WootBot


quality posts: 15 Private Messages WootBot

Staff

Did you see the story in the news about the father and his three-year-old son who were kicked off the Alaska Airlines flight because the boy refused to stay seated with his belt fastened? Naturally, all the parents were up in arms about it and all the non-parents were applauding Alaska. Here's my opinion: if you can't control your child, you can't expect others to be understanding about it. I think Alaska did the right thing.

Now that doesn't mean I think the father is a terrible person or a failed disciplinarian. The kid is 3. Children act out, and often at the most inopportune moments. They sometimes scream or shriek or sing loudly, which can definitely be annoying to everyone within earshot. But while a minor annoyance is one thing, public safety is another. You can't have an unruly toddler climbing out of his seat and running down the aisles of a plane because he just didn't feel like sitting down at that moment.

That being said, I think there are people who are overly sensitive, inpatient, and often completely intolerant when it comes to children. One little peep out of them and it reaffirms their attitude that we're all just ignorant and inept "breeders" who think everyone else should just have to deal with our unruly spawn. And while that may be the case with a select group of self-centered individuals, it is certainly not the rule.

One of my worst fears as a parent is that my kid is going to disrupt others, and that I'm going to be in a situation where I cannot remove him. Like flying. My son is 7-months-old. We flew home for Christmas when he was just 2 months old. I specifically requested a seat at the very back of the plane, hoping to minimize the annoyance to fellow passengers should he have a meltdown. I planned his feeding schedule so it would coincide with the flight, and I came equipped with pacifiers just in case. I was lucky. He didn't make a sound. But that didn't stop me from being completely on edge the entire trip.

That's why It's such a shame to me that the father took such offense and proclaimed that he'll never fly Alaska again. I would have hoped that he would be more understanding. But instead, his arrogance and attitude just perpetuates the problem. In this particular instance, it was not personal. It was about safety. So stop taking it that way.

To me, it's all about how you handle the situation. If you can calm your child, great. If you can't, remove them so they aren't disturbing others. This is just common sense to me. One time at the movies, a couple in front of me let their child talk, no, yell through the entire first half. I finally leaned forward and asked politely for them to ask their child to stop talking, or at least whisper. The mother gave me a death stare and said to me, "I guess you ain't got no kids?" At the time I didn't, but I told her that what I did have was manners.

Another time, a mother let her toddler run up and down the aisle throughout the entire movie. At one point, the little girl actually squeezed her way half way down our row of seats (her mother was in the row in front of us) and crawled up into my lap. When I tapped on her shoulder and asked her to retrieve her child, she didn't even get up. The child eventually crawled up over the back of her mother's seat, across a number of other strangers and back out into the aisle where she spent the rest of the movie rolling around.

On the other hand, I did encounter one father in a restaurant dealing with a temper tantrum. I watched as he got down to his son's eye level and calmly explained the following, "I need you to please stop screaming. If you are screaming, you cannot tell me what it is you need. And if you cannot tell me what it is you need, I cannot help you." The child sniffled a few times and then said that he wanted a drink of water. His father gave him the water and the child thanked him politely. It was the single most intelligent and effective exchange I have ever witnessed between a parent and a misbehaving child.

So what about you? What do you do when your child acts up?
 

Photo by Flickr member mdanys, used under a Creative Commons License.

tweeter78


quality posts: 0 Private Messages tweeter78

I agree that the airline did the right thing. I am a mom of two and when my kids were little, they were removed from a place if they were out of control. It is unfair to every other person there to be subjected to a kid who is out of control. Do I feel sympathy for the dad? Sure. But I don't think he has any right to be angry with the airline.

bentjen


quality posts: 1 Private Messages bentjen

There are times you can reason with your kids (like the dad at the end of the article) and there are times when you can't (when they are overtired, physically uncomfortable/pain, etc).

With three kids over a span of 12 years (currently 18, 13, and 6), I have...

Walked out of a restaurant before the food arrived (although paid the bill anyway because the business doesn't deserve to lose money due to my kid's behavior).

Walked away from a basket of groceries in the supermarket.

Removed a kid from a barber chair with the job part finished and left their hair like that for awhile (so then can explain to everyone why it looks it way it does).

Nursed a baby at the table of a restaurant, in an airport, and on a plane.

Tipped extra for 'clean-up' around a toddler's high chair (and occasionally gotten down on the floor and started picking up the food myself).

Sympathy should be there for the parents who try, none for those who don't.

greezyg


quality posts: 9 Private Messages greezyg

A baby crying is one thing. The baby is in pain and the only thing they can do about it is cry. But a parent who can't control a 3yo I don't have any sympathy for.

I imagine it got VERY bad before they resorted to kicking the off.

natalieug


quality posts: 11 Private Messages natalieug

You hit upon the root problem in your response to the woman at the movies - manners!

So many parents (for a myriad of reasons) these days don't make any effort to teach their children "proper public behavior". It very well may be acceptable to get down and run around the dinner table AT HOME (although not at our house) but they need to be taught that it's NOT OK to do it at a public restaurant where other people are trying to have a pleasant meal that they are paying money for. It may not be a problem to get up out of your seat and talk during a movie AT HOME but it's NOT OK to do it at a public movie theater where other people are paying money to have a pleasant experience. The manners that you're taught at home are the ones that you'll use in public.

So many grown people today are all about themselves and little about how they affect other people and they pass that on to their kids. If a child is taught to be relatively well-behaved at home then there is a greater chance of them acting well-behaved when they are NOT at home!

Permissive/ ambivalent/ self-centered parenting WILL come back around to bite you in the rear if you're not careful, I'm just saying.

amynance


quality posts: 6 Private Messages amynance

Staff

bentjen wrote:

Sympathy should be there for the parents who try, none for those who don't.



Spot on. That is exactly how I feel. I'm cracking up at the thought of your child with a lop-sided haircut. Very clever discipline.

Reminds me of the time when I was 4 and fed all my dinner to the dog, so my mom fed her my dessert too!

lemmings4u


quality posts: 0 Private Messages lemmings4u

This is an example of poor planning. Children this young should be in carseats on a plane. Then they cannot cause safety issues with seatbelts. Typically if my child cannot be controlled, I leave. Planes don't allow for that, but I have to wonder if the boy was overtired or hungry and was acting out accordingly, if so goes back to my idea of poor planning.

labyrinthia


quality posts: 15 Private Messages labyrinthia

A car seat would probably have solved the problem. I don't blame the parents for the kid freaking out- he might have special needs, he might have been having a bad day, who knows. But not having a car seat and expecting a little kid to sit properly in just a lap belt is expecting a bit much.

If the airline couldn't keep the kid buckled (and, therefore, safe) they had a duty to kick them off.

lucky2too


quality posts: 0 Private Messages lucky2too

As a parent of a very active child, I pretended my son was not my child on more than one occasion. Of course when we flew I had to claim him. I have one child.

mikki42


quality posts: 0 Private Messages mikki42
bentjen wrote:Nursed a baby at the table of a restaurant, in an airport, and on a plane.



Sorry to be OT, but I don't think nursing should be on a list of things you've had to do that are unusual. It's a perfectly normal thing to nurse a hungry baby wherever you may be...

kkshields


quality posts: 14 Private Messages kkshields

As a mom of 3 kids under 4, I encounter my share of tantrums and bad behavior. I have a 3.5 year old boy, a 2.5 year old girl, and a 5 month old boy.

When my children misbehave in public, I tend to take the approach of attemping to reason, such as speaking calmly, asking them to calm down and speak to me and removing them from the environment if they get out of control. My kids are also on a very strict routine and I know my limits. I know I can't take them out for dinner after 5:30pm, because if they don't eat by 6:30pm - chaos will ensue.
I've flown with my 2 'littles' and they have always been perfectly behaved.
I explain to them what is going to happen, how the plane works, and make sure I bring lots of books, snacks and activities to keep them distracted for the duration of the flight. While I can sympathize with the dad in the blog post, I agree with the airline. I would expect the same if I could not control my child. I would not be angry, I would be mortified.

missbonnie


quality posts: 0 Private Messages missbonnie

Kids get away with too much in public and in schools these days.If you cant handle your child,leave them at home or don't have them in the first place.If this child makes it to adulthood we will either be paying for his jail time or for his welfare. Bust his butt and tell him to straighten up.

otoolem


quality posts: 0 Private Messages otoolem

I have three children 23, 20, and 18. All have different personalities and needed different approach to control their behavior. I would always remove them from a public situation if they were "done" and having a tantrum. I have had all of my children on a plane at different ages. Only one time with my 3rd child was the situation a little tough. He was 1 and 1/2 and he was very scared when the plane took off. He just wanted to get out and he was screaming crying. I felt terrible for those around us. I was able to calm him by holding him tight into his seat. Letting him know that he had to stay put and I would keep him safe. He calmed down by the time the plane was in the air. YOU NEED TO BE IN CONTROL WITH YOUR CHILDREN.

cindyjoyjones


quality posts: 0 Private Messages cindyjoyjones

I guess I'm more of a free styling parent I don't like to keep my child silent and by my side I like her to explore and wander and run. I let her run in the grocery store and sure I get weird looks but she is not hurting anyone and she knows not to go to far, I have had to do 5 hr flights with my active kid before it was impossible to keep her in her seat with her seat belt on eventually I put her pillow and blanket on the floor and had her sleep there I didn't get kicked off the plane I didn't even get reprimanded I am sure that the man must have had a similar experience where people didn't care that the kid was out of his seat and then when someone enforced the rules he did feel it was personal I probably would. I don't think it should be against the rules to hold a struggling child but I guess it probably is and next time I fly I will have to bring my kids Car seat that she is used to sitting in for long periods of time

iwantamonkey


quality posts: 5 Private Messages iwantamonkey

The one part many are overlooking is that it wasn't just the kid that got them kicked off.
"Preparing to take off, the 3-year-old didn't want to sit with his seatbelt on, so Yanchak said he called his wife back for help."
Your wife (or anyone else) cannot get up and wander around right before take-off. The pilot is required to hold up until everyone is seated. If there are a line of planes waiting, then you lose your place in line and the air traffic controllers need to get you fitted back in.
If there are 200 people on a plane, and you and your kid are the only problem: Sorry, but you gotta go.

codex


quality posts: 9 Private Messages codex
bentjen wrote:Sympathy should be there for the parents who try, none for those who don't.



+1. Also, parents should plan for the possibility (or in some cases, likelihood) that their child cannot/will not behave with decorum in certain situations. Don't take your three-year-old to the opera unless you know they'll sit still and quiet. (And with a three-year-old, you never know.) When we took our son on his first plane trip, at ~5 months, we made up about a dozen little baggies to distribute to the nearest seats, with a cute "it's my first flight, sorry if I cry" note, a cookie and a pair of earplugs. Didn't need them, but it was insurance against ill-will.

But in any public venue, children should at least know very clearly what kind of behavior is expected of them, and that there will be consequences if they don't live up to it. I wonder if the dad on the plane explained to his kid at any time that there was gonna be a long period of sitting in the seat?

Edit: Oh, also another +1 to Bentjen for tipping extra. Have pity on the poor waitstaff and crew who need to clean up after you.

My work here is done. Pedant-man, AWAAYYY!!!

millyjb


quality posts: 0 Private Messages millyjb

One of many flights I had with my daughters who were 2 daughters 4 at the time.. We had just sat down in our seats when the older man in front of us proceeded to get up, turn around and then said loudly. "This will be a smooth trip for all of us if you can keep your kids quiet and their feet off ot the back of our seats"! I was stunned needless to say and on edge for the remainder of the trip. I was in the military at that time and had taken my daughters on quiet a few tripes including one overseas.Looking back I am sure he was not happy about having potentially rowdy children disturbing his flight but how about seeing how my kids behaved before showing his "displeasure"?

I have been on both sides when it comes to air travel. When traveling as a parent I do all that I can to ensure my child is ready for the trip which does include ensuring I have a car seat for them when they are little. I have found that they tend to act better when they are in a car seat vs. trying to sit them down in the planes seat.

mndvs737


quality posts: 4 Private Messages mndvs737
cindyjoyjones wrote:I guess I'm more of a free styling parent I don't like to keep my child silent and by my side I like her to explore and wander and run. I let her run in the grocery store and sure I get weird looks but she is not hurting anyone and she knows not to go to far, I have had to do 5 hr flights with my active kid before it was impossible to keep her in her seat with her seat belt on eventually I put her pillow and blanket on the floor and had her sleep there I didn't get kicked off the plane I didn't even get reprimanded I am sure that the man must have had a similar experience where people didn't care that the kid was out of his seat and then when someone enforced the rules he did feel it was personal I probably would. I don't think it should be against the rules to hold a struggling child but I guess it probably is and next time I fly I will have to bring my kids Car seat that she is used to sitting in for long periods of time



A little more background information to the story linked by the OP: during boarding, the father had given the 3 year-old an iPad to keep him occupied. Then it came time to "turn off all electronic devices", at which point the situation escalated, undoubtedly because the child did not understand why his toy had to be put away for a few minutes. The child would not then not remain seated and buckled for the aircraft to taxi and take off. I think we can agree that once airborne, if the flight is calm (turbulence-wise) and there is room, having your child curl up in the floor at your feet is fine. However, there are times when everyone needs to be seated and secured, and take-off/landing are 2 of those times. Think about it - if something adverse happens, then an unrestrained 3YO could very easily become "highly mobile", posing a greater risk of injury to themselves and to others that they might strike.

As to you holding the child, let's say the child weighed 30 pounds. If the plane is taxiing at 20 mph and comes to an abrupt stop, can you safely hold on to 600 pounds of force? Let's say the plane is accelerating for takeoff, is at 100 mph, and a failure causes a sudden stop - that 30 pound child will now exert 3000 pounds of force on your arms. Can you hold on to that?

As to your point of letting your child run in the grocery store, what are you going to do when she rounds a corner and runs into a cart she did not expect and is injured, or knocks the cart backward and the elderly shopper pushing it falls and is injured? In the latter case, can another wooter comment as to any implications for liability in this instance?

And yes - I have a child. She has just turned 1, so there are times when we are out that she gets "out of sorts". We'll try and figure out what's going on to calm her down (wet diaper, hungry/thirsty, etc.), and if that doesn't work, one of us heads outside while the other quickly wraps our business.

heather121184


quality posts: 0 Private Messages heather121184

I have flown a few times with my now 2 1/2 year old daughter. Most of the time she did great because we prepared her for weeks before hand about the plane, the long time sitting, etc. Plus we brought lots of different activities like books, toys (that did not make noise!), color wonder products, snacks, and other things.

Our most recent flight was the only time I really had any issues. We were sitting behind an older couple and the man in front of my daughter reclined his seat. When he did this it literally pushed into her legs (she was in a car seat and the space is already small between seats). So she said it hurt and tried to push the seat back up. I tried to explain calmly to my daughter that she could not push the seat because it was not nice, and I tried to show her how to put her legs up in her own seat. But she was still uncomfortable and pushed the seat again. The man got very upset and turned around and told me to tell my child to stop pushing on his seat. I tried to explain to him that because his seat was reclined it was pushing into my daughter's legs and that she was uncomfortable. I told him that her solution is to get rid of the discomfort, which for her means pushing the seat away from her legs. I asked if he would be willing to put his seat up and he ignored me and turned back around, while pushing back against his seat. This made my daughter start crying, which upset more passengers, and eventually I just unbuckled her from her seat and let her sit with me until she fell asleep. The couple ignored us verbally the rest of the flight but the man never put his seat back until we were about to land.

As far as going out, we do not go out to eat very often but when we do she is in a high chair with crayons and paper until the food gets there and she is usually good. If she starts fussing I explain to her that she is being loud and not nice to the other people, and I try to distract her with coloring or something else. If she is just straight up crying I tell her to use her words so that I can understand why she is upset and she calms down and talks to me.

I think for us the biggest thing is consistency. She gets the same treatment and discipline at home as well as when we go out. I have witnessed parents who let their kids do whatever at home and then try to discipline them in public and wonder why it does not work.

midwestmom


quality posts: 0 Private Messages midwestmom

My daughter is 5, and only a few times have I had to take her out of a restaurant for being inconsiderate, but she knows it will happen. She knew that if she started bawling or being a disruption, she would be taken to the car until she could behave.

About 6 months ago, we were shopping in WalMart as a family, and she started screaming at us that she WOULD get the umbrella she wanted. My husband carried her out of the store screaming "PUT ME DOWN!! PUT ME DOWN NOW!!!" Aside from the fear that my husband would be charged with kidnapping our daughter, I had no qualms about removing her from a situation like that. I am not her friend, I am her parent, and it is my job to teach her how to act in public.