Parents Look Back and Laugh at 13+ Lessons They Tried and Failed to Teach Their Kids


Parents try their best to impart valuable wisdom and knowledge to their children. Sometimes those lessons stick and sometimes…not so much.

That was definitely the case for these 15 parents, who I’m sure can laugh about their fails in hindsight. Perhaps with a drink in hand.

#15. I want that monkey.

“When my older son was about three or four years old, we realized he was starting to act very spoiled and materialistic. We always tried to make him see how lucky he already had it, but he constantly begged us for every toy, candy, and treat he saw anywhere and everywhere.

Around that time, I came across a great photo spread that involved the photographer traveling around the world and snapping photos of different children with their most prized possessions. Of course, the kids in the US, Canada, and Europe were mostly photographed in rooms filled with stuff. But there were also photos of children from impoverished nations, usually showing the child with only one old, dirty stuffed animal.

I thought I was going to accomplish this brilliant parenting move by sitting him down and going through the photos with him. I’d explain how the kids with rooms like his were beyond lucky and he should feel more than satisfied with all of the great stuff that he had. Then I would show him the other photos and he would finally understand that there are so many other children in the world with far less than he had.

We looked through the photos and talked about each one. We finally got to one with a little boy standing on his cot with his one possession, a well-loved, dingy-looking stuffed monkey. My son looked at if for a long time. I could see his wheels spinning. “Success!” I thought. After a long bit of silence, he finally looked up at me, gave me a sweet smile and said, “I want that monkey.””

#14. 5 minutes later.

“Saw a clip on 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. Had two cops at my door 5 minutes later.”

#13. Learning how to lie.

“In order not to teach him how to “lie better,” I never challenged his lying and we just told him what needed to be fixed. I never told him how I knew he was lying, I just avoided confronting him and got to the point of what needed fixed, despite attempts to deny it.

For example, if someone ate all the brownies, and his mouth and fingers were stained with chocolate, I never told him, “I can tell you are lying because of the evidence,” I just said he now had to make a new batch or do chores because the old batch was gone. I was figuring, “hey, he’ll figure out that eating the brownies and lying about it still had consequences.”

Thus, he never really got very good at lying. But he keeps trying, which is the part I didn’t expect. He’s 28 now, and just so terrible at it because he doesn’t understand how people can so easily figure it out. This has socially crippled him in ways I did not understand when he was young.

I think learning how to lie is essential to social development, and I thought I was being all high and moral. Oops.”

#12. The biggest prize.

“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.”

#11. She won $500.

“My sister tried to teach her kids not to gamble. She bought a few lottery tickets to show them that they were all going to be losers. She won $500….”

#10. I already saw Mickey Mouse.

“Not a parent, but my in-laws love telling this story about my fiance.

He was resistant to potty training, and they eventually got him to start using the potty by telling him that he had to be out of pull-ups before a family trip to Disney World, because “Mickey Mouse only sees big boys and girls.” And also who wants to log a diaper bag around Disney?

Anyway, it went great, they had a great trip… and the day after they got back, he took a shit in the living room. When asked, he said “I don’t gotta use the potty cause I already saw Mickey Mouse.” They very firmly told him that if he was old enough to use logic, he was far too old for diapers, and that was the end of that.”

#9. After that.

My dad tried to implement the whole you MUST eat ALL the food on your plate in our house during meals. My mom was never a fan of that lesson, but my dad was stubborn so she just let it go. Well, 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 wasnt having it and insisted they could not leave the table until all the food on their plate was gone. My sibling realized they werent 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.

#8. When you go on an audition…

“When my daughter was 10, she wanted to try out for a community theater version of Beauty and the Beast. She got nervous though, and almost backed out, because she was so sure she wasn’t going to make it.

My husband, who did some acting in high school, stepped in and said that he would also audition, even though he knew he was never going to make it. He wanted to demonstrate to her that it’s okay to audition for something that you don’t think you’re going to make.

She ended up not only just making it, but she got the part of Chip. My husband got the part of Maurice, Belle’s father. He didn’t even want to be in a goddamn play.”

#7. Constantly.

“Told my children they should always have a good reason for what they want to do as a way to curb impulsive behavior.

Am hearing about ALL THE REASONS constantly.”

#6. Such a pretty yellow!

“Taught my now 16 year old to always compliment people who insulted you. We were in a Burlington Coat Factory in Michigan when my mother was shopping for a bathing suit to take to Florida. There were few to choose from, so she was complaining. My kid was 4.

A woman trying on pants and said something rude to my mom who was asking my opinion and my daughter caught on that my mother was agitated. She squeezed out behind me and told the woman,

“Your teeth are such a pretty yellow!””

#5. It was hard to argue.

“I wanted to teach my son the value of money and work ethic because he kept wanting Robux… I decided it would be a great teaching moment, and a win-win opportunity as he was just getting to the age in which I think he should start doing chores around the house. He really wanted to buy some skin or something, so I created a chore chart and gave each chore a value. We established a schedule and everything. It was working out majestically, every day without asking he was doing dishes, cleaning his room, picking up the dog poop, it was epic. Then one day, I came home and nothing had been done. I asked him “hey man, whats up with the dishes? Oh and go pick up the dog poop too.” He simply replied, “Nah”. Fighting back rage, I simply said, “excuse me?” He said, he made enough money over the last x days that he bought his skin and he was good now. It was hard to argue.”

#4. She carved my name instead.

“Not a parent, but as a child I noticed my sister was writing her name on the walls when she was drawing on them with crayon. Taking on the role of Helpful Big Sister, I informed her if she was going to graffiti things she shouldn’t write her name and give herself away.

A few weeks later, she was carving patterns into the wooden desk in the study and carved my name into it instead.”

#3. They forgot to teach me about the police.

“When I was about 2 years old my family was at a game in Angel’s stadium. My mother went to the restroom and left me and my siblings with my dad. While he was busy watching I wandered off. When they eventually found me I was 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” over and over again. My parents had taught me stranger danger, but forgot to teach me what police look like.”

#2. Where are you going?

“Nanny not a parent. 2yr old was refusing to wear her hat. It was hot. I told her if she didn’t put her hat on she would have to wait in the car. She started walking away from me, ‘Where are you going?’ …’car’”

#1. Can’t say I’m surprised.

“My youngest boy would never listen, and he was always totally fearless. He was also always really lucky. Damn near every time either of us told him “don’t do that, you’re going to get hurt”, he would do it and then not get hurt. So we ended up teaching him that when we said not to do something, that probably meant it was a fun thing to do. I remember really hoping that he would fall and break an arm or something non-lifethreatening or disabling like that so he would stop constantly giving us heart attacks, which is weird to say as a parent but it never happened so it doesn’t matter anyway. He never got anything worse than a small scrape or cut that could be cleaned and covered in five minutes before he was back at it again. Looking back I’m just glad this was before there was anything like Jackass around to further encourage that shit.

Now he’s a stunt man for movies. Can’t say I’m surprised.”

Keep trying, folks!