Monday, October 11, 2010

leave the kids at home

I am up in Sydney for the week after having flown up on my own with the two boys on the weekend. While I was pretty concerned with flying on my own with 2 kids, the flight itself was fine and the boys were well behaved, although I was hoping that a flight during nap time would mean a nap, not squirming on my lap, but at least he was quiet.

So it was a coincidence that this week Fairfax Newpapers ran an opinion piece on screaming kids on planes. In the article, the author, Erice Challis, explains that things would be much easier for everyone if airport facilities included more family friendly areas (play spaces, parents rooms etc) so kids could get their energy out without the need to run around in waiting areas and send other passengers batty, while giving the added benefit of tiring them out before boarding the plane.

Aaahh, the joys (Image
I agree with the idea, and that it would benefit all passengers, not just the families using the facilities. What did concern me were the comments after the article. They were 50/50 for and against the idea, but the negative ones! When did Australia become so intolerant of children? I understand people having a gripe about kids who are running amok while a parent sits oblivious with the earphones in, but surely to paint all kids as precious little brats who are sure to make 'my' plane trip uncomfortable is a little discriminatory.

It was not just this article either that drew the wrath of pissed off passengers everywhere, this article about a woman suing Qantas over a screaming kid (ridiculous) and also this article about a survey of travellers who suggest a family only area on planes, both had the same vicious comments basically expressing their hostility toward children and lazy parents who chose to have them. One comment laughingly explained that it was the parents who decided to inconvenience their lives by having kids so the rest of us should not have to put up with them as well! 'Hey babe, let's inconvenience ourselves by starting a family'? Seriously?

I spoke with my mate Cookie about this and she mentioned she did feel the same about other people's kids before she had them, and I would have to admit that before I had kids I to could get pretty grumpy about the screaming baby in my vicinity on a plane, but this is the question I am asking, when did Australia as a society decide that kids were an inconvenience, they should be seen and not heard and we'd all be happier if they were left at home?

Travel to some destinations (Italy, Japan from what I hear...) and the bambinos are a delight to all and sundry, I reckon you might be treated better and with more respect if you DO have kids with you, so when did all this kiddy hatred creep in on our 'tolerant' and 'fair go' society? Shouldn't that fair go be extended to kids as well?


  1. Well said! I completly agree. You get the evil look especially at shopping centres when you get to the checkouts and if my child is scrfeaming her head off because the store has placed 100 different types of chocolates at the checkout I tell her once or twince and leave her until i leave the store. If they dont like it then move the freakin chocolates, they are there for that one reason only, in a childs its their fault, scream all you want I say!

  2. Some people are just d*cks, but I think more people became less tolerant when parents started being less disciplinary. I'm not talking smacking or the ilk, but saying no and teaching respect for other people and property. And realising that your own prince or princess is not the centre of everyone else's world.

    It's the kids throwing tantrums or misbehaving that got on my wick, and they still do to be honest. Unfortunately some people tend to be afraid of their own children and the responsibilities taken on when they have them so they let them act like jerks. And just as unfortunately, there is a larger number of children these days that have been allowed act that way.

    My kids have travelled, and at the end of most of the flights we have taken, I've had strangers come up to me and thank/praise us on having well behaved kids through the flight, because unfortunately it's the misbehaviour that is much more common, which in turn draws these sour generalised opinions from those travelling childfree.

    It's the same deal with other places, but there is more of an opportunity to get away from the situation when you're not stuck with no escape, so people don't focus on it as much. And you're not paying as much for the privilege.

  3. No way Cookie, you made some valid points! And I agree it isn't kids that have changed but parental behaviour. It's one thing to say we don't smack and have become more progressive as parents but quite another to let a child rule the household (and you life). New strategies need to be taught to new parents - I would have no idea what to do if I didn't get myself some parenting books as I did not want to do it the way my parents did. Most people think they will just know how to handle kids when they have them, like saying you know how to drive a car cause you've watched your parents drive before.

    As a follow up, the boys were perfectly behaved on the way home apart from one squeal from Lucas, but I was happy with that! Especially since the flight was at 4pm!

    And Pauls, I agree they don't make things any easier by putting the chocolates within kids reach at the checkouts - right where people congregate but I guess it's all down to marketing. It would be nice if they did not advertise crappy toys during kid's shows but it's always gonna happen!