Passive Parenting? Discipline Questions for the Mischievous Child

So you’re 9 year old.

You’ve had your “ups and downs”, although I am not sure the seriousness of the situation at that age, you’ve been learning to cope. Somehow, you’re doing it the wrong way.

Arrests. Trespassing. Running away from home. Stealing a truck, then crashing into a police car. May I remind you that you are NINE?


delta airlines plane in the sky



Yes, this is referring to the 9-year old boy who ran away from home and hopped on a Delta flight from Minneapolis, MN to Las Vegas, NV, alone and unticked. The day before, he paraded around the airport with a stolen piece of luggage he swiped from the baggage claim, ate at a restaurant and left without paying for the check. The next day, he was back at it again, only this time, he blended in with another family to get past the TSA security checkpoints, chatted up a Delta flight agent at the gate, then slid down the jet bridge when nobody was looking. The flight wasn’t full, so the plant took off, and the flight attendants realized that he wasn’t supposed to be there mid-flight.




Who is to blame here? I cannot even fathom the thoughts that were going through his head, or those of his parents.


Questions that immediately arise (and that I hope do not come off as judgmental):


– How does this happen? Why is a 9 year old at the airport alone in the first place?

– How is it that not ONE adult realized this child was missing until hours later, after the plane took off, in the friendly skies?

– How in the hell did this child get through the entire TSA security line, past the flight crew, onto the jet bridge and into a seat before he was noticed? This is no doubt a national security problem.

– Why is it that the parents, who apparently know that he has some issues, have not staged an intervention? Therapy? 24 hour care? Additional extra curricular activities? Additional discipline? Psychiatric evaluation?

– Was there any disciplinary action taken at any point in this child’s life? Did anyone else close to the kid, family, friends, teachers, etc that noticed problems aim to solve them?


Are we too busy these days where we have become passive at parenting? I think we need to pay closer attention to our children, what they are doing, where they go, who they are talking to, how they feel, think and handle traumatic events, and what will happen when they act a certain way. I am no professional, but it doesn’t seem like this child is just ‘acting out’. There’s a little more to it, something is not right with both the child and the parents, and it needs prompt, professional attention. If they do not get to the root of the problem, this behavior will continue into adulthood.


Be a pro-active parent. Engage with your kids.


I do not know these people or what they have and have not done, but this is not the first time for this child, folks. There have been plenty of incidents to where the local authorities have had to intervene. I feel so sorry for the family and all parties involved. The father made a statement asking for help, and I applaud him for it. I do believe that, with this child’s history of making less than perfect decisions, he should be closely supervised and attended to at all times. He had way too much freedom for his age, in my opinion. Good luck to everyone involved.


How do you deal with your kids’ anger, sadness, mischief and bouts of rebellion?


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