Jordan Driskell is facing backlash online for using a leash with his 5-year-old quintuplets when they're out in public.
“Kids are so curious — they want to run off and explore,” Jordan, 31, told TODAY Parents. “For our own peace of mind and sanity, we use a leash. It also allows us to leave the house and do fun stuff as a family without being stressed."
Driskell, who shares Zoey, Dakota, Hollyn, Asher and Gavin with his wife, Briana, 34, noted that they had a 6-seat stroller at one point.
“It was just too bulky and ridiculous to take anywhere,” the Kentucky dad said. “The other thing is, they want to walk when we go somewhere crowded. A leash gives them the opportunity to do that — but we’re still in control. They love it."
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Driskell was shamed online after he shared a video of the quintuplets using a leash during a day trip to an aquarium. The video was posted last year, but recently started going viral with more than three million views and counting.
Some of the comments that have popped up in his feed:
“They are humans not dogs.”
“Can’t you just train your children well? Explain to them why it’s dangerous to run away?”
“Don’t have that many kids if you can’t handle the pressure.”
“That’s messed up. If you can’t handle that many children don’t get them in the first place.”
Parenting and youth development expert Dr. Deborah Gilboa offered a different take.
“This is creative problem solving. This isn’t treating kids like animals,” Gilboa told TODAY. “The alternative would be just staying at home.”
Gilboa added that bystanders need to dial down the judgment.
“It’s a great system for a parent with a neurodiverse child or a child who hasn’t nailed all their listening skills,” she explained. “Ninety-nine point nine-nine percent of moms and dads want what’s best for their kids and they’re doing it to solve a problem. Just because you can’t identify the problem, doesn’t mean it’s not there.”
By age eight or nine, neurotypical kids should be off a leash system and on voice control, according to Gilboa.
“By that point, you want to have another method in place to keep track of your kids in public," Gilboa said. “It would be awkward to be on a leash in seventh grade!”
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