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If you’re not a parent who uses a child leash, then it’s pretty easy to judge those who do use them. They’re lazy and cruel, you think, and they don’t know how to control their kids in public. But before you cast judgment, maybe hear why they use a leash in the first place. Because it’s obviously not something they want to resort to, but rather, they HAVE to. Kids don’t bark (most of them anyway), but they do run, some like Olympic sprinters.

Clint Edwards, blogger and best-selling parenting author of This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, wants to break the stigma surrounding parents who leash their children. Because even though he’s used to the dirty, judgy looks, he’d rather have his child safely by his side than having to chase after her in a crowd.

“The real difficulty with having a wild child is that you are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t,” Edwards wrote on Facebook, alongside a photo of his daughter on a leash. “Because the fact is, if I didn’t put Aspen on a leash while at amusement parks, the zoo, a crowded mall, or the farmers’ market, she’d be the lost child announced over the intercom. She’d be the kid popping up in every Facebook feed for wandering into a shopping center parking lot, unattended. She could be the child climbing into the tiger cage.”

Or it could be worse. The person who gets to his lost daughter might not always be him, or a guardian, or even some sweet random stranger. It could easily be a child snatcher or pervert taking her by the hand and walking away with her, not towards her anxious parents.

If you have a runner, you totally get what Edwards is saying. And if you’re lucky enough to have a kid who holds your hand and doesn’t let go, good for you. But don’t side-eye the parents who leash their kids. They’re just doing what they have to do to protect their kids and keep them out of danger.

If you’re pro child-leash, try to ignore the judgment and keep doing what you have to do. Hopefully everyone around you will mind their own business and be pro “letting parents do what they feel is best for their child.”

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