Don't expect kids to behave on planes without their iPads

Oct 3, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Image: FStop Images - Halfdark/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Another cellphone video has gone viral, showing a mom going off on airport security after refusing to turn off her toddler's iPad during the flight. And while many bloggers are dissing this woman for refusing to follow the flight attendant's instructions, I think this is another case of parent shaming. If you've ever flown with a small child in tow, then you'll agree this mom has the right to be ticked when asked to turn off her kid's iPad on the flight.

Like on most trips across the sky, a mom was entertaining her two kids by letting them watch kid movies during the flight. However, the 2-year-old wouldn't wear headphones, so fellow flyers could possibly hear what she was watching. When surrounding passengers just couldn't take the children's good behavior any longer, someone complained, and the mother was asked to turn off the movie on the iPad. The video shows only the tail end of the ordeal, when the mom and her two kids are confronted by seven security officers about the incident on the plane, but I think the airline was in the wrong.

Everyone I've read covering this incident is bashing the woman for standing up for her kids' right to have a pleasant flight. And hey, she may have become defensive when greeted by airport security as she disembarked her flight, but the real issue is that we have become a society so intolerant of kids and families with kids. You want to take your family out for pizza instead of getting it delivered? Sorry, the one other couple in the whole place will judge you for bringing your kids. Keeping your kid entertained by letting him say, "Bye bye plane," like a mom did on a flight back in 2007? Be prepared to get booted off your flight.

Perhaps a better solution for this mom would have been to let her kid cry and wail the rest of the flight. Oh wait, they would have shamed her for that too. It's too bad there is so little support for this mom, who was obviously stressed out about flying solo with two kids. But the sad truth is that the people giving her so much flak probably don't have kids of their own.

It's disheartening, but it's not too late. When you see a mom having a hard time getting her screaming kid into the car at a store parking lot, tell her to hang in there. Flying across country and sitting near a child who doesn't understand why he has to put on a seat belt and turn off his movie? Try to help distract the kiddo. As a mom who has flown with two very young kids — albeit thankfully not solo — I applaud her efforts to keep her kids happy so the rest of the plane won't have to sit through a flight with an unhappy child. This mom has the right to be ticked when asked to turn off her kid's iPad on the flight. Even if I didn't have kids, I'd take the sounds of Bubble Guppies over the sounds of a wailing child, hands down.

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