'I refused to be ashamed for putting a leash on my child'

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 Photo: Getty Images

To leash or not to leash, that is the question. And it's certainly a divisive one at that.

While many people hold strong views about toddler leashes, if you've found yourself raising a "bolter", tethering your little one to a cord, to ensure their safety, can become far more important than being judged by strangers. 

And that's exactly how the father behind the blog "No Idea What I'm doing", feels about his decision to use a leash when out with his little girl.

"We were at the farmers market," writes Clint Edwards in a post to his Facebook page, along with a photo of his daughter, Aspen. "No shame. I put this kid on a leash."

Describing his little one as a "wild child", Mr Edwards explains that the leash has kept her out of trouble on countless occasions - and has helped him keep his sanity in the process.

And yet, what Mr Edwards goes on to articulate is the conundrum parents of "wild children" often face - "you're damned if you do and damned if you don't."
"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," he says. "She could be the child climbing into the tiger cage."
Aspen's curiosity, he says, is "incredible" and he simply can't keep up, can't keep her from moving. "For only having a 12 inch stride she moves faster than any Olympian."
The Oregon dad is used to the "dirty looks" he gets from strangers.  "In fact," he writes, "I'll probably get some 'I'm the perfect parent and this is why you suck' comments on this post."
To those commenters, however, he has a simple message: "I'm keep this kid safe while maintaining my peace of mind, and that is 100% worth it."
Rather than attracting criticism, however, Mr Edward's post was primarily met with an outpouring of support from other parents. Many mums and dads admitted to changing their minds about "leashing" once they had children themselves, sharing their own stories in solidarity.
"I used to be pretty judgy about those things. Then I had kids. Keep on keepin' on, man," wrote Kristin Nosbuch in a comment liked 3,000 times.
"Same here!" writes Ashley Blair. "Always hated them. Now I have an almost 2 year old that can't stand still to save her life. When we are at more crowded places she's leashed. Safety first, others opinions don't matter to me."