Mom in Big Trouble After Plane Passengers Complain About How She Disciplined Toddler

airplaneEvery parent knows how stressful it is to fly with a toddler. And sometimes, if we get really overwhelmed, we can lose our cool. But, one mom is actually on trial for "assaulting" her toddler daughter during a long flight from Alaska to Hawaii.


Alaska State Trooper Brian Miller was on the flight, and testified that he witnessed Samantha Watanabe harshly disciplining her 15-month-old daughter, Clementine. Miller says he saw Watanabe yank a tuft of hair out of her daughter's head, smack her in the face with a stuffed toy, and tell her to "shut the f**k up," among other things.

The prosecutor in the case also alleges that little Clementine "was pushed in the face with an open hand with enough force to cause her head to jerk all the back to its full range of motion."

It sounds awful ... but Watanabe's defense attorney says the passengers were just prejudiced against Watanabe because of the way she was dressed -- and also because her baby girl had a Playboy bunny pendant around her neck.


Obviously, this comes down to a case of eye-witness opinion and memory against a mother's word, and that can be a tricky situation. It's no easy thing to be a parent, and I'm sure I've spoken harshly enough to my own daughter in public to raise some eyes. The thought of some over-reactive busybody called the authorities on me truly strikes a chill to my heart.

But, if a plane full of people saw this mom's behavior and all thought that it amounted to child abuse, then it seems like a case of the system working. It does take a village to raise a child, and we should never turn our eyes away when we see something truly wrong. Getting involved might seem like the messy or scary thing to do. But it's the right thing to do.

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Now, I just hope that this mom, who cried during the prosecuter's opening statement, gets some help and support. No matter how the trial ends up, throwing her in jail isn't going to make anything better. But maybe some counseling or other services could. Because what Clementine really needs is a mom who can take good care of her.


Image via Ditty_about_summer/shutterstock 

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