We do our best as parents. Sometimes, we even do an amazing job of it. However, parenting, like the rest of life, is just as much about making mistakes as it is about getting it right.
There are times when our kids end up being the teachers, and we end up being the students. That can lead to some hilarious moments. Here are 40 of our favorites:
#1 It’s just not fair
“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.'”
We try to teach our kids and prepare them for life. Sometimes, they are the ones who end up reminding us that those lessons don’t just apply to them.
#2 Questioning authority
“Successfully taught my child to question authority. Forgot I was an authority.”
It’s important to teach kids to stand up and think for themselves. However, there are repercussions. You can’t run a dictatorship while teaching democracy.
#3 When to call the police
“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.”
Kids tend to take instructions literally. Always follow up! There have been a lot of parents who have found the police at their door over the years and couldn’t figure out why.
#4 The subject of video games
“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.'”
Telling anyone to Google something may not always have the intended result. There is more than one link to click! Also, he might be right about the glasses.
#5 It was in the book
“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.”
Parenting books are great. However, their advice doesn’t always apply perfectly to every kid. This might be one of those kids.
#6 Failed lessons
“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.”
To be fair, the odds were on the mom’s side. Unfortunately, life has a way of playing its own odds against us all. Those kids are going to be lifetime gamblers!
#7 So gross
“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.”
Kids can be gross. That’s why we teach them to chew with their mouths closed. That didn’t work out too well in this case.
#8 Mr. and Mrs. Iannuccilli
“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.”
Some lessons seem so simple. Kids will show you the reality. Nothing is ever that simple.
“Taught my four-year-old that you’re not allowed to say that a food is gross if you haven’t tried it. Apparently, I’m not allowed to criticize her booger eating until I try it.”
That’s the problem with trying to explain perfectly reasonable logic to kids. They tend to run with it and apply it to things like boogers.
“Taught my 2nd-grade daughter the tiniest bit of boxing so she wouldn’t be defenseless on the schoolyard. She spent 3rd grade sending the boys home with broken noses.”
We start out with the best intentions. We don’t want our kids to get hurt. But what about the bigger picture?
#11 Crossing the street
“We’ve been working with our 2-year-old on holding hands when we cross the street or walking through a parking lot. After a couple of weeks, he tried holding his own hands. I have to give him credit since I never specified whose hand he had to hold.”
Crossing the street is an important lesson. What could go wrong? It’s only holding hands after all. Oh, right…
#12 Christmas coal
“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.”
As parents, sometimes we use the tried and true methods of persuasion. How could the old coal in the stocking threat possibly go wrong? Oh, right, some kids love fire.
“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.”
We teach siblings the secrets of life to give them an advantage. However, there are times when they turn the tables and make us take the fall.
#14 Eat your vegetables
“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 convince 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.”
It’s reasonable to want to see clean plates when dinner is over. After all, it is one of the only paths to a balanced diet. This, however, had unintended consequences.
“Told my children they should always have a good reason for what they want to do as a way to curb impulsive behavior. I am hearing about ALL THE REASONS constantly.”
It seems like a good parenting method. After all, the kids have to use their brains, and there’s nothing wrong with being a reasonable parent and listening to the occasional argument for something. However, kids always take things to extremes.
“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.”
Sure, making the kids into mini revolutionaries seems like a cute idea. That is until you realize they’re about to overthrow the establishment, and you happen to be the establishment in the house.
“I always tell my children that the lottery is a tax on people that are bad at math. I let my 8-year-old spend a few hard-earned dollars on a Powerball ticket to prove it, and he won $100.”
If you are going to teach the kids about gambling, it might be better to get out the calculator and graphs to show how low the odds are. After all, if you play, there is a chance that might be the one time you win.
“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.”
Being successful can come with side effects. If you accomplish too much in one area, other areas may suffer. Parenting is hard!
#19 Small details
“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 arm’s 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 the police looked like.”
It makes sense to teach kids about strangers and police. However, it’s also important to have a few images or videos to go along with the lesson.
#20 Double trouble
“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.”
Raising twins is no easy task. This is just one of the countless ways it can go extra wrong.
“My mother told me at a very young age, ‘If you have a child, I won’t help you at all. You and your baby mother will have to be grown since you want to do grown-up stuff.’ Now I am 28, no kids, and don’t plan on having any, and my mom is pissed because she won’t have any grandchildren, and she ‘NEEDS’ to be a grandma according to her logic.”
Parenting can come with regrets. We want to raise strong and independent children. We also still want them to be a little dependent on us. Life isn’t easy!
#22 Cleaning up
“I told my 7-year-old if he didn’t clean his room, I’d donate his stuff. He then helped me bag it all up and said, ‘if I don’t have any stuff, I don’t need to clean my room!'”
We mean things as warnings. They take them as suggestions. Kids can be complicated.
“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.”
You have to be very careful about how you word things. Now, their hallway is a campsite.
#24 Household politics
“I taught them about democracy. Now everything’s a vote, and when they don’t get their way, they call me a dictator.”
There’s a reason kids don’t have the right to vote. This might be it.
“Do well in school so you can go to college and get a good job. Then she asked why she needed to go to college to get a job when that is what I did, and I hated my job.”
We share good basic advice with our kids, and we have the best intentions. Unfortunately, they can be critics – very accurate critics.
#26 The horse
“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.”
If you don’t want a horse, say you don’t want a horse. Don’t try to be slick like these parents did.
“I followed the offer your kids two appropriate choices advice- like “do you want broccoli or carrots with dinner.” My children quickly learned to just say things like “no, I’d like a candy bar or a cookie. Your choice.” Right back at me.”
Our kids learn from us. That doesn’t just include the lessons we teach them. It also includes all of our parenting tactics.
#28 Calling 911
“Saw a clip on the local news about a toddler saving her mom’s life by calling 911 when she collapsed. Figured it was a good idea to teach my toddler 911. I had two cops at my door 5 minutes later.”
This is always a tough one. It’s important for kids to know how to call for help in an emergency. Yet, it goes wrong so frequently.
#29 Wise spending
“That playing carnival/fair games is a waste of money. My son wanted to spend his $20 to win a Pikachu stuffed animal from his allowance that he saved up. WE told him he would be wasting his money, and he would not win. He spent $15.00 and won the biggest prize.”
How do you trach wise spending habits to a kid who just won the biggest prize with unwise spending habits? Now, that’s a tough one.
#30 The swear jar
“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 I’m gonna help the animals I’ll be right back!” before the 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…”
Swear jars are great. Next time, don’t link them with something the kids like. Maybe just use the money to get some new kitchen cabinets.
#31 Cheese and booze
“My nephew hated smiling, so in pictures, my dad would tell him to say ‘whiskey.’ When he tried saying ‘cheese’ it wasn’t the same. Anyway, at school, the principal was taking a picture of the class and told everyone to say ‘cheeeeese!’ My nephew shouted, ‘WHISKEEEY!'”
It’s cute when they’re little and at home. It becomes a whole lot less cute when they’re yelling it in front of the whole class.
#32 The logical argument
“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.”
This parent just wanted a little peace. Now, they have to set up an entire legal defense.
#33 Dental hygiene
“I tried to explain to my daughter, who was maybe 4-5 at the time, that she needs to brush her teeth regularly or they’ll fall out. She said she’ll wait until her grown-up teeth come in and brush those. I mean.. She’s not wrong but still.”
How could teaching kids about their second set of teeth possibly go wrong? This is how.
#34 Just walk away
“Told my kid to walk away from the urge to get angry at his classmates when they hurt or upset him for whatever reason (he’s 6). Got a call today that he’s walked out of PE and into the adjacent orchard connected to their school to cool off for a bit, and they couldn’t coax him back in at first.”
It’s good advice. It just might not be the right advice for every situation.
#35 Giving back
“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 into 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.”
We teach our kids with rewards to make the lesson a fun one. Sometimes, they want to do the same for us.
#36 Missing details
“Taught my toddler how to go upstairs, but I didn’t realize that going downstairs was, in fact, a completely different and far more dangerous skill. Lucky for us, the kid seems to have finally grasped the finer points of head protection.”
We think we’re teaching our kids a new skill. We forget that it’s never just one skill that is required.
#37 The best intentions
“I bought cool window decorating markers for Christmas and let the kids decorate the windows and write their names all over them. For the next year or so, I found stuff written on the windows with regular permanent markers. I didn’t really think through the concept of teaching them to write on windows very well.”
Getting the kids involved during the holidays makes everything just a little more special. However, it’s important to realize what might happen after the holidays.
#38 A compliment
“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!'”
Yes, compliments are important. No, not every compliment will be taken well.
#39 A new perspective
“Talked to my kid about different beliefs concerning death, and one of them was reincarnation. Now he wants to dig up our dog who died last year to see if we can reanimate her.”
Belief systems are a lot to absorb. However, when they involve resurrecting the dog, well, there are limits.