Tantruming toddler kicked off of plane
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Thread: Tantruming toddler kicked off of plane

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    Default Tantruming toddler kicked off of plane

    Baby Behavior in the News: Toddler Tantrums on Planes

    Yesterday morning on MSNBC, we noticed a segment that had aired on The Today Show about a family who was told to leave a flight after their 2-year-old threw a tantrum when she was being strapped into her seat. Apparently, she wanted to be held by her mother rather than sit in her own seat. The family had been traveling for quite awhile and toddler had missed her nap. While the details of what happened on the plane were not provided, it is likely that she was screaming and fighting while the crew were preparing for take-off and it had taken the mother some time to get the child strapped into her seat. The airline said that they had told the family to leave the plane because they had failed to comply with crew member instructions. An online poll among Today Show viewers indicated that 71% of those responding to the survey agreed with the airline's actions. As you might expect, the comments on the story are, on the whole, harsh and unsupportive of the family.

    The fact that this was considered national (though morning) news is a good indicator of how unusual something like this is. Not that the toddler had the tantrum but the fact that the tantrum got her family removed from a plane. This story provides another illustration of the distorted views of parenting and childhood that have become so common (at least in the media). The comments and the results of the poll made it clear that people who responded thought that lack of discipline was the problem and that the parents should have had more control over the situation. Of course, we have a different point of view. Let's look at some pertinent facts.


    The toddler involved is 2 years old. A 2-year-old has very little control over their emotions and if she gets overtired, overstimulated, or frightened, she is likely to have a tantrum. While some tantrums can be short and relatively low-key, others can get completely out of hand before the child settles down and all the parents can do is protect the child and others. Many people believe that very young children and toddlers can control their emotions if they only try but their brains are not yet capable of dealing with strong emotions. It is not a matter of choice or discipline, its related to brain maturation. If the child had been 4 or 5, the expectation would have been different. We encourage you to read our series on tantrums (see the links below) to learn more about the research in this area.


    The toddler had missed her nap. Given that the parents couldn't ask the airline to schedule the plane according to their toddler's routine, it is not surprising that the child was overtired and stressed. Traveling can be overwhelming for babies and overstimulation can lead to a lot of tears and difficult behavior. Parents can do a lot to reduce but not eliminate overstimulation while traveling (see the links below) and sometimes difficult behavior will result. Most of the time tantrums are short and self-limited when parents recognize what is happening.


    The parents did not have options typically available for dealing with tantrums. In a restaurant, most parents would take a fussy baby or toddler outside or at least hold them in their laps to limit stimulation or distract them. Getting ready for take-off, these options were not open to the parents but the 2-year-old had no way to know that. The 2-year-old had an expectation that her mother would hold her when she was distressed. At 2, children are not capable of understanding that a plane is different than a restaurant or any other place away from home.
    http://todaytravel.today.msnbc.msn.c...omedomain=moms

    There is a different article about the incident. Agree or disagree with the airlines decision, and why?

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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    I agree that the airline has the right to kick them off, but in this case I think it was a little overboard if the child had already calmed down. At that point they should have reversed their decision. I have dealt with a crying child on an airplane before and witnessed others dealing with the same issue and I think most people have a little bit of compassion. It does seem like the attendants were a little quick to kick them off when it seems like the other passengers weren't complaining.
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    Posting Addict RebeccaA'07's Avatar
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    I disagree with their decision to kick them off of the plane. Any person that has a small toddler surely knows that when their schedule gets off-kilter they tend to react in a negative way. I fly bi-weekly and many times there are small children on the plane. I find a loud talking, snoring adult far more annoying than a child crying. I understand that children cry, though...considering I have a toddler myself...so I guess I have more pity on them. I've seen my fair share of drunk adults on the plan as well, and have never seen one reprimanded although they surely deserved it. So why so quick to kick off a crying kid? Especially if the child was already calming down.

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    I think they have the right to kick them off, but I don't think it was the right decision here.

    It feels like sometimes they are too quick to excuse people from the plane for minor disturbances. In the case of a toddler give the parents a few minutes to try to recover the situation.

    The last time I flew with DS alone, it took me almost 10 minutes to get his airplane seat belt figured out while trying to hold a 2 year still. Thankfully he wasn't throwing a fit, but I was surely a distraction to those around me all the same.
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    From everything I have read locally, it took an extended period for her to get in her seat. I don't think it should be anyone else's problem when your child is having a tantrum and I have 2 that are full blown into the tantrum age. Maybe they could have let them stay on the plane since she calmed down but it also could be viewed that they had no control over her...and what do they do while in the air?

    This is why more people need to hold themselves accountable for their children's actions and know the limits of the children and stop burdening everyone else with it. No, it is not up to an airline or other traveler's to accommodate your child's nap that is YOUR responsibility. I understand that since I have an almost 4 year old on the autism spectrum and a 2 year old that now is not the time to take vacations where they are required to fly so we do road trips
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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    I feel bad for the family, but I'm leaning toward agreeing with the airline. The parents know their child and should have chosen a flight that didn't interrupt her nap, or at the very least should have prepared her for what to expect while getting on an airplane to try to head off trouble. Toddlers at this age don't like surprises, you need to let them know what's going to be happening. We'll be flying next week, and I've already been prepping the kids for the taxi ride, going through security, and how to behave on the airplane. You get buckled in just like in the car, and then you can hold Mama's hand or take a nap or listen to music. And we're flying in the morning while they are fresh. *fingers crossed*
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacers View Post
    I feel bad for the family, but I'm leaning toward agreeing with the airline. The parents know their child and should have chosen a flight that didn't interrupt her nap, or at the very least should have prepared her for what to expect while getting on an airplane to try to head off trouble. Toddlers at this age don't like surprises, you need to let them know what's going to be happening. We'll be flying next week, and I've already been prepping the kids for the taxi ride, going through security, and how to behave on the airplane. You get buckled in just like in the car, and then you can hold Mama's hand or take a nap or listen to music. And we're flying in the morning while they are fresh. *fingers crossed*
    I'm guessing they thought they were prepared since this wasn't the first time.
    This was the 15th time the couple had flown with their young children, and they had not had any previous incidents. It had been a long day and Natalie had not had a nap before her five-minute meltdown. Natalie wanted Vieau to hold her instead of being strapped into a seat, which she had done on previous flights, but the toddler eventually complied and was seated, according to Vieau.
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    My oldest had her first meltdown 3 months ago in the middle of target at age 3 1/2. Took my by surprise too since she never cared. Parenting a toddler means to expect the worst and hope for the best.
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    I think it really depends on when this '5 minute tantrum' occurred. Did they try to get her strapped in right away and it took 5 minutes, or did they wait until the last possible minute and then cause the whole plane to sit there and wait because she was freaking out. If they waited, then she is not only inconveniencing the people on the plane, but disturbing the timing of the whole airport. If the captain has to delay his departure because they cant comply with getting her strapped in, then she needs to get off the plane, take a nap and try again when she is better rested.
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    Agree. Its my job as the parent to make sure my family is compliant with rules and regulations. I wonder if the other passengers thought it only took five minutes or if they took too long. And what is their definition of "calmed down"? What nstructions were they not following? It's really hard to have sympathy especially since they've flown 15 times!!! Plus it doesn't say why they scheduled their flight to miss nap time or why they didn't plan for an early arrival. So she could have got her nap.

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