It's terrible because, as so many stories on this topic are, it's poorly written, relying on the truly yawn-inducing conceit of waxing nostalgic about the Good Ol' Days when parents used to control their children. As if grumblebums weren't writing articles about insolent infants on the Transcontinental Rail in 1872.
It's also terrible because, as so many stories on this topic do, it draws no distinction between a child who's genuinely behaving badly and needs correction that isn't being given, and a child who's simply being a child.
During a recent 2-1/2-hour flight from Portland, Maine, to Charlotte, North Carolina, Tom Meador heard nothing but crying.I mean, I don't like being on a plane (or anywhere, really) with a screaming baby any more than anyone else, but there's only so much any parent can do—and, at a certain point, throwing dirty looks in that situation is just a passive-aggressive equivalent of expecting a parent to produce a magic wand or a child-size gag.
"The baby in the back row screamed bloody murder," he remembers. "Its mother did everything she could think of to quiet the baby. She actually was dripping with sweat because you could tell she worried about what it was doing to the other passengers. I think she had reason to worry, too, because there were some very sour fellow passengers."
But I'm not writing about this terrible story because I want to have a conversation about modern parenting or children's behavior. (Really, I don't. So let's not, okay?) I'm writing about it because of the way it is currently being promoted on CNN's front page:
"Bad kids on planes: Where's mom?" asks CNN. As if we don't know. Mom is standing before the firing squad, their magazines loaded with blame and recriminations, awaiting her inevitable fate to the distant sound of gnashing teeth.
Dad, on the other hand, is nowhere to be found. As usual.
He's probably in his den, writing an article about the unruly children who kicked the back of his seat at the movies.