Actually, it's what the parents can do, or more to the point, what they often fail to do, that is the issue. First, the two biggest errors parents make when traveling with children are:
Exercising zero control over kids. This is a major complaint of passengers: Parents who are unwilling or unable to get the little darlings to behave. We get it. Kids act up, they throw tantrums, but nothing is more maddening than parents who just sit there and stare at the meltdown.
Sure, sometimes there isn't much you can to thwart crazed kids, but at least fake it. That's right, if parents merely look as if they're trying to stop the insanity, they'll have the sympathy of fellow passengers. Do nothing, and you'd better have a thick hide because all those flying fingers around you will be barraging the rest of us with tweets about what a disgrace you are.
Or you could be kicked off the plane, which is what Southwest did to a mom and toddler team when the little one refused to stop screaming.
Mistaking any part of the plane (beyond the lavatory) as a changing station. Harried parents have been known to change infants on empty airline seats and - brace yourself - on tray tables. Need I say this is totally unacceptable?
Now for a couple of things parents should do.
Take their kids' shoes off.
A simple trick for the seat-kickers among us: Take their shoes off. They will kick. It will hurt. They will stop.
I've heard this one from several veteran travelers now and it's real simple: When the kids go berserk, turn to the rows around you and say the four magic words: 'Drinks are on me'. Amazing how this'll turn the haters around.
I'll bet you've got some stories. I'd love to hear them. Just don't try to tell me about them over the screams of your child as he's kicking my seatback.