“Your Kid isn’t the Problem; You are the Problem!” The Story of the Unruly Kid on my Flight to Las Vegas.

I am writing this while one hour into a four hour airplane ride from Cleveland OH to Las Vegas, Nevada.  I was looking forward to relaxing and maybe taking a nap on this flight.  That won’t be happening.  There is a thirteen year old in the row in front of me that is ensuring, through his poor behavior, that nobody will relax on this trip.

The thirteen year old in front of me was causing issues even prior to boarding.  He was arguing with his mother because she purchased the wrong candy for the flight.  He made a scene stomping down to the end of the aisle of seats in the lounge, threw his backpack against the wall, and dramatically slumped to the ground.  You can imagine how thrilled I was to board and have this kid sitting in front of me.

The plane prepared for departure.  The kid refused, when instructed by the flight attendant, to fasten his seat-belt, declaring the belt was too uncomfortable to fasten because there as no room.  He was all of 5’0” tall. I am 6’7” and found more than enough room to fasten my seat belt. A second, more forceful, flight attendant was able to talk the kid into putting on his seat belt.  Shortly after takeoff, he got up from his seat and moved to an open seat several rows up.  After several minutes of the flight attendants telling him he had to go back to his seat, he finally did.  It got worse.  The in flight wifi was not working. He could not play his video game (which apparently is the worst thing that can happen in the life of a teen boy: no video game access).  For the rest of the flight, he went between arguing with his mother, making trips to the bathroom making sure to make a scene each time, and continually clicking the help button to ask why the wifi was not working.

One one of his many trips to the bathroom, the mother turned to me and apologized.  She said they were on there way to Disneyland, with a three hour layover in Las Vegas, to celebrate his good grades.  This was September 22nd, he could not have been in school for more than a month or so and was already being rewarded for good grades. She said to me, “I don’t know what it is, ever since he became a teen he’s just been a bad kid.”  In that moment, my heart broke for that kid.

Yes, the kids behavior was inappropriate and even at age 13, he is old enough to know better. However, he is not a bad kid. Few, if any, kids are bad.  Bad parenting makes for bad kids. During the entire flight, the mother was negotiating with the kid, frequently offering bribes to try to get him to listen.  When fight attendants came to talk to her, she made multiple excuses for his behavior, once saying, “it is not his fault, he is just tired.”  This mother is in a battle against her son, and she’s losing. She needs help.  She needs to call for reinforcements. She needs The Parent Help Center.

This summer, I had the honor of meeting Glenn Ellison (aka “Mr. Glenn”) from The Parent Help Center in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is one of the most honorable Christian men I’ve ever met.  Glenn has dedicated the past 20 years of his life ” to empower parents to raise respectful and productive children in order to strengthen our community, our country, and the world.”  The PHC runs several programs to help parents and children (See a full list of their programs here: Parent Help Center Programs).  I was able to visit their Camp Success this summer.  What an amazing program!

The Summer Success Camp (aka “Camp Success) proram, which takes part over three weeks (they also offer a Weekend Success Camp) at a camp grounds at 16844 Ethel Road in Jacksonville, is a wonderful program that gets families on the path to success.  I was there for just three days and I witnessed every kid, through learning the value of hard work, learning respect and discipline, all in a loving and safe environment, transform.  I also saw the parents transform. No longer did the parents reward bad behavior.  The parents took back control of their home, and they had a plan and support to stick to it and see success through. This is a program I would recommend to any parent struggling with a child that is misbehaving, getting in trouble, performing poorly in school, or any parent with a child causing all sorts of trouble on a flight to Las Vegas sitting one row in front of me.

My flight eventually landed in Las Vegas.  I had a chance to talk to the mother a bit more during the flight as her son made multiple trips to the bathroom.  I could not help but think of a quote form Glenn Ellison:

“Changed parents will see changed kids. 

The moment parents change their perspective on parenting,

their children change.” 

I mentioned The Parent Help Center organization in Florida to her and shared the Facebook Page (Please click and give their page a like) and directed her to the website and said I thought the program would be great for her and her son.  I hope she reaches out to Mr. Glenn and the wonderful people at PHC and asks for help.

To all of you reading this, if you know of a family that is struggling, a family that needs to reclaim peace in their home, or if you are experiencing this yourself, reach out to The Parent Help Center.  I promise you, it will change your life, and more importantly, it will change the life of your child.

To learn more, visit: www.TheParentHelpCenter.com


  1. Yup, flying with noisy children is a pain, bad parenting is a major part of it, though I’ve had to endure rude and inconsiderate grown adults too… I don’t know what’s worse…


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