Thursday, May 15, 2008

Child Leashes and Paranoia

A disturbing trend is the rise of pseudo-parents who set their children's autonomy at a premium in the naturally exploratory time of early life, for the sake of protecting their physical well-being. There is almost no better argument to the idea that adults are relatively no different than children than this level of unrealistic paranoia. The only issue here is that an adult's childish imagination has a direct influence over how their own children are being instructed to interact with the world: with fear, prejudice, and lack of self motivation and control.

Firstly, why control yourself if you are physically being restrained by something outside your control? When thinking about this, also question whether or not we really understand the completely ridiculous prevalence of hyperactivity "ADHD" supposedly infecting modern children. I am not saying these correlations are necessarily related, but it is an interesting web we weave. I may have no scientific rationale for upholding any social correlation... but something just doesn't seem right in principle if the two things are existing in the same society

Secondly, being on a leash teaches you that you don't need to be personally driven; someone else makes your decisions for you. They instruct you on where you can go, what you have access to, and what you can see, touch, and experience. How is this any different than what children have had to live with since the dawn of time? Children always had the ability to make personally make the choice as to whether to obey their parents' orders or not, and that choice was a matter of character. When you're on a leash, you don't need to choose for yourself, you are forced.

Parents have gotten by for millenia without needing to strap their children in like animals. It is nothing short of dehumanizing. These devices are designed to give "peace of mind" to paranoid parents, not to protect children from threats, whether real or part of their paranoid delusions.

One is not being a parent, nor setting an example of a truly authoritative parenting style, by divesting responsibility to a device. Many will argue that there is no difference between this and locking children in a safety seat; if one is justified, than the other must also be. First of all, a moving vehicle is not a leisurely stroll through a shopping center or park. All passengers in a moving vehicle should be wearing the appropriate harness, and any adult that doesn't is neither setting a positive example, nor being a truly responsible parent. If it occurs to them that their child could be injured in a car crash, doesn't it stand to reason they could as well? And if they are, how are they going to be any good for their children if they are severely injured or possibly dead?

The same rationale applies to these child leashes. The question here is, who is holding the leash around the parent to make sure they aren't going over the proverbial cleft and consequently dragging their equally unconscious children with them (by a leash, no less)? After all, if adults were truly responsible for their children's well being, as this display seems to indicate, wouldn't they be equally as concerned for their own well-being?

Most parents understand this, and so many feel like they are doing the right thing by instituting this measure, but I feel far too many have had their opinions of society warped by a fear-mongering media as well. Suddenly, if their children's lives seem like they are in constant jeopardy, then *anything*, no matter how potentially harmful, is justified so long as it "appears" to be keeping kids safe.

The only lasting impression these children are getting--outside the fact that the world ends where their leash runs out and that their parents directly dictate how much of the world they can interact with--is that the means of restricting and controlling a person/society are they only ways to "protect" them. Parents should dictate to certain degrees what their children interact with, particularly if it comes to something potentially hazardous or dangerous, this has been done for centuries. This is true. However, children in centuries prior always had the opportunity to resist and learn the consequences of their own actions if necessary.

Sadly, parents these days don't want to "take the chance" that a child is going to do that. Also, they don't want to take the chance that the widespread fear of child abductions isn't just paranoia run amok. Alas, their children become the paranoid adults of the future, lacking personal motivation and self control.

Like child.