I’m sure you’ve all heard about the man who slapped the crying toddler on an airplane. This incident has rekindled a debate about whether airlines should carve out adults only sections; surveys done in recent years indicate there are fliers who would like Kid–Free zones and some travelers want family-friendly sections.

On my husbands recent plane trip he sat in front of Abbey. Even though he and Abbey didn’t exchange words he knew her name as her mother kept repeating it. “Abbey, stop kicking the man’s seat. Abbey, it’s not nice to kick the seat.” Abbey, Abbey, Abbey. Abbey was a happy little girl so long as she was kicking my husband’s seat. When made to stop Abbey got grumpy. Abbey made quite an impression on my husband (more importantly his back) and I’m certain he called out her name in his sleep last night.

Funny, but it’s always the misbehaved kids whose names we learn. This is why it’s imperative for parents to pick normal names that are easy to pronounce.

Recently I was in the produce section of my local grocery store when Johnny and his mother entered. Within seconds (thanks to Johnny’s mother screaming at him), everyone in the store knew Johnny’s name. Johnny’s mother’s threats seemed phoned in and lacked passion. They were empty. My guess is Johnny’s heard them all before. “Johnny, get back here. Get back here, now! Johnny, don’t push me. I mean it. Johnny, get away from those apples. Johnny, you don’t do that with a cucumber.” Secretly, I was waiting for the mother to say, “Johnny be good,” so all the customers would break out in song. She didn’t, but she did remove him from the store.

When you’re in a public place like a store or movie theater and your child acts up you have the choice to take them outside and calm them down. When you’re on a plane you’re not allowed the luxury of that choice.

The toddler screaming on the plane was acting his age. The man who slapped the toddler didn’t act his age. He acted like a baby.

One Response to “Johnny Be Good”

  • I was horrified by that guy! Even worse, the kid was crying during the descent of the airplane, which is often hard on young ears.

    Re: kicking the seat in front of you–my first-born (then around 2 1/2) did that and NO cajoling/admonishing/pleading would work. Thank goodness the person in front of her was a grandparent and very patient.

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