like a neo-Luddite, but in my personal opinion kids these days could do with more hand-holding and less with roaming at the end of a leash. Believe me when I tell you this, they will get enough chances to wear dog collars to work and strain at the end of their leashes when they grow up, so spare them for now!

  23. 23 Talula

    I wish I had time to do the research for dated pictures; but I don’t so this will be my last comment on this subject. Creative (while safe) restraint of kids is NOT anything new in any society. I have seen photos over the years which show children safely restrained in many different ways and in many diferent cultures, different eras, etc. Perhaps it is more a nod to rural freedoms as opposed to city lack of safe space (hence the need for more secure restraint of young ones?)

    No amount of discussion will change any childless persons perspective on this subject; so I will cease and desist. FYI: An experimental challenge should be undertaken by all those who do not have children – “borrow or rent” 2 children for and afternoon outing and see the possibilities for yourself. I recommend having a standby adult in case of emergency; who is only allowed to intervene “grab one escaping child” if it actually comes to the point of possibly losing one of the said “borrowed” children.

    My wish is for you to have great fun with the life lesson; as the results might make you re-think your decision to propagate the human race! Bye – Talula.

  24. I can’t believe I’ve been away for just 2 days!

  25. 25 Ravenent

    @PS: Welcome back! πŸ™‚ How was your trip? BTW, I think this might have become your most popular post till date, which is kinda ironic considering it was just a picture rather than your usual verbose entry.

    @Talula: FYI, my “decision to propagate the human race” has not been made as yet. Of course, if and when I do have kids of my own, I hope someone has invented a restraint that doesn’t look so degrading. If not, I’ll have a crack at it but sure as hell I’m not gonna make my kids wear one of those, period. Since there’s no way to see who’s gonna have the last laugh here, and no way someone who’s actually bought and used something like this can be convinced otherwise, let’s end this discussion now as you said.

    FWIW, I do think that the millions (billions?) of parents so far who’ve never used one of these devices, as also the parents in America/Australia etc. who still don’t, are in no way bad/irresponsible parents who don’t care about their children’s well-being and safety. There are different ways to achieve the same thing, and IMO parents can do without such devices and still manage to raise their kids just fine, trips to the park/mall/… included.

  26. A picture says a 1000 words! Such parents shud actually be trained!

  27. Very interesting discussion. Now here is what people in the UK say prompted parents to keep their children on a leash.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_James_Bulger

    As Lisamm points out, those who do not have children actually are talking hypothetically. And no, babysitting someone else’s child does not count, unless you have experience of losing the child on your watch.

  28. I came here through Ruhi’s post…..
    Had it been a consenting adult (as in the picture at her blog), i could have ignored it as some psycho BDSM role playing….
    but u cannot put an infant under a leash…

  29. 29 Lucy

    Leashes or “reins” were very very popular in the fifties and sixties in the UK, probably later, but I know my parents used themwith us …3 kids….and were a regular sight walking down the main street…. whats the issue apart from the “horror ” of being restrained. the only horror is the perceiver.bleh

  30. One picture that speaks volumes……….

  31. 31 some body

    looks like australia is way behind times :-). here in the usa, we’ve seen these contraptions since before our first-born, i.e., before the turn of the millenium.

    at first, we were angry, upset, puzzled, amazed … basically the gamut of emotions passed through. now we are used to it (though we have used it for neither kid).

    – s.b.


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