Working with children isn't easy, and these parents definitely made it harder. Buckle in — here are some of the most shocking parent horror stories we received:
1. "I once nannied for a family with five kids and nine pets. They had six nannies that would take shifts two-at-a-time around the clock so that the parents never had to be with or take care of their own kids. There were lots of things about that family that were off, but the biggest problem was that they allowed their children to pee and defecate anywhere in the house, and it was our job (the nannies) to clean it up."
"This was totally normal for them. The oldest child was 6 years old and learning how to potty train. She asked me to come wipe her one day, and I was horrified. Apparently, the parents expected us to do that as well. I made the executive decision to instead coach her through wiping herself because she certainly was old enough and more than capable. The mom got so upset at me for not wiping her daughter that I was fired the next day. In retrospect, she did us both a favor. 🤷♀️"
2. "We sent a kid home with a fever. When mom showed up to pick him up, she pulled out her own thermometer, claiming ours didn’t work, and that we were just 'faking it.' Because we can clearly fake multiple thermometers detecting a fever."
3. "I was a go-to babysitter for a family a few years back. Thing is, I never felt like I was babysitting. No matter what time of day I was coming over, the mom made the kids go to bed. 3 p.m.? Doesn't matter, they're in bed. And I was told to get on to them if they got up (I never did, though, and always offered to play with them or watch shows)."
4. "Had one mom get mad at me because I brought her kid to the bus stop to pick up other kids. It was cold out and raining. The mom knew we did bus runs and sent her kid in the thinnest coat possible. But it’s my fault she got wet. Same mom was mad that I didn’t supply diapers and wipes, and when her kid got a heat rash in the hottest summer ever, she accused me of giving her kid a skin disease. I have rosacea, and it’s not contagious."
5. "I had a toddler who was brought into the center with what the parents told us was a cat bite on her hand. She favored the hand and cried if it got bumped or when she had to use it. The next time she was brought back (two days later), the hand was red, enormously swollen, and very obviously painful."
"We called the parents and told them she needed to be picked up. Mind you, the mom worked in some medical profession. When they brought her back the next day, they said she had such a bad infection in that hand that a special antibiotic had to be driven in by a pharmacy 50 miles away. Imagine what would have happened had they continued to ignore this infection?!"
6. "I had an infant who was not using her arm and was clearly in pain and distress. We called the mom who said, 'Yeah. She hurt her arm in her crib two days ago.' We told her she was unable to use that arm and was in obvious pain. She said she could not be there for another two hours. She finally picked her baby up and told us the next day that the baby's shoulder was out of the socket."
7. "When the dads tell us, 'Mom doesn't like the baby at home.'"
8. "Our daycare only watched 3-month-olds to 5-year-olds. There was one toddler who would punch, push, and sometimes even bite all the other children. We tried asking the mother to talk to/discipline her son, or we couldn’t watch him anymore as it turned into a liability since he was hurting other children. The mother was adamant that her son would never do anything bad. 🙄"
"So, one day, it’s the same song and dance:
Us: 'Your son hit again today.'
Her: 'What? No my son would never!' But this time, she picked up her lil 4-year-old and started baby-talking to him. 'You would never hit, would you? You are the sweetest thing. You would never hit!'
And what did her son do? Slapped her so hard across the face that her head snapped back. Then, she denied to our face that he hit her even though we just witnessed it!"
9. "Alternatively, the same mom used to drop her kid off, and every morning (this was just after the movie The Help came out), this white mother would set her son down and talk in an over-exaggerated 'blaccent' to her son and say, 'What is you? You is kiiind…you is smaaaaaart...you is haaaaaandsome…you is stroooong. What else is you?' And she’d list off the wonderful things her son was for nearly five minutes straight."
10. "Not me, but my mom. The general audacity of folks, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown, who brought children to daycare when they clearly were not working and put my 60-year-old immunocompromised mother at risk. On top of that, add in parents who deliberately brought in children who were sick (some of which they KNEW had COVID) so they could get a break at home. It truly makes my blood boil."
"In the midst of this, I had a friend who was furloughed but proudly told me how she was still bringing her 2-year-old to daycare at the height of COVID so that she could DIY her new home. All I could think of were the women (like my mother) who were risking their lives to care for my friend's child while she did crafts all day in an empty house. Needless to say, we don't talk much these days."
11. "I babysat for a family, and the mom told me that if the three kids got in the pool, that would count as their shower/bath time."
12. "Once, we had a new little girl in our group, and her mom brought her in on the first day. The little girl started playing, and all seemed well, but as the mom was leaving, she stopped and told us that she 'really prefers it if her daughter doesn’t walk.'"
13. "There was a mom who cursed me out for telling her, per policy, I couldn’t put sugar in her child’s milk and food. She withdrew her child immediately the next day."
14. "I worked as a pre-K teacher for five years. In my five years, I became close to what I thought was the perfect family — amazing mom and dad, two really sweet and smart boys. I had both kids in my classroom at one point or another and always greeted the family in the morning and made small talk. One morning, the boys are being dropped off with me, and the dad starts openly hitting on me in front of his kids and my entire class."
"He made comments like: 'I bet you bring the sunshine wherever you go. I love seeing you smile each day. You're the boys' best part of the day...and mine.' He said all of this while eye-banging me. I felt so uncomfortable; all I did was laugh and shuffle his kids into my room. A few weeks later, the mom of the boys asked to speak to me privately. Turns out the dad had been cheating on her for years!! I was in shock — they truly seemed like the perfect couple. I guess you never know what goes on behind closed doors."
15. "I'm a former pre-school teacher. A mom asked if she could bring in CBD gummies for us to give to her 3-year-old when she threw tantrums."
16. "The one that left me completely dumbfounded was when the mom, whose baby was a month younger than mine, asked me how I kept her baby's diaper on if she wasn't wearing a onesie. I (and the co-teacher) just stared at her for several seconds until we realized she was serious. I have seen and heard a lot in my 15 years in childcare, but that one actually made my mouth hang open! 'Um, I don't know. I use a diaper that fits.' Bless her heart, she didn't think the diaper would stay on if the baby didn't always wear a onesie. The best part is that this was her second child!"
17. "I had a mom get upset because I allowed her 1-year-old to hold their own bottle rather than holding it for them."
18. "I had a child who was sick. We called the mother, and she said, 'Do we have to come right now? We're enjoying our alone time.'"
19. "I had a boy in my class from a divorced family. When he came back from spending the weekend with his dad, he got a new Black Panther action figure. This little man absolutely loved this action figure — he begged me to let him sleep with it during nap time and even had snack time with it. The day goes on, and it's time for him to be picked up by mom. Mom walks into my class and sees her son holding the Black Panther. Out loud she makes an 'Ugh' sound."
"At first, I just assumed it was because her son got another new toy. She then looks at me and says, 'I just don't understand why THEY need their own superhero. I'm part Native American (she was not), and I'm not looking for an Indian hero. Why do the Blacks need one?' I was shook! How did she think this was appropriate to say in front of children and say this to me? Just because I am a white person doesn't mean I agree with racist comments. I simply looked at her and said, 'Well, some people think representation matters,' with a very condescending smile. She gave me a huge eye-roll and left with her son."
20. "I worked for an affluent family in the Bay Area that had four children for nearly four years in my early 20s. On top of taking care of their children, I was in charge of all the house work — errands, laundry, etc. With laundry, I would scan the floors of each room as needed, pick up the clothes, and go on about my work. I can't believe I am typing this, but the mom used to leave her period-stained underwear on the ground of her bedroom, and I would pick it up!"
21. "Daycare teacher here. I had a parent come to me during group bathroom time and start the conversation with, 'Hey, I meant to talk to you about this earlier...but do you remember two weeks ago if [child] pooped at school that day?' Ma’am, I don’t even remember yesterday — no, I don’t know if your child pooped two weeks ago?!?"
Do you have any other parent horror stories you want to share? Tell us in the comments below and let it all out. Don't worry, we're here for ya.
Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.