Not-so-great moments in parenting

July 26, 2007, 1:28 PM · This post is for my fellow parents who read TPI. Three not-so-great moments in parenting I observed during my Orlando trip:

1. On the flight from LAX, I sat next to a quiet five-year-old, who never made a fuss during the five-hour flight. She sat in the middle seat in the plane's 3x3 configuration, and when we reached the arrival gate, she climbed up to stand on the seat, to see what was happening.

Her parents told her to get down, though I wondered to where, since the seat pitch in United's coach doesn't offer enough room for even a five-year-old to stand. And she did climb back on to the seat, sliding towards its edge on her tippy-toes.

She got to the very edge, and... the seat cushion ripped off. They're held on by Velcro ("it can be used as a floation device!"), so that shouldn't be any big deal. And Dad decided to make a joke about it.

"Oh, no, dear. You broke the plane! No Disney World for you tomorrow," he said, with a grin.

Unfortunately, few five years old have developed much sense for sarcasm. Then, here it came: the lower lip trembled, her eyes got wide and wet and... three seconds later every remaining passenger in the plane turned toward our direction, to see what hysterical animal was being slaughtered.

Way to go, Dad.

2. Power-walking through Disney's Animal Kingdom Sunday, I passed two Jungle Book characters as they emerged on to the sidewalk for their meet-'n-greet. A three-year-old girl saw them, beamed and started toddling toward them. Just as I thought the smile on her face couldn't get any wider, Mom, standing behind the girl now, exclaimed...

"Oh, look, honey, Baloo! Too bad you forgot your autograph book!"

Here it comes again: the lower lip trembled, her eyes got wide and wet and... three seconds later everyone else on the street scattered to escape the deafening scream.

Way to go, Mom.

3. Flight home now. This time, sitting next to a cute 15-month-old boy. He was playing with a felt book as Mom held him in her lap. Dad was chatting about work to Mom, meaningless adult talk that Junior happily ignored.

"Yeah, and then I had to go talk to (so-and-so) about some unrelated bulls--t, then I went over to..."

At that moment, Junior put the felt book aside and decided that he wanted to talk:

"Boo. Boo. Boo. Sheee. Bool-sheet."

Way to go, Dad.

A big, friendly Homer Simpson "D'oh!" to all. Don't ya love family vacations?

Replies (16)

July 26, 2007 at 2:08 PM · Damn parents! See that's the problem with stupid people...they breed way too fast!
July 27, 2007 at 7:04 AM · Bool sheet, now THAT is funny!
July 27, 2007 at 7:53 AM · While I understand your point about these children not being old enough to have the higher level reasoning to understand their parents sarcasm (at least in the first case). None of them seemed vindictive and they were all things my parents probably would have said to me.
July 27, 2007 at 7:53 AM · These are very minor incidents. I am no angel and I am sure I have made many mistakes raising my daughter and I will give credit to the parents for taking their children on vacation. Many kids never get to Orlando.
July 27, 2007 at 9:46 AM · I need the little Slashdot icon here: "It's funny. Laugh."
July 27, 2007 at 1:23 PM · These are great!!!! Kids say and do the darndest things...god only knows...I have a 4 year old to prove it : )
July 27, 2007 at 1:29 PM · Mom:"Hey look, it's Mickey! Too bad he's not real and it's actually some stinky guy inside him."

Kid: "What? WAAAHHH!!!"

July 27, 2007 at 2:26 PM · Number one was classic.

I'd love to have an entire section on this site as to the hilarity observed while at theme parks. One of my favourite things to do is to grab a drink (don't worry, Robert - not from a cart vendor) and sit and watch what people do and how they react to things.

I have some amazing quotes I've laughed about over the years from tourists. I think my favourite would be the following:

After we rode a simple log flume ride (lift hill and drop), someone behind us said, "The best bart was when you dropped and got wet!"

... Well, maybe you had to be there, but I wet myself laughing.

July 27, 2007 at 8:23 PM · The part about forgetting the autograph book sounded pretty vindictive.."I know you want to see the characters honey, but YOU forgot the autograph book, so sorry charlie. Not not on this trip!"
July 28, 2007 at 9:07 PM · There's been a few times at Disney that I've heard some parents be so rude to their kids, for some reason its usually the little ones, sometimes teens but rarely. One that I remember was when this kid had that vanilla/chocolate Mickey head ice cream--and like a lot of kids, including adults--the poor kid drops a part of it on the floor. The mom gets pissed and pretty much says what the hell did he do and said that he wasn't going to get another one cuz he "dropped Mickey--Mickey's gone!" and how he's never gonna see Mickey again...of course the kid then bursts out in tears and starts screaming "Mickey! Mickey!" as his mom drags him away.
July 29, 2007 at 11:23 AM · Thank you Robert Niles, for giving these examples of bad parenting at theme parks. Can you believe what can come out of a parents mouth? That guy was right: stupid people do breed too fast!
July 29, 2007 at 2:51 PM · So you totally made me laugh on that last one. It's like "Meet the Fockers" all over again!
July 29, 2007 at 10:05 PM · Nice one, makes me wonder of all those kind of stories that I've seen of those, or been the person to make a total fool of myself.

P.S. - Nice to see that you were in the C'ville Hook this week. I was reading the article at work and nice to see you talking to the small local free papers.

July 30, 2007 at 6:16 AM · I have seen something like every one of those at Disney World. I am starting to believe parents are getting dumber. I just came back from Disneyland Paris and it was even worse
July 31, 2007 at 9:14 AM · Just to be clear, none of the these are examples of "bad" parenting.

Bad parenting is skipping out on your kids, leaving them to be raised by someone else.

Bad parenting is drinking and driving with your kids in the car.

Bad parenting is letting kids watch TV or play video games, even though they haven't finished their homework and are falling behind in school.

Bad parenting is feeding your kids fast food, junk food and soft drinks, when they are already overweight.

Bad parenting is raising your kids with racist, sexist and bigoted attitudes toward other classes of people, rather than teaching them to view others as individuals.

What we've got here are three silly examples of bone-headed parenting moments. If you're not the parent or kid involved, they're actually pretty funny. Vacations can be stressful. And stress can make people do stupid things. I hope folks use these silly examples as a reminder to chill out on their theme park vacations... and to try to avoid the bone-headed moments that these parents had.

July 31, 2007 at 4:07 PM · Oh yeah, understood!

Its just stupid parents!

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Park tickets

Weekly newsletter

New attraction reviews

News archive