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03/28/2011 at 12:00 PM ET

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mary on

Can you choose between your kids and your husband? Boy does that ring a bell. My mom would tell me in the early days of parenting 18+ yrs ago, that 1. Choose your battles, 2.youre not your Childs friend and 3.your children will leave you someday, make time and room for your husband.

With choosing your battles, sometimes it’s easier to give in, but I try not to. I am not my Childs friend, that’s a hard one when, at least to me I feel like I am the only parent who isn’t a friend. Especially since I always thought my mom and I were best friends. It wasn’t till she passed away 2 yrs ago that I have had to sit down and really think about my adolescents and talk to my younger siblings. I guess we really didn’t become best friends until I went to college. I just keep telling myself that one day I will be “friends” will my kids just now is not the time.

The choosing between kids and husband, I find myself doing that quite a bit. And I try to stop that. We really don’t have the kids sleep with us unless they are sick, (funny because the 18 yr old has H1N1 right now and is sleeping with me in our bed husband is on the couch, LOL) or during a storm when the youngest will climb in bed with us. BUT I catch myself telling my husband to wait or stop talking while I tend to whatever ails them. I am trying to stop that behavior of mine. My husband is just as important as our children are. And I wonder what kind of message am I sending them? So unless they are bleeding, or someone passed out I am in conference with dad please take a number….. And I have to remember my kids are going to leave us and my husband is, I hope going to be there and we need to keep communication going I don’t ever want to not know how to communicate with him. Not easy to do…. Kind of goes with the 1st rule my mom gave me…but it would be so much easier to just give in at times hey?

TC on

It’s not a leash and that’s where the bad connotations come from

A child harness can be helpful as long as it’s not being abused. I have a 20 month old and a 5yr old and the 20 month old doesn’t want to be cooped up in his stroller the entire time we are at the zoo and when it’s really crowded it’s hard to hold his hand and push the stroller and watch his older sister so that’s when the harness comes in handy. I can put his cute little monkey backpack on and he can walk with us and I know he’s safe. I only use it as an extra ‘hand’ and only when it’s crowded. If there are only a few people at the zoo I wont use it and I never treat him like a dog. I don’t yank or drag him by the handle and it gives me peace of mind knowing that he’s safe and I don’t have to worry about him running off in a crowd…which he’s prone to do.

To me it’s a lot more fun for him to be able to walk around and explore than to be strapped in a stroller.

Allegra on

I agree with TC 100%. They aren’t leashes, they’re harnesses. It’s not like the children are wearing collars and have a leash attached. They’re so convenient when you’ve got multiple toddlers and you’re in a crowded place. I remember the first time I used them at the zoo with my twins I was afraid people would judge me but it made things SO much easier and I didn’t even care anymore. The crazy part was that while some people probably were judging me (I didn’t notice), I had several moms/caregivers tell me that they thought the harnesses were the best thing they had ever seen and ask me where I got them. I recommend them to every parent with multiple children. I just wish more people were accepting of them and would stop seeing them as leashes because they aren’t.

Gaia and labans mom on

I use a child harness. A lady asked me how I could humiliate my daughter like that. If she were sixteen that would be humiliating but she’s a toddler who likes to sprint away in airports, Disney world, and target. As TC said I don’t abuse the harness but its a great aid to have.

Laura on

I agree that harnesses are helpful if used properly and in the right context. My aunt brought my cousin when she was just a year old to an amusement park. My cousin had just started walking on her own and did not want to be carried or strapped in a stroller. My aunt also didn’t want her daughter running away or having to bend down because her arm couldn’t quite reach my aunt’s hand. The harness worked great and allowed my cousin the freedom to walk while still staying with my aunt!

Jennifer on

What a relief… finally some sane comments on a post. I agree with you all on all counts.

Toya L. on

In our photographs someone seems to always be off. = ) @Mary I smiled reading your post especially about your 18 baby. = ) I have never used a harness but my sister-in-laws do and I see absolutely nothing wrong with doing so. I’m with anything that can keep our kids safe and happy.

Jen DC on

I don’t think the harness is a bad idea. I used to work at the National Zoo and let me tell you… Hundreds of parents could’ve used the harness and not lost their kids in the park. There is nothing worse than coming across a child, frantic with worry, lost among literally thousands of strangers because s/he darted away and now can’t find her/his family. The point is, not every child is a biddable child. Not every child remembers to “hold mommy’s hand.” I’d rather see a child in a harness than have to call 911 for a tragic accident. It’s just that simple.

What else is simple? If you don’t like the harness, don’t use one.

TC on

Gaia’s mom WOW! I’ve had the go to hell looks from people but no one has gotten the nerve to come up to me and say something like that, which actually is a good thing because I’ve got a temper 🙂

The funny thing is I took the kiddos to the rodeo the other day and when you’ve got 70 thousand people in attendance it gets crowded on top of the golf carts roaming the place as well as real live animals like cows, horses, longhorns and drunks. A small child could really get hurt if they were to ‘break free’ so of course I used the monkey backpack/harness and I over heard so many people say they wished they had brought theirs with them or had one.

My mother used one with me when I was a kid back in the 80s and I turned out just fine. I wasn’t humiliated, I am not in therapy, I’ve never been to jail and I’m not an ax murderer. Same goes for my brother and my two cousins. In fact all 4 of us are well adjusted productive members of society.

Winter221 on

They probably are a great tool to have but I just find them embarrassing.

N.S on

I do not disagree with any of these comments – I am sure the harnesses are useful for some parents, and they are definitely not a bad thing – but yet I do not know anyone personally who uses them, and I would be embarrassed to use one myself. I respect that people who use them prefer not to call them leashes because that just sounds degrading to their child – but in reality that is exactly what it looks like from an outside perspective – a mom taking her child for a walk like a dog.

jessicad on

I almost bought a harness for my daughter because she was hard to contain for awhile, but I saw the looks and heard the talk when other people would use them. If I had the confidence I do now back then I would have said screw it and got one, people are so ridiculous. A harness is better than being hit by a car or losing your child in a crowd. If I had multiple young children I would definitely use one! I honestly don’t see how a harness or “leash” is different than strapping your child into a stroller or carseat, the point is to keep them safe and contained.

MiB on

The comments about harnesses are quite civil on this site, but I read the comments to the original post and I find many of them a bit ignorant and judgemental, first of all, child harnesses have been used for thousands of years, in the beginning they were just pieces of rope tied around the childrens waist, but with time they became the harness they are today, so it’s not really a new invention. Secondly, while it is true that day care providers usually don’t use harnesses, one must remember that not only do children often behave better in daycare/pre school/kindergarten than they do at home, with their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nannies etc, but the teachers will also make sure that they either hold the bolters in a very steady grip or keep them in strollers or wagons, so that the children you see walking between the teachers are the ones the teachers can trust will not suddenly run out in the street. Thirdly, a harness used correctly is a usful tool in certain situations, using a harness in a crowded area or in a place with a lot of traffic does not mean that the parent is lazy, it usually means that parent is aware of hers/his and the childs limit. It is very easy to loose a child in a crowd, wether it is because you lose the grip for a moment and one of you gets swept away in the crowd or because you get distracted or need both hands for a moment. Some children need longer time to learn to hold hands because they have poor impulse control or are easily distracted, that doesn’t mean they should have to be constrained in strollers (and how can you argue that being strapped into a stroller is less constraining than being harnessed?) or that they should not be allowed to go to the zoo, an amusement park, a museum or the grocery store. Besides, toddlers don’t feel humiliated by the harnesses, some dislike them because they can’t get as far as they want to, but they really have no concept of humiliation. If they really did feel humiliated by wearing a harness, they would make sure to follow the rules so that they didn’t have to wear it. In fact, I think it’s usually the parent or caregiver that feels awkward, not the child. Some children actually love the security they get from knowing that they can’t be separated from their parent or caregiver.

I have mainly used harnesses for very small children who have just learned to walk, since they usually don’t like holding hands (and sometimes are to small to hold hands without breaking the poor adults back) or for special needs children. Harnesses are invaluable if you are going out with a child that has impuls control issuses, problems following, understanding or remembering instructions, sensory issues, anxiety issues or is hearing impaired or has impaired vision. These are factors that you can’t always see but that can make it diffucult to handle the a child in a crowd or in an unsafe environment (like when you are close to water or traffic).

Alice on

Well, even if you want to call it a leash… why do you put a leash on your dog? Because it’s unpredictable and you don’t want it to run off and get hit by a car. Why on earth would you protect your child LESS?

I’m all for these harnesses… I think they are so much better than forcing a little kid to hold your hand when they have to strain so much to reach it, or binding them in a stroller. I did see a man pull on it sharply and his little daughter was dragged back. I felt awful for her… but that’s a problem with the parent, not the device.

Jillian on

It is a little different with why you leash your dog. Dogs in my state are required to be on a leash for safety reasons so they don’t attack people or attack other dogs. Although, you would think there is no law because everytime I look around people are not using their leashes.

I probably would buy a harness for my daughter. She loves the stroller, but also loves to be out of the stroller. I would like to let her roam freely and safely. I think they are great and are nothing like a leash.