I'm A Mom, And I Still Get Mad When Your Kid Is Loud On A Flight

Your silence speaks volumes about their behavior.

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By Laurel Niedospial

Being a mother has changed me in so many ways. For one, I'm less likely to curse under my breath while driving, mostly because my toddler is in the car, and not because I think the guy who cut me off is any less of a moron. I've also learned to embrace things like messes, sleepless nights, and putting my nice clothes at the back of the closet in favor of things I will happily get stains on.


But one thing motherhood hasn't changed about me is my belief that children should not be obnoxiously loud in public spaces, especially not on planes.

Let me be very clear that I'm not referring to behavior that should be expected. Babies, in general, get a pass because they're, you know, babies, and they're not very good at that whole reasoning thing. A baby or small child who's crying because they're scared or their ears hurt from the pressure doesn't bother me. Neither does the occasional seat kick or overly excited giggle. Children are allowed to make noise because they're tiny humans.

What isn't acceptable parenting is parents letting kids run amok on a flight. As the mother of a 2-year-old who also is, shall we say, "spirited," I get that it's hard keeping them confined to a seat for hours. The energy can feel overwhelming, but just because it's hard doesn't mean your child should be running laps down the aisle, screaming at the top of their lungs, or doing what feels like a four-hour tap dance on the back of my seat.


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For a recent flight, I had spent a lot of time worried that my son's electronics would disturb other passengers since he refuses to wear headphones. But he didn't mind that we kept it to a practically inaudible level while flying because no one likes to hear someone else's TV shows.

Despite our concerted efforts to restrict my son's volume, about two aisles up was an older child playing video games with an attached speaker. I had to listen to him struggle through level 10 of whatever game he was playing for three hours. The dad was watching sports on his own device, clearly not caring that his son's volume was louder than an IMAX.


While I understand that kids (and even some adults) need to make noise on a flight from time to time and that many kids can't help it, I do not understand parents who feel free to check out. You need to be more aware of what your kids are doing. If I put in the time and effort to make sure my kid behaves and doesn't disturb others, you better believe I expect the same from you. Your silence speaks volumes about their behavior, and you should care more.

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If a child is kicking the back of my seat, I will happily let it slide a handful of times. But if they continue to kick my seat for the entire duration of the flight, that's not their fault — it's yours. Screaming school-age kids is just mind-boggling, because no one needs to be talking at that volume, and after a few hours on a plane, nothing is that funny or problematic. Calm them down. It's your job.

When we purchase our plane tickets, everyone hopes for a certain amount of comfort and privacy. It may be reasonable to not expect any leg room in coach, but there's no reason our fellow passengers have to make travel even more of a challenge by letting their children dominate the plane.


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