The flight to Las Vegas is 100% full. The passengers are a mixture of the IT stereotype likely attending one of at least two conferences, tourists, retirees, and a few other characters who I’m guessing are hoping to strike their fortune and beat the looming recession.
I’m seated with a family of five. Two parents, a teenage boy, primary school-aged kid, and a wailing two year old.
Initially I take sympathy with them as the tot screams bloody murder while the plane ascends. He’s probably got air pressure issues, and a tremendous ear ache. I’ve been there. It’s not nice. Youngsters are often unable to adjust to the sudden pressure change.
However, it soon becomes apparent that it’s not an ear ache that’s troubling him, as he tries to climb over the seat to grab a toy, and then proceeds to scream even louder when he can’t get it.
The seat belt rules don’t apply to him.
His father seems to be completely oblivious to his distress. The mother momentarily tries to calm him, but the tot screams more, swears at his mother, and viciously starts throwing objects at her.
Passengers around me start shaking their heads in disbelief.
I explain to them that the kid’s not mine.
Maybe he’s a special needs child, I ponder.
But, as I continue to observe the family, it becomes apparent that he’s just the victim of some very bad parenting.
The father is the absent Dad, who has no family input, or ability to do parenting. He chooses to just ignore the growing embarrassment next to him, hoping it’ll go away.
The mother feels compelled to occasionally comply to the kid’s cries, but the tot just yells straight back at her, telling her to shut-up, and then starts screaming for various ridiculous demands. She’s unaware of the disgusted expressions passengers have on their faces as they keep turning their heads to look her way.
The kid screams, swears, and tantrums for the rest of the flight.
I’m surprised that so much noise can come out of such a small child for over an hour.
Finally the plan lands. The screaming is louder than ever before. The mother has long stopped trying to prevent the youngster from climbing over the seats, or retrieve the toys from him, which he has been throwing about with missile precision.
From the conversation between the teenager and mother, I overhear they have another connecting flight. I take pity on the next set of passengers. This is not going to get better.
The plane has taxied to a stop. Most passengers are staring at the family. There’s a brief moment of silence as the tot catches his breath.
The seven year old brother pipes up, “Mum, can’t we just leave him in Vegas?”
The entire plane erupts in laughter.
At least my fellow passengers are relatively good natured, despite the unpleasant flight this family has inflicted on them.
As we exit the plane, we share jests about the kid from hell.
Still, it saddens me that the only member in the family willing to try and do any actual parenting was their seven year old son.
Unless the parents get their act together, that screaming child is going to grow into a psychopath.