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Wedding Woes

You're not wrong for asking, but you can't control the reaction.

Dear Prudence,

I travel by air quite a lot. I find myself sitting in front of a child who will kick the back of my seat throughout the flight with surprising frequency. Depending on how bad it gets, I might ask the child’s parent, “Can he/she please stop kicking?” This mostly works, but more than once, the parent in question gets irritated or huffy. The last time this happened, the kicking child’s parents had a stage-y little conversation meant for me and others to overhear after we landed about what a jerk I was: “Well, you know how SOME PEOPLE are.” I said nothing, but it really got under my skin. I get that flying is stressful, and I can only imagine how challenging it must be for parents of young children. I’m all for giving parents a break. In fact, I recently endured a three-hour flight full of kicking because I could see that the mother was so overwhelmed that I couldn’t bear to add to her woes by asking her to stop it. I hate to be “that guy,” but hours of having your seat kicked can be exhausting. I think I’m in the right to speak up about this issue. What say you?

—Kicked Around

Re: You're not wrong for asking, but you can't control the reaction.

  • Totally fine to ask nicely! I always assume they simply haven’t realized it is happening or disturbing me. If I can hear a parent saying things like “stop kicking” then I assume they’re doing all they can. 
    ei34charlotte989875MissKittyDanger
  • I think it's worth it to gauge the situation each time.   

    It doesn't make the behavior OK but I've had bouts of times that my 4 yo just won't stop and we have to remove him.   That's easier said than done at 30,000'
    But those around me hear when I'm frustrated and see me attempting to curtail that behavior. 

    So if the parents are trying to put the blame on the OP with that passive aggressive commentary I would speak up.   I'd say something like, "I just want to thank you for addressing this with your child.   As you know it's so important to teach young children that bad behavior is always wrong." 
    charlotte989875OliveOilsMomMissKittyDanger
  • banana468 said:
    I think it's worth it to gauge the situation each time.   

    It doesn't make the behavior OK but I've had bouts of times that my 4 yo just won't stop and we have to remove him.   That's easier said than done at 30,000'
    But those around me hear when I'm frustrated and see me attempting to curtail that behavior. 

    So if the parents are trying to put the blame on the OP with that passive aggressive commentary I would speak up.   I'd say something like, "I just want to thank you for addressing this with your child.   As you know it's so important to teach young children that bad behavior is always wrong." 
    That’s just doubling down on passive aggression though! 
  • banana468 said:
    I think it's worth it to gauge the situation each time.   

    It doesn't make the behavior OK but I've had bouts of times that my 4 yo just won't stop and we have to remove him.   That's easier said than done at 30,000'
    But those around me hear when I'm frustrated and see me attempting to curtail that behavior. 

    So if the parents are trying to put the blame on the OP with that passive aggressive commentary I would speak up.   I'd say something like, "I just want to thank you for addressing this with your child.   As you know it's so important to teach young children that bad behavior is always wrong." 
    That’s just doubling down on passive aggression though! 
    Yup.   You could also say, "I'm here.   You know it was wrong and you saying this to your kid isn't going to help him when he's older."  

    Or you can ignore it.   Most likely people who act like this are not going to ever think that the things they do are wrong. 
  • banana468 said:
    banana468 said:
    I think it's worth it to gauge the situation each time.   

    It doesn't make the behavior OK but I've had bouts of times that my 4 yo just won't stop and we have to remove him.   That's easier said than done at 30,000'
    But those around me hear when I'm frustrated and see me attempting to curtail that behavior. 

    So if the parents are trying to put the blame on the OP with that passive aggressive commentary I would speak up.   I'd say something like, "I just want to thank you for addressing this with your child.   As you know it's so important to teach young children that bad behavior is always wrong." 
    That’s just doubling down on passive aggression though! 
    Yup.   You could also say, "I'm here.   You know it was wrong and you saying this to your kid isn't going to help him when he's older."  

    Or you can ignore it.   Most likely people who act like this are not going to ever think that the things they do are wrong. 
    Also, now that my mind is clearer (I'm fuming over a personal issue with Chiquita) I would be clear.   "I did ask that you stop this.   Could you please stop kicking my seat?" 

    And then should it NOT stop you don't put up with it for 3 hours.   You go to the flight attendant who may not be able to do anything other than put the parents on notice that they see the behavior, it's noticed and they are flagged as passengers for not doing anything.  Something as simple as, "I hate to bother you with this but would you be able to ask them to stop kicking my seat?  I have addressed this but unfortunately it is not resolved." 
  • banana468 said:
    banana468 said:
    banana468 said:
    I think it's worth it to gauge the situation each time.   

    It doesn't make the behavior OK but I've had bouts of times that my 4 yo just won't stop and we have to remove him.   That's easier said than done at 30,000'
    But those around me hear when I'm frustrated and see me attempting to curtail that behavior. 

    So if the parents are trying to put the blame on the OP with that passive aggressive commentary I would speak up.   I'd say something like, "I just want to thank you for addressing this with your child.   As you know it's so important to teach young children that bad behavior is always wrong." 
    That’s just doubling down on passive aggression though! 
    Yup.   You could also say, "I'm here.   You know it was wrong and you saying this to your kid isn't going to help him when he's older."  

    Or you can ignore it.   Most likely people who act like this are not going to ever think that the things they do are wrong. 
    Also, now that my mind is clearer (I'm fuming over a personal issue with Chiquita) I would be clear.   "I did ask that you stop this.   Could you please stop kicking my seat?" 

    And then should it NOT stop you don't put up with it for 3 hours.   You go to the flight attendant who may not be able to do anything other than put the parents on notice that they see the behavior, it's noticed and they are flagged as passengers for not doing anything.  Something as simple as, "I hate to bother you with this but would you be able to ask them to stop kicking my seat?  I have addressed this but unfortunately it is not resolved." 
    Huh see I just can’t imagine doing this is real life! I don’t think the flight attendants would care and then for sure you’re sitting in front of people who hate you. 
  • I would asked to be moved to another seat if there were any available.
    image
    short+sassy
  • mrsconn23mrsconn23 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited August 1
    All the surveys say that air travel sucks ass in the US for a variety of reasons.  This LW can ask until their blue in the face for parents to get their kids to knock off obnoxious behavior, but some parents will take offense to it and some kids will still do annoying shit, no matter how many times their told. 

    Yes, parents should try to minimize the annoyance caused by their kids to the world around them (air travel or not), but kids are also kids and they're going to be kids.  Everyone needs grace in stressful situations, but people are so stingy with it sometimes.  

    LW, put in your earbuds and try to get comfy once you've said your piece.  OR if it's THAT BAD, find a job where you don't have to frequently travel by air.   Those are literally your options. 
    banana468
  • banana468 said:
    banana468 said:
    banana468 said:
    I think it's worth it to gauge the situation each time.   

    It doesn't make the behavior OK but I've had bouts of times that my 4 yo just won't stop and we have to remove him.   That's easier said than done at 30,000'
    But those around me hear when I'm frustrated and see me attempting to curtail that behavior. 

    So if the parents are trying to put the blame on the OP with that passive aggressive commentary I would speak up.   I'd say something like, "I just want to thank you for addressing this with your child.   As you know it's so important to teach young children that bad behavior is always wrong." 
    That’s just doubling down on passive aggression though! 
    Yup.   You could also say, "I'm here.   You know it was wrong and you saying this to your kid isn't going to help him when he's older."  

    Or you can ignore it.   Most likely people who act like this are not going to ever think that the things they do are wrong. 
    Also, now that my mind is clearer (I'm fuming over a personal issue with Chiquita) I would be clear.   "I did ask that you stop this.   Could you please stop kicking my seat?" 

    And then should it NOT stop you don't put up with it for 3 hours.   You go to the flight attendant who may not be able to do anything other than put the parents on notice that they see the behavior, it's noticed and they are flagged as passengers for not doing anything.  Something as simple as, "I hate to bother you with this but would you be able to ask them to stop kicking my seat?  I have addressed this but unfortunately it is not resolved." 
    Huh see I just can’t imagine doing this is real life! I don’t think the flight attendants would care and then for sure you’re sitting in front of people who hate you. 
    It would have to be aggressively bad for me to speak up in the air.   But I just haven't have a situation like this come up that often.  It's usually my own kid in my own car.   

    The other thing is that if this person travels by air a lot s/he needs to come up with better options.   Get the rewards card.   Get the better seat options.  If you fly enough sit 1st class.     But it seems odd if this happens that often.  
    ei34charlotte989875
  • I think it's perfectly fine to politely point out the issue to the parents.  Or even politely ask the child themselves, if they seem old enough to understand both the request and how its affecting someone else.  Like 8ish years old and above.

    There is no reason anyone should get upset over a normal, polite request.  But then, there are people who live in a different reality from the rest of us, and f**k'em.  I know it's frustrating to be so reasonable with someone, only for them to act like you're this horrid person.  And sometimes it is easier said than done to let it go.  However, I try to look at it that they're only annoying me with their rudeness for a few seconds.  While they're burdened with living their whole life in this angry place, where they take offense to everything.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    STARMOON44ei34kerbohl
  • ei34ei34 member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    My biggest flying anxiety used to be 9/11-related but now it's what if we're on a flight and my son goes into not-listening-to-anyone-not-behaving-no-matter-what mode, something he's capable of.  I imagine we'll go on an airplane trip as a family at some point and that's the biggest stress for me.  Everyone would be trapped and I'd get to wear my what-a-shitty-mom hat.  That said, I'd absolutely want to know if any of my kids was kicking a seat or doing something to annoy a fellow passenger, and I'd 100% try my best to stop the annoyance.

    I actually give this LW props for recognizing a mother was overwhelmed one time. 
    short+sassyOliveOilsMomkerbohl

  • The other thing is that if this person travels by air a lot s/he needs to come up with better options.   Get the rewards card.   Get the better seat options.  If you fly enough sit 1st class.     But it seems odd if this happens that often.  
    This is where I am. 

    You can ask. They can say yes, no, be obnoxious, or do little to get it to stop. 

    If you fly that much, and it bugs you this much, and it’s happening so frequently you write to Prudie either find a way to deal, or upgrade your seats. 
  • This is why I think airlines should offer no kid sections. I shouldn't have to pay extra to be able to fly without being constantly annoyed by small children. (And no, flying first class or upgraded doesn't guarantee that you'll avoid kids.) I get it, sometimes kids are just kids, but sometimes the parents just suck.

    I guess being in LW's situation, I would have asked the parent to trade seats with me. And then considered kicking the crap out of passive aggressive parent for the duration of the flight. 
    And that's why sometimes it's the kid and sometimes people are dicks - but I do agree with you.

    That said I'm not a frequent flier but fly enough to go in and out of a few airports a year and I just don't encounter this.    
    charlotte989875
  • This is why I think airlines should offer no kid sections. I shouldn't have to pay extra to be able to fly without being constantly annoyed by small children. (And no, flying first class or upgraded doesn't guarantee that you'll avoid kids.) I get it, sometimes kids are just kids, but sometimes the parents just suck.

    I guess being in LW's situation, I would have asked the parent to trade seats with me. And then considered kicking the crap out of passive aggressive parent for the duration of the flight. 
    I am annoyed by adults far more frequently than children on flights. 
    InLoveInQueens
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    If the child gets away with kicking now, that child is going to be a seat kicker as an adult 😉 

    This happens A LOT actually.  I usually ignore it, never say anything.  When H gets a kicker he doesn't really say anything, if it’s bad enough, he’ll give them “a look”. - but gets super grumpy about it when off the plane. It’s all I hear about for hours.  Let it go, dude. I did.

    MyNameIsNotshort+sassy
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited August 3
    This is why the flight attendant call button exists - if you've used your words LW to kindly ask the child to stop and it's continuing to a painful level, that is when you involve the flight attendant because they're the neutral third party.  Obviously it's a balance, but really, some parents suck at parenting, and in spite of some parents' best efforts, some kids are just jerks and it takes an authority figure to step in to get a behavior change.
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  • GBCKGBCK member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    Not to be "that person", but, this is the hell of a kid on the spectrum.
    Because the difference between a meltdown and a 'tantrum' is sometimes hard to see as her mom, let alone by anyone else.

    And I do see the looks.  (That's the disadvantage of a kid who can 'pass')  THe comments.  About why the hell my almost-9-year-old is acting like a 5 year old, and why I"m handling it why I am.
    I mostly ignore it w/o much of a problem (yay for being 40 and way more confident about this than if I had been 25), but, it still rankles.

    short+sassyMesmrEwe
  • banana468 said:
    Also, now that my mind is clearer (I'm fuming over a personal issue with Chiquita) I would be clear.   "I did ask that you stop this.   Could you please stop kicking my seat?" 

    And then should it NOT stop you don't put up with it for 3 hours.   You go to the flight attendant who may not be able to do anything other than put the parents on notice that they see the behavior, it's noticed and they are flagged as passengers for not doing anything.  Something as simple as, "I hate to bother you with this but would you be able to ask them to stop kicking my seat?  I have addressed this but unfortunately it is not resolved." 
    Bolded. You ok? <3
  • I get OP's issue and definitely bring it up, but like title says - can't control how the parents react.

    Kudos to OP to letting some things slide, realizing them mentioning something may not be beneficial to the situation.
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I agree that I've been more annoyed by adults on flights than kids. However, I've definitely encountered many kids (not babies or toddlers) acting horribly with seemingly no intervention from the parents. 

    MissKittyDangercharlotte989875MyNameIsNot
  • I agree that I've been more annoyed by adults on flights than kids. However, I've definitely encountered many kids (not babies or toddlers) acting horribly with seemingly no intervention from the parents. 
    I've seen that in public. Parents not watching their kids. Or - in parents defense - thinking they don't have to because their kid should know how to behave in public.
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I agree that I've been more annoyed by adults on flights than kids. However, I've definitely encountered many kids (not babies or toddlers) acting horribly with seemingly no intervention from the parents. 
    I've seen that in public. Parents not watching their kids. Or - in parents defense - thinking they don't have to because their kid should know how to behave in public.
    The most I've seen this has been in restaurants, and it's always shocking to me. You've got wait staff walking around with trays of hot food and drinks, and you're letting your kids run around the place. 

  • I agree that I've been more annoyed by adults on flights than kids. However, I've definitely encountered many kids (not babies or toddlers) acting horribly with seemingly no intervention from the parents. 
    I've seen that in public. Parents not watching their kids. Or - in parents defense - thinking they don't have to because their kid should know how to behave in public.
    The most I've seen this has been in restaurants, and it's always shocking to me. You've got wait staff walking around with trays of hot food and drinks, and you're letting your kids run around the place. 
    Ahh yes .... I was a server for awhile and I would directly say "go sit with your family before you get hurt. This coffee is very hot and could burn you"
    It was a loud comment because idgaf .... your child could get hurt and it won't be on my ass.

    My mum worked in a food court and would see kids climbing on the old stools. Just standing there and parents not watching! *head desk*
  • banana468 said:
    Also, now that my mind is clearer (I'm fuming over a personal issue with Chiquita) I would be clear.   "I did ask that you stop this.   Could you please stop kicking my seat?" 

    And then should it NOT stop you don't put up with it for 3 hours.   You go to the flight attendant who may not be able to do anything other than put the parents on notice that they see the behavior, it's noticed and they are flagged as passengers for not doing anything.  Something as simple as, "I hate to bother you with this but would you be able to ask them to stop kicking my seat?  I have addressed this but unfortunately it is not resolved." 
    Bolded. You ok? <3
    Oh fine now.  She got kicked out of camp a week ago.   That was too many wake ups ago to make things bad now.
    charlotte989875MissKittyDangerMesmrEwe
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