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Redditor Asks Parents To ‘Control Their Children’ After They Won’t Stop Kicking Seat During Flight

“Kids will be kids”

A far too common defense some parents will make for their unruly children’s behavior.

But one need only open their eyes to see that not all children misbehave, or act out of line when in a public place.

While children of course aren’t as familiar with some social norms or behavioral expectations at a restaurant or when going to the theater, the only way they’ll learn is to be taught what to do and not to do.

Redditor empquix was in the unlucky situation of being seated in front of a pair of misbehaving children on a flight, leading them to address the children’s behavior with their parents.

But after worrying it wasn’t their place to do so, the original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Am I The A**Hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for asking a couple to control their children?”

The OP explained why he felt the need to speak harshly to the parents of the children seated behind him on his flight when there seemed to be no sign that their unruly behavior would ever stop.

“I was on a 3 hour midnight flight, and the couple behind me had 2 children with them.”

“One looked to be 1-2 years old, sitting on her mother’s lap, and the other child, a boy, was 5-6 I’m guessing.”

“Before the flight even began, the boy started kicking my seat repeatedly for absolutely no reason.”

“I turned around and politely told his parents to please tell him to stop.”

“They seemed to do so, but that only made him kick harder in protest.”

“After that, they just gave up.”

“He continued kicking the chair at least once every minute.”

“I was losing my mind.”

“I tried turning back and glaring at his parents, but that didn’t work.”

“30 minutes into the flight, when the kicking wouldn’t stop and he didn’t seem to tire out, I moved to the empty seat next to mine, in front of the mother and the little girl in her lap.”

“The little girl was banging and kicking the chair even harder.”

“At that point, I turned to the parents and asked them to please control their children.”

“The father seemed apologetic, but the mother asked me ‘I can’t control them’.”

“They won’t sleep’.”

“What else do you want me to do?’”

“After that, the couple bickered, the husband telling his wife that she had to do something since she was next to the children.”

“It went on for a couple of minutes before they took some sort of action, and the kicking stopped.”

However, while the remainder of the OP’s flight went much smoother, their travel companion was not pleased by how they handled the situation.

‘My father, who was with me on the flight, told me later that it wasn’t that nice to say something about it and that I really embarrassed the parents for something they couldn’t control.”

“He said that children that young are almost impossible to manage.”

“I told him that I’d get it if it were only the toddler, but the 5-6 year old seemed to be a bit too old to not be disciplined in some way.”

“And whatever they did after I talked to them a second time seemed to work, so that’s proof that it’s possible to do something.”

“He just shook his head and said I’d understand when I have children of my own.”

“Now that I’m out of the situation in the comfort of my own bed, I can’t help thinking that maybe I was asking for the impossible and making a big deal out of something that was out of their control.”

“I’m not a parent, so maybe I was quick to be irritated without trying to understand first.”

“It seems so obvious at first, but the more I think about it, the guiltier I feel.”


“My father did offer to switch seats with me during the flight itself, but I refused because he’s 63 with 2 herniated discs.”

“I asked him later if me or my siblings were like that on flights as children, and he said no, but it’s possible that the child had ADHD or the young parents were newer to this, my father had his first child at 40, so maybe they had more difficult circumstances.”

“The flight was completely booked, with absolutely no empty seats except for the one between me and my father because that person missed the flight.”

“It’s holiday season in my country, so it’s extremely difficult to book a flight at your chosen time.”

“Everyone on the flight was exhausted, and there were no empty seats, so I didn’t want to make a scene by talking to the crew when I knew there wasn’t really anything they could do, and the flight wasn’t long enough to justify all the trouble I’d be putting them through.”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

The Reddit community agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for asking the parents behind him to control their children.

Everyone agreed that the children needed to learn that their behavior was not acceptable, regardless of their age, and the OP had every right to let the parents know that they were disrupting his flight.


“My kids are right about this age and go on flights.”

“I’m not going to say they’re perfect angels, but we do get compliments every time on how great they are.”


“My husband and I suffer the entire flight because we are the ones that chose to bring small children on a plane.”

“We walk them around the airport, play games at the gate and make sure we have a stocked bag of toys and snacks.”

“There have been times when we’ve been able to book a flight that is around nap time and that helps, but otherwise we let the baby stand on our laps, pull at my hair and poke at my husbands face.”

“My other child has activity books and some sensory toy and is now old enough that he will watch most of a movie.”

“Us adults are exhausted by the time we arrive- but it’s called parenting.”

“It’s our responsibility to control and entertain our kids.”

“It’s so unfair when bored and undisciplined kids are ruining other travelers experiences because the parents are being lazy.”- Gryffindor4ble


“So you were supposed to put up with being kicked in the back for 3 hours to spare the parents the embarrassment?”



“But it would be better to also complain to the crew.”

“You could have been moved to a seat away from them.”- frogmuffins


“This happened to a friend of mine when we were going to Corfu.”

“She asked them to stop their child kicking the back of her chair, and they did that awful thing of ‘stop kicking the lady’s chair or she’ll tell you off’ rather than taking the responsibility themselves.”

“The kicking carried on so there was some swapping of seats so the child was sitting behind a family member instead of behind my friend.”

“Justice was served when the child eventually threw up over at least one of its parents.”- Kirstemis

“Not the asshole, the fact that they let the kicking continue for almost an hour means they never had any intention of making them stop.”

“I’ve been on the same situation and what normally happens is the parent just lets them tire it out.”

“Next time if something like that happens again, let the attendants know, They’re actually trained for that.”- ijustplaygamesman


“As a parent I get it can be stressful, but it’s my job to make sure my children aren’t disturbing others.”

“Sounds like it was a late flight and I’m sure the mom was just over it, but you didn’t raise your voice or cause a scene.”

“Reach out to a crew member next time and see if there is an empty seat elsewhere.”- gwacemom


“I had a similar experience when a kid was constantly kicking the back of my seat.”

“I turned around several times asking him to please stop.”

“He would for a few minutes and then start up again.”

“This was a 6 hour flight that was full so I couldn’t move.”

“I finally reached my breaking point, turned around and yelled at him to stop kicking my seat.”

“His face turned white.”

“But the results were great and the little brat never kicked my seat for the rest of the flight.”

“His mother never said a word.”- OneWithoutaName2

One does want to sympathize with the parents, as traveling with young children always comes with its set of challenges.

But if children don’t learn their right and wrongs at an early age, the lesson will be much more difficult to sink in later down the line.

Nor should it need to fall to a stranger, like the OP, to teach them this lesson.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.