Teaching in this day and age is a tough job. Between mediocre pay, depleting resources, and disobedient children, one might find it difficult to maintain a positive attitude. While welcoming and supportive parents can be a teacher's saving grace, there are always those helicopter parents who believe their child can do no wrong. These are a teacher's worst nightmare.
Teachers of Reddit have come together to share their most shocking experiences with these nightmare parents. Content has been edited for clarity.
"I worked the school age room in a child care center, my youngest kiddo was 5 and 11-12 was supposed to be the max age in that room. The center director had a 14-year-old who was bored at home, so she would bring her in and have her 'help' but instead she ran a pack of mean girls who were constantly defying my instructions and picking on the younger kids. She'd go in and out of the room whenever she felt like it and when I brought it up to the director as a problem she said, 'Are you saying that MY child is the problem? I've told her that she should be helping you and she tells me about how helpful she is and that she is constantly doing things for you. How can you complain about her?' Uh, no. She's not doing those things at all. Your 14-year-old is manipulating you, like 14-year-olds do."
"I taught at a school in a mega-affluent community. Colossally wealthy families that lived in castles; very powerful and influential people. Most of the kids were lovely, but there were plenty of decent kids, and some were just downright unbelievable. It wasn't the kids' fault, mind you - they were just spoiled to the point of being devoid of common sense and reality. One particular boy, who we'll call Francis, had basically given up on school. He knew he was set for life and put zero effort into anything. At one point, his grades were so poor that his parents - completely aloof and dependent upon Francis' team of au pairs (Francis called his parents by their first names, mind you) - proposed buying passing grades so that Francis could move on to the next grade. The principal told me that during their meeting, dad pulled out the checkbook and asked for an amount."
"Pre-K student brought in a knife from home, chased around another student with it, then punched him in the face, which resulted in a very bloody and bruised nose (this all happened within seconds during recess). When I contacted the parents of the knife-child, they said, and I’m not even kidding, 'What did you do to make my son bring in a knife to school and punch another kid in the face?' Then they threatened to call the Superintendent to get my teaching license revoked for wrongly accusing their child of hurting another student. Yep, good ol’ parents."
"I had a student in 5th grade. He had a history of misbehavior dating back to the first week of kindergarten. He would regularly shout insults at other students, threaten them, refused to do any work, and on several occasions, yelled at me and once threw a chair. One day, while we were taking a test, this student was talking. I quietly reminded him that it is against the rules to talk during a test, and that he needs to be quiet. He kept talking. I told him that this is his last warning, and that if he talks again he will need to go in the hall. He talked again. So I told him to go in the hall. He gets up, walks out, and on the way out says, 'You're an idiot,' to me. I wrote him a referral and contacted the parents, explaining the situation. They didn't pick up the phone, so I sent an e-mail (oops) and I ended the e-mail saying that I hope we can work together to help (student) be successful.
I received a rage-filled e-mail back saying that MY behavior is unacceptable, that I am targeting her son and am out to get him, and that I will be hearing from her lawyer. This woman is a cop. She went all the way to the district level to complain about me, and made up all kinds of lies about me and told the other parents.
Oh, and once, after a different incident where he physically assaulted another kid, he was suspended for a day. Mommy took him to Disney World."
"There was this kid who would bully people for exactly no reason and even went to the extent to make a kid take his own life. The kid was really nice and also had lots of friends too.
He would even bully his family. But when the staff of the school eventually caught on to this, they called his mom and the principal talked to them in his office. I was an office aid, which means I just help deliver papers and stuff but I am mostly stuck in the office where the principal's office is. His door was always open...literally.
The principal brought up camera records of the kid bullying people and the mom went on to blame the principal of faking it and lying to her about her son when she clearly saw his face and transferred him to another school, then she tried to sue my principal for fraud."
"My mom worked in special ED for public schools and one of her students was basically a vegetable. The girl had been deprived of oxygen at birth for long enough that she's not even capable of forming sentences or walking on her own. Her parents INSISTED she was 'just misunderstood' and 'actually gifted.' This mom fought tooth and nail to get her daughter into the school's gifted program even though her daughter couldn't even count to 10. Quite sad, really."
"The WORST was when I called a kid's parents because he was harassing several girls and exhibiting violent behavior towards other kids in class.
Had a parent teacher conference about it with all of his teachers and the dean of students present, and in the end his dad said, 'I know he's doing this but you have to understand, it isn't him. It's the devil taking over his body.'"
"While I've never been a traditional teacher, I did give swimming lessons for a short time while in high school.
Most of my students (and their parents) were very appreciative of how I conducted my classes, but there was one woman who seemed utterly convinced that I was doing her child a disservice. The boy in question was afraid of putting his head beneath the water – which is a common-enough problem – so we had been slowly working through various ways of helping him overcome that fear. Unfortunately, every single time that his mother was nearby, she would scream about how I had 'no right' to 'force' her son to do anything, after which she would loudly address him as though nobody else was within earshot.
'Are you okay, honey?' she'd ask. 'You remember what Mommy said, okay? You do not listen to that man. You are perfect, and you do not let anyone tell you otherwise! Okay? Tell me that you hear me.'
The poor kid would mutter his acknowledgments, then sulk near the edge of the pool until his mother finally left. The good news is that the woman would almost always disappear not long after dropping off her son, leaving me to start undoing the damage. I'd like to think that I still had a positive impact on the boy's life, but something tells me that someone had mistaken swimming lessons for a particularly wet babysitting service."
"I had a 7th grade girl stab me in the back of the head with a pencil. When we brought her parents in for a meeting with the principal, the mom said I shouldn’t have turned my back to the class at any point in time. Not that maybe her kid shouldn’t be stabbing people...that was the day I decided to quit teaching."
"High school teacher here, and I happen to teach IB (international baccalaureate) classes. Basically, kind of like AP classes in the US but towards an internationally recognized diploma program instead. ANYWAY, my students had an assessment that they needed to submit for their diploma. We had been working on it for months, editing and revising, etc. This one student (we'll call him Mark), never submitted anything throughout all of these months. I had sent countless emails home and to his counselor with very little response.
Mark assured me, however, that he would have it done before the final submission date. On the day of the final submission, however, I get an email from him informing me that he will not be coming to school because his dog broke both of its front paws and would need to be taken care of whilst his parents were at work. He attached a photo of a Yorkie in leg braces because he said he knew I would be suspicious.
Knowing that this was 100% a lie, I googled 'Yorkie' in leg braces" and lo and behold, it was the second photo that came up; belonged to some animal orthopedic website. Fortunately, his mother happened to be in the building that day for some other meeting, and I was able to track her down. I explained the situation, showed her the email, and...her response??
'OH MY GOODNESS, that does look like our dog!! I need to go right away and check on him!'
Lady...it's not your dog."
"In our high school, the principal's son was in my English class. He basically just jocked it up at the back with his buddies and never did class work. Come end of first semester his daddy, the principal, came into the classroom to attempt to give the English teacher an embarrassing chewing out because his son was failing.
The English teacher was a former army infantryman, then a green beret, who then became a linguist and ended up being a spy for the CIA for 15 years. He spoke like 8 different languages fluently and just taught high school English as his calm, quiet 'retirement.'
He just placed his hands on the principal's shoulders, looked him square in the eye in front of god and everyone and said in a gravelly voice through clenched teeth, 'He. Hasn't. Turned. In. ONE. SINGLE. ASSIGNMENT. You bet he is failing my course!'
Principal retreated and that was that. English teacher spy guy turned back to the class and calmly began the days' lesson like nothing was wrong. Everyone knew our principal was a corrupt idiot who basically carried his kids through school with his position's power, and we all agreed after class that it was the single most awesome way to stick up to the dirty little prick we could think of."
"I was a TA in a kindergarten classroom and had reminded this little kid in April (over halfway through the school year) about our rule that we only have healthy snacks at snack time. He started whining and crying about how his mom lets him have cookies whenever he wants. He could've just eaten the cookie at lunchtime, no problem.
Anyway, the teacher steps in and mentions that he has a delicious looking apple in his lunch bag. He then gets up, throws a chair and begins to flip tables and tear the class apart while telling the teacher his mom is going to bring a weapon and harm her.
At this moment, a threat has been issued, so we bring in the principal. She gets there and begins an effort to talk the student down to no avail. He just keeps going on and on about how his mom has a weapon and will harm everyone at the school and if we call the police, she is going to harm them, too.
The mother is then called... No answer. Of course.
So we send this kid with the principal and go about our day.
After school is over, the teacher, principal and I start putting together an email to the parent. The kid was in after school care, so we couldn't have a chat after school. We just hit the major points of defiance and handling his anger in a more positive manner.
I get to school the next day and the teacher shows me the response. The first line read, 'Why didn't you just let him have the cookie?!' and it went on to say that 'you as educators are not doing our job if her child is getting as angry as he is. It is our job to keep him from getting mad, and we failed at it today.'
That day he came in and told us that mommy bought him a new Lego set...
The mother also surfed social media and found the teacher's profile. She then used the teacher's recent tragedy (death in the family) as a reason to complain to the principal as to why the teacher is unfit to be teaching her child."
"Had a 7th grade girl who was known for making up wild stories. The year before, she had claimed another teacher beat her, and the teacher was investigated. Turns out it was all made up! Then when I had her, the second week of school, she claimed she was intimately assaulted in my room. Not only that, but she claimed it happened during morning announcements, when myself and 25 other kids were in the room, and she claimed we all watched it happen/heard her screaming for help but nobody did anything. Her mother went to the police, the police contacted the school. I was questioned and had to give a statement. A few days later, the girl admitted to her counselor that she had made the whole thing up because she thought it would be funny. After that, our principal told the mother not to bother bringing her kid back again. A few days later, the mother calls me up at the school and curses me out over the phone, screaming how I ruined her child’s life and that I’m the one who made up the story, not her daughter because her daughter would never do something like that! I’m not even sure how that would ever make sense in her head. The whole thing was just extremely crazy. Last I heard the girl went to a charter school after she left here, and got kicked out of the charter. Honestly I think she (and her mom) both need some psychological help."
"I've wanted to get this off my chest for a while now: Taught previously, but this is as a parent:
Our son, who is 3, is in school. His classmate 'Winnie' and her mom 'Louisa' are the worst people you've ever met. First, Winnie has a restrictive diet for no other reason than her parents want to try it. They will send a list of 'approved' foods and quantities for her with the expectation that all leftovers are to be put in Tupperware and given to Winnie to take home. The food is so odd and weird that we wouldn't eat it anyway, but that's the expectation.
If Winnie is at a party, Winnie must win at least 50% of the games, even if there are 20 kids. Winnie must be served first. She must have extra time when playing with children and Winnie must not be, under any circumstances, told what not to do.
The kids of this class have parties and Winnie was invited twice and then not. Her mother flew off the handle and sent a nasty letter to parents about how this was unjust and her Darling Winnifred was crying at being left out. Her daughter has no boundaries, is unruly, rude, difficult and eats what can only be described as pre-vomit. Her mother runs a small 'health consulting' business and will constantly try the hard sell with you. It's intrusive, invasive and really tone-deaf, but she won't stop continually begging for service. She's awful. Her daughter is awful, and they're always at social events."
"First year teaching, I gave a kid detention. Kid was talking too much in class, wouldn't stop, and school policy was to give detention if a kid acted up after a verbal warning. Detention wasn't much, about 30 minutes after school, but since it was a middle school, giving after school detention means I have to contact the parents, since the kid won't be on the bus (yes, there were other transportation options at this school). Now, he was talking to another kid, so that kid got detention too.
So, throughout the day, the kid is begging me not to give him detention, but I remain firm. He broke the rules, I followed school policy and it's my first year, I'm looking to other teachers to be a guide, and they say I should stand firm. So, I call mom.
Mom is cuckoo bananas. The kid is Indian, so she accuses me of racism, but that's not so bad, I can understand where she's coming from. That's not what makes her crazy. She then assumes that there was no way for her boy to be talking in class because he is, and I will remember this quote until the day I die, 'a perfect, Christ-like child.' Kid was perfect, you see, so anything he did wrong, I had to have made up. Here's the worst part, I was a traveling teacher which means I have to use other classrooms while that teacher is on plan. It sucks for both of us, but it also means, I don't have a classroom phone. If I call a parent, I have to call using my cell phone. She spends the rest of the year harassing me.
Kid gets a B on a test that was written by all the 7th grade English teachers and done on a scantron? Impossible, he needs to get an A. Kid gets in trouble in another class? She calls me to complain about how he couldn't have done anything wrong. Kid has to do homework in my class? No, that's not acceptable, I'm targeting him. Kid gets detention again? Couldn't have happened, he's perfect. He's Christlike. I had so many 30-40 minute calls from this woman that I had to have the Principal intervene because it turned into harassment.
The worst part was, I really liked the kid. He was a great kid, he was just a 7th grader in a class that had all of his friends and was too big. Also, for some reason, lunch for 7th graders was at 1 pm, which was last for some dumb reason, and his class was the one just before lunch. Kid was hungry, tired, overworked and all of his friends were in class, I totally got it. He just couldn't disrupt class.
Also, when I say 'talk in class,' I don't mean whispering. He and his friends were pretty loud, they would interrupt me and other kids and I was a first year teacher, too. I made a lot of mistakes, especially with that class. So, I'm not exactly blameless in this scenario."
"My first year of teaching, I taught early elementary, but had to teach a single grade 7 options class where I saw the students 2 times a week for 40 minutes. I had one student who didn’t hand in a project and marked him accordingly. Parent-teacher night came and mom shows up. She closes the door, spends 5 minutes addressing her son's marks and asking about whether he could still hand in the project to which I replied, 'Sure.' She then spends 20 minutes telling me her son thinks I hate him and how everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, loves her son. She went on long rambling stories about former teachers, coaches... etc and how everyone really loves him and I just really need to spend some time with him, so I would see how special he was. I finally told her I couldn’t possibly hate her child because I barely knew who he was because I spend 98% of my time teaching on the opposite side of the school (not a smart thing to say, but the rambling stories, the fact that we were 25 minutes into what was supposed to be a 10-minute interview, her passive aggressive nature, and the fact that she was so high on her son was starting to irritate me.)
I asked her what type of reasonable solution she wanted, and she told me my personality was clearly the problem. She then got up to leave but returned to tell me that though she wasn’t a teacher and wouldn’t tell me how to do my job but...she spent 5 minutes telling me all the ways I’m personally failing her child.
Anyway, that was an important first year teacher moment. Never again would I let a parent treat me like that."
"Once I had a piano student whose mother made him take lessons, even though his heart wasn't in it. For several weeks, he'd come back with exactly the same mistakes as the week before and with no sign of improvement.
I made it comfortable for him to describe weekly practice and his thoughts about taking piano lessons. He said that he had no interest in the piano (or any other instrument) and that he 'pretended to practice getting his mother off his back.'
I told his mom that forcing him to take lessons was a mistake - that his heart wasn't in it and that it might turn him against music forever to persist. She said, 'He's a gifted student, and he'd never waste practice time.'
I simply said that I have his best interests in mind and that he needs to pursue something he's genuinely interested in, and not be coerced into studying as a result of parental pressure.
The boy gave me an appreciative hug. But his mom looked daggers at me as they walked away."