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Comments in response to A Parent's Perspective on Air Travel

I listened to Marjorie Sun's report on my local Grand Rapids Michigan Public Radio station on Saturday, March 25th, and was reminded of an inner struggle I've faced when traveling with unruly children sitting nearby.

Although I don't have any children of my own, I do sympathize with weary parents and restless children travelers, as we all get tired and cranky when enduring the uncertainties and constantly changing schedules with our domestic airline industry. However, as mentioned by one of the travelers in Marjorie's report, I have little patience with young children, generally aged 3 to 6 or so, kicking the back of my seat or flipping the tray tables up and down repetitively. When I'm especially tired, I am able to nap somewhat successfully with children talking nearby or even with babies crying incessantly. I understand the chattering of toddlers and certainly the instinctive irritability of infants. But, when a young child is allowed to disturb the passenger sitting in the row of seats in front of him or her, I get frustrated with the parent for not restraining the child. My inner struggle: do I say something to the child or the parent ? What can I say to express my distress without sounding like an angry child-loathing adult ? Do I speak to the child directly or to the parent ? In the past, I've just held my tongue, hoping the parent would eventually stop the child. But in most cases, I end up frazzled with elevated blood pressure (and sometimes a sore back) by the time the flight is over.




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