Everyone makes mistakes and no one is expecting parents to get everything right, but sometimes parents will make extremely questionable parenting choices that are beyond forgiveness. From negligence to just plain spiteful, these parents have presented some serious errors in judgment.
Below are the worst cases of bad parenting that people have ever seen, as told on AskReddit. All points have been edited for clarity.
"I know a kid who's an only child. His parents do everything for him. Plate his food, cut it up for him, all that good stuff. His mom doesn't work, so she puts everything into taking care of this guy. The problem is that she still talks and interacts with him like he's 5 years old.
As a result, he's a sheltered, socially awkward 13-year-old. I feel bad for the guy. He's about to go to high school, and I can tell he's going to struggle."
"It was about 15 years ago when I was in high school. We were all coming out of school and a woman was passing by with a 5-year-old boy. The child seemed a bit overwhelmed by the crowds of people all of a sudden surrounding him and went to grab his mother's hand.
The mother wouldn't hold his hand and instead started yelling at him 'Don't you worry baby, in about 10 years all these girls will be dropping their panties for you.' The poor kid looked so scared and confused. I've never forgotten that line or that kid's face. So disturbing to see."
"My best friend was spoiled rotten by his dad. For his 15th birthday, he got a top of the line laptop for $3,000. The friend threw a hissy fit because he also wanted a moped. Naturally, his father bought him a moped a few days later. He got everything he wanted.
Nowadays, he's 28 and still has zero respect for money, has had a gambling addiction for a decade, debts up to his neck, and all that. He was taught to live in the fast lane, and it has been taking its toll ever since he became an adult."
"I've been a city firefighter for 20 years, and much of that time has been spent working in a low income and high crime district, so, unfortunately, I have seen a lot of children being raised in horrible conditions.
But the run that came to mind happened about 10 years ago involves horrible decision making by a parent.
It was summer, late afternoon, and we were sent for a 'person struck by a vehicle.' When we arrived, the patient, a 24-year-old male, was on the ground in the middle of a large apartment complex access road, and he was being restrained by the ambulance crew.
He had an altered level of consciousness, his pupils were blown, and he was combative.
As we jumped in to help the ambulance crew, I checked the car nearby for damage and found none. There was an older lady, maybe late-40s, standing next to the vehicle while she was being questioned by a police officer on the scene. Long story short, the patient started crashing fast. He was rushed to the hospital where he later died.
The police officer came over as we were cleaning up the scene and said, 'Did you hear what happened?' Apparently, the patient was the woman's son. She was leaving to go to the store and had refused to buy her son some drinks. He got upset and jumped on top of her car, laughing, and said something like 'you're taking me there even if I have to ride out here.'
Then, according to her statement, she took off, gradually building up speed. He managed to climb from the hood to the roof where he was laying on his belly, screaming for her to stop, while holding on to the front windshield. She estimated she was going 30 to 40 mph when she slammed on the brakes, shooting him headfirst into the road."
"My little sister got pregnant when she was 16 years old, and her boyfriend decided that was the perfect time to drop out of high school. My sister graduated and got a low paying job in our hometown while her boyfriend couldn't keep a job for more than two weeks. Two years later they both have vehicle repossessions under their names and can't finance a car because dealers don't trust them, so they drive an ancient Jeep.
They currently live in a rough neighborhood and can barely afford the rent. My mom would help and so would I, but they stole my mom's identity so that my sister's boyfriend can try to apply for his 20th cell phone, and they also stole my girlfriend's $200 Ray Ban shades. They tried to lie about that, but I saw my sister posting pictures on Facebook with the shades on. They argue all the time in front of my nephew and drop him off at our aunt's house so that they can give $5 rides to people all day. They'll take you from one part of town to the other for $5 and virtually lose money because the car they have is a gas guzzler. I can't even buy my nephew a gift because they sell or pawn everything I get him. I bought him a winter coat since it's 30 degrees where they live, and they took the coat back to Dillard's and used the money to buy illegal substances. Now all my nephew has is a thin hoodie to last him the rest of winter. I'm calling CPS on them, and I don't care what the rest of the family thinks."
"I went to go drop off my 3-year-old with her mom. Her mom was in a hurry, so she asked me to put our daughter directly in her car seat in her car. When I did, I noticed that the car seat was just resting on the seat. It was not buckled in at all.
I calmly tell her that the seat isn't hooked up. She says it's too hard for her to buckle up. I buckle it up like it is supposed to be. After a few minutes, I have it nice and tight but it is ever so slightly canted because her seat is old and worn.
This whole time she is getting frustrated because it is taking too long. When I finish, she sees that it is slightly crooked and gets mad because 'people will think she's a bad mom' and proceeds to push me out of the way and unbuckle it. Then she loads our daughter into it and speeds away with the car seat just resting on the seat.
I guess to some people appearances matter more than safety. I followed her and called the police. Then she tried to say I was stalking her to the police, who saw right through her lies."
"I was a nanny for three months for a family who ignored their child's special needs. The youngest daughter had mild behavioral issues and developmental delays, but her parents would either ignore her needs or call her outbursts 'cute.' The parents knew she had to wear glasses to prevent degradation of her eyesight, but since the girl didn't like them, she didn't have to wear them. They had three kids between the ages of 10 and 13 and I've never met such spoiled kids.
We couldn't get through a board game without someone crying and throwing something. The would whine to their parents until they gave in. The older daughter called her mother worthless to her face because she wouldn't take her to the pool. Several tantrums a day and phone calls to their mom every 20 minutes were considered normal. The mom pretty much let them run the roost. The whole time I was taking care of them they never had a single play date, no other kids wanted to be around them. I quit because the oldest girl told me daily that I was not doing my job correctly."
"My wife's friend had twins the same time as we had our son. They are all three years old, four in a few months, but you'd think her twins are autistic. They can barely say their names whilst all the other parents in the community can have full conversations with their 3-year-olds.
We had a chat with them because they were feeling down about how much more advanced other children were.
Long story short, we find out that they refuse to teach their kids anything. They figure since they pay for daycare, it's the daycare's job to raise and teach their children. The father said 'I'm not teaching my children anything, that's why we pay those daycare workers.'
On top of that, he smokes a pack a day. We went to their place to find out 'he only smokes in the bathroom.' The entire home smelt of smoke.
He genuinely thought he was a good human being for only doing it in the bathroom. Those poor kids."
"A girl I worked with briefly was one of the most memorable. She was a few years older than me and completely manipulated by her mother. If her mom didn't want her to come to work? She'd call out to do whatever her mother wanted her to do that day, whether it be to drive her around or stick around at home to clean the house while her mom watched.
If her mom thought she was faking anything, sickness or whatever she should have called out for, she'd come in, and be terrified to be sent home. She once hid from the director for two days while she had the flu because she knew she'd be forced to go home if she was seen.
I have no idea why she was so dependent on her mother, but eventually, her mom got upset when she was asked to come in on a day she wasn't scheduled, and told the girl to quit. I haven't seen her since."
"I was going to pick up takeout food around after school time. There was a lady with a small boy standing in the parking lot. The boy was drinking a Coke when then he turned and tossed it about 15 feet over by a tree. He looked at me and I said 'Are you just going to leave that there?'
His mother whipped around and asked me if I was talking to her son. I replied that I was asking him if it was his intention to leave his litter by the tree. She went off about not talking to her child. There was a back and forth for about 15 seconds. Meanwhile, the boy realizing he was wrong went to go pick up the can. The mom firmly told him, no, but he said it's okay and walked over picked up the can and walked back to his mom.
She snatched it out of his hand and promptly threw it back by the tree. She then stared me down and dragged the boy across the street."
"I was teaching swimming lessons for a group of about 10 kids, including the worst student I have ever had. He was around 9 years old, certainly old enough to know better, and he would not follow directions. He wouldn't stay with the group, he would ignore instructions, he would slide down the wall to the deep end by himself, and he was an absolute danger to himself and was taking my attention away from the other students.
I've had maybe 1,500 students, and he was the only one I ever had to discipline - I kicked him out of the pool and made him sit on the edge. He actually complied - the first time he had ever listened to instructions - which tells me that he wasn't used to being called out for his behavior.
After class, I was summoned to speak with my manager who had an angry mom steaming up the pool deck right beside me. She told me that nobody was allowed to discipline her son except for his father. The manager nodded in agreement, but it was clear he was on my side.
It was the second to the last session in the schedule, and they didn't show up for the last one. Good thing, too, because I decided that if he messed up even a little bit, I would have taken the entire class out of the pool and marched everybody over to deliver her kid back to his mother. I couldn't leave the kids in the pool unsupervised, and she wasn't allowed on the deck, so it would have been the only way to do things her way instead of my way, which got the point across and resulted only in a loss of five minutes of water time."
"I was a freestyle ski coach for kids aged around 7-12 years old. This was a pretty tough job because it was at a private ski club, which means these kids are mostly from wealthy families, many of whom are being raised spoiled, not to mention that their parents have just dumped them into any old program so that they can drink in the lounge while their kids are being babysat in the cold. To add to this, we were fairly understaffed, meaning that all of us coaches had a few more kids than we were equipped to handle, but most of the parents cared little for any of these things. Some of the parents were interested in their kids learning the sport, and you could tell how engaged they were, and these kids were, without fail, always the best ones. On the other hand, there were kids like Eric.
Eric had poor behavior. He never wanted to listen, never participated in activities, and always wanted to stray from the group. We were used to this as coaches, but around the second or third lesson, his mom came to us to tell us that Eric has Hydrocephalus, also known as water-on-the-brain disease. In other words, he has a reduced sense of orientation coupled with a high risk for concussive injuries. After she told us this we were all in utter disbelief that she had placed her kid in a program to go off jumps on skis, and we told our boss, but there wasn't much we could do other than let Eric misbehave and opt out of our lessons every time.
I think it was the lesson after the one where the mom informed us about Eric when he fell while skiing down to our activity and got a bloody nose. Upon seeing his own blood, and probably in addition to his condition, Eric started freaking out to the point where we got ski patrol involved. After that, we told our boss that we would never be taking Eric with us again."
"A guy who married a relative of mine is an absolute waste of space. This guy never showered or worked a day in his life, and spent all of his time playing video games. He told her that he was going to shape up after they got married, but he didn't. Unfortunately, a relative passed away in childbirth, and this guy was now a single father. He still plays video games all day and lives off the money my relative saved up, except now he has a kid.
When the kid was a baby, he was neglected and was taken away at one point because the dad was so awful. Somehow, the dad got back custody. He lived with his mom, so she took care of the kid all day while dad played video games. His mom got tired of it and began telling him to get a job. He got mad and moved out with his kid. He 'homeschools' this kid for a year because he doesn't want anyone else in his life.
My family invited them over for Christmas and it was a travesty. The poor kid is ten years old and barely speaks, can't even add numbers. The dad brought his gaming computer and slept on our couch all day and played games all night. Another family member scolded this guy, told him he didn't have a job and was hurting his son.
We called Child Protective Services, but nothing came of it. The dad now lives with his brother in another state, who is just as terrible as he his. Sometimes I talk to the kid, seems he is going to school now, but they still spend the rest of the time playing video games.
It's a sad story. I understand depression because I've been there, but you still need to pull yourself together or seek help when a kid is involved. This guy was worthless before he got married, so I think that is just how he is. Maybe he'll change, but I'm not holding out hope for this one.
I hope one day the kid realizes that life shouldn't be this way, and says, 'Dad, I love you, but I need to get out of here.'"
"I work at a small cafe in a library. We have a regular who comes in almost every day with her two homeschooled kids. These kids are about 8 and 11 years old, and this homeschooling seems to involve a whole lot of them coloring at one of the tables while she reads a book. She's kind of a finicky customer. She wants a large almond milk latte, extra hot and with no foam. She also wants a lot of things that aren't on our menu, but I always went along with it if I had the ingredients to make her request. One day she comes up and makes a typically difficult order, but I agree to make it. She's my only customer, so I don't print out her ticket, but then I end up getting a rush and forget her order. She throws a fit. She stomps her feet and screams and pouts. Even after I gave her the drink for free she tries to come up and complain about the little bit of foam that I apparently let get into there. After watching a 40-year-old woman throw a temper tantrum, I've had it. I tell her she gets nothing else, and so our feud begins.
The lady goes back to her table with her kids, and instead of reading her book she decides to point at me for the rest of her shift and make rude gestures. Her kids join in and copy their mother. The lady decides to pointedly 'boycott' our store after that by not buying anything, even though she previously got something every day, and coming up to talk to other customers while they ordered. She'd talk about how she used to buy things from us all the time but not anymore. We all ignored her. This boycott lasted about a week. Then I guess this woman wanted her lattes again because she starts sending her 11-year-old daughter up there to order them for her. Her kids were always polite before, but not anymore. This kid sneers, swears, and rolls her eyes and taps her feet.
Then the kid always goes back to her table to hand her mom the drink and she dramatically high-fives her and stares me down all smug from across the cafe. This has become some kind of game for her. She sends that little girl up to the counter to complain constantly. She sends her kid up there to say our music is too loud or our cafe is too loud or that the people behind the counter are being too loud. Then her and her daughter high-five and sneer. I'm not exaggerating, they look ridiculous.
Recently, they've kicked the antics up to multiple times in the seven hours that we're open. My boss told me at the end of my shift that I could refuse service to them."