Toddler kicked off plane after iPad deprivation tantrum

A family from Washington state had to cancel an island vacation when their flight was grounded after their 3-year-old son pitched a tantrum.

The toddler had been quietly playing with an iPad while waiting for the plane to take off, the father said. When the iPad was taken away—you know how all electronics must be stowed during takeoff and landing—all hell broke loose.

Alaska Airlines says the matter boiled down to a security issue: the child became so upset, he would not sit up straight and keep his seatbelt on, and the father could not control him. The airline offered the family a later flight, but the toddler isn't interested.

"I'm not sure how the kids will feel about flying next time," said the dad, Mark Yanchak. "As soon as we got of the plane he was like, 'Dad, no fly, go home, let's go home. I think the whole ordeal just scared him off. He didn't want to fly again."

I dunno. The FAA's in-flight gadget restrictions are nonsensical, but I'm calling this one as parenting fail. As BB commenter angusm rightly notes, "Children should be switched off during take-off and landing. And at all points in between."

More: NY Daily News, citing a local Seattle radio news report. (image: KIRO, Seattle)


    1. I don’t know a single parent whose toddler has not had a major meltdown at some time, no matter how good the parenting is. Toddlers are spectacularly emotional beings, and sometimes react very badly to what you or I would regard as a minor event. When this happens at home, it’s trying. When it happens in a supermarket, it’s embarrassing. When it happens in a plane it’s a major security risk. But it’s going to happen.

      1. And yet it pretty much doesn’t. Millions of toddlers fly each year. How often does a plane get grounded because one of them is out of control?

        Xeni’s right–gadget bans are stupid and pointless, but this is a parenting fail.

        1. Ask yourself the same question for different situations. How often do you hear of a flight being grounded for some stupid reason like someone reading a book on WWII airplanes (yes, it’s happened). Obviously, if this happens, it must be a really *bad* book on WWII airplanes and therefore a “reading fail.” 

          Or maybe the flight attendants in both particular cases were, as they are prone to do sometimes, overreacting. 

        2. My dad took my daughter to the zoo when she was 6, he about 59. Spent the whole day there till closing. They walked to the exit under duress as she wanted to say. She bolted away from him and the wagon carriage. The Zoo security was alerted, found the wayward adventurer hiding behind a waste bin on the main path toward the elephants enclosure. The old man said she co-operated willingly with the guards, walking slightly ahead of them towards him. She usually runs away from me in the museum to the dinosaur exhibits when I am showing her ‘other places’ in the museum that are boring. hopefully she is running towards a dream of veterinary palaeontologist

          Just wanted to share.

  1. “As soon as we got of the plane he was like, ‘Dad, no fly, go home, let’s go home. I think the whole ordeal just scared him off. He didn’t want to fly again.”

    Yea, Dad, because THIS is all about the kid, not the dozens of people this family inconvenienced, the extra time and energy to land a plane, or the actual tantrum that people didn’t want to hear, its about the kid not wanting to fly again.

    Talk about self centered parenting!

      1. The father, however, is mentally equipped to realize that he participated in the causation of inconveniences of varying harshness to, at the very minimum, several hundred people.

  2. Almost sounds like they think the problem is Alaska airlines turned their kid off flying.

    1. When you say “almost” I think you’re being generous. Or perhaps I’m jumping to an unfair conclusion, but, honestly, I can’t think of any other way to read the father’s statement.

  3. While the “no electronics during takeoff/ landing” rule is pretty damn stupid, this is a pathetic display of parenting.

  4. While no doubt annoying for the family, less small children (esp. SPOILED small children — my parents never gave me $600 prezzies at that age!) on the plane makes the flight nicer for everyone else. 

    1.  Do we know that the iPad belonged to the kid? My nephews play with their mother’s iPad.

      (Their father – my brother – can end a tantrum with one good glare. It’s pretty awesome.)

    2. You’re not taking inflation into account. An NES cost about the same in 2010 dollars as an iPad does.

  5. I think the whole ordeal just scared him off.

    Gee, how will this *3 year* old ever get over, or forget this “ordeal”…

    Meh, good riddance.

  6. This is a non story, kids that age have tantrums for just about everything and anything you take away from them… This has nothing to do with an iPad.

    1. I hear Benadryl works well for that….

      (In fact as I child I’d self medicate…my mother didn’t seem to mind.)

  7. Wasn’t there, can’t say for sure, but the brief bit I read from one of the parents suggest that the flight crew over-reacted to a 3 year old’s tantrum. He had calmed down by the time they stopped the plane and kicked the family off it. They weren’t reacting to a present danger, they were reacting to a perceived future danger. “What if he freaks out during takeoff, gets out of his seat and tumbles down the aisle and breaks his neck?” He’s 3, that’s a possibility whether he was freaked out beforehand or not. Chill out, Virgin flight crew. Even excellent parents can’t always prevent or stop an emotional outburst. Those claiming this to be the result of bad parenting have obviously never dealt with young children for an extended period of time. Sometimes they get upset when you take something away. No 3 year old is a danger to a plane, and no 3 year old with a watchful parent in the next seat is in serious danger of harming himself.

    1.  They over react to everything anymore. Everything is a danger, anything can make the plane taxi back to the gate. Blouse cut too low, off the plane. Dare to raise your voice above a whisper, no matter the circumstance, off the plane. Crying child, off the plane. If I never have to fly again, it will be too soon.

      1. And the infamous saying of “Hi Jack.” to your friend Jack, while plane is on ground.

    2. Even excellent parents can’t always prevent or stop an emotional outburst. Those claiming this to be the result of bad parenting have obviously never dealt with young children for an extended period of time.

      Thank you.

      1. “Those claiming this to be the result of bad parenting have obviously never dealt with young children for an extended period of time.”

        WRONG AGAIN!

        1. Ah, so you keep your children under control by yelling at them with caps lock on. 

      2. Worse, what were the parents supposed to do?  Put a ballgag in his mouth?  When you have a full on meltdown tantrum like that, pretty much the only think you can do is wait it out and then comfort him once he’s past the anger stage and up to just sadness.

        This is especially true is the kid was already cranky from having to wait around in a boring airport lobby being told no constantly when he naturally wanted to explore. 

    3. “No 3 year old is a danger to a plane”

      Oh, yeah?  Then why does the TSA have to frisk them all?
      There, I rung rings ’round you logically!  :-)

  8. I just flew with my son, and he wasn’t a problem at all because we made the flight the fun part.  And for the boring in the air portion with nothing to do for hours, that’s when we brought out the iPad/iPhone.

    Agree that this is just a lack of planning on the parents’ part, and maybe just poor parenting in general.  I couldn’t believe how awful all the other toddlers near us were on both flights we took – whining, screaming, running around, etc.

  9. This all boils down to bad parenting. Sorry but at that age you should be able to control your kid. At least enough to calm them down so the plane can take off. 

    This is what happens when you treat your kids like a special little snowflake. You get spoiled little brats. Kids aren’t glass. They’re not going to break if you discipline them. They are going to become messed up adults who think everything is going to be handed to them if you don’t discipline them.

    1. Sorry but at that age you should be able to control your kid.

      The idea that children should be “controlled” is repugnant. The idea that a failure to control them 100% of the time is evidence of bad parenting is nonsensical.

      1. What about in putting the children in control, then, as the parents apparently did when deciding not to take a later flight?

      2. Can we extend that rational to adults as well?  The idea that adults should be “controlled” is repugnant as well.  I don’t want to be restrained by the laws of our society, that’s just criminal.

        In fact I think a career in law enforcement is probably a good idea for me.

      3. Man do I disagree with you.  In fact I disagree so strongly I can’t even think of something to say with my non-sig.


  10. Spoiled or not, 3 y/o is not a prime age for little ones to fly. Give them a benadryl chewable 1/2 hr before the flight leaves for your sake and the others around you. Works wonders.

        1. And you seem to think that the children are spoiled. The disconnect is astounding.

      1. Is there some sort of problem with drugs?

        Obviously, some drugs are deeply habit forming, or have serious side-effects, or whatnot; but benadryl has a long history of well tolerated use and is pretty effective for the purpose.

    1. Except it doesn’t in a significant number of kids – it has entirely the opposite effect.

      The real solution, of course, is for everyone to just chill out and accept the fact that unformed humans walk among us, and then get on with life.

      1. Once when my son was 2 1/2  I gave him Benedryl before a flight. It didn’t have the intended effect. He felt weird, was upset by that, and was disinhibited by the drug as well so he couldn’t control himself as well. Started freaking out, crying and restless. I was trying to get a dry pull-up on him so he could be more comfortable and fall asleep, but he was too squirmy. So I took him into the lavatory to change it, and once there he started screaming “NO DADDY NO I’M GOING TO TELL MOMMY!” I thought I would be tackled and restrained upon leaving the lavatory, but apparently he had made enough of a scene that the other passengers must have figured that he deserved whatever he was receiving. 

    2. Antihistamines dry you out, which is a bit torturous given how dry the air is on an airplane. Basically, you’re pre-loading plugged ears.

  11. Ha ha ha on the small child bashing. Now that you’ve gotten that out of your system… I am surprised that the parents didn’t have a plan B. Stickers, paper, crayons, chenille pipecleaners, story books… these are all items that don’t have to get put away when the iPad must be shut off. Most three year olds will react very positively to “Ooh, look what you get to play with now!” followed by a surprise small gift.

    1. Yeah, I guess where I posted “poor parenting”, I meant poor planning. Giving the ipad to the child shortly before the rules would require taking it away seems like it could have been avoided, and then having some other distractions ready is a pretty common tactic.

      I’m still with the commenters that recognize the fact that the three-year old seems to control the itinerary. Which is kind of sad.

        1. Meaning the family’s travel plans. Not the route of the particular flight. I’m pretty sure the word itinerary applies in both cases.

    2. Yeah, I’ve been through a couple public tantrums with mine. It pays to be prepared but I may have it easy as a parent that only spoils their kids with love and kindness. Makes the occasional in-public material bribe 10x effective. 

      I’ve only had to leave a restaurant once so far. 

      This parents error was having the heavy guns out early and apparently forgetting that they would definitely have to take it away in that instance. 

      We have a retired iphone for that purpose at home, but it’s also just a regular toy practically the only electronic toy except music-makers. Hot Wheels are $1.79 each and if they haven’t seen/had that particular make/model/colour it works every time for bribes. Keep a stash.

      Oh and yeah the kid bashin is a bit pathetic, but whatcanyado?

      1. Oh and yeah the kid bashin is a bit pathetic, but whatcanyado?

        You can speak out against it every single time you see it.

        I mean, I’m not saying you have to, but it is an option.

  12. They didn’t take the later flight because the toddler didn’t want to? Way to establish boundaries and control.

    1. Maybe they didn’t take the later flight because they were sure the next flight crew would freak out just as much as this one, and didn’t want to chance it.

  13. People shouldn’t be taking their screaming/tantrum-age children on flights. They just shouldn’t. It just isn’t necessary for a 3 year-old and 1 year-old to fly to St Martins for a vacation. Just live locally until you can bring your children along without the severe inconvenience. Temporary lack of jet-set family mobility is a sacrifice that you, as parents, chose to make when you chose to inflict your planet-f*&^ing spawn on the rest of us.

    1. Indeed, because never in the history of the world has, oh, say, a dad had to take his two toddler-aged children on an emergency flight from NY to Florida to have a few moments with a dying father.  

      But, in the case where ya know, that might actually happen, one might wonder how other people might be so utterly divorced from human compassion and reality that they’d make blanket statements like yours.

      1. Wait, what’s that you say? People no longer live their entire lives in their ancestral village? They move thousands of miles from their loved ones seeking educational, career, and personal opportunities? And yet seek to maintain a connection? People who use airplanes aren’t all jet-setting twats flitting across the ocean just to have brunch overlooking the Seine? Why didn’t anyone tell me? More to the point, why didn’t anyone tell winkybb?

      2. Oh yeah, having to fly my almost 2 year old up to Minnesota and back on completely packed and delayed flights to to go my grandfather’s funeral was not something I’d wish on anybody. 

        Amazingly the trip out wasn’t too bad and he managed to snooze for a good portion of it.  The flight attendants were also quite accommodating and actually played some peek-a-boo with him when they didn’t have anything else to do. 

        The return trip was badly delayed though due to mechanical problems and he ended up missing his nap and going totally manic.  That was no fun at all.  The flight attendants were also working the very last hours they were still legally allowed to work before having to get some sleep and all of the other passengers were cranky as well.  The only saving grace was that my son was young enough that he was perfectly happy watching DVDs off of my laptop with no sound, at least for some time. 

    2. Right, because god forbid YOU should be temporarily inconvenienced by a crying child. Who’s the spoiled brat again ?

      1. Apparently the guy who had the temerity to hope that his plane ticket was in the non-screaming section…

  14. Geez, I had no idea “happy mutants” hate kids . . . in fact I thought the opposite was usually true?  There is nothing in this story that says they were bad parents.  Your comments reveal your own insecurities about parenting/parents/kids?
    Some kids are very expressive, and some kids never behave the way a parent would like no matter how “good” the parent.  And there are lots of other factors.   What if the kid was already stressed about the flight and playing his favorite app was keeping him calm?  What if he was second away from beating the final wave of the final level of Kingdom Rush?  Or millimeters from leading the Robot to the Kitty he Wants so much?  Imagine if you were enraptured by a game and told by an undeniable force to turn it off this instant.
    C’mon, lighten up.  Pick on someone your own size.  Give the kid a break!

    1. heh, he was probably set off by seeing some Internet blogger surreptitiously tapping away on their illicit iPad across the aisle.

    2. They could give the kid a break and not insist on flying him all the way to Bangladesh for an island vacation.  They live on the West coast.  Maybe a drive to the beach until the kid becomes old enough to not have major tantrums.


      1. Yep, I live in Seattle, and the beach is only a few hours drive away- of course it’s 56° f, raining, and the water is freezing cold with huge waves.  Pretty, but maybe not quite what they had in mind. 

        1.  Yet they were prepared to fly in a fart capsule for what was probably at least an 11-20 hour trip….. 

          That is of course assuming the article was mistaken when they said “Saint Martin’s Island” which would be even worse and involve buses and such too…..  I’m guessing they actually meant “St. Martin”.

          I was at the Oregon coast with family and kids last year at this time and it was lovely.

          Of course they could drive way down to the California coast for less time then this flight.  Or take a 2 hour flight from Seattle…

    3. Umm he’s 3.  Perhaps if the idea of turning off a game at an inconvenient time throws him into a tirade then perhaps he shouldn’t have the game in the first place.

      I didn’t have a game system of any kind until I was 10, and even then when my parents said enough I turned it off without question.

      And I believe most people are picking on someone their own size, the parents for failing to see what was coming.

    4. Geez, I had no idea “happy mutants” hate kids

      Our commenters offer a full range of assholisms.

  15. The way I read it,  it hinges on the fact that the parents could(would) not keep the child in his seatbelt.   That fact alone justifies the airline for kicking him off the plane.  Turbulence can get quite severe — if the kid was thrown from his seat and became injured the airline would be on the hook.

    Besides that,  I really think this is a  missed opportunity on the part of the parents.  They should have told the child “we were kicked off of the plane because of your bad behavior”.  Instead of learning that bad behavior has negative consequences they’ve reinforced a sense of entitlement.

    1. Flying to or from Florida is the worst.  The flight is all old people and kids.  You never get through the security line with any kind of reasonable speed, especially if you’re going to a conference in Orlando. 

  16. They didn’t HAVE to cancel their island vacation.  They could have taken a later flight.   They chose to cancel their island vacation because their son didn’t want to take the later flight.   Their 3 yr old cancelled their vacation.

    I actually feel sympathy for some parents on planes, but not these ones.  At any given time, a perfectly lovely toddler can pitch a fit.  Usually, it’s when they get tired or aren’t feeling well.  Parents can do their best to manage the kids, plan travel for times when the kids are either rested or will fall asleep immediately.   Now and then, despite the best of plans, things go awry and the little angel turns into something straight from Hell.   Where I lose sympathy for these parents is when they declined the later flight and cancelled their plans because Junior said so.

    1. This completely. Toddlers throw fits, it happens no matter how good or bad you are at parenting but letting your toddler dictate your vacation plans? No. Let the kid tantrum himself to sleep and then drag him on the next flight.

    2.   They chose to cancel their island vacation because their son didn’t want to take the later flight.   Their 3 yr old cancelled their vacation.

      In your quickness to judge, you are making unwarranted assumptions. If it was me in their place, I would be thinking, “The next flight crew is going to know exactly what happened, and if my kid even lets out a peep or a squirm, this same thing is going to happen again. No way in hell I’m getting back on a plane today.”

    3.  Agreed – cancelling seems extreme.  Unless there were some pretty severe issues going on, that does sound like them throwing up their hands and giving in.  Seems like the vacation was a bad idea in the first place….

  17. I’m not sure everyone posting here actually read the article. It doesn’t sound like much of a tantrum to be honest, but the kid repeatedly undoing his seatbelt is an issue. This behavior may just be a result of an excited and perhaps underslept and/or hungry 3 year old. Would be interested to hear what steps the flight crew took to remedy the situation. Gating the plane is not the most efficient option and delays everyone.

  18. what a bunch of hysterical overreaction — both the flight crew for freaking out about normal 3-year-old behavior and boingers breathlessly decrying bad parenting when they know basically nothing about the parents.

    1. I wouldn’t presume to speak for the other happy mutants or the flight crew, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they share my (repeated) experiences with raging kids on flights. More than once, I’ve been tempted to give a wailing 5-year old (yes, that old!) a plastic bag to go outside and play with.

      1. That’s just as many times as I’ve been on a plane and tempted to kill loud drunks, loud-talkers, people with BO, people who get on a plane sick…. list goes on and on.  At least children have an excuse of not having fully developed brains yet… :)

      2. You know, I fly often on business, and I cannot remember a single instance of an unruly child. I have noticed some babies crying, sure. I have never seen a “raging kid.” I wonder what the difference is between these two scenarios–your flight experience and mine?

        1. I’m guessing the main difference could be you flying on business class. Or maybe I’ve just been unlucky. Simply crying babies don’t actually bother me, I tend to just tune them out.

          1. At what point does Mr. Bardwell mention flying business class?

            I fly often on business; never in business.

    2. The thing about bad parenting is that you don’t have to know anything about the parents. The proof is in the pudding.

    3. Are you kidding me?  This would not be news if Dad wasn’t’ bitching and moaning about how his kid was so “scarred by the experience” that they had to cancel their vacation.  What a drama queen.

  19. It’s amazing how many people think children are like puppets and when a child does something a parent doesn’t want them to do, it’s simply a case of bad puppeteering.

    Logic 101:  bad parenting CAN cause bad behavior but bad behavior is not always caused by bad parenting.

    So – are these specific parents bad?  We simply don’t know.  But it is a lot more fun to assume they are. :)

    1. It’s not about children being puppets, it’s (partially) about knowing whether your kid is mature enough to fly at all.

      1.  That’s a different issue.  Seems like most of the “bad parenting” comments imply that the parents could have controlled the kid better.

        With regard to “mature enough to fly at all”, personally I think it’s silly to think that kids shouldn’t fly because other passengers get annoyed by them.  Plenty of adults are incredibly annoying on planes including loud talkers, drunks, stinky people, halitosis people, phone call makers, people who bring tuna sandwiches with red onions on board, people who wear too much perfume on board, people who recline their seats all the way back while you have your tray down. etc., etc., ad nauseum.

        How about all those adults?  Should they also not fly?

        And I would also pre-emptively argue that 99.9% of times even if kids are annoying they are not a security issue so let’s not talk about 0.1% of situations as the norm.

  20. Sounds like a lot of commenters do not have kids.

    It’s easy to forget that, even at 3, that they are independent little human beings that something just freak the hell out.  Quite frankly the best long term approach is to just let their tantrum run its course — that is the path to good long-term behavior.  The downside is that sometimes it gets you kicked off a plane.

    I promise you this could happen to any parent, good or bad.

    1. And how many of those then turn around and reject another flight – which was basically gifted to them – because dear precious doesn’t want to fly anymore?

      Sorry, but that is pretty extreme.

    2. Agreed, although one comment, that the commentator lost respect for the parent/parenting ability when the father admitted the 3-year-old effectively cancelled the vacation, is spot on. 

      Cancel my vacation, cancel my wife’s vacation, cancel your own vacation? Not a chance kid, today, we fly.

      1.  I agree.  It does start to stretch “benefit of the doubt” when the whole vacation gets cancelled.  I will say – we don’t really know how it went down.  The kid could have been continuously hysterical.  There are scenarios where I would understand it – but they are pretty edge cases.

        1.  According to the Daily News the child was calm and they were taxiing when the plane was turned around and they removed “on captain’s orders”.

          Look at it from Dad’s point of view: he was travelling with a 1-year old, a 3-year old, AND his mother-in-law.  Manna from heaven; the whole thing was probably orchestrated.

          To be half serious, it would be hard to expect the young man to make some logical decision after his trauma (whether it should be traumatic is not the point — it would have been traumatic to him).  If some 30-year old guy was asked to turn off his iPad, subsequently freaked out, and was kicked off the plane you wouldn’t expect that he’d get inside the terminal and instantly start acting rationally.

          1.  Agree – that’s why I said “stretch” and didn’t automatically assume the worst (that dad’s just a wuss and kid runs the show, which is what folks want to believe because it satisfies their “kids are so spoiled these days” itch. :).

          2. According to the Daily News the child was calm and they were taxiing when the plane was turned around and they removed “on captain’s orders”.

            That is actually *according to dad*, if you read the article.  The same dad who thinks his kid getting bumped off a *first class* flight to an island vacation in Bangladesh is an “ordeal”. I would take his comments on this with a heaping helping of skepticism.

      1. But sometimes you have to fly anyway.  Funerals don’t wait so you can drive for a week across the country. 

  21. I bring sound cancelling headphones on flights for just this reason. Unfortunately, children scream at high frequencies while the sound cancellation works best on the lower frequencies. It helps a little.

  22. “Everyone has to put their iPads away. They can come out in a little bit. Everyone has to be buckled in – so we can be safe! Even the iPads.”.

    *taking little hands, folding them in lap, holding them*

  23. Seriously though, many many children have ear infections and congestion which makes them start crying as soon as the flight gains some altitude and the cabin pressure drops a little.

    1. Which is one reason why they should hardly ever be on planes. Wherever people think they HAVE to take their little children, they are almost always wrong. Just stay home and vacation locally. What the hell does a 3-year-old (let alone their 1 year-old) get out of a trip to St Martin’s?

      1. And I wish people with holier-than-thou comments would just keep them to themselves, but we just don’t always get what we want.

        1. I hope you said that from your hometown since you clearly aren’t allowed to leave there.  Meanwhile, I’m taking my 2 year old to the town dump for vacation!

    2. Or, for that matter, put a toddler in an incredibly loud, overstimulating environment, probably combined with a significant break in their daily routine, and you have a fine recipe for a meltdown, regardless of how well behaved the kid is at home.

      As someone who has one kid who is always an absolute angel in public, regardless of the situation, and another for whom a break in routine was enough to put on the screams and waterworks, I can’t decide if that means I’m a bad parent, a good parent, or some sort of Schrödinger super-position until another person sees me. But I’m sure that someone here has the answer.

  24. While my kids haven’t ever freaked out on a plane, toddlers are known to freak out on planes and in all sorts of inconvenient locations.  I have a fairly well behaved 2.5 year old, but I couldn’t guarantee a 100% tantrumless flight – it just isn’t possible no matter how strong your parent-fu might be.

    That said, the worst thing possible from a long-term healthy sanity perspective is to let scenes and tantrums decide what is going to happen.  Never reward what you don’t want to see again.  They should have caught a later flight, made sure the kid was well fed and possibly napped prior, and hid the iPad away until the kid forgot about its existence.

  25. I know nothing about this incident other than what was stated in the article. But as a parent of an especially-challenging 6-year-old, I have to sympathize with these parents. Every critic who yells “bad parenting!” or suggests that the child hasn’t been beaten enough ought to be forced to spend a week parenting an ASD child. 

    1.  Anchorage School District?  (kidding).

      My son is not ASD but he’s what they call “spirited”.  We are pretty strict but he’s still a handful.  I guess that makes me a bad parent too.

      1. So would you knowingly put him on a LONG flight, handing him an iPad before take-off? If yes, you’re not a bad parent, just a bad person. If no, and you would actually think ahead and forecast a little (something these parents didn’t) you are both a good person and a responsible parent.

  26. We have this ONE incident to go on. This one segment of their entire lives and it’s a parenting fail? It’s because they let their kids play on gadgets all the time? How often do they let them play on gadgets? You don’t know. The kid may have this issue 1 our of everytimes or less or more, but the point is no on here knows. 

  27. Astounding.  Clearly none of you have, or remember that you once were (still are?), children.

    1. I remember it quite clearly.

      I remember that if I stepped out of line or did something my parents didn’t approve of I’d be put back in line.

      I remember that if I stood up in a booth at a restaurant I’d be thumped, put back down in a sitting position, and lectured about not doing it again.

      I remember that running and screaming through a store is not appropriate behavior and I would have been grounded or worse if I did so.

      I remember that my parents made the rules and expected me to follow them.

      And most importantly I remember that my parents love(d) me and had my best interest in mind at all times.

  28. Look, I don’t like unruly kids either.  I’ve left restaurants before just because someone came in with a kid. But physically beating them isn’t the answer. There are other ways to discipline children without resorting to violence.

  29. Wow.  Thank god you guys aren’t my parents.  WTF?!  Clearly none of you have children or have to deal with children or I guess never were children?

  30. Prepare for the emotional needs of their child? Give him something to play with that they won’t have to take away?

    Not saying I would have done any better in these circumstances, but that’s not the same as saying nothing could be done.

  31.  I like kids.  I even have one of my own.  What I don’t like, and what most adults (happy mutants or not) are kids who cannot behave in public places.  Especially confined public places.  Like a plane. 

    Yes, kids do not always behave perfectly.  This, however, is poor parenting.  Poor parenting not to have a plan to entertain the kid, a plan that did not involve relying on a gadget that would have to be turned off.  And *possibly* poor parenting to have a three year old that would flip out to such an extent when told he had to stop playing with the device. 

    People mouth off because they have had to deal with kids who behave terribly too many times.  All kids have their bad moments, of course.  But some kids have vastly more of them, and it is frustrating to behold.

    1. The problem is you’re making a lot of assumptions about the situation.  I would agree that giving up on a future flight, while not “poor parenting” is just general laziness or summat.   But without a lot more info about the specific situation, I’m very reluctant to be dismissive toward the parents.

  32. “Parenting Fail”? 

    Take a random sample of 100 3 year olds.  Give them an ipad to play with.  Then take it away.  Note the children who react tempermentally.

    Have a group of child psychologists watch the parents interact with these same 3 year olds.  Have them rate the parents.

    My guess is that the parents’ ratings would be a weak or non-existent indicator of what  kids react when the ipad is taken away.

    But lets have the experiment, then you judgmental fools can feel free to declare whose a bad parent based on a single incident with an ipad.

    Or here’s a better one: get your own 3 year-old.  You might find out just how much of a prejudicial and self-righteous prick you were.

    1. So, you’re suggesting that prejudicial self-righteous pricks should procreate? As an experiment? If the hypothesis fails what should they do with them? 

    2. Or, better still, don’t give ipads to 100  3 year olds.
      Give them attention.
      Direct, human, parental attention.
      Like, oh I don’t know… ‘Insy Winsy Spider’? Or ‘I Spy’?
      And don’t take it away.
      Note now the children who react ‘tempermentally’.

    3.  The difference being that the parents gave and then took away the game. An airplane is not the place for this experiment.

  33. Who’s going to stand up and fight The Man who made this arbitrary rule, a rule that everyone knows has no basis in passenger safety? This kid’s a hero, and I’m right there with him throwing a tantrum.

    Let my people go play Angry Birds!

  34. Given that I’ve seen grown adults meltdown on plane rides before, it always amazes me how people think toddlers should have better emotional control.

  35.  A child throwing a tantrum is highly annoying, but is very far from a major security risk. The fact that anyone thinks this way shows how far up the road of paranoid bullshit American society has gone.

  36. that whole problem could have been solved with a lollipop–did no one on that plane have a lollipop? ;)

  37. Its not hard to see who has kids and who doesn’t, reading through these comments.

     One of the great things parenting teaches you is humility.  Prior to my life with kids I shared a lot of the self-righteous smugness I see in the comments.  Then I had a kid and realized how damned hard it is.  Then I had a 2nd kid and realized OMG FUCKING GOD ONE CHILD WAS EASY IT WAS A WALK THROUGH THE PARK.  And then I had a 3rd and realized WTF WTF WTF WTF TWO KIDS WAS NOTHING YOU IDIOT IT WAS NOTHING!

    I learned to be very forgiving and non-judgmental about other people and their parenting choices, so long as they are not doing obviously harmful.   Even with 3 kids I have never once contemplated using one of those “leashes”, but whereas pre-kid me would’ve made a lot of the rude comments a see here, the post-kids me wonders, instead, if that’s a single mom who works two job and has no support at home or if its a kid w/ some kind of autism or maybe just a kid who’s hyper.  I remember once, pre-kids, we were w/ friends (who I consider excellent parents) and their untethered child just tore off between two cars and almost ran into traffic (IIRC, dad grabbed him by the collar).  He was about 4 and for a micro-second his immature brain shunted him off in that direction.

    I quickly decided to ignore parenting books full of dueling PhD-holding authors wielding polar opposite approaches.   Should you co-sleep or have the kids stay in their own bed and room?  The right answer is:  Do whatever allows you to maintain your sanity.  This should also have the side effect of minimizing chances of visits from CPS, future jail kid for your kid, and, in general allow you to focus on more important things.

  38. You think kids are already prone to tantrums on planes? Wait’ll they see the terrifying Richard Branson ice cubes. 

  39. Pretty sure this was for the most part a result of failure to keep the child in a seatbelt as they were preparing for takeoff.  Nothing to do with gadgets.

  40. This is an opportunity. Parents should be able to hire a reliable “flight nanny” who will entertain/teach both kids and parents during flights. Just imagine too if a plane’s passengers could somehow kick in $5 for a quick kickstarter-type campaign to get a flight nanny over to that parent who clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing.
    If you’re not rich but flying with your kid for the first time, it might still be a decent investment. You could watch and learn from a pro how to divide up the time, divine their carpetbag of games, watch how they firmly get the kid to nap and when, grok the “plane rules” their crew has worked out for flying children. Even nearby passengers could pick up some good information and pass it on later in useful ways.

  41. I’d be more worried about a 3 yo that wasn’t fascinated with looking out the window as the plane was taxing into position and getting ready for take off.
    Even as an adult I find it rather interesting every time.

  42. I’m tempted to join in with the parenting-fail haranguers but I have never been the father of a three year old boy. How many of you have?

  43. Years ago I would get irritated when young children on the plane would have tantrums, or kick the seat, or some other behavior that I disapproved of.  Poor parenting, bad kids, I’d say.  Now I have two toddlers of my own, and only a week ago I experienced a very similar tantrum, when we had to stow the iPad for landing returning from Hawaii on Alaskan Airlines.  My three-year old completely lost it.  It was late, we were all tired and sick of the long flight.  I had to physically hold him down to keep him from taking the seat belt off.  My wife and I felt awful for him and for everyone around us.

    Now when I fly alone and see other parents in this situation, I’m much more sympathetic.  I’ll try to distract the kid, pull out a toy or box of crayons if I have them in my bag.  If all that fails, I just close my eyes and relax or turn up the volume on my headphones.

    I would guess there are very few parents who are not completely embarrassed and overwhelmed in these situations.  We should be supportive, rather than critical, recommend beating their kids or not fly.

    For what it’s worth, we’ve had many positive experiences flying with our kids on Southwest.  The flight crew can do so much to keep the kid happy and engaged.  I’ve seen Southwest flight attendants offer to hold kids so that Mom can use the bathroom, or improvise toys for kids.  I often don’t see that kind of extraordinary customer service on other airlines.

  44. Kids, like the adults they hopefully become some day, are wired in funny ways.  Some are well-behaved most of the time, some are not.  We obviously have two major camps here; people who feel strongly that a child’s behavior is largely a reflection of their parents’, & those who feel that society’s requirement of baseline public behavior is some sort of personal affront.

    Yeah, I showed my hand there. 

    Many animals discipline their offspring.  Discipline is not by definition abuse, although it can devolve to that state.  Expecting parents to do their jobs is not the same as hating children, or somehow forgetting one’s own childhood.

    I was a well-behaved kid who was (perhaps overly) concerned with what others thought of me.  I think my parents had to spank me roughly three times.  I got it.  After that, a particular tone of voice was enough to clue me in to the fact that I was pushing too far (at least until puberty).  My younger brother was wired differently, but the same approach worked for him, too.  Limits, boundaries, & expectations are kind of key for developing people, & yeah – looking around, it sure seems like a lot of current parents have missed that memo.

    It may not technically be your “fault” that your kid threw a tantrum, but is sure as hell isn’tsociety’s.  In my estimation, part of parenting is knowing where the buck stops, fair or not.

    The point here isn’t that the kid misbehaved, per se.  What is riling people up is the family’s decision to cancel the vacation & imply damage by the airline.  That, & the idea that these people could afford to scotch an expensive vacation because their kid embarrassed them.  Again, different wiring; were I that father, my comment to the press would have been, “oh jeez, I’m so embarrassed.”  Or, more to the point, “no comment.”

  45. So you had a kid because you thought it was going to be easy? Or to rephrase more politely; you had a kid, and the thought that it might not be as easy as it looks didn’t arise enough to deter you. And then you found out it was sooooo hard. Funny, I always assumed it was really hard, and full of completely unpredictable situations. This is not what has prevented me from having kids. I just don’t feel the need to procreate. So let’s use this situation to let people who don’t already know : When you choose to become a parent you are taking your own (moms do occasionally die from child birth or complications thereof) and that child’s life into your hands. You may have a child with birth defects. You may have a child who looks perfect but some tiny part of their brain makes them lack all empathy and they become a serial killer. You may raise a kid that ends up hating your guts even though you do everything “right”. You may raise a kid that you end up hating, because no matter how much you love them and care for them, they somehow end up being a total shit. Or you may have an average experience full of little ups and downs. Or your kid may be a great kid all the time who goes on to be a Nobel Prize winner. Or any combination of all these. Nobody knows. But I think I can safely say that it will not be easy in the meaning that we normally attach to that word. Anything worth doing rarely is. Not trying to pick on you here, but it just floors me that anyone ever thinks it’s easy. I was the youngest of 9 kids, so I didn’t see a lot of parenting of younger kids, but I saw a lot of parenting of my older brothers and sisters. Maybe that’s why I knew it was never easy. If young people think it’s easy, then THAT is what we need to be teaching them in school; that it is not going to be easy. 

  46. Plane seat belts are notoriously easy for toddlers to open – airlines could really facilitate smooth travels by providing special seatbelts for toddlers that are as challenging to open as the ones on a car seat. It seems like such a no brainer I’m surprised they haven’t done so thus far.

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