To Leash or not to leash?

Last summer, my parents threw a July 4th barbecue. It was a yearly thing that we did and we always invited some of the family. Some of my boyfriend’s family came and some of my Aunts and Uncles came. I had made the decision to put my daughter one one of those children leashes. That’s how I was taking her outside before the barbecue even happened. Now, I don’t live on a busy street or anything like that but that doesn’t mean anything to me. Just because danger isn’t 10 feet away, doesn’t mean it’s not there. I have two hills at my house. I’m not as worried about the one going up as I am about the one going down. The one going down leads to a road where cars fly by. I choose to leash my child in her yard for HER safety. By leashing her, I know where she is at all time. I don’t have to worry about her running away from me and running down the hill into the road. I don’t have to worry about her running down the hill and getting hurt. I don’t have to worry if someones dog got lose and entered our yard. I don’t have to worry about the foxes that roam around or sometimes the bears. All because she’s leashed. Being leashed, gives her the freedom to walk without holding my hand constantly. It gives her the freedom to explore things and be a toddler. She may not be able to run around fully but that can come as she ages. The leash will teach her where she can go. The leash will help her learn boundaries and help her learn to stay close to an adult at all times. Anyways, I had her leashed at the barbecue. One of my relatives had the nerve to say something to me about my daughter being leash. I don’t remember the comment fully. Something about treating my child like a dog. I didn’t bite their head off but I’m starting to think I should have.

Because:

First of all: My Kid, My Rules. You had your children. You chose to parent the way you wanted too. You’re parenting days are over. This is my daughter and I’ll choose to parent her the way I want too.

Second of all: Yes, I’m going to leash her. You know why I choose to leash her. Because it’s the safest thing for her. Because I didn’t carry a child for 9 months so that I could be careless when she came out of me and risk her life in other ways.

Third and lastly: Watch her. First of all, it’s not always that simple. Accidents can happen in a split second. It’s hard to have your eyes on your child every single second of the time you have company over, especially if you want to mingle and talk and spend time with said family. Second of all, watching her doesn’t necessarily mean she’s safe. I could be watching her and in a split second she could run off. I may have longer legs than her and be older than her, but chasing her is not something I want to do. Running in places she doesn’t know is dangerous and so is me chasing her. I don’t want to risk her falling. I don’t want to risk her getting away from me.

I fully believe that using a leash on a child is a safe idea and it also gives them freedom. Would I do it if our yard was fenced in, No. But it’s not so I choose what’s best for my child. Some people will disagree with me and that’s fine. Just don’t look down upon me for choosing to parent my child a different way than you would parent yours. I want what’s best for my kids and I’m the only one who gets to decide that.