Has anyone seen the News about the toddler who got kicked off an airplane for having a tantrum? Apparently, the family had a two year old girl who wouldn’t sit in her seat while getting ready for takeoff. She had what all of us parents know as a classic meltdown. However, by the time her parents finally got her settled down and strapped in, the pilot was asking them to leave. They had no choice but to get off the plane. It cost them two thousand dollars. The parents are furious.
I’m willing to bet they are a bit mortified too. At least, I hope they are a little bit embarrassed. I’m always completely red-faced whenever Gus throws one of his. I’ve described them previously as being like demonic possession. He can kick, scream, and froth with the best of them. There have been numerous times when no matter what I did, I wasn’t able to get him to stop. I just had to wait it out until he returned to sanity or throw him kicking and screaming over my shoulder to force him to do what I wanted him to do.
But, you can’t really do this on a plane. I’ve been on numerous flights with Gus and I have complete empathy for the parents. Thank God Gus has never decided to completely go to pieces while we were on board. I know I’d employ all of my best tactics and strategies, but as any of us know, sometimes these are to no avail. How would I feel if something like this happened to us?
Gus has a list of rules. We post them in the dining room. Note the first rule: No throwing fits. It’s number one because he throws them ALL the time. Notice next to the rules that we have a list of consequences. Does this system change his tantrum behavior? Sometimes. Sometimes not.
Sometimes I just have to let natural consequences happen. I’m a huge believer in natural consequences. Both for myself and for my son. Now, I wouldn’t consider getting kicked off the plan a natural consequence for Gus. I’m actually pretty sure Gus would be smiling as we got kicked off because his tantrum had allowed him to be able to get off the plane and not wear his seatbelt. He’d be chalking up one point on his side of the power struggle. However, I would consider it my own natural consequence for being unable to settle him down and sit appropriately. It’s a pretty expensive consequence and I can guarantee I’d be examining where I needed to change to handle things differently next time.
It turns out this is not the first time kids have been kicked off planes for not being able to behave. This isn’t an isolated incident. I think it points again in the direction of the troubling parenting practices besetting our generation of parents. I predict we see more and more instances like this one. I spend lots of time talking about that here. I want to make it clear that I am not saying I am immune from this. If you follow me, you know I freely admit my imperfect parenting practices. Also, there was an incident where a child with special needs got asked to leave a flight. This is a completely different scenario.
I could go on and on about this one. I probably will again. It’s a pretty divided camp about the issue. Some parents are jumping in to provide support to the parents of the toddler. Others are placing their support in the hands of the airline. What do you think? Where do you stand on this?