Bring on the judgement but read my words first.
Warwick and I strive to be positive parents using gentle methods. Sure, we fail at times, but we get up each morning and try again.
So when Briar started running away from us when we were in public, I was really distressed. She’s never liked the stroller much and even as a baby she would never lie happily in her pram. As a bub, I wore her and as soon as she could walk, she wanted to. She loves to stop and look at cracks in the concrete. She finds shapes like drain holes and says “Look, a circle.” She points out colours and loves to wave and smile at passersby.
So when she started to bolt in public places, it was very frightening and dangerous. We catch alot of buses, so the most difficult scenarios were waiting at the bus stop, especially when many are on main roads.
I did everything I could think of to make the waits easier. I incorperated play and running around time before we went to the bus stop to release energy. I brought food and toys. I’d sing songs. We would play “spot the bus”. Briar runs off when she is overtired so preventing the circumstances occuring is my goal but as any parent knows, some situations are unpredicatable and unavoidable.
The worst day was one where we were waiting at the bus stop in town and Briar threw an intense tantrum because I wouldn’t let her run on the road. I had to physically restrain her and she fought me hard. She kicked and screamed. I cried.
I turned to a group of Gentle Parents Support. I said “What do I do?”
The answer was “a harness”.
I was surprised this was the response. Much of positive parenting is preventing the difficult situations rather than reacting to them. But a harness seemed so humiliating.
Before I was a mum, I’d have thought harnesses were for out of control kids. So to harness my bright, sweet and intelligent little girl was really something I struggled with.
We bought a harness with butterfly wings but it was so similar to one that Penny had as a puppy and I just couldn’t do it. So we bought these “bracelet” wrist connectors. And bloody oath, I couldn’t recommend them more.
Briar has the freedom to let go of our hands. She can play, explore, feel free. But I know she can’t get far away and I can reach her in a moment if I need to. It gives her the freedom to feel like she’s able to move around, and she’s safe.
And so there’s no regrets or shame here. I’m keeping my Babylady safe until she’s old enough to understand why she can not run onto the road!