Mocha Dad and Moms: What Happened to Manners

The Little Princess

I was on a flight from Raleigh, NC to L.A. the other day. A mom with three kids sat across from me, with one next to her and two in front of her.

The woman is sitting behind her young daughter who has just trashed the floor around her seat with food, toys, and papers. It’s about time to land and the place is a mess.

The flight attendant is on her hands and knees, cleaning up around the kid. The kid never thanks her. (The mom, a bit sheepishly, thanks the flight attendant after the fact, but never encourages her daughter to show any appreciation.)

I think the mom missed a real opportunity by not reminding the girl to say thank you (and perhaps reminding her to help — or to not create such a mess on a crowded airplane in the first place).

It bothered me to see the girl sitting there, like a little princess, while this hard-working flight attendant was on her hands and knees at the girl’s feet, cleaning up.

Kathy Sena is a freelance journalist who has written for USA Today, Newsweek and many parenting magazines. She also writes the blog, Parent Talk Today.

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I’ve spent countless hours on airplanes where I’ve encountered many rude parents and children.

I can bear screaming babies or kids that get a bit fidgety on long flights and need to move around. What I can’t bear is parents who refuse to monitor and correct their children’s behavior. I have given many parents the evil eye because their kids wouldn’t stop kicking my seat.

On one flight, the flight attendant asked a mother to fasten her child’s seat belt before takeoff.

“She won’t do it and I don’t feel like arguing with her,” said the mother. The flight attendant was flabbergasted and so was I. The flight attendant had to reach over the mother, make the child sit still, and fasten the seat belt. The child screamed like a banshee while the mother sat quietly and did nothing.

In another egregious incident, I witnessed a child slap a flight attendant. The child was running amuck throughout the cabin and the flight attendant attempted to control her while the mother sat in her seat reading a magazine.

The flight attendant finally corralled the child and placed her in the seat next to her mother. As she leaned over to fasten the seat belt, SMACK, right across the face.

“Ma’am,” said the angry flight attendant to the oblivious mother, “Your child just hit me. Aren’t you going to do something about it?”

The mother placed her magazine on her lap and gently scolded her daughter, “It’s not nice to hit, honey.” She reached into her purse, gave the kid a snack and continued reading her magazine. The flight attendant was furious and stormed down the aisle.

As a parent I can understand the stress and difficulty associated with traveling with small children. I’ve been there and done that. But simply cannot understand parents who refuse to correct their children when they exhibit rude and disrespectful behavior.

Stay Strong,




Questions: What has happened to our manners in this country? What can we do about it?

Mocha Dad and Moms is a regular column where I discuss parenting topics with moms. If you’d like to be one of the featured moms, send me a message with your idea to

About author

Frederick J. Goodall

Frederick J. Goodall is the founder of Mocha Dad - a parenting website focused on fatherhood. He is passionate about parenting and helping men to be great dads, husbands, and role models. You can contact him at or on Twitter at