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A leash in place of parenting

Angie Marcos, LV Life Editor

Angie Marcos, LV Life Editor

I was a leash child. It is embarrassing and shameful to admit, of course, but it still exists today.

I remember having a bright pink colored strap placed around my wrist every time I would be taken out of my safe, cozy home to heavily populated areas.

Most of my childhood memories at Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, malls and airports include my trusty pink leash.

Not only did it already seem bad in the 1990s when I was a leash-wearing child, but nowadays there is an advancement in how children are being contained with these leashes.

They now consist of harness-like restraints, like the ones you would put on a dog when taking them for a walk in order to not only have more control over them, but also to make them physically stronger.

This past summer at Disneyland I witnessed one of these harness leashes on twins. The mother held one leash handle, and the leash spread into two separate harnesses for each of the children. How convenient would this be for Octo-Mom and her 14 children?

If you have not yet witnessed one of these leash children, take a trip to Disneyland. There you will find a multitude of them usually running, then – whap – pulled back by the leash.

The more popular form of the child leash today, however, is more subtle.

It is in the form of a backpack and tricks the child into thinking they are just carrying a cute little monkey on their back. Little do they know that the monkey is not on their side.

The child is presented with the Eddie Bauer 2-in-1 Harness Buddy, a cute looking backpack shaped as a furry creature. The backpack comes shaped as a koala bear, monkey, dog, lion, giraffe, cow or panda bear.

The most commonly seen Harness Buddy is in the shape of a monkey.

Once the backpack is put on willingly by the eager child, they are strapped into it by their parents and out comes the leash, disguised as the tail of the furry creature no less.

The leash is very conveniently attached to the back of the backpack, so the child never really even has to know they are being restrained.

Although this makes for a very creative way of handling a child without a parent ever having to worry about their child wandering away in crowds, it seems cruel to give a young child a false sense of freedom, especially when the leash is going to be used while in places children enjoy most.

My intention as a past leash child is not to criticize or question my or anyone else’s parents’ motives for using the leash.

I may very well only be here today instead of lost or kidnapped because of the restraints of the child leash. I do not recall ever getting lost in any mall, airport theme park or other heavily crowded area either.

I am sure the leash was and is always placed on each child’s wrist or back for their own safety, but wouldn’t it just be enough to hold a child’s hand? Or maybe place them in a stroller? I do not think a child needs to be on a leash just so that they will not wander off.

Is giving them a false sense of freedom in the shape of a monkey backpack really what we want to portray in the Land of the Free?

Angie Marcos, a sophomore journalism major, is LV Life editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at angie.marcos@laverne.edu.

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