How should you deal with a child who will not stop kicking your airline seat and a mother who refuses to intervene? How should a flight attendant get involved, if at all?
How Do You Handle A Child Who Will Not Stop Kicking Your Seat On Airplane?
Let’s first setup our discussion via the video below:
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It seems clear to me this is a simulated situation, similar to the odd video of the woman creating a plastic wrap fort around her. This is probably a crew training video that was recorded for a discussion like we will have here.
However, these scenarios are not purely hypothetical: I think we have all been in situations in which a child behind us has kicked our seat.
This makes this particular situation an interesting discussion. The man is not unreasonable to ask the mother to ask her child to stop. It seems to me, here at least, that the mother could have tried harder to instruct her child to stop kicking the seat instead of essentially saying, “Kids will be kids.”
I dislike the zeitgeist that adults cannot talk to the children of other people. I do warn my kids about talking to strangers or accepting gifts (especially candy) from them, but it does not automatically bother me if someone approaches my kid and talks to them (just don’t always expect a response). Here, the wife of the agitated man nicely asks the kid to stop kicking and that sets off the mother, who demands that she not speak to the kid.
Questioning the parenting style or, even worse, calling the mother a bad mother is not constructive toward getting the child to stop kicking.
I presume, if this is a flight attendant training video, the next segment or at least discussion point is how a flight attendant should intervene.
This appears to me to be a case in which a flight attendant should indeed intervene. The passengers have been unable to work out the matter amicably and tensions are rising.
Practically, the man and woman could have switched seats, which would have immediately ended the seat kicking for the man and given more time to think through a solution. On the other hand, by principle, a person who is being disturbed should not be the one who has to move.
If I’m a flight attendant here, I try to re-accommodate the disturbed passenger to a better seat and if the flight is full, I apologize to the man, ask the woman to continue to instruct her child not to kick (not sure you can do more than that), and issue some compensation to the man…just to shut him up. Too generous? Perhaps, but better than frayed tempers which could escalate into actual violence.
We’ve all faced situations in which children kick the seats in front of them. While a totally legitimate gripe, yelling at the mother for not controlling her child is probably not going to make the situation better…it will just make it worse. On the other hand, parents must do more than ignore their child disturbing others. Certainly, some children are worse than others with this sort of thing…it is how they are hardwired…but parents must make every effort to reduce seat kicking.