Rule #10: A Happy Child is a Child on a Leash

a leashed child is a happy child

Leashing your child teaches tough concepts like "boundaries" and "humiliation."

There are many endearing similarities between your 4-year-old child and a basset hound. A quick comparison of child and dog will make this statement even more profoundly true:

They both are giddily slow-witted.

They both drool.

They both adorably invade the personal space of houseguests, making them queasy and uncomfortable.

And they both seem to relish the comforting aroma of their own filth and have a curiosity for the filth of others.

But all this cuteness has its limitation, because both tend to wander out of your sight in public. Which is why it’s important to have your children on colorful leashes from the time they’re old enough to walk. We live in a terribly scary world that brims with playgrounds, inviting oaks and maples to climb and, perhaps even more sinister, other unleashed children.

The sooner you instill a healthy fear of, well, everything in your child, the sooner he or she will become the neighborhood’s token panicky kid with the matted hair, scabby lips, and chronically sweaty palms. Every neighborhood needs one, so why not have it be your son or daughter?

It Takes a Village to Leash a Child…

two leashed kids and a jealous non-leashed kid

You'll be the neighborhood trendsetter when you whip out your leash. (Note: jealous, unleashed kid in background)

While you’re obviously enlightened enough to leash your children, other parents won’t share your passion. But like a parent who’s introducing a new sport or tradition to a neighborhood or town, it’ll be up to you to make having a leashed child a treat for everyone and the neighborhood norm. Through enforcement of child leash laws (and heavy frowning toward the unleashed masses) in your area, you can show the world that a leashed child is a happy child. Fun activities for leashed children include:

“Chase the Vermin.”

Instead of a mindless game of tag, encourage your leased child to chase squirrels, chipmunks, and field mice up trees and into burrowing holes. This promotes quick movements and is completely safe, mostly because your child won’t be able to proceed up the tree or get soiled in a burrowing hole. Result? All of the fun, none of the danger. And no one gets lost!

“Heel Yeah!”

Kids absolutely love this one, because they get to imitate the family dog. When you have your leashed child in a public space, have him or her walk on your right, stop on a dime, and follow canine commands (rollover, sit, play dead, find the Milk Bone, scratch and sniff, etc.)

“Jump Leash.”

An infinitely more complicated version of jump rope, this game involves advanced skills, two participants, and longer (minimum 10 feet) leashes. With one leashed child standing off by himself as a support pole, his parent stands 20 feet away as the “leash swinger.” Now the fun begins: Your leashed child tries to jump the swinging leash without falling or getting humiliated by the finger-pointing, unleashed, lowlife children passing by.


  1. Rachel says:

    jump leash. omg. that’s priceless. now i wish i had a kid I could play with.

  2. @Rachel: Just sneak into the park with a pair of scissors and snip one (a kid) free. They’ll be so shocked and directionless once they are off their leash that they’ll naturally follow you home like a stray cat hoping for some milk and tuna.

  3. cheryl says:

    Hi—this site is awesome. I am laughing so hard. Having 5 children, I like it even more!
    You left a comment on my blog about the “MySpace” pms box in my post….I found that on google images. It’s great…!!!!


  4. OMG! I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard! The post title and accompanying photo are toooo much! I’ll have to show my toddler lol

  5. As a child in England it was customary to use “reins” on a child. My mother bought me a set around the time of my baby shower. I just could not see an occasion to strap reins on my child. Much prefer hand holding.

  6. @Mom on the Run: Hand holding? But, won’t you like, get your hand all sticky and dirty?

  7. Mom of twins says:

    What a crock of crap!

    Having your child on a harness (especially if you are a mother of multiples) can mean the difference between life and death.

    Ever had twins before? I didn’t think so. Just imagine it, it’s a spring day and your two toddlers are walking holding your hands. All of the sudden they decide it would be fun to break free from your grip and take off in opposite directions.

    A harness can prevent this from happening.

    Not everyone has a perfect stepford child that’s on voice command.

    Walk in someone else’s shoes before you judge.

  8. another MOM says:

    Totally agree with the last post. I would much rather have my children on a harness for saftey reasons than worry about the opinions of other adults/parent who think that harnessing a child is some form of child abuse.

    Hand holding is all well and good but for those of us with more than one child that needs to have their hand held what do you do when you need you hand free to say open a door. Or what do you do with the other child while you are putting one into their car seat let the other run around and enjoy all these so called wonders (and forget about the ever real dangers???)

  9. Anya says:

    This was not amusing at all. The attempt at comedy was a definite miss. I only tried a leash on my twins once and it didn’t work for us – hand holding worked fine, but this was … dumb.

    • Mother of the hide-and-seek master says:

      Uhm. . . I think that might be the point. Would you happen to be the type of parent who follows this advice?

      Although, now the thought of a leash seems rather nice since my son likes to run and hide in and under things when we are out in public.

  10. boomer says:

    I loved this article! I have seen many a time when there was a difficult child that refused to walk while holding a hand, refused a stroller and any other form of control that could help them. some toddlers are just too impulsive and tantrum throwing to just realize the danger and this is a big help to a mom that has more than one child to tend to while out.
    I used one myself when I had my second child, he was just too sneaky, cried a lot and a major handful alltogether, even at 10 he hasnt changed.

  11. Twinmama2 says:

    Huh, my kids actually ask if they can wear their monkey backpacks (leashes) rather than ride in the stroller or cart. My kids must be seriously effed up from all that leash wearin’,

  12. jason says:

    well, it just got pretty awkward on this comment thread…

  13. Mathew says:

    I am intrigued how society has gone from a slap on the bum to keep your kids inline to treating your children like pets. But I suppose – if it works, go for it.

  14. Kristen says:

    People – this is comedy! Everyone who feels the need to express their “outrage” are just the self-righteous, “I am the only one who knows the ‘right’ way to parent” people this website is making gentle fun of. A sense of humor and live and let live attitude about parenting may be something to consider. If a leash works for you, then be confident in your parenting decisions, if you are defensive, why?

  15. Anya says:

    I’m not upset about the article, I just think that where it tried to be ‘funny’, it wasn’t – at all. Other “articles” on this site are quite humorous, the man boobs one is great, this one, lame.

    • tigershima says:

      Man Boobs is not funny either if the person with them have been trying hard to get rid of them. Look! the site is for humor some will be fun to some and not to others. Most humor is about looking at the misfortune of others. If you people can’t laugh at themselves then don’t laugh at anyone else!

  16. jason says:

    so, anya, things are funny to you if they don’t offend you personally, but if they do, there is no trace of humor? cherry pickaaaa

  17. Joede says:

    I grew up in Europe and leashes are normal. I used one on my now 14 year old son and now use it on my 3 year old daughter. I have been yelled at for using them and you know what? My kids are at home with me every night. So, yell all you want, I feel my kids are safe from psychos.

    • 14 YEAR old?

      • Oooppsss.. Sorry I read the comment wrong. I thought it said you use a leash on your 14 year old, not that you used (past tense) it on him. I think they are funny and something that can be laughed at, but not exactly bad advice. I would consider using one when I have a child depending on their personality and situation.

        • Kidless and happy says:

          HAHA! How odd, but very comical, to see a mother using a leash on a teenager, lol! Although, as someone who works with youth, that may not be a bad idea for some of them…disregard the “HAHA” and the “lol”…

  18. nadia says:

    …I was one of those kids…..

    …I wandered away a lot.

  19. Matt says:

    “Treating your kids like pets.” W…T…F? Seriously now. Do you really believe that?

    I am also assuming that this is about not doing this to “normal” kids. Well, I happen to have a little boy with Autism and I have considered “leashing” him when I go out simply because if not holding a hand (which he does do occasionally, but not all the time) he will BOLT! Ever try to outrun a 5-year-old boy running full-bore, who has a head start on you? Ever have to do that while he’s heading straight for a busy street? Ever have a mental flash of your child flying through the air after getting hit by a Ford F150 going 30 MPH (which is fast enough to cause severe internal damage to a small child) and wondering if that is really going to happen as you grab for him seconds before he actually reaches the street? I DID! Thank God I caught up to him before he reached the curb!

    Yeah, if I have to tether my child to me until I am confident he won’t pull crap like that again and possibly end up DEAD, screw you and your opinion. I’d rather have my son alive, thank you very much.

  20. @Mom of twins: You’re right, voice command would work way better. Maybe even a shock collar? Pure genius.

    @another MOM, @Anya, @boomer: Ewww. Holding their hands? They pick every hole they’ve got!

    @Twinmama2: Yep, it sounds like they have a lifetime of severe confusion ahead of them. Start saving for that therapy bill.

    @jason: Tell me about it! I wonder if it hurts to be wound up that tight.

    @Mathew: The difference between spanking and leashing is that they can run away if you spank them. If they are leashed, they have to sit there and take it.

    @Kristen: High five.

  21. Kate says:

    Okay, just laughed til I cried.

    Thank you.

  22. Kate says:

    and thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. Leashers unite!

  23. Kate says:

    I just posted you to my profile on FB! I have some friends who will appreciate this blog I think.

  24. SillyDad says:

    I am 8 years older than my little brothers. My parents had leashes for them. When my parents would force me to take my brothers out to play with me, I would sneak the leashes out of the house and tie the little brats to a tree.
    Ya know, it’s funny. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve seen them since that walk in the woods… oh crap. Mom’s gonna kill me.

  25. @Kate: That’s a lot less depressing than crying till you laugh.

    @SillyDad: At least you never got roped in to any more babysitting. (Do I have to pay a fine for using such a cheesy pun??)

  26. Beth says:

    Hey, “Mom of twins” : just for the record, I also had twins… and a kid 3 years younger… and another one less than 2 years later. Impossible without leashes? Uhhh – no. This article was quite amusing!! Thanks for the laughs.

  27. Lucy M says:

    My mom used these when we went to amusement parks sometimes, when I was much younger. Of course, I…really did wander away a lot. And while that’s okay-ish in smaller places, wandering away in Disneyland would have not been a good idea, probably. I think it was only age three or four, when I refused to go in the stroller without throwing a fit (until I got tired, of course) and would break away at the slightest shimmer of something more interesting than mom and dad.

  28. Connie says:

    One thing this article fails to address is the health benefits of a leashed child… I’m very tall, and in crowded areas. it’s not easy for a toddler to hold hands with out stretching his arm unnaturally far over his head, and I had to walk crooked over sideways. My 2yo ASKED to wear a leash to avoid that. My back approved.

  29. Jessica says:

    @mom of twins: it’s called birth control

  30. Nancy says:

    Do they make retractable leashes for kids? It would be a great traing aid in a store. Kid gets 20ft away from you and spots the toy the have to have…starts whining and carring on, now instead of going to get them; you just need to firmly say “NO”, then push the button…

  31. Nancy says:

    sorry , the proper spelling should be…”training” the – intead of they…
    I will proof read…I will proof read…I will proof read

  32. Jen says:

    My kid also loved her monkey backpack/harness as a toddler. I would hold her hand, but when she let go and bolted for the street, the leash is what kept her out of traffic. My nephew had to use one because he has loose joints and any tug on his arm will pull it out of the socket. If he didn’t want to go away from the busy road, he would throw himself down and twist to get loose from whoever was holding his hand, and then they would have to go to the doctor and get his shoulder checked out again.

    I know this is supposed to be funny, so I’m not upset about the original post, but some of the comments are just plain mean. (Yeah, I know. Boo hoo. Laugh at me if you must.)

    If you can keep your kid safe without a leash, that’s wonderful. Congratulations. Seriously. But for some people, toddler harnesses are literally life savers. They’re not using them to keep their hands clean or their kids from having fun. We use all kinds of other things to keep our kids safe (like car seats and seat belts and even shoes) without being told we needed to use birth control instead of having kids in the first place.

  33. Frankie says:

    I agree that doing anything you can to keep a child safe is a must! Besides, I don’t think they are properly embarrassed as a 3-4 year old for a leash to do its utmost in causing lasting psychological damage. I think we should use them again when they get to be teens:
    First date?: parents tag along with that handy retractable leash Nancy was speaking of. The kids get too close to kissing, and we retract the leash.
    Family Vacation: Everyone will stay with their parents with handy leashes! No wandering off to enjoy hiking in the quiet woods to be attacked by wandering vagrants. Recommendation: Get leashes that also come with muzzles, so you can enjoy the quiet.
    Prom night: chaperone the dance, and keep your teen leashed at all times. Not only will this show them how much you care about their safety and well-being, you will teach them the valuable lesson that life can be worse. Extra points: get a fellow chaperone to hold child’s leash as you slow dance and grab husband/wife’s butt.

  34. Nicole says:

    @Lucy M: we traveled with our family friends to Disneyland once when i was 14. my sisters were 12, 10, and 7, and the other family’s kids were 15, 2, and 8-yr-old twins. our parents didn’t mess around with leashes for the younger ones…they made us all dress in red shirts and white shorts.
    in retrospect, this was a great idea for a couple of reasons: easy visuals for a quick headcount; if one gets lost, no one’s scrambling to remember what the kid had on; also, a stranger finding a lost kid might see us as a group and think, “hey, that bunch of weirdos calling a kid’s name is dressed the same as this dopey-looking kid. wonder if they know each other.”
    OTOH, as a 14-yr-old (and a 12-yr-old and a 15-yr-old, according to my sister and friend), it was absolutely, positively MORTIFYING. and the pictures look so stupid…

    • Nicole says:

      also, white shorts look GREAT with my tanned legs, but the red…not so flattering with a sunburned face.

  35. Vernie says:

    This is ignorant. My two year old darts out into streets and hides under fixtures at the store. I would rather have my child on a leash then dead or lost. Crap like this makes parents paranoid about protecting their children by putting them on a “leash.”

  36. Beth says:

    Vernie – your two year old darts out into streets?? A Parenting 101 class might be a really good idea!

  37. Teen says:

    My parents had me and my sister both on leashes when we were younger. My sister now is so attatched to my mom that she is scared to go anywhere (other to school) without her. I don’t know if its because of the leash that shr had until she was 8. Btw, she’s 13 now!

  38. Ten up says:

    Whether you leash or not leash your kids, remember how weird it looked BC (before child)? I think the post is to make us laugh at ourselves. Yes, parenting is hard and we all want our little ones safe. We need to chill. I have a friend that gets mad at me if I want to buy something at the store in front of her child. Her child is a preschooler and does not know that you can buy things. I have another friend always wants to have playdates with us but her daughter cannot share anything in her home. What`s the point? Got to laugh! Keeps life interesting. Im just glad it them not me.

  39. Crystal says:

    I found this post funny…sorry to those that didn’t. I was “leashed” as a child but not with the fancy harnesses they have now. It was one of those coil-thingies that had velcro wrist bands at either end. It was so annoying that I learned to stay with my parents so I didn’t have to wear it.
    To the mothers that use them or have multiples, try not to be so offended. I understand why parents need them and when used properly they are a good way to keep little ones safe. What bothers me a lot is when parents don’t use them correctly. For example, I was driving home one day and saw a woman in her front yard working in her flower bed while her baby was crawling around playing in the grass. The child had a harness and leash on. No big deal, right? Wrong! The part of the leash that the parent is supposed to hold was attached to a stake in the ground that is meant to hold a chain for a dog! I couldn’t believe it! All I could think was “Couldn’t she think of a better way to have her child outside?”

  40. Tigershima says:

    Granted the use of the leash/harness is exaggerated and so are some of the other tips but it is really just fro fun so if you don’t find it funny just let it go as not funny to you. For example the teach you child the correct names for private body parts is what I agree with but they make it more ridiculous than what really happens. It is funny the way he describes it but untrue at the same time so I just take it as a humorous imaginative piece.
    It’s just comedy, there is no humor that will appeal to everyone all the time.

  41. SUSAN says:

    My little brother(now 50) was “leashed” to a cement block when we played outside.He thought the street where we lived was his personal playground and had the fastest “Back Door To Street” Dash in the neighborhood.The neighbors approved BTW they knew there was no catching him once he got going.
    After shopping at the local Walmart I’m starting to wish they handed them out at the door or had them attached to carts at least.I see kids running amok there all the time…and not a parent insight. I worked hard to teach my kids to behave my kids WERE “smacked on the bum” to the consternation of other shoppers.You know what ??? They’ve never been arrested and are caring,supportive of their friends and generally well-adjusted members of society. Take that Dr Spock !!!!
    ~~~~quick aside~~~~
    Do you know if your kids catch you having sex in your own room at 3am it’s considered by Delaware CPS to be child abuse?
    Don’t those people watch TV?!?!?!

  42. Beth says:

    “Author: Meagan
    Comment: Beth your a dumb bitch too.”

    NICE spelling, Meagan!

  43. Lynda says:

    I had to leash my son but like the father who posted about their child being autistic- agreed. it can be a literal lifesaver.

  44. me says:

    Read the TOPIC. This is about BAD Parenting.
    So it mean its not true, just a joke, fake, kidding page blog.

    I cant belive somebody agree O.o

    great tip for some here… Read the topics FIRST

    “Bad Parenting Advice”


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