Parents Share Life Lessons That Completely And Hilariously Backfired

As parents, we all want what’s best for our kids. So we try and teach them everything we can about life, from basic table manners to how we should treat others. A lot of these lessons “stick” and make positive lasting impressions on our children but a few of them slide through the cracks. By a long shot, it’s those failed lessons that make the best stories. Reddit users recently shared some of their most hilarious, LOL-worthy parental lesson fails. Read on and be prepared to cry-laugh at the things kids were able to misinterpret about their parents’ life lessons.

“Be Grateful For What You Have”

When Reddit user Forever_monstro’s son reached three years old, he started showing signs of being a little too materialistic. So Forever_monstro did what any good parent would do and tried to teach him to be grateful by showing him photos of kids around the world who didn’t have much at all. One of the pictures showed a child holding his only toy, a beat-up stuffed monkey.

How did Forever_monstro’s son react? “After a long bit of silence, he finally looked up at me, gave me a sweet smile and said, ‘I want that monkey.’”

“Always Try And Compliment People Who Insult You”

Shopping for a bathing suit is not a fun chore for most people. Doing it at Burlington Coat Factory is even less pleasant, and if you add in some rude commentary from random strangers about how you look in the swimsuit, well, this scenario is not one any of us would gladly put ourselves into.

Luckily (unluckily?) for this grandmother, her grandkid put the rude stranger in her place with one of the most awesome back-handed “compliments” we’ve ever heard. We wonder if the kid knew how their comment would be interpreted. Either way hope she got a nice reward after the family was done shopping!

“Have A Reason For Your Actions”

In general, it’s a good idea to have a rationale behind all of your actions. As many parents know, this can help reduce impulsive behaviors in children. But Redditor Shanisasha found out the hard way that kids will make up just about any excuse they can to justify their actions.

“Am hearing about ALL THE REASONS constantly… If I have to hear all the reasons for going out in the rain to rescue a butterfly with a broken wing anymore (three days post) I may tear my ears off.” Hey, at least Shanisasha’s kids have big hearts!

“Be Discreet”

What a helpful big sister! Redditor Froizennie tried to help out her younger sibling when they were kids. She writes, “as a child I noticed my sister was writing her name on the walls when she was drawing on them with crayon. Taking on the role of Helpful Big Sister, I informed her if she was going to graffiti things she shouldn’t write her name and give herself away.”

That’s a great lesson. What did the little sister do with her newfound knowledge? “A few weeks later, she was carving patterns into the wooden desk in the study and carved my name into it instead.” Ouch.

“Do Not Waste Food”

Redditor Catastrophichysteria shared an experience about growing up with a father who insisted that the kids join the “clean plate club” and finish every bite that they’re served. It didn’t turn out well for Dad one night as he tried to goad one of his children to eat the remaining three bites of dinner.

“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,” wrote Catastrophichysteria. “He stopped enforcing the rule after that.” Yeah, we bet he did.

“What Goes Up Must Come Down”

It’s never too early to start teaching physics to your kid. That’s what Redditor Nash_Rambler did. “Taught my young toddler son how to go up stairs,” he wrote in a post.

“I did not realize that going down stairs is in fact a completely different, and far more dangerous, skill set…. Scooches down one step safely. Scooches down the second step safely. So pleased with his progress he happily steps forward and tumbles, head first, down the next 15 steps. Sounds like that kid is quite a daredevil!

“Don’t Drink Alcohol”


This is a lesson that many parents try and convey to their kids, with varying degrees of success. Redditor Drinkmoreshowerbeer has a hilarious story of their own experience with this particular subject.

His parents gave him a tiny sip of beer when he was four, expecting him to be disgusted. “I instead took a sip and said ‘Mmm! Can I have one?’ The lesson that beer is good has lasted to adulthood,” shares Drinkmoreshowerbeer. Nice username, btw.

“Accept Others’ Differences”

A key component of living among other people is to accept that we’re all unique and have different needs. Redditor Partofbreakfast works at a school where this lesson is taught, explaining, “at my school we have a lot of kids with learning disabilities” whose needs are accommodated with things like special seats and longer test times.

One student didn’t quite get the lesson, though, and “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.’”

“Don’t Talk With Your Mouth Full”

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Basic table manners are some of the most important lessons a parent can teach to a kid. After all, none of us want to gross out our dining companions. Not talking with your mouth full is one of the earliest things that a lot of kids learn about eating with others.

But as we know, children are experts at creative interpretation. Redditor MisterCrispy has a friend who tried to teach their child not to talk with their mouth full, so the kid just spits their food out onto the table when they need to speak. Hey, it doesn’t break the rules. As MisterCrispy added, “Children are the absolute masters of malicious compliance.”

“Don’t Gamble”

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RedditPoster05 has a sister who wanted to teach her kids why gambling is bad. So “she bought a few lottery tickets to show them that they were all going to be losers,” shares RedditPoster05. How’d that turn out? “She won $500….”

It seems that this has happened to other people trying to teach their kids about the dangers of gambling. Blindsight11 had a similar experience, writing that “My parents did the same thing. We didn’t win $500, but did get enough to get The Lion King on vhs.”

“Your Decisions Have Consequences”

Wisteriahaze is a nanny, and learned the hard way that if you let a child make a choice between two options, you’d better be prepared to deal with whatever decision they make. As she explained on Reddit, it was a hot day and she wanted the two-year-old child she was nannying to wear a hat to block the sun.

“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 [and I asked], ‘Where are you going?’” The child’s answer? “Car.” She was ready to accept her punishment instead of wearing the stupid hat.

“Don’t Talk To Strangers”

Sometimes parents learn too late that they might have left out an important part of a life lesson they’ve tried to teach their kids. Ghode knows this all too well, sharing that they had wandered away from their parents at a baseball game when they were young.

The parents finally located Ghode on the other side of the stadium. “A crowd had gathered to watch as a police officer held me out at arms length while I screamed ‘call the police, this man is not my daddy’ over and over again. My parents had taught me stranger danger, but forgot to teach me what police look like.”

“If You See A Crime, Call The Police”

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Redditor Turtelbob says, “My parents taught me to call 911 when I saw somebody doing something illegal.” Hey, that’s sound advice. If you see something, do something. It’s something we’re still told as adults.

Turtelbob might have been a little too vigilant, though. “I called the cops on the Wiggles movie I was watching when I was 5 because a clown stole a cake.” Fortunately for Turtelbob and his family, the police were understanding when they showed up to apprehend the cake thief.

“Life Isn’t Fair”

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It’s one of the most important lessons we’re ever taught but can be one of the hardest to accept: “life isn’t fair.” Misleigh has been trying to teach this to her children, but they’ve come up with some interesting ways to make the rule work in their favor.

“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.'” No, it’s certainly not.

“Be Yourself”

It turns out that not everyone who twists life lessons around is a little kid. Redditor MadMadGirl shared a story about her son. She’d taught him that she trusted him to choose friends, even if she didn’t approve, as long as he was “true to who he was” and didn’t blindly take bad advice from them.

“Sounded good and accepting in my head… til he hung out with friends who he got in trouble with at school for weed… Guess he didn’t heed my lesson, or maybe it was just a bad message,” MadMadGirl wrote. “Now I tell him to avoid people who don’t care about his best interests. Be friendly, don’t be friends.”

“Take Risks Every Now And Then”

Fortunately, most of the stories parents share about life lessons getting terribly misunderstood by their kids are pretty harmless. Redditor YourSaltSucks provides the exception to the rule with their story about growing up. “My mom tried to teach me to take risks and do new things. She convinced me to go roller skating and she said “the worst thing that can happen is that you get bored and sit out and eat food.”

Things didn’t turn out quite how YourSaltSucks’ mom imagined they would, though: “Guess who broke their arm and wrist within minutes of arriving.” Sounds like someone deserves an ice cream.

“Bedtime Is For Resting”

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Little did Redditor Monfo’s dad realize, but he was setting his kid up for a lifetime of sleeplessness when he tried to teach the importance of a quiet bedtime. “When I was around 12, my father… went into my room and told me that I shouldn’t play my Game Boy Advance past bedtime, because I needed to rest.”

Monfo, who hadn’t played video games in bed before, says, “that’s when I realized I could play my Game Boy Advance past bedtime, and I’ve suffered from insomnia since then.”

“Always Believe In Yourself”

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Reddit user Chipperdipper99’s husband got way more than he bargained for when he tried to teach their daughter a lesson about self-esteem. She wanted to try out for a play but was going to back out because she didn’t think she’d get the part. “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.”

“She ended up not only just making it, but she got the part of Chip, “ writes Chipperdipper99. Even better? “My husband got the part of Maurice, Belle’s father. He didn’t even want to be in” the play. He must be a really good actor.

“Big Kids Use The Potty”

Oh, so many potty training lessons have backfired over the years. Thatsunshinegal shared this one to Reddit: her fiance’s parents “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.’”

Sadly for those parents, the lessons didn’t stick. “The day after they got back, he took a [dump] in the living room. When asked, he said ‘I don’t gotta use the potty cause I already saw Mickey Mouse.’” Hey, at least he had solid reasoning for his actions.

“Respect Your Elders”

When AphrodesiacBirds’ aunt and uncle were raising their kids, they taught them that adults should be referred to as “Mr” or “Mrs” So-and-So. “They used each other as examples, and consequently were known as Mr. Iannuccilli for ~ 2 months.”

This was particularly hilarious at bedtime, when AphrodesiacBirds says, “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.” That’s Mr. Daddy to you!

“Reward Others For Good Work”

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Redditor Tsquaredp decided to start giving his daughter a $5 allowance. He sat her down and explained that it was given to her in return for helping out around the house. Her response wasn’t quite a backfire but probably wasn’t quite what Tsquaredp expected.

“She happily accepted and stashed her money in her room, I thought nothing of it. Later that evening before I tucked her in to bed after reading to her, she goes to her money jar, pulls out $2 and hands it to me, and explains that it’s for being a good daddy,” he wrote. Awww!