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.

#1

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!'

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Martha Meyer
Community Member
2 months ago

Worked out, didn't it?

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#2

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.

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Canadian in Cornwall
Community Member
2 months ago

this made me laugh out loud!

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#3

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.

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Astrid Nineor
Community Member
2 months ago

Awwwwww

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“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.

#4

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.

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Demian
Community Member
2 months ago

Hope she pursues a career in law

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#5

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...

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troufaki13
Community Member
2 months ago

Don't mess with children logic!! :D

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#6

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.

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ivy green
Community Member
2 months ago

XDDDDD

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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.

#7

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.”

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SoozeeQ
Community Member
2 months ago

Priceless! (And saying "fire" is good too. If someone yells, "rape", chances are people won't want to get involved, but if they yell "fire" people will come from everywhere!)

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#8

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.

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Martha Meyer
Community Member
2 months ago

Well... guess that taught dad something about consent too.

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#9

Parent-Lessons-Children-Backfired 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.

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ML
Community Member
2 months ago

I know the feeling. I am in the end of wanting a dog, not forbidding one. I am a grown up, but my wife does not want a dog. So the compromise is that we are not getting a dog.

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#10

Parent-Lessons-Children-Backfired 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.

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citcat
Community Member
2 months ago

Smart(ish) kid.

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#11

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.

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glowworm2
Community Member
2 months ago

Coal does sound pretty awesome when you put it that way.

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#12

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..."

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Canadian in Cornwall
Community Member
2 months ago

smart kid you've got there !

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#13

Parent-Lessons-Children-Backfired 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.

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Astrid Nineor
Community Member
2 months ago

Rule in my house was 'you took it yourself, you eat all. Somebody else put it on your plate, you taste all, but don't have to finish all'

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#14

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.

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JiminKimLip7
Community Member
2 months ago

That's the most disgusting and smart thing I ever read!

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#15

Parent-Lessons-Children-Backfired 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.

paul99501 , torontoobserver.ca Report

Martha Meyer
Community Member
2 months ago

There is such a thing as unplugging cables....

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#16

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.

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SoozeeQ
Community Member
2 months ago

An entrepreneur in the making!

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#17

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.

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Eric Law
Community Member
2 months ago

Yeah but was it written with a British accent?

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#18

Parent-Lessons-Children-Backfired 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.

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S.
Community Member
2 months ago

How eyeronic.

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#19

Parent-Lessons-Children-Backfired 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.'

miseleigh , James MacDonald Report

German Rottweiler#16
Community Member
2 months ago

touche

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#20

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.”

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Aria
Community Member
2 months ago

😂

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#21

Parent-Lessons-Children-Backfired Sucessfuly taught my child to question authority. Forgot I was an authority.

AkumaBengoshi , Andy Michael Report

ML
Community Member
2 months ago

Not any more

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#22

Parent-Lessons-Children-Backfired 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.

RedditPoster05 , Mike Mozart Report

SoozeeQ
Community Member
2 months ago

Only gamble what you can afford to lose! (I once bought a QuickPick and won $25.40. I was hoping for the jackpot of $12 million, but still, the win covered the cost of the ticket and then some).

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#23

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.

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Dorothy Parker
Community Member
2 months ago

Brilliant!

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#24

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.”

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Aeon Flux
Community Member
2 months ago

Sleep deprivation really can kill you.

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#25

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.

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Fin Diffenderfer
Community Member
2 months ago

Oh, dear...

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#26

Parent-Lessons-Children-Backfired 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.

Turtelbob , Jarrett Campbell Report

Astrid Nineor
Community Member
2 months ago

Well, some adults call 911 for nonsense stuff as well, so...

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#27

Parent-Lessons-Children-Backfired 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".

foh242 , photogramma1 Report

Martha Meyer
Community Member
2 months ago

Smart kid!

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#28

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.

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SirPatTheCat
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

Once when I was probably about 6 my mom and her friend were talking about rice crispies and wanted to be discreet because there were a lot of excitable kids around. She tried to spell out “R-i-c-e c-r-i-s-p-i-e-s” because she didn’t want me to know, but underestimated my spelling skills and I proceeded to shout “RICE CRISPIES??!!” and started a riot xD

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#29

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."

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niki.bordeaux
Community Member
2 months ago

I can't understand why a parent would say that to their kids.

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#30

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.

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Fin Diffenderfer
Community Member
2 months ago

Blue murder...? That's a new one-

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#31

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.

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JuJu
Community Member
2 months ago

My 10yo decided one day to call his gandparents by their first names, because "we know each other long enough now".

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#32

Parent-Lessons-Children-Backfired 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.

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kasa alex
Community Member
2 months ago

My brother did this, my name is still carved on the kitchen table

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#33

Parent-Lessons-Children-Backfired 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.

Monfo , Dark Dwarf Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
2 months ago

Never warn a child to NOT do something, because you are teaching them that it is actually something you CAN do. "Don't drop the glass" or "Don't slam the door" and guess what will happen.

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#34

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.

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SoozeeQ
Community Member
2 months ago

I would have asked him, how he thought they were made, then!

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#35

Parent-Lessons-Children-Backfired 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.

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S.
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

Reminds me of that moment when someone tried to potty train their goats by luring them to the designated spot with treats, but then every the goats saw their owner... They'd just pee.

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#36

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.

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Krazy Kanuck
Community Member
2 months ago

I started smoking: when it was still good for you (in the 70's) my brother and I would steal our grandmother's half smoked "MORE" cigarettes. My parents didn't catch us smoking until we were in our teens. I started smoking in 1974, and quit Dec 21 2001.

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#37

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!"

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Binxyminxem
Community Member
2 months ago

Lol reminds me when I was little, me and my family were going to Miami on holiday. I asked my mum what's an ami, do I have one, what's her Ami's name etc. 😁

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#38

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.

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Zophra
Community Member
2 months ago

...just squash.

Midget
Community Member
2 months ago

and tomatoes.

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German Rottweiler#16
Community Member
2 months ago

BEDTIMES SHOULD BE ABOLISHED!!!!!!! but I like a lot of veggies

Lucifer321
Community Member
2 months ago

*sigh* no one understands me

Bewarethenargles
Community Member
2 months ago

Future Halloween Costume: KID IN STORY: What r u 4 Halloween? OTHER KID: Broccoli KID IN STORY: Forget Pennywise. Run for your LIFE!!!

Autumn
Community Member
2 months ago

I immediately thought u meant he dressed up as Deku (even tho he DOES NOT look like broccoli) but then i realized u meant the vegetable.

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OMEGA
Community Member
1 month ago

Noice.

Latorria Phillips
Community Member
1 month ago

no veggies ya

Payton Weigand
Community Member
2 months ago

hahahahaha i would do the same thing

Patty Leaton
Community Member
2 months ago

ha ha

Elaine Mattingly
Community Member
2 months ago

Twenty votes!

Jayden Penzien
Community Member
2 months ago

HAHAHAHAHAhahahahahahahahahaha

Julius Martin
Community Member
2 months ago

asparagus is the true devil

German Rottweiler#16
Community Member
2 months ago

peas are the devil tho

Jaime
Community Member
2 months ago

Have you tried peas fresh out of the garden, though? They’re nice and sweet and crunchy.

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#39

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.

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Eric Law
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

Someone on a car forum I frequent once posted that their kid was learning to drive and wondered what he could do to stop the kid's bad habits like coasting past stop signs, speeding up for yellow lights, etc. I responded that what he needed to do was get a time machine, go back a few years to when the kid started noticing *him* doing all those things, and cut it out!

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#40

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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Julius Martin
Community Member
2 months ago

ummm and this is a good thing?

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Note: this post originally had 106 images. It’s been shortened to the top 40 images based on user votes.