The Sunday Post (Dundee)
Show some sensitivity and give parents space to calm their child down
We’ve all had moments when our children’s behaviour makes us feel anxious.
But as Nicola Colenso tried to calm her eight-year-old disabled daughter Yasmin during a “meltdown” on a packed flight, the last thing she expected was abuse from a fellow passenger who accused the girl of spoiling her beauty sleep.
Nicole had tried hard to placate her little girl who has a rare neurological condition called Sturge-Weber syndrome, a fact she made clear to the angry woman.
The explanation had no effect. The family, travelling home from holiday in Ibiza, were subjected to another rant from the woman, who shouted “just shut that child up”.
When the plane landed at Manchester Airport, Yasmin was taken to hospital.
She now recovering at home, but her mum was so upset by the passenger’s lack of compassion that she posted a comment detailing the incident on her Facebook page.
It went viral with more than 60,000 people responding, many of them saying they could relate to her feelings of hurt and anxiety.
Looking after a child with a disability is hard work, and the last thing a parent needs is someone adding to the stress with ill-considered remarks.
Surely as a society we haven’t become so selfish that we don’t understand how it feels to cope with a complex problem? When you are doing your best to calm your child, the last thing you need is an intolerant person fussing around because she can’t take a nap on the flight.
Social media is sometimes used unwisely, but in this case a lesson needs to be learned.
When someone is trying their best to deal with a stressful situation, we should have the grace and courtesy to let them get on with it without interference.
If you can’t do anything helpful, just put up and shut up.
Parents are often embarrassed by what their kids say and do in public.
Temper tantrums at the supermarket tills when they can’t get the sweets they want, for example. Angry outbursts when you say “no” to another ride at the funfair or that toy they want from the shelf.
Mums and dads cringe in these situations, because they know other people are judging their parenting skills for better or worse. We’ve all been there. We know how awkward we feel in tense situations.
A sensitive response from people around us helps us to stay calm and deal effectively with the problem.
But the plane passenger who wouldn’t listen to the explanation from Yasmin’s mother has no excuse for her actions.
I hope she has the courtesy to apologise.