Parenting Fails: Real-Life Stories Of Moms And Dads Behaving Badly
There are small mistakes, and then there are parenting fails that are so atrocious they’re impossible to forget. There’s a huge difference, and these people have firsthand experience. From embarrassing outbursts to dark secrets and catastrophic mistakes, these real-life stories prove that it takes a lot more than just having a kid to be a good parent. Teachers, childcare workers, and family members who have dealt with terrible moms and dads came together on Reddit to share their experiences, and these were the absolute worst parenting fails of the bunch.
#1 Runs in the Family
Elementary school teacher here. We had a student who wouldn’t stop stealing things out of other kids’ backpacks. We would catch him on camera and call his parents and they would just say, “No, that’s his [insert stolen item], we just bought it for him.” Then, we get him on a positive behavior plan and create intentional lessons about empathy to others, setting goals to get what you want, the difference between wants/needs, etc.
Eventually, he gets enough positive days in a row that he gets released from the behavior plan and receives a free bike as his incentive for good behavior—they were donated to the school by a local bike shop. But the story doesn’t end there. The next day, he tells me his uncle stole it and pawned it. He went right back to his old behaviors. It was heartbreaking.
#2 Not Without My Mother
I had a friend in high school whose mom was terrible. Every time there was a party (and, mind you, most of my friends were Mormon so they were supervised, appropriate parties), she would come just to make sure her daughter wasn’t getting into trouble. She wouldn’t let her watch PG-13 movies (even at 17), had a strict curfew and became a constant and judgmental fixture at every social event.
One time she called me a sleaze because she saw me kiss a boy at a school dance (she wasn’t chaperoning, she was just there to watch her daughter). The best story though was one time my friends and I went to my house to watch a scary movie. The sheltered friend comes. The helicopter mom shows up. My dear mother distracted her in the kitchen so my friend could have a little peace and just be a teenager.
My mom later said she had no idea what to talk to her about, so they talked about cats for two hours. My mom is a saint.
#3 My Child Is An Angel
I used to teach this little boy who was so disruptive—he would shout and pinch the other children in the class—and when I complained to his parents they said that he was a little angel at home and were shocked that I was saying that their boy was disruptive. They even said they thought I had the wrong child’s parents in!
#4 The Meme Lords Will Know About It
My mother ranting to all and sundry that she was going to get the brand-new Wal-Mart Supercenter in our town shut down because a cashier closed her register as we were walking up. Apparently, she could do this because she “knew people on the internet.” It was 1998. 14-year-old-me was mortified.
#5 No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
My mum used to be a teacher, and this happened to someone she worked with. This child was strangling another child and the teacher wasn’t strong enough to pull them apart. She ended up having to thump the attacking child until he was released, and the child ended up rather bruised. That kid’s parents decided they wanted to try and sue the teacher for hitting their child.
The result? The teacher who prevented their son from murdering someone got suspended from work until the case got rejected from court.
#6 Ghost Writer
My mother bought me a diary and encouraged me to write in it. She later stole said diary, broke the lock off, forged a bunch of made-up “crushes” in there, and then read it out loud at the dinner table to humiliate me. My mother was not very kind.
#7 Premium Parking
I had a student last year who was new to the school. Really nice, friendly, shy, and hilariously absent-minded. He would come to school at least two days a week with either his shirt on backward, inside out, or both. So, I wanted to talk to his parents about how his absent-mindedness was affecting his learning. Mom shows up at five. Dad shows up one hour late.
We have a good chat and they get up to go. As I’m walking them out I said I would show them the shortest way to the parking lot. The dad replies with “I didn’t park in the parking lot,” so I said, “You can go the same way to the street.” He said, “I couldn’t find the parking entrance so I just drove around and parked on an asphalt play area.”
Sure enough, I walk by and his car is next to the playground. It all came together after that.
#8 Who Better to Tell My Story Than The Creators?
A guy at my high school last year wrote some college application essays. After his parents read them, they kicked him out of his own account, changed the password, and rewrote them entirely.
#9 Cut and Run
At used clothing stores, my mother would cut tags to get discounts, since the cashiers would basically make up whatever price they thought it would be on the spot. If they high-balled it, she would get a manager involved, and I hated that.
#10 Nepotism at Play
Students whose parents work in the building—teachers, custodians, assistants, cafeteria workers, etc.—are the worst. If the kid is a jerk and you tell the parent, you have to continue to work with that parent long after the kid is gone. I had a student in middle school who was late to my class every day with a pass from his mom.
I ended up having to go to the principal and have him take care of it.
#11 The Original Classmates
I used to teach/lecture at a university. I had one poor homeschooled student whose mother insisted on attending the university with him. She enrolled in the same course and used to follow him around to observe his social interactions, and dictate to him who he should be friends with. He had limited social skills as it was, and this made it much, much worse.
In the end, I put them in different lecture streams so that they had to attend separate lectures and labs. She spat the dummy and took me before the Dean to make me put them back together, but the Dean was actually pretty happy with what I had done. A few weeks later, the student came and thanked me personally. So everything worked out!
#12 Nasty Mothers
I’m not a teacher, but when I was in elementary school I was a rather fat and unpopular kid. On one occasion I had a mother on a field trip look me up and down and turn to a group of kids who often made fun of me and tell them something that made them laugh. On a second occasion, I had a mother prevent me from going to a classmates’ birthday party that most of my fourth-grade class went to only to find out later that she made fun of me as being a pig at the party from other classmates.
I mean I get that I was the fat unpopular kid, but shouldn’t those mothers have been acting their age? They were in their thirties and forties.
#13 Can’t Put a Price on Good Health Products
I work at a school where over 80% of our population lives under the poverty line. I keep a cabinet full of hygiene products for kids to take. Deodorant, lotion, Chapstick, hair gel, feminine hygiene products, shampoo, conditioner, those kinds of things in travel sizes. Being a teen is hard enough without having to cope with hygiene problems due to lack of funds at home.
So one day the entire thing is empty. Odd, I refill the cabinet and two days later all of it is gone again. Refill with the last of my supplies, catch the kid in the act of sweeping everything in his bag. I stop him, take him in the other room and talk to him. He told his mother about the cabinet. She ordered him to bring her everything he could get, and the reason why was awful.
She was returning the items to Walmart for store credit to buy smokes and beer. I told him to tell her the cabinet is locked now. I bought a bike lock, so it was not a lie. It was sickening. The lock was only on until the student left. It has been on the honor system for 15 years, over 1,700 students and only one abuser of the system; I call that a good record.
#14 What Happens in the Dressing Room Does Not Stay in the Dressing Room
All the way up until I went away to college, my mother insisted at all times on seeing exactly what I was buying for clothes, to make sure that they weren’t too baggy for her liking. When I was 17 years old, we were out buying jeans at the Gap and she wanted to have me come out of the change room after trying on each pair so that she could inspect the way they looked for approval.
When I refused to basically do a fashion show for her with every individual pair of pants I tried on, she crawled her 58-year-old self under the door of the dressing room where I was trying them on to take matters into her own hands. I’m a guy, and there was a huge lineup outside the door of people waiting to use the dressing room. Everybody saw. Everybody heard.
#15 Audition Games
Held auditions for a singing role that various students were interested in. Held it at lunch when no club events were scheduled, and the note that students could email me if they’d prefer another time. No emails, no shows. We needed someone to fill the role, so I just gave it to a great student of mine. Good natural talent, and reliable.
She was sick all week leading up to auditions and proved it with a doctor’s note. I still had her “audition” upon return, but she was the only person who auditioned, so she got the role. Had three parents email me about why special snowflake wasn’t considered. They all got the same response. If you want a role, audition for it.
Two of them were actually okay with that. Their kids made it out like I had ignored all other auditions to give the advantage to this sick girl. But the third was terrible. Kept hounding me about how it’s unfair her brat didn’t have the opportunity to audition (not true), how her child was a better singer than the one I had chosen (admittedly true, but she couldn’t show up to mandatory classes on time, I’m not trusting her with rehearsals), and the usual bad teacher crap.
She booed this poor girl on performance day as well, the cow.
#16 Give Me the Plans or Else!
I worked at a science museum that had a hands-on area for kids. The aim of the game was for the child to solve a problem by themselves. Like “can you get x to do y.” They make something, test it, and figure out how to make it better. One day, a woman comes in practically dragging her five-year-old son. She sits him down beside me and starts poking me on the shoulder as I’m talking to another family and says something ridiculous.
“Tell my son what to do,” she says, standing over him. I tell the family to hold on a sec, as I explain the challenge to the newcomer. The whole point is to work autonomously, so it was alright, and I was used to working with a few rude/pushy parents, so I wasn’t surprised. I tell the kid the prompt, tell him he had a wide range of materials…
But no. The woman wants me to tell him every step of the process. “Tell him the answer! Tell him the answer!” she says repeatedly, grabbing his hands to make him fold paper, or reaching for my own. I start getting mad. “Ma’am, the goal here is to learn the scientific method. Make a hypothesis, test it, make conclusions and try again.”
“But you already KNOW the answer,” she says, “Tell my son! Or I’m calling your manager!” I don’t even have a manager. In the meantime, the poor kid is looking so embarrassed. Every time he tries to start something for himself, his mom reaches for his hands and tells him to wait for me to tell him what to do. The woman was so afraid of him failing when the whole point was to learn from one’s mistakes.
I’m so worried about how he’ll deal with mistakes growing up, with her around.
#17 Take a Nap, Nanna
Not my parent, but grandparent. When I was around 10 years old, my grandmother went out and got us (her, my brother, and me) McDonald’s. We got home and we didn’t have napkins in the bags. No big deal, right? We have paper towels and napkins in the house. Also, me and my brother are pretty good about not making any messes while we eat.
Nope. Grandmother got us in the car, drove back to McDonald’s, demanded a manager, and screeched about how upset she was that we didn’t get any napkins. I wanted to just melt into the floor and disappear. It’s just napkins, Nanny…
#18 One Drink to Take the Edge Off
I work at a school, and this mother came to a school sports day swigging from a bottle of wine. We always felt desperately sorry for her daughter, because whenever she returned to school following a holiday at home (this was a boarding school), we had to wash all her clothes because they reeked of cigarettes, and this poor little girl was easily the most unhappy child I’ve ever seen.
#19 The Same Old Script Again
When I was very young, maybe about five years old or so, my dad got into a ridiculously long conversation with the cashier at a movie rental place. I had to pee really badly, but every time I tried to get his attention he just brushed me off and continued with his clearly more important movie talk. I ended up peeing myself in the middle of the store, and he didn’t even notice until we got back into the car and it started to smell like pee.
In his defense, at least he was super apologetic when he asked why I didn’t tell him that I needed to go, and I explained what had happened from my perspective. I guess even the best of us make mistakes every now and then!
I was teaching a sweet 13-year-old girl who obviously couldn’t see the board very well and needed glasses, as she was falling behind in class. I called her mother—this is in south London so imagine a Jade Goody voice—and her mum told me to screw off and that “I didn’t need freaking glasses, my mother didn’t need freaking glasses so she doesn’t need any freaking glasses” and hung up.
In that situation, you just feel for the girl.
#21 For the Motherland
I work in military recruiting. I witnessed so many helicopter parents who would try to have us recruit their kid without their consent, it was staggering. Parents would call to make appointments for testing and were furious when we said we had to speak to the kid. If the kid is a minor, the parents have to sign a waiver, and at that point, we can no longer give any information to the parent, so some parents would call and pose as their child in order to get test results, book appointments, and so on.
Some parents even tried to attend the testing with their child and were furious when we said no. Then, invariably, when little Johnny got turned down for being a jerk pump with no initiative, we’d get an earful from Mommy about how their child is the most special human being on the earth. Those were the fun times when I could say, “Have you stopped to consider that Johnny isn’t getting a job because he has no initiative or desire to be here based on a parent pushing him into a career he doesn’t want, rather than him being allowed to make his own choices?”
Usually didn’t go over well, and then I’d hang up.
#22 Failing The Cousin of The Cousin of The Cousin Of The Prince
I was working in Saudi Arabia about eight years ago and I had one kid who was the cousin of someone who was the cousin’s cousin of the Prince of Saudi Arabia. He came the first day and signed up for the class and I never saw him again, in fact, I actually removed him from the attendance. At the end of the course, he showed up to collect his diploma.
I told him he wasn’t getting one because he didn’t attend a single class. He stormed out of the class calling me names the entire way, but it didn’t stop there. A few hours later this guy shows up with half of Saudi Arabia, His mother, father, uncles, aunts, brothers, the whole damn family. I was called into the office by the dean and spent the next 30 minutes being screamed at by my boss, half the staff, and his belligerent family.
Didn’t I know who he was? How DARE I not give him what he asked for!! I was docked a month’s pay and I ended up quitting two months later. Oh, and he graduated the class. With honors of course.
#23 Front of the Line, Back of the Class
I was with my parents on vacation, and the hotel put charges on the bill by accident. My mom marched to the front desk and demanded to see the manager. There was a long line, but she cut right in front of it. The manager wasn’t very helpful, probably because she was rude. So my mom went to all the other customers in line and told them that the hotel was a scam and they were ripping us off with fake charges.
She made a scene. The hotel called the police and we were escorted off the premises by actual cops. I died inside.
#24 Not A Ride-Along Situation
This mom wrecked her car buying illegal substances on the way to pick her child up from pre-school. She then tried to get another parent to cover for her with her estranged husband.
#25 The Elephant in the Room
When I was in fifth grade, there was this girl who I was pretty good friends with. We would always kid around and jokingly make fun of each other at school. So one day, my mom was picking me up from school, and me and the girl were walking out together. As part of an inside joke, the girl said, “See you tomorrow, Dumbo!”
For the record, the joke was that I had very big ears as a kid, which thankfully, I have since grown into. She had made jokes about my ears many, many times before and it was just a normal part of our relationship at that point, but this particular time my mom had heard her say it and was not having any of it for even a second.
She got out of her car, stormed over to my friend, and started full-on yelling at her, saying things like, “Don’t you ever talk to my kid like that again! How would you like it if kids made fun of the freckles on your face?” The girl started bawling. I was so freaking embarrassed that my mom was yelling at this innocent little girl in front of dozens of kids over something as silly as this.
We left and I did not say a single word to my mom on the entire way home. Thanks mom. I love you, but that was mean.
#26 Going Above and Beyond
A parent and their child had a complaint about grading on a minor assignment. The parent emailed me, the principal, Board of Education, and the President of the United States of America. Not joking. There was no reply from anyone, except the principal.
When I was 15 years old, the parents of a kid in my school year made a seven-hour trip to save their pride and joy from watching Casino Royale on the coach’s onboard DVD player while driving back from a school trip. The best part about it is that he must have asked our teacher what the film was in advance and then told his mum.
#28 Teaching Jesus
I had a parent of a kindergartner tell me, in all seriousness, that she was told by their church prophet that my student was sent to lead the world into salvation. Her little girl was the second coming of Christ. Gee, no pressure. “Here, teach the Christ-child to read.” Plus, she was one of the meanest children I ever taught.
#29 This Time, Mom Is Grounded
When I was a young child on a long-distance flight, my mother let me and my brother sleep on the floor. For safety reasons, the flight attendants told my mother that we were not allowed to sleep on the floor. She started to argue with the flight attendants, who then turned to the pilots. The pilots threatened to turn the plane around unless we got up from the floor.
It didn’t even matter. My mother just continued to argue. The pilots then announced that they were about to turn around because of my mother, so all the passengers got pissed at her and basically had a mutiny. Eventually, she caved in when she had all the passengers and flight crew on a Boeing 747 against her…
#30 I Can Quit Anytime I Want
I used to work in a daycare. On my first day, in a new room with 15 two-year-olds, I picked up a little boy and noticed he had dropped something through the neck hole in his onesie. I pulled it out and it was a lighter. When we returned it to the mom and told her where we found it she laughed and said, “This kid gets his hands on EVERYTHING!”
Poor kid also sounded like a smoker every time he laughed or coughed.
#31 Happy Birthday!
It was my 16th birthday and my family went out to a fancy Italian restaurant. The staff came over to sing happy birthday to me, and my dad started singing along loudly in a bad Italian opera kind of accent. The staff were so stunned that they just stopped singing. The other customers around us laughed their heads off and applauded. I was mortified.
#32 This Is a School, Not an Octagon
I’m a high school teacher, and we have something called soft lockdowns—known as Shelter in Place by some schools—where doors are shut and locked, but classes continue as normal. These are pretty common and can be used for anything from a medical emergency, as they want everyone out of the hallway if someone needs to be cared for because high school kids are nosy, to a fugitive running around the neighborhood.
We’ve been in many soft lockdowns because parents have come to the school ready to hunt down and beat the crap out of a teacher. They usually come in the front office—can’t access the rest of the school without someone opening the secured door—screaming, cussing, threatening everyone in the area, you get the picture. Often they’re removed by the SRO and given a criminal trespass citation.
We have a pretty high rate of fights and violence between students. When I see parents acting this way, it all makes sense.
#33 Telephone Game Over
I work as over the phone tech support for a public university. During the months of December and April/May is when I get the most helicopter parents. Each student has a security question attached to their account, but this one parent was determined to get into his daughter’s accounts. The only problem was: he kept giving incorrect answers to the question.
No correct answer = No account info given/comprehensive assistance given. The call lasted for at least thirty minutes and included, but was not limited to: Threatening lawsuits, excessive swearing, several pieces of office stationery being slammed into the caller’s desk over and over. The call finally ended with a swift pass to my supervisor, who just repeated everything that I had said.
Needless to say, as one of my first calls in telephone support, this was definitely one to remember. I understand that if you pay the bills you want some sort of access, but all that we can legally give is joint access to the bill pay site.
#34 Higher Order
I had a parent that believed her child was of a higher order (Indigo Child) and that he was actually going to be the governor of all Indigo Children or something like back when I first started subbing. The school would get a firestorm from the mother if they disciplined him because “higher-order beings don’t need discipline, they know more than you.”
The school psychologist had diagnosed this boy with low functioning autism—he was nine and still in diapers, still used baby talk, and threw fits all the time. The mother would not have him in the autistic classroom for lower grade elementary students and wanted him in a regular classroom. I felt so much pity for the other children who were at normal developments who had to be in the classroom with him.
I understand Least Restrictive Environment, but this was too much.
#35 Not in the Business of Learning
My mom came to my school because she thought I was lying about what I got on my SATs. She didn’t think I was that smart. No one in my school would give her that information because they didn’t have to. She got to my principal and said, “I want to speak to your manager” in front of me. He refused and they argued for a while.
The principal knew I was an okay guy and the score I told my mother was legitimate.. It was really embarrassing though.
#36 Not Up to Dress Code
My mom’s a teacher and in order to talk to a parent about a child that was struggling due to the school environment, she arranged to meet at the parents’ house. Keep in mind this was scheduled in advance with a set time. The dad answered the door 100% naked and tried to have the meeting with him naked on the front porch.
My mom doesn’t do anything outside the school anymore.
#37 Your Mom Only Gets One Chance to Make a Good Second Impression
After I submitted my first ever job application to a store manager back when I was 16 years old, my paranoid mother barged up to the store and started going on and on to the manager about how I was really shy and not much of a people person. Yeah, that’s exactly what a manager wants to hear about an applicant for a customer service job…
#38 Irony Was Lost on Him
My partner used to be a high school teacher, and he always tells me the story of how one time one of the kids’ dads showed up at the school with a sledgehammer because they gave his son detention. If I recall, the detention was for fighting too.
#39 Exit, Stage Mom Left
I ran a kid’s theater program, so who wasn’t a helicopter parent? I had one kid who had a leading role two years in a row, but didn’t get a lead the third year she was in our program—she just wasn’t the right fit for any of the parts (we were doing “Fiddler on the Roof Jr.” and her onstage personality was very “diva”).
But we did take one of the smaller roles (named townsperson) and divide it into three and gave that girl one of the three. The mom came storming in and demanded to know why her daughter didn’t get a lead, and how dare we give her a made-up role, and how come a girl who had just joined the program got a lead (because that girl was a perfect fit for the part).
It was just ridiculous, and the kid ended up dropping out of the show.
#40 Scared To Discipline
My wife is the principal of an expensive Chinese daycare. Like, really expensive. Every parent drives a BMW or better. A three-year-old once ran away from the group during a field trip. The teacher, an incredibly mild woman, caught the kid and asked him if he thought what he did was good or bad. She didn’t hit him, she didn’t even criticize him or make him go in time out—she just asked him if he thought it was a good thing to do.
The mother freaked out. Not because her child nearly went missing—she was furious that any type of discipline whatsoever was administered. My wife was on the phone with her until 2:00 AM while this woman screamed, “She has no right to tell my child what to do! Who does she think she is?!” Fortunately, the woman became angry enough that she pulled her kid out a few days later.
But that teacher is now so terrified to discipline her students that her class is out of control.
#41 Not Fit for a King
Ugh, my dad. He can be such a prick if you get his order wrong. It could be fast food or a nice sit-down restaurant. He often yells at wait staff if they “undercook” his steak. It has to be well done, or he claims to have lost his appetite. One time, we went to Burger King when I was younger and we sat down to eat. It had been bad before, but this was the worst.
He took one bite of his burger, spit it out, and immediately started screaming about it being under-cooked. He cut in front of everyone in line to yell at the cashier, then he asked who the cook was. When the cook appeared, he launched his burger, hitting the poor kid directly in the face with a lidless burger. He’s now banned for life from Burger King.
#42 Too Busy to Care
Well, in my profession it’s more often what the parents don’t do that wins them the parent of the year award. But I do have a couple of Hall of Famers. I’m a special education teacher, so I deal with kids with all kinds of physical, emotional and academic disabilities. I took care of a little girl once who had a number of complications due to spina bifida.
Her mother couldn’t be bothered to take care of her. The little girl wore diapers and was catheterized. She required 3-5 diaper changes a day. Mom would only send five diapers a week. The thing is, she was getting full services from her community, so she was being provided with plenty of supplies. We suspect Mom was probably selling the extras.
I ended up just buying her diapers. Mom would not change her catheter regularly. We would change her out at school, but other than that she’d go another 24 hours before a change out. Longer, if it was a weekend. The smell from the infections she’d get after a weekend was horrendous. She had lice constantly, and oozing bed bug sores.
Mom told us to “F off” when we’d call and tell her to take her to a doctor. Found out later in the year that she also had scabies. We offered to administer the medications and creams at school. Mom told us to go to you-know-where. The girl would come to school in men’s underwear, XXL shirts and size 16 pants. She was eight.
Finally discovered that her nine-year-old sister was changing her diapers and dressing every day, and sister couldn’t find any other cleanish clothes to put on her. Mom’s response: “I’m busy. I have to get to work in the mornings.” The final straw was when the nurse discovered what appeared to be STD warts while changing her diaper one day.
The nurse made (for the tenth time) another CPS report, but the principal insisted that we call home and report our findings. Grandma found out, tipped off Mom, and Mom appeared at the school 15 minutes later, snatched up the kids and disappeared. Investigators showed up 15 minutes later, but Mom was already long gone.
We never saw the kids again.
#43 I Know Where You Live
My mom made me call up my 8th-grade social studies teacher at home, to ask if I could use him as a reference for a job application. He still lived with his parents and I asked for him by first name when they picked up. He was waiting for me at my locker the next morning to tell me that I should never, ever phone him at his house again, nor should I ever call him by his first name again.
No surprise, I didn’t end up getting the job. My mom denies that this ever happened, and claims that she would never demand that I do something so strange and ridiculous.
#44 Literally Living in His Dad’s Shadow
I taught first grade at a small private school. My first year, I had the ultimate helicopter parent. He looked at everything and got on his child’s case about everything from his test scores to the quality of his homework. He always had questions about the curriculum, my teaching methods, etc. The child was a bit of a precocious boy, very smart but already rebelling from being under his dad’s thumb all the time.
The dad would want to come in and observe the student’s behavior. Dad would volunteer in the classroom but would spend most of his time critiquing his son. He’d then want to have long conferences about his son’s behavior. I told him I thought his son acted out more when he was there and that I didn’t think he should be in the classroom anymore and the dad’s solution was to install a camera in the classroom so he could observe him without actually being there.
Obviously, that didn’t happen. I learned a lot about setting boundaries that year.
#45 The Father of All Career Coaches
I was a manager of a bagel store. I had an interview with this one kid, I think he was about 16. His dad came to the interview and basically answered every single question I asked the kid. At the end of the interview, I turned to the dad and said, “You’re hired.” Look on his face was priceless. The kid laughed his butt off.
Since quite a few people have asked: the kid came back for an interview on his own a few days later, and I hired him, but ultimately it didn’t work out. He was a nice kid, and reasonably smart, but had absolutely no work ethic. He couldn’t perform even simple tasks really. I have always assumed that this was due to his parents pampering him.
He only lasted a short time (I think it was about two months).
#46 Evolutionary Problems
My favorite one was the lady who wrote a letter to all four principals, the Superintendent, and every member of the School Board, threatening to sue the board if I wasn’t fired, because I referenced evolution (along with gravity and a few others) in a conversation with my class about the difference between a “theory” and a “scientific theory.”
Mind you, we didn’t get into anything about evolution, it was a basic freshman intro to physical science class, but that I even mentioned it was enough. The meeting was spectacular. She yelled at me and the principals for a few minutes, then went into her rant about why evolution was apparently wrong, referencing entropy and the laws of thermodynamics.
At some point, I stopped her and asked her if she understands that those laws only apply to closed systems, which the Earth is not, and she told me I was wrong, it was a closed system. I think I said something about “that giant ball of fire in the sky” before my administrators excused me.
#47 Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
My dad just loved to argue, and he loved a deal. We were shopping in a department store, and I found a pair of pants I was mildly interested in. The pants were tagged at (let’s say) $40, and the sign on the rack was “All pants $25.” I was mildly interested, I asked the sales clerk if they had them in my size, the clerk said, “Those aren’t supposed to be on that rack.”
My dad lost his mind and insisted on getting the pants for $25, and started asking for a courtesy discount on top of that. Escalated to the floor manager and then the store manager. Meanwhile, I didn’t want the pants. They were ok pants I guess, nothing awesome, I just didn’t care very much about them. I was more than happy to move on.
I told my dad I didn’t want the pants, but by then he didn’t care about what I wanted. He wanted the pants at the better price. Eventually, after like an hour of arguing, the store manager said, “We’re not giving you the pants at that price. Take them or leave them at $40.” So we left them. Which suited me just fine, because I didn’t want the pants.
My coworkers and I raised money to get an eight-year-old girl a winter coat (we live in rural Canada). The girl came to school the next day in a T-shirt in the dead of winter, her mom wearing the brand new, child-sized jacket. For those wondering—the principal confronted her about it and mom told her to screw off and anything her kids owned belonged to her and she could do what she wanted with it.
Children’s Aide was called and that student lives with a very nice foster family now.
#49 Spilling the Beans in a Pretty Epic Way
A very long time ago, on one of the darkest days of my life, my dad inexplicably decided to go into the store where a guy from one of my classes worked and tell him all about the huge crush that I had had on him for the past few months. I was only 16 or 17 years old at the time, and I was already pretty shy and awkward around the opposite sex even before this ever happened.
I am still utterly mortified whenever I think about this incident. I mean, think about it, wouldn’t you be if it had happened to you?
#50 Writings of a Madman
Some of the best letters I’ve seen from parents: “Please postpone today’s test. My son left his backpack at school yesterday so he couldn’t study.” “Do not ever write down my son’s name as Chris M. just because another student has his same first name. He is receiving unequal treatment because you are addressing him by his first name and the first letter of his last name. This is deeply unfair and I will be talking to your principal.”
#51 Just Follow the Appendix
When my friend took her sons to a nursery, the mother of a six-month-old baby had provided them with a multi-page manual of how to care for him. I can’t quite remember the details, but she had either written out different types of crying phonetically with a chart of what each type “meant,” or may have stood in the office giving her own demonstration of each cry.
It did have the benefit of making my friend, who had felt a bit guilty about returning to work, feel like an entirely normal and reasonable mother by comparison.
#52 Bullying A Child
My roommate is a preschool teacher. She has a student in her class who is very, very rambunctious, and she has a pretty good line of communication with the boy’s mother, as she is not in denial about her son’s behavioral issues. She also has a girl in her class who is spoiled rotten, used to getting everything she wants immediately.
One afternoon, my roommate was waiting for parents to pick up the kids, and she was chatting with the mother of Rambunctious Boy. All of a sudden, the mother of Spoiled Girl bursts into the room. She starts yelling… at Rambunctious Boy. Apparently, he had pushed Spoiled Girl on the playground the day before.
Spoiled Girl didn’t tell my roommate or the other teacher, just her mom, and she also told her mom that Rambunctious Boy didn’t get punished (since she didn’t say anything to the teachers). Mom decides to take this out not on the teachers, but on this four-year-old boy. She screams at him not to touch her daughter and that there would be consequences and blah blah.
Obviously, Rambunctious Boy starts crying, my roommate and the other mother are just in shock, and Spoiled Girl and her mom turn and leave in a huff. Congratulations, lady. You just bullied a four-year-old into crying. I really hope you feel good about yourself.
#53 An Odyssey of Errors
The grocery store had this sign up that said if an item rang up higher than an advertised price, it was free. It was the 80s, and stores did stupid stuff like this that I never see in stores today. My mom was buying a box of Little Debbie cakes, and they rang up for $2.85 instead of the advertised $2.50. So now mom wants her free cakes.
The cashier doesn’t know what to do, so she summons a manager. The manager tells her to ring up the sale otherwise, and he’ll be right back. He comes back and hands my mother 35 cents cheerfully and says, “There you go!” My mother points out the sign behind him and he says, “Oh, the last manager put that up, it doesn’t make any sense. I’m the new manager and I just haven’t had the sign removed yet.” It was a printed plastic sign that was screwed into the wall).
Mom insists they honor their sign, he says nah. Now, up to this point, I, as an adult looking back, am totally on board with mom’s actions. But that changed very quickly. My mom gathers her things, decides against taking the Little Debbies on principle, and we get in the car. She then wordlessly drives downtown to the main store of this 3-5 store chain, knowing the office is next door.
We walk into this perfectly 80s wood-paneled office where my mother asks the secretary to speak to the owner of the store, and is then permitted to go to his office. This is a family-owned business, and their “corporate office” is smaller than the row of cubicles my staff now occupy at work. This was the beginning of the end.
Here, my mother unleashes a tirade about how she has lost faith in his brand and how his word is meaningless since they will not honor the sign, etc. This guy stands up, profusely apologizes, validates her anger, and then pulls out his wallet and hands her a $5 bill along with a promise that he will speak to the manager and the sign will either be honored or removed.
We get home and find that the ice cream we bought melted in the trunk.
#54 Interviews Are Tough on Everyone
My cousin is a teacher and she once had a parent come to a parent/teacher conference extremely drunk and right before the meeting, tried to pull out a baggie of white powder. Police were called and so was CPS. The school also had to call 9-1-1 once because a parent overdosed in the parking lot while waiting to pick up their kid, and the poor kid was too young to understand why their mom was slumped over in their car.
#55 Trick or Treat
I went to school at an outpatient mental health facility as a kid. It was Halloween, so the instructors were letting us paint our faces and just do fun arts and crafts activities all day long. I knew that my mom didn’t like Halloween for religious reasons, so I just gave myself a cat nose with whiskers and made sure not to write Happy Halloween or anything similar on any of the things I was making.
When my mom came to pick me up at the end of the day, she publicly screamed at me like a maniac about how I should know better. She then made me march straight to the bathroom to wash my face, as well as made me throw away all the stuff I had made. All in front of everyone, just to make matters worse. Thanks a lot, mom.
#56 No Longer a Child
I teach at a university, so my interaction with parents is very slight, but on a couple of occasions I’ve had angry parents calling my office wanting to talk about why their kid isn’t doing well in my class. I’m required to say that I’m legally not allowed to confirm or deny any student’s enrollment in my class or discuss any student’s progress in my class with anyone but the student, which ruffles a lot of parental feathers.
On one occasion, I had said my spiel to a parent and gotten the usual: “I pay their tuition, it’s my money so it’s my right, etc.” in return. Fed up, I replied with, “If you’d like to set up a proxy, you’ll need to go to the registrar for a form which your son can fill out and sign, and that will allow me to talk to you.”
The parent totally lost their temper at that point. They completely snapped and screamed, “HE WON’T SIGN IT,” followed by a stream of insane verbal abuse and obscenities, mostly speculating about my parentage and my educational attainment. Good lord. I just have no clue why your kid doesn’t want to talk to you about his grades.
PSA—If you are a college student, please be aware that your parents are NOT legally entitled to information about you, even if they pay your tuition. If you are a parent of a college student, please be aware that your kid is considered an adult by their institution, and professors aren’t just being obstructionist jerks when they won’t—as in can’t—give you information.
#57 The Mother of All Reshoots
When I was 14, I helped my sister film a project for her and her teammates when they were in the sixth grade. They had to do a music video and switch the lyrics of a song to have it be science-related, so they chose Survivor’s “The Eye of the Tiger” and turned it into “The Bones of our Body.” Everybody came to our house, and we shot the music video in one shot in our garage.
One of the teammates was this REALLY quiet kid, but he still made the effort to sing along. When everybody’s parents came to pick them up, Shy Guy’s mother INSISTED on watching the video. It wasn’t ready of course, I still had to edit it. But nope! She ended up seeing the whole thing darn thing through the camcorder screen…and she didn’t like it.
She told me to film it again and to make sure Shy Guy came out more (when some of the teammates left already!). So, everybody had to return to our house and film again because of a crazy lady. Oh yeah! And she stood behind the camera to make SURE that Shy Guy came out. What the heck! She was a known psycho, so we figured it was best to do it again to shut her up.
#58 Ham Lessons
My wife was one in a poor area near Chicago. I’ve heard a hundred horror stories, but the one I always think about is this one. My wife’s school was having a really hard time involving their parents in their kids’ homework. The kids on average have poor test scores, poor intelligence, low motivation, etc…common problems today.
So what they tried to do was, start an after-school program where parents would come in and help their kids with their homework. Kinda defeats the purpose of “home” work, but whatever. None of the parents showed up. Not surprising I suppose. Here’s where it gets interesting… so they decided they were going to raffle off a ham at each after school homework event.
Amazingly, parents started showing up. I would have to drive with my wife every once in a while to Walmart to buy a ham, because the parents showed up for a 1 in 500 chance to win a ham. They wouldn’t come in for their kids, but they’d come in for a chance at ham. Blows my mind to this day.
#59 No Reservations About Acting up
Not me, but my sister-in-law. Her stepdad and mom took the family out to eat at a Red Lobster. They get there and it is super busy. So, the stepdad walks up to the host and says, “Yes, we have a reservation.” The problem is Red Lobster (or at least that one) doesn’t take reservations. The host explains this and says it is going to be a 20-minute wait for seating.
Her stepdad FLIPPED out and started screaming that he had called three hours beforehand and made a reservation. The host politely told him this was not possible, as they do not take reservations (again). He continues to scream at the guy and says he wants to talk to a manager. So, the manager comes out and she tells him the same thing.
They don’t take reservations, so it’s not possible that he had made one. He continues to cause a scene, and people started leaving just to get away from this toxic guy. Finally, the manager says, “Fine, we will put you ahead of everyone else that has been patiently waiting their turn.” He says, “Thank you.” They get seated.
Once they get to the table and the waitress walks away, he slyly winks and says to my brother and the rest of the family, “THAT is how you get things done. I wasn’t going to wait 20 minutes.” My brother refused to eat or order for fear of getting food that had been spit on.
#60 You Can Do This
Not a teacher, but my mom is, she teaches the visually impaired. There are these two students of hers whose parents (mainly the mom) tell them that they can’t do anything, and won’t be able to do anything, and all they do while at home is sit around because their mom makes them. However, my mom has been teaching them for about four years, trying to get them to believe in themselves, it mostly has worked, but recently, a different teacher told them that they can’t do anything as well, so that has been a huge setback for them.
I just think that it’s really trashy for a parent to tell their kids that they can’t do anything even though they can do many things that other people can.
#61 How to Lose Clients and Offend People
When I was in my early 20s and still living at home, my father took a business call on my behalf one day. People say that we sound exactly alike on the phone, so when he was mistaken for me he just decided to run with it. For some reason, he decided to be a huge jerk to the caller. I probably lost out on a low four-figure amount of money because of this antic of his.
I used to think that the reason he did it was because he didn’t approve of who I was dating at the time, but after some of the events I’ve been through in recent years, I think that he was just letting his immature and jerkish side shine simply because the opportunity to do so presented itself.
#62 Size Doesn’t Matter
When I was still a student teacher, I was asked by my cooperating teacher to sit in on parent-teacher interviews. The first parent scheduled for that night was the parent of a student who was completely tuned out in my class, usually sleeping, never did any work, never did well on tests or assignments, the usual stuff.
The student was also often caught on his phone in class watching streams on Twitch with the volume on and complaining when his phone would get confiscated. My cooperating teacher tells this parent all of our concerns in the nicest and most polite way possible, going as far as beginning to suggest homework management solutions, study tips, and even formulating a plan of action for the student so that his grades could improve come next term.
Now, if I asked you to go and look up the definition of disconnected in the dictionary, you would find a picture of this woman. Everything my cooperating teacher said, all her concerns, her suggestions, her plans of action for this student, went in one ear and straight out the other. When the teacher finished voicing her concerns/suggestions, I couldn’t believe this woman’s reaction.
She blinks—like one of those “I have no idea what you just said” kind of blinks—pauses for about five whole seconds, then replies with, “How many students are in this class?” My eyes immediately bulged out of my head at that response. This wasn’t a classroom size problem. This was a “your child puts in zero effort” problem.
Still, the teacher politely replies with 26, relatively small for a school of more than 1,700 students. The woman stood up from her seat so violently that the teacher flinched, and proceeded to storm out of the room mumbling, “Too many. Class is too big. Too many kids. Too many.” My cooperating teacher and I were both speechless.
It turns out that she went straight to the principal’s office right after the interview and began to complain to her about the class size and how it was hurting her son’s education. When the principal said that there wasn’t much she could do about the situation, the parent began to complain about how I, the student-teacher, obviously didn’t know what I was doing for her kid to be failing, and that the regular teacher should teach the class alone.
Thankfully, the principal backed me up, but I still couldn’t believe what an airhead this parent was.
#63 Killing Them Sweetly
My aunt never let my cousins have any kind of sugar or candy. She told them that it was poison and tasted nasty. One time while our grandma was babysitting them (they were six), she let them have one Capri Sun each. They loved it, saying, “Grammy, sugar actually tastes GOOD!” and threw up shortly after because their stomachs could not handle it.
My cousins are alcoholics now.
#64 Excuses For The Stealing
I just got back from an internship at a German “Gymnasium” (high school directed towards kids who would normally go to college after). This school was also a boarding school and one of the kids is a complete jerk waffle. He steals and drinks and bullies everyone else then plays dumb as if he didn’t know what was up.
His mother is probably the biggest problem parent I had to deal with at the school, but I was an intern so the real teachers had to deal with way worse I believe. His mother ignores everything bad we told her about her kid. He is a saint who can do no wrong to her, and he’s too fragile to ride the train home so every other week and on holidays she drives across Germany to pick him up.
He got caught stealing from three other kids that lived next door to him, but his mom always gives some excuse like “Oh, he’s under so much pressure, you all just blame him for everything!” Meanwhile, he is growing up to have no future because he refuses to participate in school and can’t stop acting out.
There is probably a problem here that needs treatment but I am a college student and those teachers are way overworked as it is.
#65 Don’t Have the Heart to Tell Them
We traveled a lot when we were younger, and would skip lines at the airport since we were kids. But now we were all in our early teens, and my mom faked having a heart condition to skip the long line to get on the airplane. The flight attendant would have none of it, and told us to go back to the end of the line. I still remember the smiles and looks of everyone there.
#66 Skills They Could Use
I work in a school in one of the most socially deprived areas of the UK. At parents’ evening, we give every parent a printout of their child’s grades in each subject, alongside their target grades. Last year, we had the parent of an 11-year-old respond to this printout by shouting, “What the heck am I going to do with this? I can’t freaking read can I?”
This was in front of other children, parents and her child’s teachers. People seem to be torn on seeing this as just trashy, or more as sad as if I might be picking on her a bit. Just to be clear, I’m not making fun of her. A quick laugh behind closed doors at things like this seems to give a bit of levity for teachers in schools like mine. It can be tough.
But I think the majority of people who work in these areas do it because they want to help conquer some of the social inequalities or issues that people are facing. Whether that’s for pure humanistic beliefs, their own ego, or just because it feels like you’re accomplishing something. Maybe a bit of each. Regardless, I feel sympathy for the woman in question, and her daughter.
One of the aims of my job is to help prevent people reaching adulthood without the necessary skills to thrive. Her behavior doesn’t change that and doesn’t make me assume I’m a higher class of person than she is, just dealt a different hand I guess.
#67 The Original Captain Underpants
When I was a young kid, we had a pajama day at school. This posed a problem for me because I always just wore my boxers to sleep. Well, obviously a kid can’t just show up to school wearing nothing but underwear, but I was too little and dumb to understand that at the time. Why my mom allowed me to go in that way and even drove me there, I have no idea.
It was the most embarrassing day of my life, and the school had to call my parents to come pick me up less than halfway through the day.
#68 Family of Lies
I had a student who repeatedly lied about assignments, saying he’d turned them in and his teachers had lost them. As a team, with admin present, we had a conference with mom and dad, who deflected and provided excuses that he just “Doesn’t like school” and “If my son says he did something, he did it. We value integrity in our family.”
Three months later, some friends of mine invited me to a bar a few towns away to see a band perform. Near the end of the night, I ran into the mom, who was out on a date with a man who wasn’t her husband. From that point on, she wouldn’t return any of my emails or calls about the son’s behavior. She is now an administrator in another county.
#69 The World is a Contraband Locker
I was 11-13 at the time. I had a friend on the swim team who was also around that age. His parents were the most controlling people I had ever seen. His mother looked like the head of a Catholic girls’ school that punishes students for singing. We all used to play Nintendo DS games during meets. He just watched over our shoulders because if he touched a gaming console he would be punished.
His parents always made him wear the same clothes every day. Tan khakis, white shirt, dark blue sweater vest. Every day. I once got him a T-shirt for his birthday. He gave it back saying that he wasn’t allowed to wear it. He was homeschooled. Pretty sure his family spoke ecclesiastical Latin at home. It was freaking weird.
#70 Terrible Grandmothering
Chris’ grandmother (who became his legal guardian not too long before this story) takes the cake for me. Background—I taught at an alternative high school for students who were not successful in the traditional high school setting (Kids with drug problems mostly, but there were a few outliers to that, Chris being one).
Although he was fairly high functioning for his placement, Chris was classified special education, and was legally allowed to sit in on his PPT (Planning and Placement Team) meetings to discuss his IEP (Individualized Education Plan). It was at the PPT meeting in April to discuss the upcoming school year that my heart broke for this kid so badly.
We were discussing Chris’ progress in the current school year and I was being very optimistic about Chris’ upcoming school year as I felt that he made tremendous progress and could continue to do well if the proper support was in place. I made the suggestion that grandma help to facilitate a positive learning environment at home in order to provide Chris with the best chance to succeed and her exact response was “I’m not changing anything at home, the kid is stupid and he’s going to keep being stupid no matter what I do for him at home.”
He was sitting right next to her and I could see all the joy leaving his face like a balloon slowly being deflated. I never wanted to adopt a child so badly in my life as I did Chris, to get him out of yet another toxic home situation.
#71 Cheaper Than Therapy
About once a month, my dad gets drunk and calls various customer service centers demanding stuff. Once he finally gets off the phone (frequently 45+ minutes later), he spends the next few days telling us all about how he slew the customer service dragon, and boy, people sure don’t appreciate their customers nowadays blah blah blah.
No duh, dad, you’re being a jerk. No one appreciates that. If you’ve worked for DirecTV customer service any time since 1996, I apologize on behalf of my dad.
#72 Sell Your Kid’s Future
I volunteer at after school programs to help tutor. I had a student earlier this year. Good kid. He loves math, loves computers. He wants to be a programmer when he grows up. He’s really struggling in seventh grade because he has no computer at home. We have to do his online assignments at the program, but we only meet twice a week.
I pulled his mom aside and explained how he could be doing MUCH better in school with some kind of PC and internet access at home. She says she can’t afford a computer. I tell her that for $200, I could piece all the parts together myself for a fully functional set-up that would be sufficient for at least the next few years.
I’d even build it with him, so he could learn some extremely valuable information. I’d even front her half, but she’d have to pay me back. She says no way, still way out of her budget. Mind you, while we’re having this conversation, she’s barely looking up to speak to me. Too busy scrolling through the gram on her iPhone X.
I say screw it, I’ll do it myself. Scrap together all of the parts I can for free, I only had to buy an HDD. The set-up was really out of date but still worked. Gave it to them. The kid was thrilled. About a month later, I notice he’s trying to finish all his homework at the program again. I ask his mom if everything’s OK with the computer.
She says it broke down. I say OK, what happened? I’ll pick it up and try to fix it. She says she had to throw it away. I pull the kid aside and ask him. He tells me she sold it to her cousin for $50. I really don’t like calling people trashy when they’re apparently stuck in a culture of poverty. Maybe she needed that $50 for the light bill, or groceries.
But at the same time, she spends three times that amount on her cell phone each month, so it really just broke my heart. It was like she’s doing everything in her power to ensure the kid has no chance at a decent life.
#73 Well, That’s One Way to Be a Proud Mother…
I was one of those early bloomers when it came to puberty, and I had C cup breasts by the time I was eleven years old.
My mom seemed to absolutely love to loudly talk about them to anyone who would listen. “Yeah, she’s only eleven! Can you believe it? You wouldn’t think that from the way she’s filled out up top! Hahaha!” Then, I’d start crying from the humiliation and she’d just tell me to “lighten up.” This cycle repeated itself more times than I would care to count even if I could.
#74 Get Your Priorities Straight
This was years ago but has stuck with me. I was teaching high school and my class was immediately after lunch. My class is held in a room full of computers, so there is a strict no food/drink policy. Every day, this student brings in a slushy. Every day, I give him the choice to either finish it quickly in the hallway or throw it away.
Obviously, he can’t chug the slushy, so each day he throws most of it away. I ask why he brings it, and all he has for me is that he doesn’t feel like having it during lunch. Cut to conferences. I’m meeting with mom because he is failing. He’s there with her and she doesn’t seem to mind the fact that he’s failing. All she cares about is the $1.25 I’m wasting of hers every day for making him throw out the slushy.
I guess suggesting he eat it during lunch was not the response she was looking for. Thank god my ICR teacher was there with me.
#75 A Family of Mediums
When I was a kid, I wasn’t allowed to talk on the phone without my mom or grandmother listening in from another phone in the house. If I wanted to send a personal letter, they had to read it before it went in the mail, and of course, they opened anything that came addressed to me. I also had to write in a diary daily which they were allowed to read.
Schoolwork, I had to let one of them read before I turned it in and then when it was graded, show them the comments the teacher had made. My mom would even go through my trash and if she found something—a note from a friend, a phone number jotted down on a notecard, etc. she would iron out the paper and make me explain it.
For a while, I wasn’t allowed any toys that weren’t educational. When I was five, my grandpa bought me a Transformer and before I was allowed to play with it, he had to make a two-hour defense to my grandma that the Transformer was not only a pretty accurate model of a real military jet, but also a puzzle and having it would foster patriotism and an interest in technology and otherwise improve my mind.
In the end, I got to keep it. She didn’t know it was from a TV show or it would’ve gone right in the trash. Going to see movies wasn’t a matter of “Hey mom can I have money for a movie?” I had to cut an ad for it and a review out of the paper, highlight the parts of the ad and review that made me interested in the film, and present these to an adult at dinner.
The adults in the house would then debate the pros and cons of me seeing the movie, and sometimes I would be allowed to go—supervised, of course.
#76 Passing Down Prejudice
I’m not a classroom teacher, but I do work with kids doing behavioral therapy and teaching social skills. I did it in-home for four years and when I moved in June I started working at a clinic that more closely mimics a school. Both settings are beneficial for the kids, but lemme tell you about crazy parents. The worst was the hyper-religious family that home-schooled all five of their kids.
The youngest was 12 years younger than the second-youngest because the parents decided in their mid-forties that they wanted another kid. The odds of a special-needs child at that age are pretty damn high compared to 35 and younger, but they insisted that they wanted whatever “God had in store for them” and now play martyr about everything related to their daughter.
Oh, and they hate black people. Like, dad ranted about how “damn stupid” black people are, and their living room is filled with professionally framed Confederate Army paintings.
#77 Happy Birthday to None
Not the child, but I think this fits. I had this awful, annoying, and terrible neighbor who, because I’m a giant sucker, I was kind to. She asked me to come with her to dinner because it was her birthday, and I knew I was the only person on the planet who would go with her and goshdarnit, it’s her birthday. How could I say no?
So, she and I went and we brought our kids (all girls, one mine, two hers). She makes her oldest do her math homework right there at the table. When the child asks her for help (mind you this is like third-grade math), the mom says it’s too hard. I end up helping.
The waiter is just fine. He comes by and takes our orders. She is already acting weird, but she always acted weird so I didn’t think much of it. Waiter comes by again and asks if we need anything. She dismisses him, waves him off, and tells him no. Then like 30 seconds later, she turns to me and is like, “Can you believe how awful the waiter is? He won’t even refill my drink!” and just goes on about all these “issues” that literally don’t exist.
I’m like “He just asked if you needed anything…” she cuts me off “I’m going to talk to the manager.” Oh God…She talks to the manager like this is the worst experience she’s ever had in the history of her miserable existence. I’m in shock. Her kids have their heads down. Mine is oblivious. The manager gives her like half off the meal. Oh, and the kicker?
“That’s my half so you only need to pay the rest!” OH, GEE THANKS!! I left a big tip and a note on my receipt telling them the waiter was great and apologizing for the complaints that were totally not warranted.
#78 Indoor Voices
I called a parent about a behavior issue. I must have been on speakerphone because I heard the kid come home. The parent starts screaming at and whaling on the kid. They were cussing and calling them all sorts of names. I don’t even know if the parent remembered I was on the phone. I hung up the phone and went to my principal.
Teachers are mandated reporters, don’t hit your kids in front of a teacher.
#79 Forty Days and Forty Nights of Shame
When I was about five years old or so, my pre-kindergarten class did a play based on Noah’s ark—as it was a school that was connected to a church. We were instructed that our costume was supposed to be raincoats, rain boots, and umbrellas. I didn’t have any of those things, but I begged my dad to buy me at least one of them so that I could fit in and follow the guidelines.
Fast forward to the night of the play.
I’m frantically scanning the audience because my dad is ALWAYS late for everything. He finally shows up just before we are about to begin, and hands me…a life jacket. I had to stand up there in a stupid life jacket next to all of the other kids in their little raincoats. I was really embarrassed. Dad’s defense was that I was the only kid who would have survived the flood. I can laugh at that now, but I sure wasn’t laughing at the time!
#80 But Mama Said
I teach elementary music but I also assist in before school care. There was one boy in third grade that was sitting at a table with several other students. One girl was attempting to engage with the boy and he abruptly stood up, pointed at the girl, and screamed: “YOU ARE THE DEVIL”. Obviously, at this age, there needs to be an intervention, because you can’t talk to others in that fashion or with that language.
We always try and talk through emotions rather than explode. We call the mom and explain the situation. The mom’s first and only response was, “Well, if he called her the devil, she probably is the devil.” Can pretty clearly tell where that behavior comes from.
#81 I’m Not Touching That One
I worked in a school for kids with behavioral issues. These kids were typically aggressive, and some would elope from the building. Parents usually signed a release saying that we could touch their kids for restraint purposes. You have to remember that these kids would be out for blood during one of their crisis episodes. It wasn’t done for punishment, only safety.
Well, we had one parent who wouldn’t sign it because little Johnny “didn’t really need to be there.” Since we couldn’t touch him, he could beat up on the teachers and nothing could legally be done. We would just move out of the way. One day, he decided to leave the building and run down the road. We called the police and said we had a kid who left the building, and we couldn’t get him back.
Mom was notified, and Johnny was brought back in a cop car. She was irate over the situation and took him home for the rest of the day because she was scared that he was traumatized.
#82 Twin Grades
Student-teacher here. This one isn’t so bad as it is stupid. I had a pair of twins in my French class. One was quite bright, not perfect. Say in the B+/A- range. The other not so much. The other twin was failing by a large margin. Parent’s night. As a student teacher, I didn’t have to go. But I figured it was best to keep up appearances.
So the twins’ mom comes in and we all talk about the first twins’ grades. Mainly saying that they do this well, and this, and that they need to work on this to get past the B+. As for the other twin, we list our concerns: they are good at this, but they really struggle with that, blah blah blah. Just your standard feedback that would help both twins do well.
However, the mother gave one of the stupidest responses I’d ever heard. Both the teacher and myself were speechless. You’d think her comment was a joke, but she was serious. Dead serious. And I bet it’s not the first time she’s said it. “But if they’re identical twins, shouldn’t they have the same grade?”
#83 Ready, Aim, Fire
The number of cashiers who my father demanded the manager fire because they were too slow, rang us up wrong, etc., including one they actually did. I’ll never forget that girl taking her Home Depot apron off and walking away sobbing. To his credit (I guess?), my dad seemed surprised that it actually worked. He must have felt at least some level of guilt, and never did it again.
#84 Homework For Dinner
Woman I used to babysit for worked in a school as an assistant or something in Toronto, she always told this story about how the class rabbit would go home with a new kid each weekend. They kept trying to avoid giving one kid the bunny for the weekend because it was clear his home life wasn’t the best. But they finally caved and let him take the rabbit home.
The parents killed the rabbit and ate it. They killed the class bunny and fried it up for dinner. They weren’t even ashamed when they told the teacher what happened on Monday. Said they were out of groceries or something. I wish I had more details, but I haven’t seen this woman in a few years, so I only remember the basics of the story.
This incident happened around 20 or more years ago so I’m not sure about the aftermath. I had almost completely forgotten about it until I saw this thread and was reminded of this. As far as I remember, the family was very clearly trashy and irresponsible and that’s why the school didn’t want that kid to take the animal for the weekend.
#85 Something to Be Thankful For
For some inexplicable reason, my mom decided that it would be a good idea to casually tell everybody at Thanksgiving dinner at her boyfriend’s house about my tween bouts with anorexia. I didn’t want to be there in the first place, and she just kept going on and on about how I used to just eat carrots for dinner for a year.
It got so bad that I eventually had to shout at her to get her to stop.
#86 Figure It Out
I’m not a teacher but when I was in high school my form tutor was ranting about one child’s mum. It was the final year and exams where approaching. This one lad would come to school but sleep the entire day and never do any work, like literally none, and would often fall asleep. He was asked why he was so tired and obviously, the kid just replied, “dunno.”
After some digging, they found out his routine was—home from school, two-hour nap, play Call of Duty all through the night and then have a bath before coming to school. His mum was called in and told what was going on and that her son was going to fail everything. Her response was, “Well what do you want me to do about it?” in a tone that suggested, well you’re the teacher so it’s not my problem.
Poor lad slept through the handful of exams he turned up to.
#87 How About You Quarterback-Off, Dad
Probably an acquaintance of mine. I have posted about it on Reddit before a couple of times, but he is pretty bad, so I’ll share it again. This guy knows that his son is going to be a great NFL quarterback. The kid turned 10 recently and is a decent player, but his father has him work with different trainers and spend hours each day practicing.
He takes vitamins, has a special diet, and isn’t allowed to play other sports because his dad wants him to focus completely on football and doesn’t want to risk an injury playing another sport that would sideline him for football. He can’t have sleepovers or do any normal kid things. I know for a fact that the kid has told his father that he doesn’t want to play anymore, but the dad doesn’t care.
He says that as a parent, he has to do what is best for his kid. My sons play sports too and they don’t always want to go to practice, so I understand making them stick with something they signed up for. My kids know that they have to finish out a season, but I am perfectly fine if they don’t want to sign up the next season.
I just don’t understand why someone would continue to sign their kid up for something they clearly do not want to do. It’s a situation that I can’t see ending well.
#88 No Means Yes
The mom who taught her son to say “No daddy’s house” even though he loves his dad. He understood “yes” and “no” perfectly before this. After she did this we had to re-teach it by taking things away when he said no, he didn’t want it. He was so confused and cried so much. His mom is literally the devil.
#89 In the Garden of Pettiness
I grew up in a smaller town right on the cusp of its big growth boom. We knew our town had finally made it when we got an Olive Garden. We used to eat there 2-3 times a month. My mom and I would always split an entree, and my dad would get his own. We knew the rule: if you’re splitting an entree and you get more than one of the family-style bowls of salad, you’ll get charged an extra $4 for the extra person.
Welllll one day, my dad decides he wanted more salad. Only he wants the additional salad, but the waitress said if she refills the bowl, we’ll be charged the extra $4. Lo and behold, my parents threw the biggest tantrum because only HE wanted the additional salad. They demanded to speak to a manager, and the manager explained the rule (which we knew), but offered to comp the extra salad just to get my parents to stop yelling…and they did.
When our bill came, the manager comped my dad’s entree and the additional salad fee. Well, my mom got up. Interrupted the manager while he was talking to other guests, threw the check in his face, and asked, “What’s this?!?!” She was furious that he comped my dad’s meal. He ate the meal, therefore we would like to pay for it.
She wouldn’t stop raising her voice until she was allowed to pay for the meal (but not the salad). The manager was confused but obliged…when they brought the change, the manager slipped a few free appetizer coupons. My mom ripped them up and threw them on the ground as she left. Safe to say, I didn’t eat out with them for at least a month and I still refuse to go to Olive Garden with them.
#90 Meal Ticket
I taught elementary school, I had a third-grader who was well behind all the other children in reading skills. He seemed capable of reading, but just never put forth any effort. So I would pull him aside every chance I got and tutor him, it was paying off, he was progressing nicely.
Then his mother showed up one afternoon mad as hell because the boy was learning to read. It took me a while to figure out what she was screaming about, it seems she was receiving disability payments because her boy was “intellectually delayed” (she used stronger words) and incapable of reading, if the caseworker found out the boy could read the payments would stop.
Luckily, she caused such a commotion that the assistant principal got involved and she was threatened with arrest. But the poor little boy was scared whenever I tried to teach him.
#91 The Proof Is in the Poop
I have an aggressive case of Crohn’s disease that started showing up around the time I was in 8th grade. My mom took me to all of my doctor’s appointments, which were all pretty embarrassing because, as you can surely imagine, no teenage boy in the world wants their mom involved in any of their butt related illnesses.
On one particular visit, we were about half of the way through our appointment when she whipped out a Cool Whip tub. As it turned out, I had used the bathroom the previous night and it apparently didn’t all go down properly. My mom, without my knowledge, happened to have discovered the remaining sample I had left in the toilet, so she thought it would be a good idea to load that thing up in our poor people Tupperware and haul it on into the doctor’s office so that he could look it over.
He had the confused “What am I supposed to do with poop in a Cool Whip tub?” face going for a good five to ten seconds, and then he politely dismissed the offer. Who would have thought that there isn’t any medical knowledge to be gained from fishing old poop out of the toilet, refrigerating it overnight, and schlepping it up to an office for a visit?
#92 Twisted Views on Life
We had one child who was super aggressive, and I mean SUPER aggressive toward his classmates. Like, the kid couldn’t take any criticism. He couldn’t stand losing during gym/soccer. He was generally just a bag of frustration and pent up anger. I remember one gym class I ran, we played football and his team’s goalie didn’t save a penalty.
The aggressive child went absolutely nuts on this poor goalkeeper. I had to pull him off and send him to the principal’s office. He instead decided to leave the school and go home. Enough was enough. All the teachers agreed we needed to get his parents into school, as this behavior could NOT continue. Well, it all made sense when the mum came in to speak to us.
First, she excused his violent behavior during sports, claiming he’s so much better than his classmates and having the patience to “deal” with their incompetence takes its toll on him and he “understandably” lashes out when he feels others aren’t trying as hard as he is. This actually happened and I could not for the life of me believe what I was hearing.
This was my first year teaching at that school by the way. Regarding his aggressive behavior in class, her response…“Well, I don’t mind him being angry and fighting, because honestly? At least he won’t grow up to be gay.” THAT was her response. The one or two teachers that did speak up spoke well and told her that regardless of her ideologies, this behavior cannot and will not be tolerated.
He ended up moving schools—thank God.
#93 Can’t Force Fun
This is teaching adjacent. I used to be an educational facilitator at a science center. During the school year, I would be the liaison for school trips and during the summer, I would run the summer camps. Parents used to like to plunk their kids in science camp because it is educational. We had a pile of hands-on programming.
I have to say, it was pretty fun! Fun unless your kid aggressively hates science and you are forcing them to be there. Enter Jason. Jason was trouble from day one. We welcome them to camp by making liquid nitrogen ice cream. Jason didn’t care at all. He refused to eat “stupid nerd ice cream.” Throughout the day, his attitude got worse.
He refused to participate and called the other kids “nerds” and “losers.” He was an all-around pain in the butt. At pick up, I pulled his mother aside and said, “I don’t think Jason really wants to be here. We can arrange for a refund or see if we can transfer him to another program he will find more to his liking.” His mother replied, “It’s your job to make him want to be here, clearly you suck at it.” Great.
Day two, Jason shows up with an even bigger chip on his shoulder. The day’s activity was engineering! Fort Building! Every kid loves a good fort—except Jason. Jason picked up one of the plastic tubes and cracked a kid across the back of the leg with it. As I ran over to tend to his victim, Jason cracks me across the side of the head with the tube with all his might, breaking my glasses and giving me a decent bruise across the side of the face.
It takes two of us to disarm Jason and separate him from the group. We pull him into the admin office and call his parents to come now. He is no longer welcome. His mother shows up a good three hours later, absolutely livid. Not about Jason’s behavior. Not in the least. There was no apology or understanding. Instead, as we ejected her son from camp, she turned to us as said, “I hope you all get cancer.”
#94 Traumatic Flip of Switch
My first teaching job, I had a fifth grader who was THE WOOOOORST (Jean-Ralphio voice). He would literally just stand up in the middle of class, laugh like a madman, and run out of my classroom. He also did a few things in the bathroom that no sane child would ever do, mostly involving feces. I was new, so I asked around to see if this kid had a history of bad behavior.
All of his previous teachers said he was actually one of the better-behaved kids, and he was pretty smart. No previous history of this kind of attitude or behavior whatsoever. They were baffled. We (and by “we” I mean “all the fifth-grade teachers and the principal”) met with his parents four times in two months, trying to determine the cause of all of this.
In the first three meetings, his parents were cooperative, but seemed a little slow. They couldn’t think of any reason why little J (we’ll call him J) would act in such a way. In the fourth meeting, I said “listen, kids don’t just flip a switch like this. J has ZERO history of disciplinary problems until this year. Can you think of ANYTHING that happened between 4th and 5th grade that might affect his psychological makeup?” Their answer made my blood run cold.
They said “Oh! His uncle was found shot dead in our home this summer. J was the one who discovered his body.” Something that could have been brought to my attention YESTERDAY!!!
#95 Love, Money, or Mother?
I worked at Best Buy. I stopped in with my mom one day because she wanted to buy me the Star Wars DVD box set for my birthday. I had a huge, HUGE crush on the girl who was working the customer service counter. Well, the DVD set rang up $10 more than it was priced, and my mom deliberately didn’t say anything until after the transaction.
Why? Well, so she could claim the freaking $5 Michigan Scan Law bounty. My crush didn’t know how to process it and the manager was busy, so my mom tore into her about how it was her job and how she should understand how to do things. At my job. To a girl I liked. My life was misery for a while afterward.
#96 A History of Violence
Used to work with teenagers who had behavior problems in a special school. One day, a student of mine had a tantrum. He started punching staff and students alike while screaming. It took five male teachers to hold him down. The headmaster called his mom, so she could pick him up. She had ten minutes; if longer, we would call the cops.
The mother arrived eight minutes later. A woman in her late forties with bleach blond hair wearing a mini skirt and a crop top. She came in yelling and swearing at her son. She picked him up and smacked him at the back of the head while telling him he was a good for nothing idiot. The apple does not fall far from the tree.
What I meant by “the apple does not fall far from the tree” is that I understood from then on why this kid was violent and angry all the time. Often, the parent’s behavior is reproduced by the child.
#97 Don’t Skirt Around the Real Issue Here…
My mum once pulled up my skirt, causing me to involuntarily flash a room full of people, at a family Christmas dinner. I was absolutely mortified. She wanted to check for any potential self-harm scars on my thighs, apparently. I’ve never physically harmed myself before in my entire life. I was 18 years old at the time, and thankfully I was wearing underwear so it was not as bad as it could have been.
Nevertheless, she should not be allowed to consume alcohol ever again…
#98 Nurture Over Nature
As a teacher’s aide, I’ve seen quite a few badly behaved children with even worse parents, but this kid was the most “out there.” He was consistently late to school—if he ever came—and always left before the end of school, which was his only saving grace for the rest of the class. This kid was nine and still threw temper tantrums when things didn’t go his way.
He was so self-entitled and selfish that he had no friends and would constantly bully his classmates into handing over toys and lunch money. He was quite a stocky kid and knew how to throw his weight around to control other kids. But this was nothing—I repeat nothing—compared to his mother. She had multiple restraining orders from teachers and staff at the school as she would verbally and occasionally physically assault them.
Her son would spin stories about other children hurting him and teachers being mean and she would lose it. She would enter the school whenever she wanted, usually during class time, and insist on speaking with teachers. Refusal would mean getting cussed out in front of the kids—sometimes it would even get physical. She’s technically not even allowed on school property but has disregarded this.
The police are called every time she comes, but since we’re a rural school it takes them about 25 minutes to get there. Otherwise, his paternal grandma is pleasant and is fortunately the one who usually picks and drops him off.
#99 Bad Suggestions
My twin brother died in a car wreck and my family suggested that I should date his girlfriend because…grief, I guess? REAL FREAKIN’ AWKWARD, MOM.
#100 Don’t Let Sleeping Babes Lie
I worked daycare and was told to never accept babies sleeping in car seats or sleeping children at all. So if Mom or Dad brought a kid asleep, I immediately woke them up and pulled them out of their car seat. This made so many parents displeased with me but it’s policy. I used to think it was to help the kid be on a schedule, but then I found out the disturbing truth behind the rule.
One day, a grandma brought a baby asleep and he was not waking up at all. Just would raise his head, whimper, and go back to sleep. Immediately my boss called 911 and grandma was trying to downplay “he had a rough night, he’s just tired, etc.” I knew this baby, he wouldn’t sleep if he thought he was going to miss out, we had music playing and kids loudly singing and dancing.
In the chaos, grandma slipped out and at some point, someone called the parents. Turns out Granny had a history of giving kids stuff to knock them out when she babysat, but this time she did it to a six-month-old and that’s why he wouldn’t wake up. I think they pumped the kid’s stomach and he had a stay at the hospital. Legal actions were taken and the family moved away.
To clarify, the policy was put in place because my boss knew abusers have been known to do this. They’d break the kid’s arm, dose them, dump them with the sitter who lets the baby asleep all morning then because the kid was with the sitter all day, it’s easy to blame them for the baby’s injury. Or worse, the baby died and they do this to blame the sitter.
So yea, to this day if I’m babysitting, I don’t accept sleeping children. I flat out refuse to watch kids at their home while they’re sleeping for the same reason. I’ve pretty much stopped doing any child care because as much as I love kids, watching parents make bad decisions on purpose when they know better, was killing my soul.
#101 Her Anxieties Never Held Water
My grandmother (who lived with us) did not let me walk up and down stairs, and I was also not allowed to let shower water hit my chest. She believed that if I either fell on the stairs or did them too quickly, I would die. She also told me that if shower water pounded on my chest it would destroy my heart and it would be my fault if I had a heart attack and died. Both of these were enforced rules (amongst 10 million others) in my house.
She did have a kid who had died of heart problems, but the shower water thing is only an instruction for like RIGHT AFTER open heart surgery. Jesus.