Friday, June 3, 2016

All Kids (and Parents) Are Different

One of the radio stations I listen to during my morning commute (ha! All twenty minutes of it.) was discussing ‘leashing’ children this morning.

I am the oldest of three kids. I have two younger brothers. I am four and a half years older than one brother and thirteen years younger than the other brother.

I’m sure that my mom parented us differently because we were all born at different stages of her life. With me, as the first born, I was an only child for four and a half years. I got all her attention. My brothers probably never actually got all of her attention at any point if only because there were always other kids around.

The point here is that my mom never needed to put a ‘leash’ on me because I was that kid who loved rules. I was also painfully shy and never ventured far from my mom’s side.

Jason, my mom’s second born, was a bit more adventurous but not too bed. He’d wander a few feet while we were in stores but came back when she called him.

Mitch, though, that kid was runner. No matter how my mom explained the necessity of staying near her, no matter how often he got spanked for running away from her, he still always did it. She was very attentive, always aware of where he was. And hell, she had me with her most of the time, a built-in babysitter and still he got away from her a few times.

So she bought a backpack with a ‘leash’ and put it on him to keep him safe.

The people on the radio had radically different views on leashes. There was one dude, the father of two, who insisted that leashes made for lazy parenting. That it is a parents job to always, 100% of the time to be aware of where your kid is. The woman on the show, who is not a parent, said that no one can ever be 100% attentive and that if leashes keep kids safe, where’s the harm? She admitted to wearing one of the leash/backpacks as child because she was a wanderer.

Neither one of my girls has ever had to wear a leash but that’s not because I’m an amazing parent so much as it’s because they never leave my side. They’re not runners. They like being near me and I do remind them to stay within my sight.

But I get that there are kids who run. This doesn’t make them bad kids. It doesn’t make their parents bad parents. It just means the parents have to find inventive ways to keep their kids safe.

Obviously, this conversation on the radio stemmed from the boy who fell in the gorilla enclosure. Obviously, that kid was adventurous and rambunctious.

I do wonder, though, why his mother is the only one being called a bad parent these days. Was his dad there? Why isn’t he being called out for this happening?

Even the dude on the radio mentioned MOTHERS and how they need to be constantly aware of their children, always attentive, never distracted. Why? Why is it on the mom to be the constant safety guide? My girls have two parents and in our house, those two parents work hard to teach values, safety precautions, rules, etc. We both, my husband and I, are parents. We both make sure the girls are fed and clothed and that homework is done. We both parent our girls to the best of our abilities. We just got lucky that we didn’t spawn runners, I guess or those girls would have been leashed for their own safety.

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