Raising children is no easy task, and pretty much every parent wants their kid to succeed in life. That’s why time and again, they try to pass on precious wisdom to make sure they grow up to be generally good human beings. However, even when moms and dads have the best of intentions, their lessons sometimes reveal unexpected results.
If that sounds familiar to you, we hope that you’ll find comfort in knowing you’re definitely not the only one. One Reddit user decided to find out what funny accidents parents had when they shared advice with their young ones. They asked, "What lessons have you tried to teach your kids that completely backfired?" and thousands of stories rolled in.
Bored Panda handpicked some of the best answers from this thread to make up a collection of hilarious parenting mishaps for you to enjoy. So continue scrolling, upvote the ones you enjoyed most, and share your own anecdotes in the comments below!
#1Told 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.
Image credits: geekworking
#2My 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
Image credits: reddit
#3Not me but my dad teaching the nephew. He hated smiling so in pictures my dad would tell him to say "whiskey". When he tried 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 very loudly says WHISKEEEY.
Image credits: anon_2326411
#4Not a parent but when I was around 12, my father suspected that I stayed up late playing video games, 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.
Image credits: Monfo
#5A 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.
Image credits: MisterCrispy
#6Taught 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
Image credits: MrRGG
#7One of my 5-year-old twins was still having occasional accidents because she would get so caught up in playing/doing something else that she just wouldn't go and would pee her pants. To combat this we would give her a special prize of some variety when she wouldn't have an accident. This, in turn, caused her twin sister to START having accidents so she could get prizes for not having accidents (even though she was fine on this front beforehand.) We had to rethink our methods.
Image credits: KyleRichXV
#8Saw 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.
Image credits: relevant_tangent
#9I 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.
#10Not my story, but I heard it from a friend a long time ago:
She got a book for her kids about people from different races and cultures, designed to show the world is full of more than just white people.
Which was fine, until one day in a supermarket, when her daughter, pointing at someone down the aisle, said "look mummy, a black man".
Image credits: limeblast
#11My parents did the thing where they gave 4-year-old me a sip of Budweiser under the impression that I could say that it was yucky and then turn it into some lesson about not drinking Mommy and Daddy drinks, or whatever. I instead took a sip and said "Mmm! Can I have one?"
The lesson that beer is good has lasted to adulthood.
Image credits: drinkmoreshowerbeer
#12My 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 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.
Image credits: catastrophichysteria
#13Tried explaining to my daughter that she can always trust me. That anything I do is always for whats best for her. I told her that while she wont believe it now, or even in a few years, eventually shed say "Dad you were right. You are the smartest man I know." I said I knew this because when I was a kid the same thing happened, and eventually I had to tell Poppy he was right, he was the smartest man I know. She responded with "Well wouldnt that mean Poppy is the smartest man I know then? Not you?" She was 7 at the time. 3 years later and I still laugh about it.
#14Taught my four-year-old that you're not allowed to say that food is gross if you haven't tried it. Apparently, I'm not allowed to criticize her booger eating until I try it.
Image credits: fruitjerky
#15Not 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 pooped 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.
Image credits: thatsunshinegal
#16Told my children repeatedly that if I found any more 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.
Image credits: mollymuppet78
#17My wife tried to explain the concept of heaven to our 5-year old after great-grandpa passed. My daughter did not believe one ounce of it. She responded, "you're making that up mommy, you can't be in heaven and a cemetery at the same time".
Image credits: foh242
#18I 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, what's 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.
Image credits: dgmilo8085
#19My 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-life-threatening 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 Jacka** around to further encourage that s**t.
Now he's a stunt man for movies. Can't say I'm surprised.
Image credits: Zarokima
#20not me buT my sister. Dad after having a long conversation about teaching her to say pardon instead of what...
my dad calling up the stairs "what are you doing?"
dad "what are you doing"
sister yelling "DON'T SAY WHAT SAY PARDON!!!"
#21My 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!"
#22My parents taught me to call 911 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.
Luckily the 911 operator realized I was young, my story didn't make sense because it was a kid's movie, asked to talk to my mom before sending out cops.
Image credits: Turtelbob
#23My little brother refused to eat while my gf and I were babysitting him. My gf decided to explain the concept of food as an energy source to him. Which he then proceeds to use an excuse to not do s**t. Anytime you told him to do something, he said he couldn’t because he would run out of energy and pass away.
Image credits: MagicansaurusRex
#24Sweet things don't fill you up: 10 minutes before dinner, "kids stop eating the cake or you won't eat your dinner". "You said sweet things won't fill us up"
#25Playing 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.
#26I've been teaching my kids that life isn't always fair. The tantrums when one is invited to a birthday party have been too much. It's been helping, some.
Then I was playing tic tac toe with my youngest. She covered up the column she wanted to use to win. When I told her that cheating isn't fair and I didn't want to play if she was going to cheat, she reminded me - "life isn't fair, momma."
Image credits: miseleigh
#27When 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 arm's 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.
Image credits: ghode
#28My aunt and uncle were trying to teach my cousin manners and wanted him to address people as Mr. and Mrs. They used each other as examples, and consequently were known as Mr. Iannuccilli for ~ 2 months. One of the funniest moments of my life was hearing my uncle describe how in the middle of the night instead of ‘dad’ he started hearing ‘Mr. Iannuccilli!’ Cracks me up every time.
#29Not a parent, but as a child, I noticed my sister was writing her name on the walls when she was drawing on them with crayons. 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.
Image credits: reddit
#30When 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.
Image credits: Waitingforadragon
#31Not a parent, but I work in a school.
At my school we have a lot of kids with learning disabilities (more than in your average school, as we have a special program for it and get special funding), so one of the first lessons of the school year is "everybody needs different things to learn, and if somebody is getting something different from you it's because that's what they need to learn at school." You know, a kid-friendly way of explaining accommodations.
Now, the usual accommodations we offer are special chairs/wiggle seats, extra breaks during the day, and extended testing time and tests were taken in a quiet room. One kid, however, has decided to take the 'everyone learns differently' lesson to heart and now talks in a fake-British accent (I live in America btw) all day. Because 'it helps him learn.
Then all of the other kids started talking in fake accents.
Image credits: partofbreakfast
#32My kids were begging for a pet. I don't want to take care of a pet, and I told them that they don't clean up after themselves without me hassling them, so why would they clean up after a pet without me hassling them. Told them if they could keep their room clean for 6 months without me telling them, they could get a pet.
The youngest child proceeds to clean the room, then moves clothes and a sleeping bag into the hallway and locks his door so his room can't get dirty as he sleeps in the hallway.
Image credits: DONT_PM_ME_BREASTS
#33At one time, 3 of my sons were sharing a large bedroom. I believe the ages at the time were 8, 5, and 3. Bedtime was tough because of all of the horseplay occurring, and the boys were constantly coming out of their room for some reason or another. We always tried to make sure they were settled before we went upstairs to our bedroom. On one particularly rambunctious evening, I came down stairs and sternly told them they had better stay in their room, it actually seemed to work. Fast forward a few weeks and my wife and I were helping them clean their room, when we discovered a plastic tote in the closet full of piss. We're like WTF and my oldest son said "you remember when you told us not to leave the room?" Apparently it became a very convenient toilet, even though the bathroom is right next to the bedroom.
#34I 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
Image credits: Penya23
#35Successfully taught my child to question authority. Forgot I was an authority
Image credits: AkumaBengoshi
#36When 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
#37We’ve always stressed the idea of consent, that they are in charge of their own bodies and even when it comes to us or extended family, they don’t have to give hugs, etc. if they don’t want to. Our daughter was three when she began lecturing us that it was HER body and SHE got to decide what happens to HER body when asked to brush her teeth or put on her shoes, etc.
#38We taught our 1-year-old daughter to throw her dirty diapers in the trash can and she says "good girl." Now everything gets thrown in the trash and she says "good girl."
#39Read a book that suggested you ask your kid what an appropriate punishment for misbehaving would be and then carry it out. 6 yo son pinched his brother or something, so we asked what an appropriate punishment would be. He said, “pluck out my eyeballs and throw me over a cliff?”. We didn't follow through. And stopped reading parenting books.
Image credits: Mungobrick
#40I 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.
#41I tried to get my 7th-grade son to get his grades up and if he didn't he would miss out on Disneyland. He missed out on Disneyland and I still feel bad to this day.
#42We'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.
#43My stepkids were afraid of bugs, so I tried to reassure them that ants and ladybugs are harmless. Now every time they see a bug of any kind they try to pick it up with their bare hands. Ladybugs are one thing, black widows are another.
#44I 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!"
#45My kindergartener son asked me about Santa Claus. Because of circumstances with my child’s father, I have a strict personal policy of never lying to my child. So I answered his questions directly, and told him about the history and long ago people the Santa Claus tradition is based on. He was riveted. I walked away feeling good about the conversation.
His teacher pulled me aside after school. He had stood up in the middle of class and announced to the whole room, “SANTA CLAUS IS DEAD.”
#46Taught my two-year-old to put leftover food/empty packets etc in the bin. Didn't realize she was also putting her bowls, plates, spoons, etc in the bin till we started running low.
#47Told 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.
#48Not my story but my girlfriend’s: she and her sister were given a penny for every ant they killed from inside the house. They had to present the dead ants on scotch tape. Next thing you know, they were leaving out food under the counter to lure additional ants inside the house in order to make more pennies. There were caught. Parents were not impressed.
#49I taught them about democracy. Now everything’s a vote and when they don’t get their way they call me a dictator.
#50I got frustrated with my 9 year old son. He was being very ungrateful for everything. I was wishing for a dungeon under the house to put him in until he learned to be grateful for the things he had and what was provided. So in one of my more brilliant idea phrases, I decided that I would have him pack everything in his room and put it in the garage. Then he could show gratefulness and get one box back per week. I also took all the furniture out. He had his clothes on the floor and just his mattress on the floor. The room was bare other than that. This was a brilliant plan. This will show him! And teach a true life lesson. After 3 weeks there was no change in him and he had not asked for anything back. I finally asked him what's up. He said that he really liked the room being open and did not miss anything he had. He's 19 now and has a bed, a shelf, and a chair. Nothing else. He truly likes the minimalist lifestyle. No life lesson learned
#51I was tagging along with my friend as she went grocery shopping. Her 4 year old daughter asked me to buy her a bag of chips. I said "ask your mom. Be polite, say "may I please" and she will get them." So she politely asked her mom "mommy may I please get these chips?" My friend snapped "No!" and proceeded to angrily lecture her 4 year old about budgeting and how they didn't have the money to waste on chips. The look that kid gave me was one of heartbreak and betrayal, as if I had lied to her about the benefits of politeness.
#52Taught 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 tried 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!"
#53My 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.
#54Taught them to read early. My son could read by age 4, and my daughter by age 3. This leads to some unwanted conversations as they will read things over your shoulder when you aren't expecting it. Or even just signs on the road. "You're going too fast, Daddy. It says 55 mph and you're going 70."
#55Not a parent but one time my parents grounded us from using their dishes because we never washed them, they said from now on we had to buy our own paper dishes and plastic cups/utensils.
I went that day to the dollar store and stocked up. Come dinner time none of my siblings had. I sold them all plates/utensils at a huge markup. This went on for several days as my lazy siblings kept putting off going to the store. Best punishment ever.
#56I tried the whole "have your kids quote chores for pay and bid against one another". It's supposed to teach them about working for their money and not expecting handouts like an allowance.
It turned into every time I asked them to do something I good "how much will you pay me"?
#57Nanny, 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’
#58Not a parent, but, 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.
I figured I was about to get my a** reamed for that. But 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." My dad and I still laugh at this, of course, it's been 8 years since that happened.
#59My aunt tried to teach my cousin not to gamble and they bought him a keno ticket. She was like look, money down the drain. They won 800 some dollars
#60Not a very big backfire, but here's a true story:
My grandmother passed away a few years ago. My brother decided to use this as a teaching moment for his two daughters, and he did his best to explain what was going on. He told them that he was flying out to Florida to attend the wake.
"What's a wake?" His daughter asked.
"It's a thing that happens before the funeral, where we go to see Nana's body."
His daughter's eyes widened with fear. He had a moment of panic, like maybe he'd made a mistake. Then she asked, "... What do they do with her head?"
#61Talked to my kid about different beliefs concerning death, and one of them was reincarnation. Now he wants to dig up our dog who passed away last year to see if we can reanimate her.
#62Not me but my wife, sat our daughter down when she was 4 and showed her the Unicef starving children commercial. My wife’s intention was to get our daughter to understand how much she should appreciate what she has. Now because we live in a small town that is upwards of 70-80% caucasian my daughter hadn’t really encountered too many people in her life of different nationalities and creeds. So out shopping the following day in line at a local grocery store my wife was in line behind a black gentleman. To which my daughter very loudly announces “Mom look! It’s one of the people that live in the dirt” thank goodness he had a sense of humor. My wife went about fifty shades of red and regretted her approach to being thankful for what you have.
#63My daughter ran down the stairs so I sent her back up so she could walk down them properly. She promptly fell down the entire flight.
#64My mother tried to teach temper tantrums out of me as a child. Once, in a desperate attempt, she said under her breath to me in public "Get up, or I'll sell you in the parking lot." I don't hold her accountable for this reaction, I was a terrible child. She was tired with two small children.
However, on a different day, and another meltdown later, she was trying to get me to act right. I looked dead into her eyes in front of everyone there and screamed: "Why don't you just sell me in the parking lot?"
#65My child asked about sex because he heard it at school so the wife and I had an age-appropriate discussion with him (10yo). Informed him that it's something that men and women do when they are in love and want a child.
He then got angry accusing us of having sex even when we don't want more children. My wife and I couldn't be in the same room without him for about a month after that day. If we were sitting on the couch together he'd had to sit between us like our chaperone.
#66I'm the aunt, but my niece had been taught that no one is allowed to force her into giving hugs, etc. It's her body, she has the right to say no.
Well, she tries to use that as an excuse to misbehave from time to time. Like one time, dad told her she couldn't play in a certain space with this huge toy cart because there wasn't enough room. She claimed her body has the right to be there if she says so. Her body. Her right. All three of us facepalmed that moment.
#67My sister taught her daughters the biblical concept of “the last shall be first and the first shall be last”.
One evening her eldest daughter let her siblings go first and she waited patiently. Which only seems sweet. After going last she announced smugly, “I’m last which means I’m actually first.”
She’s going to be the nicest mean girl ever.