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Bad Parenting In The Air

Posted on 17th April 2016

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On the 29th March I flew from Munich to Oslo, for work, on a Lufthansa flight.

The flight was OK (on time, and with good service) except for one thing: in the seat row behind me were a young woman and her two kids. The kids were out of control: arguing and fighting, interspersed with lots of crying. The German businessman in the seat next to mine complained twice to the mother, the second time more strongly and with my participation; he asked her to calm her kids down, which she said she was doing; he pointed out that what she was actually doing was winding her kids up, not calming them down (and he was right).

I know it can be difficult traveling with young kids, but parents need to be prepared, and not make the problem worse. The daughter and son were around 5 and 4 years old respectively; far too old for such behaviour. It was also clear that they had the power in the relationship, not the mother; a common problem, usually a result of the attitude that “my kids are my whole life” instead of “my kids are a part of my life”.

This situation highlights a problem that is getting worse in the modern world, where the extended family network either no longer exists, or is deliberately excluded from child-rearing: people do not know how to parent. They need training and mentoring, of the kind that used to come from grandparents and other family members, before and during raising kids. I don’t know how this could happen in today's world, and who will pay, but such help is desperately needed by so many parents today.