Troubled Teachers Share Their Moments Of Realization After Meeting Kid’s Parents

As a teacher, there will be occasions where you will have to meet the parents of your students. Such is mainly done through parent-teacher conferences at the school, where you will have the opportunity to discuss their children’s academic performance and behavior. They’re also a great way to get a glimpse of your students’ home lives and how that may correlate to their conduct at school.

During such meetings, you’re bound to come across a troublemaker’s parents and realize where they got their mischievous qualities from. The following teachers shared intriguing stories about when they met the parents of their students. In every case, it’s clear to see that the apple doesn’t fall that far from the tree.

Don’t forget to check the comment section below the article for more interesting stories!

#1 Talking Their Head Off

I once had a conversation with a parent regarding her overly talkative daughter. When I sat down with the student’s mother, I said: “I have some concerns about your daughter’s behavior in class. She’s very talented, but she’s also overly talkative during class, and it’s keeping her from doing her work.” The mom immediately got defensive and went on for almost ten minutes about her daughter’s personality, how hard it is to raise five kids, etc. Then, after a brief pause, she said, “I have no idea where she gets this talkative behavior from.”


#22 King Of The Castle

This one kid I had was terrible. He was rude, he never listened, and he constantly fought with other kids. You could just tell he was going to grow up a jerk. The first time I met his mom, he completely ordered her around. It was probably the most disrespectful way I’d ever seen a kid talk to their mom. I waited for her to give the usual, “Don’t talk to your mother like that” spiel.

But she was just like, “Okay, let’s go.” He is absolutely in charge of the house. I know he gets spanked because he asked me to lie to his mom once and tell her that he was well-behaved in class, even though he had been a complete terror. I think he’s scared of what his dad will do, which honestly raises more questions for me. I’m worried about him, really. He’s only four.


#3 Rebel Without A Cause

I had a student who was a low-level rebel. I taught an elective, but I’m sure he was put in my class because it seemed like an easy course at the time. He was sulky, had issues with authority, didn’t turn in his homework, etc. I dealt with him the same way that I deal with all my kids, and we slowly started to develop a fragile rapport.

At parent-teacher conferences, his mom brought him along. He looked trapped and defensive, and she looked irritated. By that point in the year, he was passing my class, so I started off by reviewing his grades. She interrupted me near the end to say, “Yeah yeah, but what is his behavior in class like? How badly is he behaving for you?”

The poor kid slid lower in his chair, and I could tell that his mom brought him along as an exercise in shaming her kid. I didn’t feel like playing that game, so I brightly laid out every possible positive interaction I had with him during the year— the conversations he had with me about career aspirations, the times he showed up on time to class, whatever I could throw at her. She left still looking irritated, but her kid looked like he was doing a little better. Sure, there were things I wished he would improve on, but that’s a conversation for me and him to work out, not something to pile on in an evening of lectures from other teachers.


#4 Goo Goo Ga Ga

During my internship as a teacher, I had a student who drove me insane. She was the only first grader I’ve ever had whose year-long goal was to stop baby talking. When she started getting bullied for it, we called the parents for a meeting to talk about how best to help their daughter with her problems. Her mother instantly started coddling her daughter the same way you would a two-year-old. She said, “Aw, my poor widow baby. Are the meanie weenie girls picking on you?” I just sat there and thought, “Ah… I see.”


#5 One More Bite

Pre-school teacher here. A boy in my class kept biting the other kids, so hard that he drew blood in a couple of cases, and then he would then laugh about it. We all sat down with the child’s mom and we told her everything that had been happening. We even showed her videos of him doing it. The mom laughed and said something along the lines of, “Oh look at him, he’s just having so much fun.” Then she started to giggle.


#6 A Bad Bathroom Alternative

I had a Pre-K student scream for an hour and a half because he didn’t want to go to the bathroom to potty. Instead, he went on the teacher as she carried him into the bathroom. Then, he wouldn’t let the teacher change his clothes. We had to call the parents to let them know that they needed to bring in a new set of clothes for their kids and that the soiled clothes were sealed in a plastic bag in the student’s backpack.

The mom called back and yelled for an hour. Apparently, her child never got in trouble at home. She told us that we should just let her kid do what he wanted to do and then we wouldn’t have any problems. That kid runs the show at that house.


#7 Putting Their Child Down

I am an after-school homework counselor for high school kids with developmental disorders. Usually, these are things like ADHD, ADD or autism. It’s important for us to teach them how to plan their homework and free time, so they become more independent and experience less stress. Last year, I had a kid in my class who refused to do any of the planning work himself. He would say he couldn’t do it after barely giving it a try. This behavior initially annoyed me a lot, but after meeting his mother, I understood.

His mother kept saying, “He can’t do that by himself,” or “It’s going to go wrong if he does this without help.” He really believed what his mother when she said he was just not capable. During the conversation, she kept starting sentences with “He can’t.” The heartbreaking thing was that the kid was present during this conversation, so the mother probably talked like that a lot around him.


#8 Let Me Clear My Throat

Do you know that sound people make when they have allergies? They try to clear the itch in their throat by making an incredibly annoying throat-clearing rumble. I had a nine-year-old student do this constantly, and it drove the whole class insane daily. When I finally met his father at a parent-teacher conference, what was the first thing he did after sitting down? Make the exact same sound.


#9 Fight Like A Brave

I had a student aged seven years old that often got into fights with bigger children. I saw the mom often as she picked him up from school, but she seemed lovely. She just couldn’t control her son. At the parent-teacher conference, the dad attended. He sat down and slumped in the chair with his arms folded. When I brought up the behavior, his dad said that he fought at home with him to teach him how to stand up for himself. That explained the repeated behavior and why the child didn’t take anything I said seriously.


#10 Fake It Til You Make It

We have a reading competition each year where the students are to read a certain number of books and then if they achieve it, they receive medals. One year, the entire class had completed it except this one boy who I had to constantly remind about doing it. In the end, he didn’t complete it and was the only one to miss out on a medal. The next day, his mom came in and said he was really upset he missed out.

I mentioned that he didn’t do what was required, so he wasn’t eligible to get one. She then proceeded to ask if it was okay for her to purchase a fake medal and for me to present it to him in front of the class. Clearly, this boy’s mom would bail him out each time. I felt like saying, “So when he’s older and gets fired from a job for not doing the work, are you going to give him a fake job?”


#11 No Care For Destruction

I worked as a special needs assistant and had to sit in with a teacher and a parent. The student in question kept throwing tantrums and wrecking school equipment. The boy’s mother herself threw a tantrum the moment we described her son’s behavior, not believing a word of it. I had recorded the entire incident and wish I’d been able to show her the recording, but unless the school decided to bring the mother and father to court, it would be against regulations to show video of any kind of a child at the school.

As for the father? He just sat there with a bored look on his face. It was no wonder this little boy had turned into a monster—his mother was an even bigger monster and his father simply didn’t care. To this day, I firmly don’t believe he had a learning disability, he just needed some discipline in his life.


#12 The Truth Is Out There

I had this one student in fifth grade who was a brilliant kid. He wasn’t really bullied but he had a limited amount of friends. Kids couldn’t relate to him and his conversations about aliens, the government, spies, and space probes, etc. I met his mom in the front office while she was signing him out for an appointment. She refused to sign her name on the sign-out sheet and went on for 15 minutes about how anyone could steal her signature to frame her at any moment. All of her paperwork that needed signatures were literal scribbles.


#13 A Taste Of Ink

Teacher of three years here. I had a kid who was constantly in the office for very dumb reasons (pushing kids in the hallways, Googling inappropriate things on a school computer, etc.) The dad came into the office one day to meet with the principal before school while I happened to walk in. I said hi to the kid and noticed his dad had profane tattoos of swear words s on his knuckles. Needless to say, everything started to make complete sense after that encounter.


#14 The Troublesome Trio

We had a parent-teacher conference yesterday and I finally met the father of three students who are constantly in trouble with behavior issues. He had the same lazy eye, same style of interrupting the conversation, same personality, to a tee. He didn’t even seem to care much about their constantly interrupting the lessons— he took it with as much seriousness, and that carefree little smile, as they do! The apple never falls too far from the tree.


#15 Is Samuel L. Jackson Their Father?

A kid used foul language on me. I called his home and the mom answered. I explained my reason for the phone call, then the mom exploded on her son: “I’m sick of these teachers calling here because of your dirty mouth!” The kid tried to say he didn’t do it, I heard him mumbling to his mom but his mom yells “Stop the f—-king cussing in class!”


#16 Death Of The Party

I had a ninth-grade boy who was timid, halting and, meek. He walked with a severe slouch and barely talked. He also had a wary, dazed look on his face when at-rest. As the year went by and he realized my class was a safe place (no bullies, no one mocking him), he came out of his shell. We were all shocked to learn that he was smart, hilarious, and pretty witty. A strong, confident personality was hidden under his trying-to-be-invisible facade.

The thing is: he still acted like a ghost in the hallways and in some other classes. He wouldn’t even look up at eye level when passing people in the hallway. It was his default, despite being a confident and intelligent kid underneath. Then, I met his dad at the parent-teacher conference and understood immediately.

The dad was intensely joyless, domineering, and not afraid to yell at his wife or children in front of others. He was yelling in Finnish (it was an international school) so I had no idea what he was saying… and I didn’t ask. He was the kind of guy that sucked all the other sounds out if a room even when he’d stopped yelling. I hate to think about what the boy’s home life was like, but I assume his mother must have been cool when dad wasn’t around.


#17 What Are Consequences, Anyway?

It was my first year as a full-time teacher with a permanent position. I started teaching in the middle of the recession, so I did a couple of long-term substitute gigs my first year, and then half time my second year, while working two other part-time jobs. I had a student who was incredibly irresponsible. He was also rude, disruptive and lacked basic skills one would need to succeed in school and beyond.

He did not have any mental or developmental delays. Honestly, he was just lazy and entitled. During fall conferences, I met his mom. She came in totally distraught at his failing grades. She wanted my help. I asked her if there were any consequences to his bad grades or misbehavior, and she wanted to know what kind of consequences. I mentioned taking his phone away, limiting video game and social time, etc. She looked at me in utter shock and said “I COULD NEVER DO THAT! He would be so upset with me! It makes me VERY uncomfortable when he’s upset. I’m not that kind of parent!” Recipe for success.


#18 Go All WWE On Them

I had a student who was pretty out of control in my class. I had a meeting with his mom who told me that in order to get him to listen to me, I would have to wrestle him to the ground and scream in his face. No wonder my “please be quiet and get your work done” didn’t have an effect.


#19 Reading Is Fundamental

When I taught Hebrew school a few years back, I had a student in my fifth-grade class who was always disruptive, couldn’t sit still, etc. Whenever she was asked to do anything, she would do the opposite, and often tried to get other students to join her. Whenever it came time for the students to practice reading, she would get particularly loud and even run out of the room on occasion.

One weekend, I received a call from her father. He was concerned, and quite indignant toward the fact that his daughter was barely able to sound out the Hebrew alphabet. Next year she would be turning 12 and having her Bat Mitzvah, and it was clear that at this rate, she wouldn’t be able to read from the Torah in front of her congregation.

I asked the father if he himself was able to read Hebrew, and he said he was. I asked him how often his daughter practiced reading Hebrew at home, and he said never. So, I asked him if he would be willing to take about an hour or two a week to help her with her reading and other Hebrew homework. He replied: “If I have to help her with her reading, then why am I sending her to Hebrew school in the first place?”

He then went on a rant about how her mother has a Ph.D. and taught herself how to speak Tibetan, and how his daughter is somehow brighter than everyone else and isn’t being challenged, blah blah blah. Makes sense that a kid with a dumb dad and a brilliant mom would wind up mediocre with behavioral issues.


#20 Assisting Their Temper

I was an assistant teacher a couple of years ago and I had been sent to help watch the class for a week since the teacher was pregnant. One of the students (who we will call Sally) would routinely blackmail people into doing what she wanted. She also would bully some of the other girls. One day, I decided to call her out on it, and she completely ignored me.

When I tried to speak with Sally in private about her behavior and disrespect towards me, she said: “You’re not even a teacher, you can’t do anything.” So I sent her down to the office. A couple of days later, I got called down to speak with the child and her mother. Her mother would say things like, “You really let an assistant teacher send my daughter down to the office? Can I speak to someone important?” She completely undermined my authority the whole time. I ended up losing my temper and the mother got me moved out of the classroom.


#21 A Future Politician?

I had this one student who would spend all day debating anything and everything, often getting carried away and derailing activities. At the parent-teacher interviews, I asked if there was one goal they had in mind or something they thought their son could improve on. The mom looked me dead on and said: “I want him to have better debate skills”. It took everything in me not to fall off the chair.


#22 In Constant Denial

I work at an after-school program. One of the fourth graders always has to be the center of attention. He has to win every game, and will even fake an injury to avoid losing. He says and does pretty nasty things to kids he sees as less than him. He’s a bigger kid so he easily overpowers a lot of kids his age. When we would go to his mother about his actions, she would accuse us of lying. It didn’t matter how many adults and students saw him do it; she denied, denied, denied. She’d say we were picking on him because he stands out. He echoes those words whenever he’s in trouble. And it’s a never-ending cycle that we can really do nothing about because there’s nothing being done at home.


#23 Spoiled In Treats

There’s a boy in my class who hits children and laughs about it, most often with a small disturbing smile. We’ve told his mother repeatedly, and she just stands there with her arms crossed looking at us like we should go die. Then, she smiles at her son and asks in an overly cheerful voice if he wants to get ice cream, go to the movies, or play mini golf, essentially rewarding him for this behavior. It’s so infuriating. But it all makes sense.


#24 Subtracting Their Father’s Doubt

I had this student who was so down on himself. His intuition for math was great and he would understand everything in class, but then there was no follow through. No effort on homework or anything. At parent-teacher conferences, he had almost failed my class but I let him do makeup work. He just barely made it. I spoke to him in front of his father and I said, “I think he can do better than this.”

The father looked at him and said, “I don’t think he can, I think this is his best.” I’m not supposed to contradict parents but I said, “I think he will prove you wrong.” I realized his father constantly talked down to him so he has no motivation. The kid ended up getting expelled shortly after for something unrelated. It’s really sad to see a child fail because of their parents.


#25 Handed Everything To Them

I’m a college professor. I had a student who put in minimal effort into everything he did, just barely enough to pass his classes. Over the course of four years, I get to know many of my students fairly well and I’m obviously very interested in their plans after graduation. This particular student always humble-bragged about how he’d get a great job and, amazingly, a few months before graduation, he informed everyone that he already had a fantastic job lined up in a major metro area a couple of states away.

I found this astounding, because not only was the job in our field, it was with a good-sized company I’d actually heard of. The student acted like he got the job due purely to his skills and efforts throughout college, and since I knew neither of those was true, I had huge doubts he even had the job at all. A week or two before graduation, we have a showcase where students show off their work, and parents and others are invited.

At this showcase, this student’s parents came to see his work and I found out that both of them worked high up (one as an attorney, the other in management). I heard them mentioning to their son, in an off-handed way as if this were totally normal, that they had spoken again with their friend at the other company, and everything was good-to-go for him to start after graduation.


#26 Shout It Out Loud

A girl in my class shouted all the time. Not in an aggressive way; just as if her personal volume was set way above everyone else. I constantly had to ask her to turn it down and we privately used to refer to her ‘gob on a stick.’ I met her parents and discovered they both had a hearing impairment. Basically, the poor kid had to shout at home for anyone to hear and just found it hard to adjust to another environment.


#27 Leader Of The Pack

There was a girl who had trouble making friends. She was really entitled and only played on her terms. I met her mom one day—she came to talk to me because I was supposed to make the other girls play with her daughter. According to her, her daughter had the best playtime ideas, so the other girls were supposed to follow her daughter’s lead.


#28 No Love For The System

I taught a six-year-old boy who had way more back-chat and anger that was normal for a boy his age. Any instruction would be met with shouting, an argument or him storming out of the classroom. During a meeting with his parents, I explained my concerns to his mom who immediately said, “Oh yeah, he gets that from me. I hate authority. Hate the police. Always hated my teachers.” There was no realization on her end that maybe this wasn’t such a good thing and that it would definitely be affecting his life.


#29 Just Another Victim

Preschool teacher here. Years ago, I had a student who was adorable and super smart. He was also sneaky and incredibly violent towards me and the other students. He had to be watched like a hawk at all times and ultimately required a personal shadow to protect the other kids. We had an intervention with his parents. I had spoken to his mom on numerous occasions and she was so casual about everything.

At the meeting with the mom, dad and all the teachers who interacted with the boy, I told the dad that his son regularly hit me. His response: “Well, what did SHE do to him to cause him to do that?” No accountability at all, they saw their kid as a victim. Those parents were absolutely horrible and eventually, their son was the first student ever expelled at the school.


#30 Bold Statements About Their Kid

I taught middle school. I had a brilliant student who was also socially immature and refused to make friends with any of his peers. I came on in the middle of the year because the previous teacher had been fired for handing out grades in a very prestigious program. This kid turned in nothing, so by March, he was failing math. His parents are engineers and demanded a parent-teacher conference.

The mom literally said I should just give her son an A because he was smarter than the rest of the students and was destined to make more money in one year than I could make in a decade. I said in reply: “That’s not how this works. When your son gets his first job, do you think he can just show up and do absolutely nothing, keep his job, and get paid… because he is smart?” She had the audacity to say yes.

He wasn’t socially awkward because of any developmental issue or shyness. He didn’t make friends because he was told everyone was beneath him. He ended up turning in nothing. His parents donated money for a new program. He got to skip the eighth grade and move onto high school. He should have graduated from college by now. I wonder how he is doing all the time.


#31 No Fun Allowed

I taught middle school and there was a student who was lazy with a problematic attitude. One time, he refused to work on an assignment during class, so I asked him to stay after class to talk to him about why he wasn’t following directions. He told me to leave him alone and that he didn’t care what I thought. After multiple other behavior problems (talking in class, being disrespectful, doing backflips) I wrote a couple of referrals for him to the office.

The parents called a meeting and said that I was obviously picking on him. The mom cried because it hurt her feelings that he was in trouble. I asked if the kid could come into the meeting to talk about the issues. They said no because they didn’t want him to feel bad. The principal wanted to please parents, so he took the kid out of my class for the rest of the year and the kid gloated to all of his friends.


#32 Remind Them Every Day

One of my students was very irresponsible and always excusing himself with comments like, “I know I cannot do things like others” or “I am just not smart enough for this.” I met with his mom and the first thing she said was, “I know my son is not like other students, he is just very special and not smart enough for school.” By the way, she said this while her son was in the room with us. From that day, every day, I would tell him how smart he was.


#33 We The People

This fourth grader was always really rude. Interrupting me constantly, talking back, and just in general, not a joy to be around. One thing I noticed about her was her outfits were always very color coordinated. She rarely wore the same thing, so I thought I’d try to connect with her on that. I was doing lunch duty one day and she was wearing an all red, white, and blue outfit. I smiled at her and said, “Wow, your outfit is very patriotic!” but my delivery was probably awkward because I was just trying to find something positive to say to this girl. She said nothing and looked confused, so I felt weird and walked away.

At the end of the day, I got a phone call and a woman asked to speak to me. When I told her who I was, she just launched off for ten straight minutes telling me that she heard “I had something to say” about her daughter’s outfit and that I made her feel bad. She just tore into me, cussing me out, telling me she can’t believe I’d ever say anything to her daughter about her clothes and how I have no business talking to her about ANYTHING that wasn’t art related.

Finally, after screaming at me, without giving me any time to say a word, she said: “So I don’t want you ever speaking to my daughter about anything unless it’s about art class. Do you understand?” I said “Okay” and she hung up on me.

Clearly, she hadn’t known what patriotic meant and probably didn’t like her outfit that day to begin with. Interestingly, I thought she’d be a TOTAL meanie after this, knowing her mom cussed me out. She actually seemed embarrassed and too shy to talk to me after. After a month or two, we ended up with a pretty decent relationship and she wasn’t rude to me anymore.


#34 You’ve Got Mail

I had a terrible student who was always dishonest and making excuses. She was always conveniently out “sick” any day we had a quiz or essay due; the whole gamut. I failed her last year, and she took a different class of mine this year. Her mom walked into the conference asking if I could change last year’s grade. I said no. She then asked me why I never wrote to her to tell her of her daughter’s struggles. I then showed her the many emails that I had sent her, along with the dean. Her response? “Oh… well, I do a lot of online shopping, and I get a lot of emails, so I don’t really see anything the school sends me.” Yeah.


#35 Hope They Brought Spare Pants

I had a student who kept soiling his pants. Seemingly on purpose. It would happen once a month or so and you’d honestly want to smack the little chap because when he’d do it, he would have the most satisfied, smug grin on his face. Needless to say, the janitor really hated this kid. Finally, his father got called in and we started off by discussing his grades and work. He asked to see his son’s scientific papers, so I obliged and retrieved them from the drawer behind me. My back was facing him and all of a sudden a putrid scent filled the room. I turned around with a look of disgust to only be met with the father, making that same smug grin. The man went #2 EVERYWHERE. I asked him to leave and he laughed and walked out, assuming he had quite a mess to clean up.


#36 Speaking To The Actual Problem

I had to call a kid’s parents early in the year. The mom picked up and gruffly said, “WHAT?!” I explained who I was and why I was calling, then as I finished my spiel, the mother said: “DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS?!” Thinking I’d woken her up and maybe she was groggy because she might’ve worked a third shift I began to answer, but she interrupted me and yelled: “THAT’S RIGHT, IT’S BETWEEN 7 a.m. AND 2 p.m., WHICH MEANS HE’S YOUR PROBLEM, NOT MINE! DONT CALL BACK!” And hung up.

From that point on, I went the extra mile for that kid. I’d be a holy terror too if that’s what I went home to. It really was heartbreaking. I never told the kid what happened. Fast forward four years, the kid showed up at my school on his last day of school as a senior. The kid told thanked me and gave me a hug. We never talked about what happened, and there was nothing else really said, but that moment showed me that sometimes, all a kid needs is a chance and some support.


#37 Think Of Athletics, People

They started saying their kid, who hadn’t done work in six weeks and held a zero average,  was ‘overwhelmed’ by all the work he didn’t do in his other classes. The mother cried over the grave of her son’s athletic eligibility, and the father threatened to sue. Last I heard, they moved to a new school and he is doing just as poorly on his second round of seventh grade.


#38 Those Crocodile Tears

I had an issue with a kid who was terribly disrespectful. He told me to shut up, called me names, etc. but had no hesitation to play the victim. It was my last day and, of course, the kid was still acting like horribly. After a month of dealing with it, I had enough and told him he needed to grow up. Not a second later, his mom walked in. He started fake crying, insisting I called him a baby.

His mom was livid. She fired off at me about how her poor kid had separation issues and social anxiety. She assured me she would be speaking to my boss. I didn’t care. It was my last day. The front desk staff watched everything happen silently. The mom stormed out with her brat in tow. The front office staff agreed that the kid and his mom were insane and I got to finish my last shift in peace. Good riddance.


#39 Not That Type

I used to teach middle school computer classes at an expensive private school, and the first quarter was taken up by a typing unit. I was fairly lenient— my only real requirement was that students put in some effort and show steady improvement over the course of the unit. One student managed to miss even that low bar. It wasn’t even a matter of effort; he consistently pulled pranks like turning off his neighbor’s computer during a typing test or printing long Wikipedia pages when I gave the class time to print assignments for their other classes.

His speed at the end of the unit wasn’t significantly different from the beginning. He ended the unit with a D, and that was pretty generous. His father called me the day grades were released, and he was livid. He said it wasn’t fair to grade his son on typing speed, because his son was going to go to Harvard Law, just like he had. “When he’s a successful lawyer, typing is something he’ll hire people to do,” he said.

Later, he called the school headmaster to demand that the grade be changed. To his credit, the headmaster refused to do that. However, he did ask me to give him a heads-up if it looked like that student was “struggling” again in the future since the building I taught in was named after the kid’s father. Oops.


#40 Click, Click, Boom

I had a student who walked out whenever he was given a direct instruction. For example, if I said, “You need to clear your desk to begin the quiz,” he would make a tongue click and huff to the office. He felt that he never got the respect he deserved. Administration told me to make a call home, so I did. His dad picked up and I explained what happened. The dad replied with THE EXACT SAME TONGUE CLICK, saying: “Excuse me? I don’t know about you but I work for a living, I don’t need to hear you whining at me because you can’t do your job while I’m at mine.” And he hung up. I documented it, forwarded it to the VP, and he told the dad that we could no longer accommodate him or his child at our school.


#41 Another Dumb Blonde

I had this student named Shelly. Shelly was a stereotypical “dumb blonde.” She often said the words “I don’t get it,” and almost relished in her ignorance. Just imagine a very cheesy portrayal of a blonde from an ’80s teen movie and that was her. She was a solid C student. Then I met her parents. They were both brilliant, working in different scientific fields. I paid closer attention to her after that and realized she was faking being dumb. I think she thought it would make her more popular. The sad part is, it did—she was part of a popular group of girls led by a cheerleader named Chelsea, who was incredibly popular. It was clear she was faking it to impress her and remain part of the group.


#42 Anxiety On High

I had a girl with social anxiety who always said, “I have such bad anxiety.” She couldn’t make eye contact, she was quiet, and she often threw extreme and dangerous tantrums. The mom came in and said it took a lot for her to meet with me because her anxiety was so bad.


#43 Disconnected On Decisions

I worked in a kindergarten class. We had a girl who was just erratic. Sometimes she was extremely quiet, and other times she was chaotic, instigating all kinds of trouble. One day, her dad came over to me when he picked her up and asked me to treat her a certain way. The next day, the mom came over and was like, “Disregard what my husband said, do the exact opposite.” They were married and all living in the same house, by the way. This kind of thing probably didn’t cause her behavioral issues, but her parents were clearly not on the same page about how to handle her and didn’t know how to communicate with each other, and that couldn’t have helped.


#44 Presidents Getting Involved

I remember this one kid was really behind on his homework. The school, which was private and elitist, called his parents, and one of the teachers came out of the meeting with the following story: “After listening to us for five minutes, the father suddenly stood up and asked who he needed to talk to in order to fix this?” The implication being he wanted to bribe a school member. What could one expect from a kid whose parents behaved like this?


#45 Turning Everyone Into Troublemakers

Mine is pretty generic, but I worked at a small summer camp where we kept Pre-K separate from the rest of the ages. We had a brother and sister that were so insufferable that we had to move the girl to be with the older grades (she was the older of the two). They were a nightmare when they were together, but they were still pretty bad on their own.

I worked with Pre-K, so I didn’t deal with the girl much, but she was a bratty little nightmare. The boy was maybe four and had a lot of influence over the other kids. He’d turn these sweet, quiet kids into rule breakers. He would do things we specifically asked him not to do and he would never stop doing something unless you physically picked him up and dragged him away.

Infuriatingly, he thought being dragged away was fun, so we’d have to make him sit alone in a corner with a watchful adult nearby. Anyway, I remember the mom coming in, carrying both of them and all of their things. She would let them do anything and thought they were the most angelic children on the planet. She was a total pushover and seemed fairly confused when we tried to explain to her why her son was in trouble for biting a kid.