Even with the best intentions and brilliant 200-IQ strategies, some children won’t want to be taught important life lessons by their parents. They. Just. Won’t. Listen. And sometimes, these lessons can backfire so spectacularly, they end up making thousands of people laugh.
When Reddit user -Don-Draper- asked parents to share the times their lessons completely backfired, they sparked a whirlwind of a discussion that had us giggling at the fantastic sense of humor The Universe flexes whenever we desperately want something to work. Upvote your fave parenting stories as you scroll down, dear Pandas. And we can’t wait to read your own lesson disasters in the comment section!
What this shows is just how important communication between parents and their children really is. Bored Panda spoke about how to best communicate with kids with Samantha Scroggin, who works in government communications and is the founder of the ‘Walking Outside in Slippers’ blog for parents. Read on for her insights.
I taught my 4-year-old to always compliment people who insult you. Later, we were helping my mother shop for a bathing suit when a woman said something rude to her. My kid squeezed out from behind me and told the woman, 'Your teeth are such a pretty yellow!'
As good people, we taught our kids that littering isn't nice. As humans, we also let some curse words fly in front of them.
We were at our city's 4th of July celebration when the oldest was 4. We were walking around and someone tossed their trash on the ground. Captain Litterbug flew into action, picked up the trash and yelled, "Hey a**hole, you dropped this," while tapping them on the butt.
When my daughter was young I was trying to teach her the value of money and decided to start giving her an allowance. I explained that because she helped out and did her chores, she had earned money to spend on whatever she wanted. She happily accepted and stashed her money in her room, Later that evening before I tucked her in to bed, she goes to her money jar, pulls out 2$ and hands it to me, and explains that it's for being a good daddy.
“Communication is an area I have a lot of experience in, working in government communications for a living. Even with that experience, communicating with my kids is a challenge!” Samantha from ‘Walking Outside in Slippers’ told us that even being a professional such as herself doesn’t automatically make things easy.
According to Samantha, her kids are very intense and high energy, so they need lots of validation. Now that’s something that quite a few parents can relate to! This means that some kids might need feedback from their parents all the time (which can be exhausting during lockdown) while other children might be more likely to ignore any life lessons being taught to them because they’re constantly on the move.
Taught my daughter that whining and begging doesn't get her what she wants. she needs to make a logical argument. i now live with a 12-year-old lawyer who is really good at making me change my mind on house rules.
At dinner with fam. Starting a swear jar that we all agree the money will go to help animals at the local shelter. Got all the rules down with the kids and they are excited to start. Daughter (8) says "Well s**t im gona help the animals i'll be right back!" before wife and i can even process what she got away with our son (6) blurts out "F**k yeah me too!" both running to get money from their rooms...
My parents told my sister if she found a horse for free, she could have it. She was an industrious 8 yr old and found a free lease in the paper. She managed to call and sound adult enough to truck the barn into thinking this was a great idea. A trailer pulled up a few days later and unloaded a horse in the yard. Shocked the hell out of mom. And that started 20 years of horse ownership.
But the important thing is to breathe in, relax, and be patient. Even if our little munchkins can drive us insane sometimes, we’re the adults and we need to act all mature. And that means sacrificing some of our well-earned leisure time to give our kids the attention they need from us.
“Although kids constantly vying for our attention can be grating, I think it's important we put down our phones sometimes, look them in the eyes and say, ‘Tell me all about that cardboard robot you made.’ Kids want our undivided attention on occasion, and to hear how proud of them we are,” Samantha said.
Now that’s something all parents should take to heart. This might just make your kids more open to learning the lessons you want to teach them in the future! All that remains is hoping The Universe doesn’t find some way to prank parents again.
My friend’s 10 year-old daughter was going over to a friend’s house in the same apartment complex, but a few buildings away.
Mom: “Ok, what do we do if someone tries to grab you?”
Daughter: “Kick him in the balls and yell ‘FIRE’!”
Mom: “Ha, right, but that’s not a good word, it’s ‘testicles’.”
Daughter: “Ok, kick him in the balls and yell ‘TESTICLES’!”
Mom: “You know...that might work too.”
I was teaching my daughter that if she’s in any situation where anyone is doing something she doesn’t like, she tells them to stop. If they continue, use the palm of her hand and punch “up” on their nose.
My husband and his brother were throwing her back and forth in a pool, she kept asking them to stop, when her dad caught her again, boom. She broke his nose. Literally. There was blood everywhere.
My kids were begging for a pet. I told them if they could keep their rooms clean for six months, they could get one. My youngest proceeded to clean his room, move clothes and a sleeping bag into the hallway, then lock his door so his room couldn't get dirty as he slept in the hallway.
When I was little my family was at an Angels game. My mother went to the restroom and left me with my dad. I wandered off and was eventually found halfway around the stadium. A crowd had gathered to watch as a police officer held me out at arms length while I screamed, 'Call the police! This man is not my daddy!' My parents had taught me stranger danger, but forgotten to teach me what police looked like.
Told kids that if they were bad they would get coal in their stockings on Christmas. "What's Coal?", they asked. Well it is a rock that you can light on fire. They now want coal.
When my daughter was about 5 she asked why we need rain. I explained to her that we need to it grow the food we all eat that are plants. She asked why we need the veggies and I used this as an opportunity to get her to eat her veggies so I told her if she wanted to grow up at all she needs to eat lots of veggies. This kid has requested cucumbers or carrots or bell peppers or any crunchy kinda veggie as her snack since then. It's pretty awesome...
But now I can't enjoy a bag of chips at home any more. She'll walk in shake her head and tell me to go easy "because you're done growing UP, so you can only grow out..."
My dad tried to implement the whole you MUST eat ALL the food on your plate in our house during meals. One day my sibling had 2-3 bites of food left on their plate and was very clear that they were absolutely full and couldn't eat another bite. Dad wasn't having it and insisted they could not leave the table until all the food on their plate was gone. My sibling realized they weren't going to convice our dad that they were too full and finished the last few bites and then proceeded to vomit on the table and our dad. He stopped enforcing the rule after that.
Coworker of mine was trying to teach her kid the "don't talk with your mouth full" rule. Instead, the kid just spits out their food when they want to talk.
Children are the absolute masters of malicious compliance.
My teenage son was staying up super late on his laptop doing teenage internet things (porn & gaming I assume) and f***ing up in school, so we put parental controls on the router so that the internet would be turned off from 11 pm to 7 am.
This of course impacted my wife and I, because we lost internet access during those hours too. Grumble grumble damn kids, etc.
Anyway, he was way more tech-savvy than we were, so he was able to bypass the parental controls, and stay on-line as late as he wanted. So the end result of the parental controls was that the parents didn't have internet, but the teenager did.
My parents tried to start a chore/payment system around the house. There was a list of chores and then payment for them.
"Clean guest bathroom...$1.50. " First, I just kept using that bathroom, so it needed cleaned daily. Basically got paid to poop. They stopped that after the first week.
Next, I realized it didn't say WHO had to do the cleaning. I'd pay the neighborhood kids to do it instead. I'd give them $1 to clean the bathroom and pocket the $.50. I did that one for like, 3 weeks before the other parents found out and I got yelled at.
My son was playing with deodorant and a lighter and almost set himself on fire. I made him write out "I must not play with aerosols" one hundred times. He wrote "I must not play with arseholes" one hundred times. It is now framed and hanging on the wall.
I read a book that suggested you ask your kid what an appropriate punishment for misbehaving would be and then carry it out. My 6-year-old son pinched his brother, so we asked him what an appropriate punishment would be. He said, 'Pluck out my eyeballs and throw me over a cliff.' We didn't carry it out.
I've been teaching my kids that life isn't always fair. Recently, I was playing Tic-Tac-Toe with my youngest when she covered up the column she wanted to use to win. When I told her I didn't want to play if she was going to cheat, she replied, 'Life isn't fair, momma.'
My 8 year old was spending too much time playing video games. I asked him to research the harmful results of too much time gaming. He came back with his report stating he needed “gaming glasses” and a “gaming chair.”
Sucessfuly taught my child to question authority. Forgot I was an authority.
My sister tried to teach her kids not to gamble, so she bought a few lottery tickets to show them that they were all going to be losers. She won $500.
Told my children repeatedly that if I found anymore mess/junk on their bedroom floor, I would be donating it to the thrift store. I told them they had 15 minutes to clean it up off the floor.
Came back to find everything picked up, except they went into the kitchen cupboards and had put every food they didn't like in a nice neat pile right in the middle of the floor.
I was trying to teach my 4 year old that it is important to go to sleep because our brains need to recharge. I compared it to my IPad needing to recharge after it dies.
He said “okay...” and got really quiet. Then told me, “mom, I need to go to sleep.” I agreed with him, but asked why he was suddenly tired. He started crying and said “because I don’t want to die.”
Watching the World Cup Semi final this year with my 4 yo daughter, I was trying to teach her how we wanted the team in White to win (England), and not the team in Black (Croatia). We even chanted a couple of “C’mon England!” chants together.
Newly enthused with a love for chanting, she suddenly started shouting;
“CMON ENGLAND! BEAT THE BLACKS! WE HATE THE BLACKS! WE HATE THE BLACKS!”
Quickly taught her the “We don’t say it like that” lesson.
My parents taught me to call 9-1-1 when I saw somebody doing something illegal. I called the cops on The Wiggles Movie I was watching when I was 5 because a clown stole a cake.
My wife tried to explain the concept of heaven to our 5 year old after great grandpa passed. My daughter did not believe one ounze of it. She responded "you're making that up mommy, you can't be in heaven and a cemetery at the same time".
Me and my wife started using code words in front of the children, mainly if we wanted to discuss plans without getting the kids too excited and getting their hopes up. For example we would say GP instead of play ground, cylindrical slice of cow place instead of McDonald's.
They have cottoned on to this and now use code words amongst themselves which we're struggling to figure out.
When I was like 16, my dad told me that I need to stop treating him and my mom like my friends because they're my parents. The very next day, before I got home from school, I had friend requests from both of my parents on Facebook. I denied them both. When my dad got home from work we had a conversation that went like this: Dad: Did you see that your mom made a Facebook account? Me: Yes, I did. Dad: Well, did you accept her friend request? Me: No, I didn't. Dad: Why not? Me: Because, just yesterday you told me you're my parents, not my friends. By the way, I also denied your friend request.
My dad just looked at me, looked at my mom who was almost in shock over my response, and said, "He's not wrong. I said that."
Not me but my aunt - she was trying to teach my young cousins that spiders are leggy friends and nothing to be scared of. She demonstrated this by bringing them all into the bathroom to witness a huge wolf spider.
"You see, it's so much more scared of us than we are of AAAAARGGGGHHH!"
It bit her. Of course it bit her. She flung it high into the air, screaming blue murder, whilst her newly traumatised offspring screamed a falsetto counterpoint.
My aunt and uncle were trying to teach my cousins to address adults as 'Mr.' and 'Mrs.' In order to do this, they used each other as examples, and consequently were known to their kids as Mr. and Mrs. Iannuccilli for two months. One of the funniest moments of my life was hearing my uncle describe how in the middle of the night instead of hearing ‘Dad’ he started hearing, ‘Mr Iannuccilli!’ Cracks me up every time.
Not a parent, but when I was little I noticed my sister was writing her name on the walls with crayon. Taking on the role of Helpful Big Sister, I informed her that if she was going to graffiti things she shouldn't write her name and give herself away. A few weeks later she carved patterns — and MY name — into the desk in the study.
Not a parent but when I was around 12, my father suspected that I stayed up late playing videogames, even though I didn't. One night he went into my room and told me that I shouldn't play my Game Boy Advance past bedtime, because I needed to rest. That's when I realized I could play my Game Boy Advance past bedtime, and I've suffered from insomnia since then.
When my son was about 3 or 4 he started to ask about how babies are born. I sat him down and gave him a very simple, age appropriate explanation.
He just looked at me, shook his head and said just said 'No.' Very calmly but in a 'I can't believe you think that's how it works' tone of voice like I'd told him fake news.
I was prepared for difficult questions and even prepared for the fact that he might ask me things that even I didn't know, but I was completely unprepared for him to just simply not believe me when I told him the truth. I just sat there not knowing what to do while he went back to playing lego.
One of my 5-year-old twins was still having accidents because she'd get so caught up doing things that she'd pee her pants. To combat this, we began giving her a prize when she didn't have an accident. This caused her twin sister to START having accidents so she could get prizes too.
As the kid and not the dad...When I was 11 my father caught me smoking. As a punishment he made me finish the whole pack.
I hated my first cigarette and had no intention of ever smoking again. But after smoking that pack I would try to hang out with the older kids and smoke with them because after all, my punishment wasnt as bad as the usual whoopin' and they found me funny to have around.
I smoked until I was 37 or so. Yeah, my dad was an idiot.
My nephew mispronounced the name of a certain kitchen appliance, so my sister broke it into syllables very distinctly for him, saying "it's mi-cro-wave."
My nephew nodded very seriously and replied "It's your crow wave!"
I taught them to stand up for what they believe in....
All of a sudden they believed veggies were the devil and bedtimes should be abolished.
I wasn't trying to teach him but I was asking my three year old what the colors of traffic lights mean. Green means go, Red means stop and Yellow means speed up. From his experience I guess that made sense also made me more aware of how I'm driving.
I tried to teach my kids to be content within themselves and how to be alone. Full success, they rarely ever go out. 22 and 24. They are so mellow that they don't tell us when something goes wrong since they were middle schoolers.
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