Sunday, September 4, 2011

No Love For Traveling Brats

I don’t mind most small children. Like puppies and kittens, they can be cute and are often a lot of fun. However, the fun stops when the brattiness starts. That was so obvious on a recent trip to Jamaica that I haven’t been able to shake the experience of not one, but two flights in first class with little brats, and what I have come to call Snake On A Table in our resort hotel.

Seated a few rows behind us, an adorable little girl played with her Barbie during the entire flight from Atlanta to Montego Bay. Not a big deal, except that Barbie wasn’t using her indoor voice. As long as we were in the air and able to use headphones and an iPod to drown out the shrieks, it was tolerable. During take off and landing, the high-pitched squeals were like fingernails on a chalk board. But the return flight to Atlanta would be quieter because surely we wouldn’t be unlucky enough for her, Barbie, and her clueless mommy to be on it. Right? Thankfully, they weren’t. However, that flight had an even higher brat factor with a little boy of about four who jumped up and down in his seat almost continuously and screamed whenever the mood struck him. He and his mommy were right in front of us. His noise-cancelling-headphones-wearing dad was across the aisle and up a row. Out of sight (and hearing), out of mind, I guess. I will give his mother credit for telling him to sit down and be quiet. Unfortunately, it did no good. Training in manners, not to mention discipline, have to start at a younger age.

Interestingly, the Snake On A Table incident in our Ocho Rios hotel restaurant occurred almost immediately after I finished reading an article on entitled Permissive parents: Curb your brats. While I was eating, a cute little guy appeared at my table and began playing with his rubber snake. Right beside my plate. Hoping he would go away, I smiled and told him I couldn’t play with him until I finished my eggs and coffee. So he started hitting me with the snake. I had no idea where he’d come from or which family he belonged with until his mother finally noticed he was missing (the squeaky “snake” noises he made while pummeling my arm might have alerted her). She turned around in her seat to look for him and, from the nasty look she shot in my direction, it was clear she thought I was trying to abduct her child, or maybe spear him with my fork.

Those are simply a few examples of the undisciplined behavior I’ve witnessed lately. No, they didn’t ruin my trip, but they did make for some unpleasant moments (or hours, in the case of being cooped up in a metal tube barreling through the sky). I’ve seen far worse—and even dangerous—examples of poor behavior and lack of manners on cruise ships as well as on planes and in hotels. Kids running on wet decks, climbing on railings, and playing in elevators all come to mind.

Parenting is hard work, no doubt about that, but some parents don’t seem to even try to control their children. Like I said, I don’t mind most little kids. And while I can’t tolerate brats, I would still hate to see them injured because they are allowed to act out.

Rant ended. I hope you know where your kids are and what they are doing on your next cruise vacation.

And by the way, if you don’t tolerate brats well and haven’t already seen that CNN article linked above, please enjoy the read. We are not alone. Sadly, the parents discussed by the author aren't likely to recognize themselves.


travlsusan said...

Great post Linda! Right on...

Anonymous said...

Today's parents are more concerned with being friends and buddies with their children than involving themselves in the messy business of raising them. They won't set limits of behavior because their children might not speak to them. I once had an irate father tell me that my assigning a weekend paper was ruining his daughter's college experience. My favorite, on a cruise ship, was when I ask the father of three absolute hellions if they always acted like that, he said "Of course not! They're on vacation". Can't argue with logic like that.