Righteous Parents: Your Badly-Behaved Kids Are Not My Problem

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little girl in yellow dress throwing a tantrum

Editor's Note: This is a part of YourTango's Opinion section where individual authors can provide varying perspectives for wide-ranging political, social, and personal commentary on issues.

As I sat on a recent flight to the east coast with a two-year-old child mercilessly kicking the back of my seat like she was working toward a future in Major League Soccer, I wondered, Why is there no socially acceptable way out of this situation?

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I don't blame the tiny human. She's learning so many things about the world at this stage, that not kicking random chairs is probably way down on the list of priorities. But the parent's lap she was sitting on? Clearly, Mom didn't care that I was trying to sleep, or at least didn't care enough to teach her child that kicking strangers is annoying.

No, since the girl was screaming bloody murder at the beginning of the flight, I'm willing to wager Mom was content that the little girl was calm and didn't want to risk precious silence.

So what do you do in that situation? Certainly, you don't look like a hero by confronting a mother and small child in public. And Mom had already demonstrated her lack of concern over the whole ordeal anyway.

I chose to accept my fate and endure it (with a drink or two), but how is that fair? Why are so many parents seemingly unconcerned over the way their children affect others in public? Trust me, I get it. Not all parents are like that, life is inherently unfair, and we're all imperfect humans here. 

But ask yourself: How often do you see someone speak up in a similar situation to what I was in, only to be met with righteous indignation by the parent(s)? As if their kids were presumed to be our burden as well.

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I reject that notion. Sure, we all have to deal with sh*t we're not happy within public and social life, but I think the attitude that children are a force of nature that everyone else just has to accept is bull.

As a parent, if there's a live grenade with respect to your child, it's yours to dive on. Don't let it blow up in someone else's face. Yeah, you care about your kid more than some random stranger but part of caring about your child is guiding them when they go astray.

If they scream like they're putting on a death metal concert at a restaurant, it's your job to take them outside or get a babysitter. It's not everyone else's job to sit on their hands and sympathize with you; you should have sympathy for everyone else.

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Everyone has at least one coworker that frequently gets out of working late or extra projects because they have a kid. Why should other people have to suffer and work harder because of your life choice?

If you've taken on the responsibility of having a child and still want to work, you have to make the necessary accommodations to do both properly. Whether it's arranging a babysitter or figuring out another plan with your partner, there are options. But we all just regularly accept it. "Oh, Tim has to get his kid to karate every Thursday at 3. That's why I have to finish this project for him."

You're pushing your double-wide stroller through our life; shifting some of the burden and responsibility upon whoever happens to be within the blast radius. I feel a change in attitude is in order. It has to be OK again to call parents out when their children are causing a problem.

We totally get it when it comes to other social issues. If someone is causing a problem in public, 99 percent of the time you can politely point it out and have it resolved.

But when it comes to children? How dare you.

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Bob Alaburda is a senior editor at dvm360. His work has appeared in the Huffington Post, Ravishly, and more.