I’ve spent 22 years working in airports. I have seen the good the bad and the ugly when it comes to family dynamics. I have seen kids that help carry everything in, help the parents out, put bags on belts and help corral the little ones making a break for the nearest exit. I have seen sullen teenagers with Louis Vuitton luggage roll their eyes at parents scrambling to get paperwork and passports out of carry on bags. I have seen kids tell parents to shut up and even fuck off. Daily, I watch parents…well parent.
What I have noticed over the past 10 years is a trend towards tuning out to their kids. In the past, when a kid would begin to melt down, the parents would deal with it. In my airline career, I have only seen one parent go over the line and yank a kid around so harshly I was waiting for an arm to come out of the socket. I called the police line in the airport and had them watch through the eye in the sky to make sure that kid made it out of the airport alive.
What I see day in and day out is parents pretty much washing their hands of bad behavior of their children. Kids yanking items off the shelves in the shops and dropping them on the floor. Kids climbing all over seats, and people. Kids taking things from seats that clearly don’t belong to them. Children being told no and then screaming bloody murder at the top of their lungs…ear drum piercing screams that can cause people to go deaf and parents ignoring it.
I get it. I really do. Sometimes the very best thing to do is to let it play out and see where the child lands. A public area is not the place to test your boundaries as a parent. The common thread that seems to tie all these event together is parents who have given up expecting anything from their kids. They let them run around, destroy displays, shout out rude things to their parents and other people in hearing range. What is wrong with this picture.
I can usually spot the parent trying to deal with behavior issues that go way beyond bad behavior. They are the parent looking around panicking to find the nearest area where they can corral their child and reign in the behavior. Those parents are employing every single coping technique they can think of. They have a plan and are trying to get back on track. The parents that blow my mind are the ones that are seeming oblivious to the asshole kid running circles around their legs. Why oh why oh why don’t they love their kids enough to set some damn limits on them??? Why don’t they put aside their desire to just ignore the behavior in favor of actually teaching their child socially appropriate behavior for public places? It’s one thing to deal with a toddler melt down, it’s totally different to just let your child run around like a wild beast and disturb every other human being in the airport.
You are doing your kid a disservice by not expecting more of them. You are setting them up to believe that the entire planet revolves around them and that they can do no wrong. Take 30 seconds out of your day and give your kid the tools to NOT be a jerk! If you don’t care if your kid behaves, do us all a favor and stay home. Let them destroy YOUR house and puncture YOUR eardrums. Perhaps caring enough to help your kid be a functioning member of society should take precedence over your need to just make life easier.