People Share the Worst Parenting Fails They Have Ever Seen


An occasional fall off the bed or two is to be expected, especially if you’re just learning how to be a mom or dad. But there are certain things that parents should never do or allow and they include feeding a diabetic 20-month-old Mountain Dew, using your dying daughter’s vacation money to go drinking, letting your child bite all the apples in a supermarket and allowing your child hit and slap you around (especially in public).

But that’s not the case with these parents. They’ve let their kids run wild and have abused them in more ways that we can count. Here are the worst parenting fails ever witnessed.


42. Party Over Kid’s Wish


I used to work on a pediatric cancer floor and we had a little girl who was dying. Make-A-Wish gave her a Disney cruise and she was so excited to go, she talked about it for weeks. The week she was supposed to be on the cruise she was admitted to the unit with a fever. We were all like “what happened to the cruise?”

It took a while but we eventually learned the truth when her grandmother told us what happened. Her parents took the spending money they got and went on an all-night partying binge the night before and were wasted and passed out when it came time to drive to the cruise ship. We could not even look at them ever again when they were there.


41. Her Boyfriend is More Important


We were remodeling the store, moving the car audio department to a new location, which meant after the store closed, a bunch of us would stay overnight, move shelves, products, etc. The third night, we were doing this around 11:30 or so when a little kid walks out rubbing his eyes like he just woke up. He sees us, starts screaming, then another kid comes running out from behind a box in appliances.

At first, we just thought they fell asleep, so we called the police. When the two kids saw the police, they started crying and explaining how their mom and her boyfriend had hidden them there and they were supposed to open the side door when the clock shows 12. They bring out a wristwatch with the alarm set for midnight. The cops had us all move our cars to the side of the building, so they were not visible from the street and well when the parents “knocked” it wasn’t their kids that opened the door.


40. Did He Get it From his Momma or Dada?


I was in a department store and this couple was shopping with their three kids. The boy child, who looked to be around 8, picked up a hairbrush and smacked his sister, who started crying. The mom said, “Alex don’t do that, that isn’t nice.” The boy replied, “Screw you!”.

The mom, still ignoring her crying daughter, says “Come on Alex don’t say that,” to which Alex then hits his mother with the hairbrush. The mom bends down and says, “Alex that really isn’t nice.” Alex responds by slapping his mother across the face and saying “Screw you!”. The mom simply says “Alex that wasn’t necessary” and kept on shopping. The dad, he just watched all of this like it wasn’t his problem and eventually just walked away.


39. It was Amazing… But it’s Not!


I worked as a lifeguard at a community pool. This one kid does a cannonball off the board and immediately began to sink like a rock. I blow my whistle, jump in and get him, and once I reach the side of the pool I ask him if he can swim, to which he smiles broadly and says “Nope!”

Meanwhile, his mother is coming over, and she says “That was amazing! You’re getting really good at that!” I inform her that her son cannot use the diving board anymore because he can’t swim, and she throws a HUGE fit, screaming as loudly as she can that it’s my job to fish him out and I can’t tell her son no.


38. “That Fat Cow”


A woman on the bus, told her (approximately) 6-year-old son to tell an (approximately) 11-year-old school girl to move out the way, but referred to the girl as “that fat cow.”

I called her out, asked her why she was talking to kids like that, said she wasn’t fit to be a mother, I’m pretty sure I told her if she’d spoke to my kids like that I’d have headbutted her, quite vocally, on a packed bus. It wasn’t my proudest moment but I was fuming.


37. Naked Family Time. Driver for Drunk.


I’m a teacher, so the examples of bad parenting I could give are staggering…. the worst examples end up with me calling child protective services. Like the child who talked about “naked family time” or the 14-year-old who left school to play designated driver for their drunk parent. Or any number of other things.

Day-to-day normal “bad” though, is any parent who talks bad in front of their child. I don’t care who you’re badmouthing, don’t do it in front of your child. All that comes to school. ALL of it. One thing I have learned is that the worst parts of being a teacher are the parents.


36. Second Floor Stories


I was at the Polynesian Hotel at Disney World and I see this little boy climb up on a second-floor railing over the lobby, stand up and start walking like it was a balance beam. I start sprinting towards the kid, but the hostess at the hotel restaurant beat me to him. She snatches him down and he starts crying. If he had fallen, it was 30 feet down to a concrete floor.

I stood there with the hostess, thinking if the parents started yelling at her I could back up her story. Twenty minutes later, still no sign of the parents. She told me I could go because the lobby had video surveillance to back her up. I wish I had stayed to tell the parents to pay attention to their kid.


35. “Stop Or I’m Gonna Break Your Arm!”


At work, I saw a woman freak out on her kid for asking for a toy when she told him not to ask. This wasn’t normal stressed-out parent hysterics though. She grabbed him by the arm and started dragging him away and of course, he started screaming and crying. She told him “Stop or I’m gonna break your arm!”

Then as she was leaving, I could hear her sneer at him “Your dad can visit you in the hospital tonight, cUz that’s where I’m sending you.” I’m still haunted by this. I wish I would have told someone or done something. That isn’t discipline, that was abuse. Threatening to break your child’s arm and put them in the hospital is not okay.


34. Karma Strikes


When I was still young, I saw a mom on the train smack her kid for not sitting down, then smack him again for crying, then smack him again. These weren’t light pats either.

What I saw next still gives me a justice boner. A fairly grizzled noncom opposite the woman put his book aside, stood up, yanked her out of her seat by the front of her shirt and said, “If you do that again, I’ll show you how it feels to be slapped around by someone much stronger and a lot meaner than you. Sit down.” He then tossed her back in her seat, picked up his book, and kept on reading.


33. Pee and Poo


I worked at Toys R Us and it was Christmas Eve. I’m in the stockroom cleaning up and this woman barges through the doors and informs me that her son has just pooped in the middle of Barbie aisle. Before I can register what was just said, the child runs in my stockroom, pulls his pants down and pisses right at my feet. His mom, we’ll call her Da’fawnduh, praises him and informs me, “He gotta go all the damn time.”

I called my manager and she tries to inform the lady she needs to clean it up; the lady’s freak out ensued. Mind you, it’s 11:45 pm on Christmas Eve and she isn’t buying anything, just letting her son poop and piss all over the store, and we’re the ones in the wrong.


32. Her Mother is Proud and Loud!


One day, a friend and I were playing basketball at the courts downtown. It’s also right by a public park, so kids are always running around. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a mom and her couldn’t-be-more-than-9-year-old daughter sitting on a bench, which was no big deal, until her mom whips and a box of cigars and they start sharing the whole thing.

Not only that, but her daughter is smoking them like a champ, proving that this is definitely not an unusual occurrence for them. Her kid then starts making fun of her friend (that was just as young) because “I can smoke and you can’t.” Her mom just laughs along with her


31. Dew for Babies?


One time in Tax Office, a couple walks in with a kid that couldn’t have been more than 20 months old. The mom is feeding her a bottle with a green liquid in it and I thought it’s just a brand of formula. The couple starts throwing a fit about not receiving more Earned Income Credits than what they qualify for. They say that they need the money for daycare and treatment for their kid, who is too hyperactive, horribly cranky, and diabetic.

In the middle of this argument, the mom pulls out a Mountain Dew bottle and starts filling the kid’s bottle with it. She was bottle feeding her 20-month-old diabetic son Mountain Dew, complained about his temperament, then demanded money out of H&R Block. Nice try.


30. “We Don’t Want to Drive Him Back, He’ll Be Fine”


This is not my story, but my mom’s, since she’s a school teacher. A kid came in with a huge rash in my mother’s class and my mom thought it was herpes. She asked if he felt fine and he replied that he had a really painful throat.  My mother rushed him to the nurse and the nurse freaked out.

It turns out the kid had such a severe case of strep throat that the infection was oozing from his skin. They called his parents and all they had to say was, “We already took him to the doctor, and we don’t want to drive him back, he’ll be fine.” My mom reported it to child services and tried giving the kid some salt water. She feels so bad, but legally she can’t do much other than that.


29. The Effin’ Mom


I was at a cashpoint when some woman pulls up beside me in her 3-door Vauxhall Corsa. In the pouring rain, she sends her kid (who couldn’t have been older than 9) who was wearing a bathrobe, running into the chip shop to get a bag of chips. He came back to the car without any and said he didn’t have the right amount of money. The mom hurled all sorts of abuse at him: “I’ve given you the effin’ right amount, now go back into the shop and get the effin’ food.”

Then a few minutes later, he comes back to the car, soaking wet, with a bag of food, and she starts yelling, “He better have gotten the effin’ order right, because it doesn’t effin’ look right.” She then yells at him to get in the car and just speeds off.


28. Teaching Stealing


I worked at a convenience store when I was like 17. There was this family – not just mom, dad, kids, but also the parents’ siblings and parents – that came in regularly and stole. We watched them like hawks. They were teaching the young kids how to steal.

The little girl, like 7-8, opens the bakery case, takes a bite of a brownie and puts it back. I tell the parents what she did and that they had to pay for it. They ask if it has nuts, I look at it and it clearly does on the top. “She’s allergic to nuts, so we can’t buy it.” What the hell! She just ate part of it. I charged them for it and tossed it in the garbage.


27. Bad Parents But Worse Teachers


A few weeks ago, I was in an ice cream shop in LA. It was more of a high-end, gourmet place with nice decor. Someone comes in with three young boys (probably all between 8 and 10). The boys are kind of loud and rowdy at first. But then, they literally start wrestling on the floor of this crowded shop; they were rolling around, screaming, fighting each other.

Mind you, this is a small shop. Their “parents” couldn’t have been more than 8 feet away, but did nothing. They acted as if the kids weren’t there. The poor girl behind the counter had to kindly ask them to get off the floor, and of course, they didn’t listen to her. I had to literally step over them to get to the bathroom. “Parenting” is a verb. You have to DO it.


26. “Screw You Narcs!”


We were watching 300 in the theater, and it’s very much not a kid’s movie. This couple had their little kids with them, and they couldn’t have been older than four or five. They spend the first 20 minutes of the film running up and down the stairs and just being loud and annoying. We asked them to get their kids to settle down and they just ignored us. So my friend went and got a theater manager who came and told them to control their kids or leave.

As soon as the manager left, one of the parents turned around and yelled at us “Screw you narcs!” What the hell, is this high school? They did control their kids after that though. We hung out a bit in the theater after the film because honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of those mouth breathers would have wanted to start a fight in the parking lot or something.


25. Close Cut


One time, at this group retreat camping thing, this woman thought everyone would help watch her 2-year-old. So she let him run all around without watching him actively. We had been doing tie-dye things in the common room and there were scissors on the floor.

While I was just reading a book in one of the corners, and I looked up, and the kid (no idea why he was there) is standing there holding the open scissors by the handles, blades facing toward his face, right next to his eyes, and he was definitely about to start closing the scissors. I dropped my book and ran over there to snatch the scissors. His mother? Nowhere in sight. I got a “Good save,” from someone else in the room, but God, that kid could be blind now.


24. Video-Game Poopers


I’ve seen parents lock their two children in their bedroom so they could play World of Warcraft. Anytime the kids came out and did anything kids normally do, they were immediately sent to their room. The lock was changed so it was on the outside.

The most disturbing thing I saw first-hand was unlocking the door and nearly puking from a foul smell. They pooped themselves and threw it into the ceiling fan. Poop. Was. Everywhere. I still have no idea how long it took them to clean it all up.


23. “Shut the Eff Up!”


I went to see The Kingsmen movie with my wife, which was rated R. The couple next to us brought their two kids, who were maybe 8 and 10 years old. The younger one was standing in the aisle in front of his mom having a full conversation at regular volume. I told them, loudly, to tell their kid to sit down and be quiet.

The dad turned to me and told me to “Shut the eff’ up!” And the mom says if they make him sit down, it will be worse for everyone else. I’m like WTF? My wife and I leave, tell the manager and they proceed to kick all four of them out of the movie. I got to wave goodbye to them while I was standing at the customer service counter getting my money back and passes to come back to another show.


22. Let The Kid Play!


I was standing outside a supermarket and a woman walks out with a toddler in a pushchair and a kid who might have been about 7 or 8 walking maybe five feet behind her. The older kid had a small rubber ball and was bouncing it on the ground and catching it. He seemed perfectly happy; it wasn’t making any noise or bouncing around or anything, it wasn’t bothering anyone. He was just bouncing and catching his ball as he walked.

His mom noticed this after a minute, spun around and grabbed him hard by the upper arm and then shouted right into his face “If you keep bouncing that ball I’m going to smash your face in,” shook him hard once and then just turned around and walked on with the pushchair. The poor kid just looked so empty, like he wasn’t even allowed this one small pleasure.


21. Appear. Disappear.


My girlfriend and I were at Target walking down the aisle behind two little boys that just kept talking at their dad walking in front of them. They were both asking him questions non-stop and he wasn’t responding at all. We weren’t paying much attention to them until, all of a sudden, the dad stops, spins around, and looks both boys right in their eyes, and tells them he wishes they would just disappear.

Then, his eyes pan up to my girlfriend and I looking right at him in total disbelief and his face drops in shame. He grabs both traumatized boys by the hands, who are now full on crying, and swiftly speed walks away as we stand there stunned. I’m pretty sure he left them both on the side of the road on the way home.


20. Snow White In Training


In a grocery store, and I see a probably 5-year-old walk across the apple display, taking a bite out each apple on the bottom row, looking around, then placing the apple back with the bite out of view. I stood there with my jaw dropped, waiting for her parents to do something.

Finally, the woman saw me, looked at the kid and said “Gasp mija, no!!” and promptly turned around and continued to let her do it. Like when will parents learn that telling their children “No” isn’t enough; they have to actually do something about their child’s behavior.


19. A Mother Smacker


I was on the bus going to work one morning, maybe around 7:30 am and there was a woman sitting across from me with a small kid, maybe around 18 months or so. He was sitting on the seat next to her, even though he was so small. He kept sliding over in his seat and leaning against her.

Eventually, he starts falling asleep and as he’s falling asleep, he’s sliding more. The mom violently grabs him, yells at him to sit up, and pushes him back in the seat. He starts to whimper, clearly scared that he’s been woken up like this. She literally smacks him in the face. A baby! She just smacked him in the face. And he just sat there and cried. She was wearing a name tag that said “Sassy,” so I’m really not surprised.


18. Dad’s Craziness is on Fire


I was a children’s librarian. There was a small fire, so we were trying to get everyone out of the building. The father ran out without his five-year-old daughter and she was hysterical. When we realized what he had done, we took her hand and started walking her out.

When we finally found her dad outside, she was crying and told him that she left her stuffed animal inside. He grabbed her by the hand and they ran back in the building. We kept screaming that it wasn’t just a drill; it was a real freaking fire — a small one, but still.


17. Hit, Slap, Poke, Scream


While I was sitting outside a noodle shop with a friend and my three dogs, a mom and dad went inside to order and left their two children to run around outside and come up and hit/slap/poke/scream at my dogs.

The children only giggled and ran off when I told them to leave us alone and would then repeat the whole thing half a minute later. The parents’ only reaction was to occasionally glance outside and smile as though it was something cute and their kids weren’t hurting my previously napping dogs. Control your children.


16. Is Pregnancy a Permit to Drink?


A little while ago in a supermarket in London, a young girl was screaming at the cashier for asking for ID for the large bottle of Vodka she was buying.

As the cashier continued to ask for ID, the girl opened her coat to reveal a large swollen belly, and shouted: “Of course I’m old enough to drink vodka, I’m effin’ pregnant!!” But hey, being pregnant doesn’t make you old enough to drink though.


15. A Lack of Concern


I was assisting a commercial river trip in the Grand Canyon, this one set of parents simply didn’t seem to care what their kids did. We warned them NOT to ever swim in the Colorado River because it’s too dangerous and can cause instant death.

While we were sitting on the boats as the sun went down, we saw the kid swimming past the boats out to the middle of the river, with no life jacket. We freaked and got the rescue line out, started yelling at him to get out of the river. His parents didn’t say a word to him.


14. She’s Obviously Not Fine


A couple of years ago, I was on a shuttle in Yosemite. A little girl (approximately age 10) had this nasty tight cough. Being in the medical field, I was concerned and asked if she had asthma. The father answered in a curt and rather annoyed tone that she was fine.

Mind you, they were doing controlled burns in the park which was causing my own asthma to act up. The girl was not fine as she clearly was struggling to breathe. I am very familiar with the symptoms. I asked the girl’s father one question which he clearly was not at all open to, but I think of her sometimes and wish I had done more.


13. Is it Hard to Say “Thank You”?


I was in a public library in Phoenix when a toddler sprinted out the front doors straight toward a busy street. I was able to grab her just before she darted into traffic. Her dad walked up to me and yanked her out of my arms, shooting me the stink eye the whole time. He didn’t say a word to me, just turned and walked away.

I can see someone losing control of a kid who likes to sprint so I’m not blaming him for the initial incident. But you’d think he would have said “Thanks” or something instead of being mad about it. A lot of people shouldn’t be allowed to have children. This is a case of one of them.


12. What a Good Role Model!


One time during my retail career, I’m not sure why, but I walk into my department to see a middle-aged woman looking down at her toddler who is probably only three years old or so. I’m not sure what led to her saying this, but I walk in to hear her say “You screwed up!” to the kid.

The child, utterly bewildered repeats in a confused toddler voice “I screwed up?”, to which the mother then replies by shouting “Don’t effin’ swear! That’s not nice!” in the middle of my department. Like hey, you should be a good example for your kids.


11. The Missing Parents


I was in a store the other day and there was like an 8-year-old with his own cart; his parents nowhere to be seen. You could hear this kid through the whole store just yelling constantly, not words just like “Aahhhhh.” I see him about three times while shopping. The first time, he is laying in an aisle just yelling. The second time, I see him in a different aisle, his cart is just parked across it and there is a guy trying to get passed so he needs to move the cart. The third time I see him, he is riding a cart and crashes into an old lady. Keep in mind this is all during constant yelling.

It was crazy. I then kind of watched him for a bit, and followed him around for a minute to see if I could find the people that owned him so I could share an opinion, but he rode his cart past the checkouts and I decided screw it and got in line.


10. Support Mom’s Vices Rather


When I was a cashier, this mom came in with her son’s piggy bank. The kid was with her and must have only been about six years old. He wanted to buy a candy bar with his money, but the mom told him no, that his money was going to help support the family. 

She then proceeded to buy a 6-pack of beer and some cigars with the money while the kid watched. The poor boy had tears in his eyes the whole time. I refused service to her, and the manager ended up ringing her up. She was paying with mostly pennies and nickels and while she was distracted, I saw the boy walk over to the candy rack and wipe the tears from his eyes. I asked him what was wrong and he told me it had taken him three years to save that money, but his mom didn’t have a job so she took it from him. I bought him the candy bar he wanted and gave him a bunch of quarters for the gumball/toy machines. His mom saw him trying to get one of those sticky hands from the machine and then took all the quarters he had from him.


9. “What did I tell you about crying?!”


I was at a child’s birthday party at a friend’s house. There’s a trampoline in the backyard and a group of children jumping on it. One boy, probably 6 or 7 years old, takes a weird fall and thwacks his head really hard against a support. It was one of those “Ooooooohhh” moments, seeing it happen.

He starts crying, and I instinctively start towards him, saying “Hey buddy, you OK?”, but before I can finish, his dad comes barreling out of the house, shouting “What did I tell you about crying?! What did I tell you? I don’t want to see that! You’re not a baby anymore!” I say “Hey, take it easy, he took a really hard fall” and he glares back at me and says “He’ll be fine! He needs to learn!”. Ugh!


8. “Don’t Touch Her! I Was Watching Her!”


I work as a hostess at a restaurant. A 3-year-old kid bolts out the front door and runs across three lanes of traffic on a fairly busy street after dark, in a part of town with no streetlights.

My initial reaction, of course, was to chase after the toddler and snatch her up. Well, the kid’s mother walks up with the angriest face, screaming and hollering, “Don’t touch her! I was watching her!” Some people are really messed up when it comes to accepting responsibility.


7. From ‘Shining’ to ‘Gloomy’ Real Quick


An irate mother of a girl in a private school’s music program made a big scene in front of the faculty and students because her daughter had not been selected to sing a solo in a school concert. The student had been very clear to the faculty that she didn’t want the part, nor was her voice suited for it.

Mind you, her overbearing mother still insisted that she audition against her will. As a result, the girl was yanked out of the school she loved by her parents and embarrassed, all because the mother’s ego required that her daughter be “the shining star” in front of others.


6. When You Have a Boring Childhood


I was at a chain bookstore (Bookmans) when a little kid, maybe 5 or 6 comes around the corner doing finger guns and fighting off aliens or whatever he’d imagined up. He saw me and ducked behind a shelf before firing a few shots off at me. I smiled and reacted a bit before going back to browsing the games in front of me.

I then hear a woman, whom I assumed to be his mother, say “Stop using your imagination, it’s annoying.” I forced myself to put down the game I had in my hand and walk to the back of the store. That mother must have had a boring childhood.


5. Church People with No Manners


I went to church with my in-laws one day. Right before the end of the sermon, a 3-year-old starts saying she needs to go potty. The mother just tells her to be quiet. During the closing prayer, the girl just stands between two pews and lets the waterfall flow. And I say waterfall for a reason. It was a LOT and it stunk.

After the prayer, the whole family just gets up and walks off! With no attempt to clean it. And they don’t mention it to anybody. I love how these types of mothers think as soon as she steps out of her house, it’s everyone else’s responsibility to clean up after her child.


4. Dumped To Gamble


Whenever I was in Vegas, I would always end up watching other people’s children who seemed lonely, hungry or afraid for hours on end because they were left alone in arcades and such, while the parents gambled away.

The reason I did this was because my parents did the same to me and my siblings and I knew exactly how it felt and was mature enough to make sure they never went away with strangers. I hope their parents will realize how dangerous it could be.


3. Ground Candy


I was at a bus stop and a little kid (5-6) walked over and bent down behind some trash cans and picked up a candy with no wrapper and went over to his mother and asked if he could eat it.

Well, the little kid’s mother was so busy on the cell phone that she responded: “Sure, whatever, just don’t disturb me.” And I watched him put the candy from the ground in his mouth. Too bad that this woman was more concerned about her phone than her son’s health.


2. But She’s Trying Mom!


I was waiting at a bus stop when I saw a mother and daughter (2-3 yrs old) in a rush to catch a bus. Except it was the mother in a rush, pulling and yelling at the daughter to hurry up. Mind you, they have short legs and are not very fast, or maybe understand urgency. The poor kid was trying. They eventually missed the bus and the mother shouted at the kid, “Look at what YOU did you little prick! We missed the bus!”. “I’m sorry mommy” while looking kind of confused and on the verge of crying.

Honestly, the kid looked light enough to briefly carry, and the mother didn’t have a stroller or anything to carry besides her purse. This is not the worst but that kind of thing will make a kid think they are to blame when they continue to grow up treated that way.


1. Bloke’s Fault


A mother let her kid play in the stream of wood chips coming out of a wood chipper and yelled at the guy who was cutting down trees because he told the kid to get away from it.  She was on her phone the whole time and there could have been nails and stones in that wood that could have hit the kid, but nope, it was the bloke’s fault for chipping wood and not letting the kid play in it. 

About 10 meters around the chipper, the guy had warning tape tied to traffic cones to tell people not to enter that area. To the kid, it was like saying “don’t eat the candy in the kitchen” and the only thing that was stopping the child from getting pelted by wood chips was sat on a bench taking photos of herself and typing away.


Marijean Grace

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