Teaching children is not an easy task, let alone having them abide by rules and guidelines. But it's not always entirely the children's fault as to why they behave badly, but sometimes their parents. From helicopter mothers, to misguided fathers, children don't always have the best figures molding them into respected individuals outside of school. And it's even more frustrating when a teacher comes head to head with an ignorant and entitled parent.
It's a shame that some children are a direct reflection of their parents and their "lessons," because then it's not only hard to get through to the student, but that much more difficult to get through to the parent. Maybe they had a bad day, month, or year (better yet, a couple of years) to explain their behavior, but regardless, we took to reddit to compile these stories of teachers who had to deal with a horrible parent. All content has been edited for clarity.
Dealing with some parents is hard work! Content has been edited for clarity purposes.
Oh Don’t Worry, It’s Only His Life That’s On The Line
“My worst parent story came from coaching high school rugby. One of my players got one of the nastiest concussions I’ve ever seen live. I’m talking out cold, arms and legs straight out, immediate stop in play, paramedic and coaches running onto the field, followed closely by said player’s dad. By the time we got to him, he was regaining consciousness but very obviously had no idea where he was or what day it was, so the paramedic was keeping him down and started prepping him to go to the hospital. Meanwhile, the dad was telling his kid to get up, ‘It’s only a stinger,’ and he could finish the game. I pulled him away and told him to go with the paramedic and his kid to the hospital because he could have a serious head injury. He turned out to have a bad concussion but nothing else.
The dad came with his kid to practice two days later trying to get me to put him into full contact drills when their doctor had told him to avoid any physical activity for at least two weeks and full contact for at least a month. I told him there was less than zero chance of his kid practicing but he was welcome to stand on the sidelines and watch. Dad called me a loser and said he was taking his kid to a different team.
I called every team coach to tell them the situation right then and there. Luckily they all take head injuries seriously so they were never going to play this kid until he cleared and everyone required a signed clearance from a doctor. Apparently, the dad went to one of the coaches who promptly told him to be a better father and look after his kid’s health.”
No Pressure! Just The Second Coming Of Christ!
“I had a parent of a kindergartner tell me, in all seriousness, that she was told by their church prophet that my student was sent to lead the world into salvation. Her little girl was the second coming of Christ.
Gee, no pressure. ‘Here, teach the Christ-child to read.’ Plus, she was one of the meanest children I ever taught.”
They Were Warned…
“I was a student intern at a summer youth program. We have kids between 6 and 14 from 6:30 am to 6 pm. There were about 300 kids total. It was a madhouse. At parent orientation, we told the parents that we were not responsible for the kids’ electronic devices and that the kids would be better off if they left them at home. That still didn’t dissuade the majority of them from sending their kids to the program with various iPods, iPhones, tablets, etc.
Monday, a father called us in the late afternoon after he checked his kids out. His daughter couldn’t find her iPod. The father claimed it was stolen. We told him that 99% of the time, the kid misplaced it. Left it on the bus, left it at a field trip site, left it in their cubby, wherever. We would normally find it, but we reminded him that his kids would be better off leaving their electronics at home. He flipped out. He told us we need to review the camera footage and find the thief, or he’ll file a police report. We told him we couldn’t review 12 hours of footage to identify when and where his 6-year-old had her iPod last and when it went missing. The best we could do is request an archive of the footage from our off-site security company.
He said that if we didn’t have his daughter’s iPod by the time he picked her up the next day, he would remove his two kids from the program and file a police report.
We reminded him that the enrollment fee was non-refundable and we requested a copy of the police report for our records.
He just hung up.
His kids were still there the next day.”
It Was Just A Bad Essay!
“I was told that I was an anti-gay bigot because her daughter’s gay marriage argument essay got a ‘C’ in my advanced 8th-grade writing class. She made me cry. It was only my second year teaching. Mom believed that the paper was awesome and only somebody who hated gay people would not like it. The girl didn’t even spell marriage correctly. The paper made no logical sense. I foolishly gave her a C to avoid her crazy mom. 10 years later, I don’t care about it. For the record, I am very pro-equal rights. This mom had quite a few children. They all have different last names, maybe because of different parentage, maybe because she wants to sneak up on unsuspecting teachers when we found out who the mom is.
Later, she called the school and demanded an ASL interpreter for the assembly because a loud car had driven by and had given her hearing loss. She asked for this, on the telephone, with no interpreter and admitted that no, she does not speak ASL. Later, one of her other kids defiantly ate the cookie part of an ice cream sandwich in our homeroom class. She’s supposed to be gluten-free and mom goes postal when she eats gluten at school. I said, ‘Are you sure? The cookie has wheat in it.’
But I’m also not going to slap it out of the kid’s hand. She’s 13.”
“No Touching! No Tickling!”
“This was in a preschool. The kid wasn’t potty trained, so she sometimes pooped her pants. Mom demanded that if she did, we would call her to come, even though preschool was only two hours long, so she could change her pants. The little girl had been instructed to tell us no and that we were not allowed to touch her in that way. She used to ride the school bus and this sweet old grandmotherly lady, who helped aid, was joking around with the kids and tickled the little girl’s belly. Her mother found out and immediately pulled her off of the bus and contacted the school.
She actually thought it was me that did it, not the other woman. When she found out, she let her ride the bus to school because I also aided on that route, but she told the kid right in front of me, loudly, to tell anyone who touched her ‘no touching, no tickling.’
I was scared that the other lady was going to get in trouble so I went and told her what the mom was up to and she was mortified. She had no idea that she was under any kind of ‘watch’ by this parent at all, she had actually thought the girl was sick or something and that’s why she’d been absent.
One time, we brought this girl home and she was sound asleep, so I took her from her car seat and carried her sleeping to her house because she wouldn’t wake up. Most parents are fine with that, they’ll coo and take the child from you carefully so they can lay them down for a nap. Not this mom. She opened her door and instantly took on a look of pure shock, and choked out a ‘Wh-what are you DOING?’ and then she became angry with me. She didn’t directly scold me for it, but you could tell that she was angry.
Overall, she made a very awkward experience for us all. We always suspected that she’d been abused, she was just too careful to be doing that without good reason. We tried to respect her, but it’s pretty hard when you don’t know ‘all the rules’ behind her preferences. It made things very, very hard to deal with and understand. It’s not a situation that you can easily put yourself into their shoes on. Sometimes you’ve got to take a step back and go, ‘Okay. Calm down. Don’t be mad at mom, even if she is being obnoxious.'”
His Parents Just Laughed
“I worked at a daycare/preschool for a brief period of time, and there was this one kid who was undisciplined as can be. He would scream when he didn’t get his way, he disrupted class for everyone else, and he’d scream for the entire 2-hour duration of nap time. He’d constantly hit other kids as well as us teachers. Not only that, but he was constantly destroying things around the facility. His parents thought it was hilarious. ‘Oh, he’s just being a boy! What can ya do?’ We tried so many times to tell them what was going on but ultimately there wasn’t anything teachers could do if the parents weren’t backing it up at home.
The kid at one point decided to sneak out of naptime and flush four or five Thomas the Tank Engine trains down one of the toilets and all his dad did was laugh and pull out his checkbook.”
This Mom Took The Drumline Way Too Seriously
“I was a percussion instructor for a high school marching band. I had a new student who wanted to try out for the drumline. When I asked him what he wanted to try out for, he said, ‘I play snare.’ Oh, okay, he must have played snare at his old school before he transferred. So I had him play some rudiments and rolls and such to see if he actually had any chops. He wasn’t good. I wrote a simple sight-reading piece and gave him a few minutes to look it over before he played it. He pointed at the page and said, ‘What is that?’
He was pointing at a set of triplets. He was a sophomore. There is no way he was a drummer in a band since 6th grade and hadn’t been taught what a triplet is. I told him flat out, ‘Look, dude, you don’t have what it takes. Your chops are just bad and you don’t even know what a triplet is. You’re way behind everyone else and if I stuck you on the drumline, you would be holding them back. I can use you in the front ensemble, but I can’t use you on the drumline.’
He got all mad and started in with some attitude and I asked him to leave the band room. The next day, he came back with his mother. She told me that her son is going to be on the drumline and not only that, but he was going to be the drum captain because he was the best drummer in the school. When I tried to explain why that wasn’t the case, she interrupted me and started screaming about how I was a prejudiced and didn’t want him on the drumline because her son was black. I actually laughed when she said that because she said it in front of one of the drummers on the line, who was black. He also laughed.
When I tell you she called me every name under the sun, I mean it. I think she made up some new ones, too. The band director had to call the resource officer and have her kicked out of the building because she thought this woman was about to physically attack me. She got in my face, nose to nose and screamed at the top of her lungs for about a solid six or seven minutes. It was surreal.
Afterward, my students were asking what I said to her. I wish I had said something to her that would have warranted that. I probably would have felt better about it.
That was my first and last year. Never again.
I get it though, what it’s like to think you’ll get a spot in the band and end up not getting it. I transferred schools in the summer between my sophomore and junior year, and tried out for the line during band camp and made it. Second snare, behind a dude who was an absolute machine. His technique was perfect and his chops were just so good. I marched to his left for the entirety of camp. Then on the first day of school, this guy I’d never seen showed up to band class. Apparently, he’d been promised a spot on the snare, but didn’t attend band camp for whatever reason. ‘Well, the captain is here, after all, so you’re gonna have to be in the pit this year.’ I will never forget that. I already had the drill and music memorized. I was better than him in every way. Not to mention that the front ensemble was already overcrowded, so there were literally no parts for me to play, so the director had to write in extra random notes for me to play so I would have something to do. Ever played a set of bongos with marimba mallets? Ever smacked a brake drum with a claw hammer? I did that year.
Anyway, the line I was working with had to play match grip, because none of them ever even considered trying to play traditional. I tried to teach them, but some of them just couldn’t do it at all. They looked like they had nerve damage in their left arm or something. Not the end of the world, I guess, but it was a bit of a disappointment in my book.”
They Accused Him Of Being Biased Against Hispanic Students
“I did my student teaching in a school that was predominantly Hispanic. A parent complained about me to the teacher I was working with, saying I was being harder on the Hispanic students than I was on the white students. I was not. When the teacher informed the parents that I was Mexican, they stopped making that claim. Towards the end of my teaching career, a parent called to complain about his son’s grade on a test. I want to say it was a high B. They ended up launching into a rant about President Obama being a communist.
Another day, I was stopped at a busy intersection when a man got out of his jeep and started running at a van. The van jumped the curb to drive away from him. Later, I told one of my classes the story and one of my students said: ‘That sounds like my dad.’ He asked me to describe the vehicle and sure enough, it was him.”
“They Lied To My Face”
“I had a student this year who clearly had a learning disability. But he was a wonderful student and the class and I adored him and celebrated the successes he had. This child, despite clearly needing accommodations, did not have an IEP–or basically special education services for those not in the field. So conferences rolled around and I brought up his academic struggles since he was a second grader capable of barely kindergarten level work, expecting them to fight me when I suggest that he needs special education testing. I mean, why else would this child who is clearly struggling not have an IEP if his parents are aware/not in denial?
Nope, they totally agreed and wanted him to get help. Okay, great. Let talked background a bit.
He was retained in first grade. And he only went to half of the second year of first grade. Well, what was he doing the first half? She responded with some story about his bio mom not allowing him to go to school. What about kindergarten? Oh, he only went to half of that, too? Well, with absences like that, I didn’t know if they would test him, but I would go to bat if they made a serious effort to have him at school every day.
They agreed. Yay! We were on the same team! We were gonna get this kid who totally deserved it some help and he would not fall through the cracks on my watch!
I called and emailed everyone I could until someone agreed to test him despite his lack of educational time. I really went above and beyond because I loved this 8-year-old.
Things went really well. He made progress. He was there almost every day.
Then absences started happening. Parents showed up 2-3 hours late to pick him up. Then he was gone for multiple days at a time. Vague excuses when I called. Then he was gone for ten solid days. I called them and they told me, ‘Well, we just haven’t felt like taking him to school. But I’ll bring him Monday. Promise.’
He hadn’t been back to class so he was withdrawn from my class and they didn’t enroll him anywhere else. Of course, we sent truancy officers but this was in Las Vegas and we were last in education for a reason.
So yeah. That’s my worst conference. They told me they would do their best for a kid I loved, and they lied to my face.”
She Basically Abandoned Her Child
“I taught preschool and I had one girl that was dropped off every morning at 6 am when we first opened our doors and not picked up until 6:30 pm which was the latest possible pick-up time. Her mom was a stay-at-home mom and she had like six kids under the age of 10. Anyway, this girl would try to escape out of the classroom every day when another parent would arrive to pick up there child starting at like 4 until her parents arrived. One day, she tried slipping out of my hand when I started holding her hand to prevent the escaping. When she failed, she did what I call the limp noodle (toddlers use this trick to escape adults all the time, they basically relax every muscle in their body allowing gravity to do their work for them). I countered by holding her up to prevent her head from connecting with the linoleum floor. This maneuver resulted in a semi-serious injury to her elbow. Thank God the other parent witnessed the entire thing and corroborated my story.
I nearly lost my job, my license, and my credibility all because a sweet little 2-year-old was desperate to go home after a long day.”
She WANTED Her Kid To Take These?!
“I had a conference with a parent about their child’s performance. The mom kept asking me if I thought there was something wrong with her daughter who was in first grade. I explained that she was capable but needed to do the homework that was sent home and could use some extra practice in a few areas. She continued to ask if I thought something was wrong with her. I continued to say no. At the end of the conference, she asked one more time, and added ‘Because if you think there is, the doctor is ready to give her meds…you just need to fill out this form.’
Parent do this for lots of reasons, unfortunately. This little girl was very calm and well behaved. She had no issues concentrating in class. She clearly didn’t need the meds.
Sometimes they want the medication for themselves, some don’t want to parent, or some want the excuse for why their kid is not doing well in school.”
He Wasn’t Allowed To Step Foot On Concrete
“A toddler fell down on the playground and skinned his knee. His mother came in the next morning to scream at us, called us negligent and incompetent, asked us, ‘What do I pay you for?!’ and ‘What am I supposed to tell my husband about this?!’ My first argument was that she paid the school and the school paid us much less than she thought. My second argument was that her son was two.
That wasn’t good enough for her. She ran to the front, screamed at my boss, and I was told from then on, little Johnny was not allowed on concrete. Yep. We went outside, I had to pick him up and carry him to the grassy play areas and keep an eye on him. If he set one foot on concrete, someone had to walk over and move him back to a ‘safe place.’ He would get visibly upset because obviously he wanted to toss the balls with his friends but he just wasn’t allowed to and he could not understand why! Way to isolate and hinder your child rather than teach him calculated risk management, lady.
My exact response to this woman was, ‘How is he supposed to learn to run and walk if he’s not allowed to?'”