Flying with Cranky Kids: What Would You Do?

Last month, Pamela Root and her son Adam got kicked off a Southwest flight when the 2-year-old toddler got unruly during a pre-flight safety instruction. Later, Southwest apologizes and gave her vouchers for her inconvenience (though not for the decision to yank her off the flight).

Amy Alkon of Advice Goddess Columns disagrees with Southwest's apology. She wrote this op-ed at the Los Angeles Times on how parents with unruly kids are "stealing from the rest of us":

There is a notion, reflected in numerous blog comments about the incident, that other passengers should "just deal" and "give a kid a break." This notion is wrong. Parents like Root and others who selfishly force the rest of us to pay the cost of their choices in life aren't just bothering us; they're stealing from us. Most people don't see it this way, because what they're stealing isn't a thing we can grab on to, like a wallet. They're stealing our attention, our time and our peace of mind.

More and more, we're all victims of these many small muggings every day. Our perp doesn't wear a ski mask or carry a gun; he wears Dockers and shouts into his iPhone in the line behind us at Starbucks, streaming his dull life into our brains, never considering for a moment whether our attention belongs to him. These little acts of social thuggery are inconsequential in and of themselves, but they add up -- wearing away at our patience and good nature and making our daily lives feel like one big wrestling smackdown. [...]

I know, I know -- because I am not a parent I cannot possibly understand how hard it is to keep a child from acting out. Actually, that probably has more to do with the way I was raised -- by parents I describe as loving fascists. As a child, I was convinced that I could flap my arms and fly, but the idea that I could ever be loud in a public place that wasn't a playground simply did not exist for me.

I hear claims that some children are prone to tantrums no matter how exquisitely they are parented. If this describes your child, there's a solution, and it isn't plopping him in a crowded metal tube with hundreds of people who can't escape his screams except by throwing themselves to their deaths at 30,000 feet.

What do you think? Was Amy right? Link

(Photo: Karen T. Borchers / Mercury News)

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

If youre allowed to have screaming kids on the plane, i should at least be allowed to have a ciggarette or twenty. Delicious nicotine is far less intrusive then horrible baby sounds!
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Airline tickets are expensive. I don't want to sit next to bratty children who scream and kick my seat. I love kids, but I couldn't care less for these new-age formula-raised babies. today's children are not disciplined enough these days, and therefor have absolutely no manners... and this is not everyone else's problem. I should not have to "deal with it" because your baby was raised by TV, daycare and Twinkies.

For those arguing "well, no one wants to be the parent of a screaming child in an airplane!".. no duh! But just "not wanting" something does not remove guilt and is not a proper excuse. I "didn't want" to fail my college Chemistry 101 exam, but I did anyway -because I didn't study hard enough-! I accept this now. It's time you did too.

The way your child acts is more often than not a reflection of your parentining skills. I was also raised by "loving facist" parents... I grew up with my head in the clouds, but pitching a tantrum in public was simply unthinkable.
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I have to agree with everyone else who expresses the thought that if your feeling are so damn delicate, stay home.

Entitled whiners. The world does not revolve around you. I blame a culture that gives trophies to all the little leaguers instead of making people work for a reward. Jeebus - grow a skin.

*ssholes annoy the crap outta me too - it's part of life and no one said it was "fair."
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I have been a teacher, grades 4-12 in music, for 20 years and have seen the results of bad parenting, especially in the community I live in now. Here even the smallest child has RIGHTS more than DUTIES or OBLIGATIONS or whatever you want to call them. So they do follow rules or bother someone else, it's OK, but if someone bothers them, it's a big thing. No, I think it's time that folks realize that PARENTING means more than just having the child. If they think having one or four at home is tough, try working with 25-30 all day at school just like theirs only each with their own quirks and problems. I LOVE teaching and I LOVE kids, but sometimes the "baggage" they've brought from home makes it almost impossible to work with them OR for them to get along with each other. NO WONDER they have one has given them any boundries, any guidelines, or any guidance. And NO, the public should NOT have to deal with YOUR problem child NOT at the prices they pay for tickets. If you can't control your child, then don't fly. Flying, like alot of other things in life, is NOT a right, it is a privilege. DEAL WITH IT. PLEASE RAISE YOUR KIDS: DON'T BEFRIEND THEM.
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