Are you a bad parent and proud of it?

The latest trend in tell-all books and Web sites is parents proudly (albeit sometimes anonymously) confessing their child rearing sins. “True Mom Confessions,” by Romi Lassally, just published this month.  Ayelet Waldman’s “Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace” and Michael Lewis’s “Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood,” will be arriving soon. (The Wall Street Journal wrote a long story about this trend. Here’s the link.)

I recently was sent a copy of the “True Mom Confessions” book, and it is a guilty pleasure to read. The book is the best of some 500,000 anonymous confessions left on the Web site. Chapters include: “Little White Lies,” “If They Only Knew,” “Do As I Say, Not As I Do,” and “There Is No “I” in Mommy.” Some entries are shocking. Some are sad. Some are easy to relate to and some I would never own up to!

For example, would you admit to:

“My son was so excited for his second birthday, but when the day rolled around I hadn’t pulled anything together to celebrate – so I told him that he had the wrong day and his birthday was actually the following week. (Yes … He believed me and I felt terrible.)

Or how about:

“I took $60 from my son’s piggy bank – and when he realized it was empty, I blamed it on his sister.”


“I haven’t taught my kids to tell time yet … that way I can say it’s bedtime whenever I want.”

And finally:

“Once when my son was teething, we had nothing to numb his gums so we used “Pleasure Balm” from out Kama Sutra set. Funny think was … it worked better than Orajel.”

Some of the confessions are really just honest:

“My husband is a better parent than I am. He cooks, he plays with them more, he’s more patient. I know that if I died young, they would all grow up fine without me. I love and hate him for that.”

I’m all about moms not pretending to be perfect parents and not judging others. Every family has problems, and no one is perfect, but some of the things parents are admitting too could get them arrested.

The Wall Street Journal article sites an example of a Canadian mothering Twittering that she wanted to “smother her 3-year-old daughter because she wouldn’t go to sleep, and a few hours later, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police showed up at her door. They checked on her child, who was safely tucked in bed, and left. ‘Maybe I should’ve put a little smiley face on it or followed it up with ‘Just kidding,’ ’ says the woman, who requested anonymity.”

What do make of these bad parenting sites and novels?

What’s the worst thing you’ve done as a parent or spouse? Please remember to be anonymous — we don’t want any Mounties after you!

69 comments Add your comment


April 14th, 2009
8:02 am

I am not a bad parent ( unless you ask my kids….LOL) and as many of you know, I am disappointed in the lack of parents who actually take their job seriously.

I DID one New Year’s Eve set all the clocks in the house to 11:45 as it was 10:00 p.m. and I did not think I would make it until midnight with 2 small children who wanted to stay up. They never knew until they were teens. The ultimate reason ( to be a bad parent) perhaps should be when you are exhausted or frazzled and this may be your only option…too many parents today take shortcuts that will be compounded later.

I believe velcro was created for those parents who did not want the hassle of teaching their kids to ties shoes and/or tying them for their children. When do they learn OR do they really need to? Look around, perhaps grownups in velcro are those who cannot tie their own shoes…HAHA!

RE: the child whose birthday was celebrated later.. didn’t any of the relatives mention it?


April 14th, 2009
8:11 am

I overheard the conversation between a teacher and counselor discussing how undisciplined kids are today. The teacher then said, “My momma knew how to get us. She’d wait until we were asleep and then get a belt and beat us out of our sleep!”. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and the counselor didn’t respond, just looked. This woman actually thought this was an acceptable form of discipline!

That being said, I’ve definitely had those moments that I wasn’t proud of.


April 14th, 2009
8:46 am

Last week Oprah had a show on this very same topic…..Mom confessions. As I watched the show, my jaw just kept dropping. Some of the things these moms were saying were just absolutely ludicrous and unbelievable. One woman admitted to not bathing her twins for almost 3 weeks one time. THREE WEEKS?!?!?!?! Another admitted to making her child’s lunch from all the leftover snacks she had IN HER CAR!!!! PUH-LEASE!!!!!! If you do things like that you have something seriously wrong with you. Other moms talked about not showering for several days or not brushing their own teeth for DAYS. HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN?!?!?! How do you not brush your teeth or shower? EEWWWW!!! Now I am certainly not perfect, but I make sure I am clean everyday and it only takes 10 minutes at the most to make Little E’s lunch for preschool. Sometimes I think people are making up these crazy stories for attention. The stories are just too outrageous to be believable. I mean, come on…..changing your child’s birthday?!?!?! That is just unacceptable. I see lots of therapy in that child’s future!!

I am reading a book right now called Things I Learned About My Father (In Therapy). It is essays written by fathers (and a few mothers) about fatherhood. It is fabulous….some are very touching and some are hysterical. No bad parenting stories in it!


April 14th, 2009
8:57 am

I have lost my cool a few times and yelled. I try not to yell. Its usually not my son that drives me there, but rather his friend who at age 7 already seems to be pure evil. I don’t mean that lightly. I believe that he will be in prison at an early age. I’d like to end the relationship, but due to several reasons, I can’t do that. So, I am forced to watch their every move when they play together, and am having to discipline every moment.

not sure

April 14th, 2009
9:27 am

not sure if this is bad or not…I have done 3 things as a parent to my daughter that proved to work but i was either finally embarrassed by it or she caught on.

One is that everytime we went into a store she would start yelling mommy cuz she wanted things. I finally told her my name was (i would sigh hum and close my lips tightly). So if she needed to call me she had to do just that. well of course she did, and of course i never heard her. It worked for a little while

Secondly, She would ask if she could go to the park, i would say tomorrow and she would be fine with that. When tomorrow came, she would ask is today tomorrow – I would reply no tomorrow is tomorrow…Trying to avoid the running behind her in the park…That also played out after a while.

Thirdly, I got embarrassed because i used to tell her keep it up and i’m gonna spank your butt okay. Well needless to say – when she was three we were out in public and i told her to keep it up – i was embarrassed because she yelled out or you gonna spank my butt okay? that broke the habit of me EVER using that again.

[...] There’s a rash of books out lately highlighting confessions of “bad parents.” [...]


April 14th, 2009
9:36 am

Judge not, lest you be judged.

Motherhood is a long hard road and none of us are perfect. I am sure that if I showed up unexpected at most of your house or if I set up a camera in your place, I would see things that would warrant a call to DFCS. We do the best we can at any given time.


April 14th, 2009
9:44 am

momtoAlex&Max, if you set up a camera in my house you wouldn’t find anything worthy of a call to DFCS. Ever. Such a broad statement is usually intended to make oneself feel better about their own short comings.

Some parents are just plain lazy. — I’m not saying that you are lazy just that I completely disagree with your post.


April 14th, 2009
10:05 am

Given the few comments here, it solidifies the horrors I see everyday … kid ruling parents. Life is not the special olympics … you don’t get a medal for showing up.

Some of life’s most precious and important lessons are not being taught to our children … being respectful of yourself and others, how to lose with grace, and knowing you (the child) are not the center of the world, sometimes no matter how hard you try, you will come in second. Does that mean you have to like it, NO! It means you try harder.

No one ever said parenting was easy, they just said it would be worth it. It is not a job you can be lazy at.


April 14th, 2009
10:18 am

When my son was 2years old, he pitched a fit in the store. he played in the clothes racks and would not listen to a word i said. Well, when we got in the car. i tore his little legs up. i stopped and talked with him and then i tore him up again. Guess what? from that moment on I never had a problem with him acting up in any store. He is 24 now and still doesn’t cross me. A little switch goes a long way. I kept one with me at all times as a reminder. If you go there, I will go there.


April 14th, 2009
10:29 am

Like Kathy, I watched the Oprah episode in horror where the woman said she had not bathed her twins in three weeks! How do you get that busy or unorganized that you don’t bathe your kids! No excuse. My pet peeve is unruly children especially in public. It unerves me to see a parent or parents standing there looking like morons while their children are screaming to the top of their lungs. Look people, there is nothing cute about your kids screaming and running around in public.


April 14th, 2009
10:32 am

I will have to say I agree with Momsrule. I am not saying that I have taken a few short cuts along the way, but nothing serious. I am horrified of someone not acknowledging their child’s birthday? How can you not pull SOMETHING together???

Stealing from your child and then blaming it on his sister??!? Very nice. Think about how damaging that would be to the sibling relationship!

If you don’t want to be a parent then don’t have children. It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love.

Some people have absolutely NO morals! Those are the same ones whose rugrats are scattered and screaming all over the grocery store. Buck up and be a parent (or at least try)! I am certainly not perfect, but I give it my all.

child of good parents

April 14th, 2009
10:33 am

as I see it, a bad parent is one who jokes about being a bad parent because it’s the hip thing to do, and it feeds the need of self-absorbed and narcissistic parents to be the center of attention. this is not to say children should always be be the center of attention, but I think it is safe to assume that the child (not the parent) should be the center of attention when it comes to parenting. it is important to trust your parenting judgment and not be concerned with what Dr. Phil, the ajc or some parenting “expert” thinks. and if you make stuff up about your parenting mistakes, simply because you like the attention, you are not only a bad parent, you are a bad person.


April 14th, 2009
10:35 am

Nita, my son was two when he pitched a fit in a store. I took him out to the car and tore his behind up. He never did it again. From that point on when I said no in a store he was quiet as a mouse. I was in the mall two weeks ago. There was a girl at least six years old screaming and wailing on the floor while we standing in a long checkout line. This went on for 25 minutes! The parents stood there conversating with each other while ignoring the girl. The more they ignored her the louder she got. It was brutal. None of us said anything because nowadays it doesn’t take much for situations to turn ugly/violent.


April 14th, 2009
10:36 am

Hmmmm -I think if you NEVER think you’ve been a bad parent, then you probably ARE a bad parent! Surely those who never do something and then analyze it (maybe over-analyze) and feel guilty are not giving too much thought to the parenting process. God knows I am SO far from a perfect mom! I don’t aspire to be some Stepford-perfect mommy-bot anyway, but there are numerous times I can already count in my 3 year old and 6 month old’s lives that I feel I’ve fallen far short of a good mommy. I spank on occasion; baths are sometimes a few days apart; there has been yelling -and you know what? There will most assuredly be more. Here are few things though, that I really think separate good and bad parents:

Bad parents do drugs or get wasted on booze in front of their kids and let their kids go wanting.
Good parents drink for sport when the kids are asleep or with sitters and get tipsy on occasion -not every day.

Bad parents knock their kids across rooms, beat them with belts and cords, and slap them.
Good parents resist the urge to knock their child across a room by walking into another room and taking really deep breaths for a minute.

OR -Bad parents are too lazy to try any discipline at all, and let kids run wild and be everyone’s problem.
Good parents realize they have to find discipline approaches that work but aren’t too draconian.

Bad parents never try to research or read about decent parenting behaviour or ideas.
Good parents read tons of info on being a good parent and then fall far short in most areas leaving themselves plagued with guilt.

Bad parents ALWAYS put themselves first before their kids.
Good parents realize the kids come first, but once in awhile Mommy and Daddy MUST have some personal time and pleasure!

Bad parents think it’s everyone else’s fault and responsibility when little Joey or Jane turns out to be a societal nightmare.
Good parents do everything they can to take up time with their children, teach their children and be responsible for their children so they can be successful in society.

I can tell you a few things for sure -my kids are USUALLY clean; always fed; never abused -I don’t think a spanking with a hand is abuse; and I tell them EVERY DAY numerous times how much I love them, cherish them and want them. I hug and kiss and do everything I can to make them happy, and when they’re mad at me, I try to talk to them -but realize that there’s only so much a 3 year old understands. So, I’m not a perfect mommy. Guess what -my kids aren’t perfect kids, but they’re as wonderful as any children you could ever want. Perfection is boring.


April 14th, 2009
10:37 am

People wonder why their kids are robbing, doing drugs, and harming others in general. I think you got your answer. These people are making it out like their actions are a joke when in reality they obviously should not be allowed to reproduce. I mean lying about your kids birthday…..come on!


April 14th, 2009
10:45 am

NITA, hopefully I’m not being too judgmental, but how does carrying a switch teach discipline? My parents spanked us, but we were never yelled at in public and never hit in public. I’ve had the same rule for my kids. You just know that when you get home it’s over! I’ve never “gone there” with my parents and my kids don’t “go there” with me. You can discipline without relying on physical punishment every time they get out of order. I’ve definitely had some not so proud moments myself, but I certainly wouldn’t brag on them years later.


April 14th, 2009
10:49 am

ive made some bad choices in my life that i realize were bad parenting.. not really choices for the kids but for myself…hindsight is 20/20 ya know…one thing i used to do is lie-if they were acting horrible when we were out running errands or whatever i would say ‘well i guess we are gonna go do the surprise i had planned’ when i really didnt have one planned…that worked tho-most of the time they would be good in case i had a surprise planned-when they were good i did do something special as a surprise…

my kids are ages 36-16 and they all love me. they all think i am a great parent. or at least thats what they say. i have guilt over some things but the kids say im nuts to feel that way. so i guess when your kids get grown and tell you that you were a great parent that is the final grade in the book. even my 16 yo thinks im great and to me thats the hardest test–for a teen to think you are a great parent.


April 14th, 2009
10:50 am

that should have been “not gonna do the surprise’…..


April 14th, 2009
11:00 am

Pathetic people. Really pathetic. You are blessed to have children, and you should remember that. Your kids trust and rely on you 100%, until you finally give them a reason not to.

Keep It Real!

April 14th, 2009
11:09 am

Bad parenting well I guess with the way our kids are acting so irresponsible these days bad parents has become en epidemic in America.


April 14th, 2009
11:15 am

JATL, I agree. I think that they idea behind these sites was to let moms blow off a little steam and have a safe place to admit that they aren’t perfect. I think, obviously, that some of these things go way too far. But the premise is a good one. Parenting, at least with any thought, is very hard and it is important to give yourself AND other moms a break sometimes! The idea that we all manage to raise well loved, well behaved children without yelling, going through a drive through or sitting them in front of the TV for the morning while also staying in shape, maintaining a great marriage and spicy sex life (and don’t forget, for some of us, a thriving career) is ridiculous! Little confessions can go a long way in helping us realize that for the most part, it all goes with the job. That’s why girlfriends and wine are essential job tools!


April 14th, 2009
11:22 am

Don’t be so quick, to think you all know how to raise children, you can be the best parent in the world a praying parent loving parent but children well nut up on you, and some of them go through things in life before they fine themselves. And just because a child is ends up in jail please don’t blame that parent, that parent probably did everthing in his or her power to love and reach out to that child.
I raised four boys and they are all different, and yes i had to take ta a belt to them and punish them but i’m not a bad parent yes i yelled a lot of times but that don’t make me a bad parent.
one of my boys is a marine one works for the city one is in his junior yr. on college and one his freshman yr. of college. In this world today I see mom are friends with there children, and so many kids do not have respect for there mom and dad and thats bad. Parents need to stand there ground more and be the parent.

a little different

April 14th, 2009
11:23 am

i agree there is nothing cute about watching a child act out in public. When my daughter was two she had the nasty habit of falling out – mind you it didn’t matter if the ground was carpet, asphalt, rocks, she would just fall straight back and pitch a fit. Well one day we were on our way into the mall. She decided to pitch a fit and in the parking lot fell out and started kicking and screaming. You know now a days you can’t punish your child without someone calling someone about abuse. At that moment, I decided i had had enough. So as my daughter lay on the ground kicking and screaming – I decided to do the same. I know people thought i was crazy, but i laid down next to her and i kicked and screamed too. I didn’t need a switch because after my daughter saw me do the same thing – she looked at me as if i were looney and got up. NEVER did i have a problem with her falling out again. I also learned that day that spankings are not always the solution. She is now 16 years old and a sweetheart. We have our moments, as teens will, but in all she is a great kid. To me bad poarenting is when you out right neglect your child. As parents we make mistakes but if you truly love your kid(s) we get it right eventually.


April 14th, 2009
11:26 am

“Bad” parent and “good” parent labels are often dependent on the person doing the labeling. We all have a perception of what a “good” parent is — and on bad days, it’s everyone else BUT us! No one is a perfect parent 24/7, just as no child is perfect 24/7 — and yet kids have survived for eons, in spite of less-than-perfect parenting. Parents make mistakes. The best we can do is learn from them and keep trying, and not beat ourselves up for them.

The single biggest slip-up that still makes me blush and that my kids still remember to this day is the time I completely lost it over — milk. The husband was doing a LOT of traveling, the kids were young elementary school (kindergarten and 2nd grade), I was working outside the home for a six month period, and my grandmother was dying and I had going back and forth to North Carolina from Atlanta to help my mother nurse her. One night, my son drank the rest of the milk, and we had no more milk for breakfast. It was too late for me to go out and get more, my husband was gone, it had been a horrible day, and at that moment in time, rationality took flight. I broke and screamed at him for drinking all of the milk and not leaving any for breakfast. Irrational and totally unacceptable — yes. All of the stress of the previous couple of weeks just came pouring out on his hapless head. Even as I was losing it, I was thinking, “What are you DOING?!” Happily, they laugh about it now, but at the time, they were both dumbfounded at this crazy woman that had taken over their mother’s body. For several months after that, they were very careful to ask if they could have a glass of milk. :-)

MJG, I don’t think moving the clocks up on kids too young to tell time is so awful — I thought it was remarkably clever when *I* did it! Our entire playgroup did it one year — we met at our house at 7:30, but the clocks were set forward to 10:30. I had videotaped the celebration in London, we had dinner/party food, and at 9:00 (or 12 o’clock, as far as they were concerned), we played the tape, the kids got to celebrate with wholehearted enthusiasm, the exhausted parents took their kids home and they were in bed by 10 pm. I don’t think anyone got cheated of anything — everyone got what they wanted, which is a win-win situation as far as I’m concerned!

a little different

April 14th, 2009
11:29 am

joy: i disagree with you in that a mom can’t be a friend to their child. I am a good mom, yes i make mistakes, but i am there for my child. If i had not opened that door to be her friend. NOT the type to hang out with her and her friends, but that friend that she felt comfortable enough to come to and be herself around me. We have a wonderful mother/daughter relationship, and she sees me as a confidant someone she can talk to about ANYTHING. I admit some of the things she has wanted to discuss with me makes me want to crawl up under a rock. Yet, I am glad she feels comfortable in doing that, because i would rather her view me as her friend to ask and talk to then for her to 1) go to another teen who will steer her wrong with the wrong anser 2) GO to an adult who will steer her in the wrong direction or 3) even if the adult means her well, i would rather my child view me as the confidant and friend to talk to versus being uncomfortable with me and going to another adult as her friend. With that said, I do agree with joy, that we as parents can raise our children to the best of our ability and sometimes they will still take a wrong turn. At this point, if you know that you have done all you could, your child’s actions do not and should not reflect on the parent.


April 14th, 2009
11:50 am

I put my extremely obnoxious ten year old daughter in the car and told her we were going to the adoption agency to find her another family.

Single Momma

April 14th, 2009
12:04 pm

Being a mother is a lot of work, having its ups and downs at times. I know I have done my fair share of parental mistakes. No one is perfect. every parent has different circumstances that they have to deal with. Not every mom has the luxury of being able to stay home and raise their child, not every mom has the luxury to make the most nutritional lunch for their little one, not every mother is able to put their kids in major league sports, not every mom is able to devote her attention all the time to her little one. I think what it all boils down to is…doing the best one can as a parent with what you got. I think people need to step back and realize that you cant pass your parenting lifestyle onto another person and expect it to work or say that the person is a bad parent because they dont do what you do. I believe as long as a child recieves love, food, discipline, shelter, clothing, safety, education and guidance then a person is on the right track to be a good parent.


April 14th, 2009
12:07 pm

Hey Theresa! Thanks for the shout of for the book and site! I really appreciated Ellen Gamerman’s take on the trend but I must speak up about her headline because I DON’T THINK WE ARE BAD PARENTS flaunting our shortcomings. I think we are honest parents having an honest conversation about feeling like we are coming up short. Like a piece in The American Prospect last week, I think it’s more about redefining motherhood not reinforcing “bad mothering.” — it’s not about lowering the bar , but just readjusting it so our expectations of ourselves and other mothers more closely mirrors our realities! I’d love to know what your readers think about this!



April 14th, 2009
12:12 pm

I don’t think anyone on this board is being honest. As parents we have all screwed up. It’s the most important job and does not come with a book of instructions. When we do screw up, we tell our other mommy friends about it and the confessions and advice start pouring out. We don’t stand up and say “You handled that badly. You are a terrible parent and I can’t believe that you are telling us this! I’m calling DFACS!” Give me a break. Our friends tell us “Oh, I’ve done that and felt terrible too.” or “Let me tell you about the time……” THAT is what these confessional books and blogs are doing. Letting moms know taht we are not alone in our imperfections. These moms are just doing what women have done for generations, comparing parenting notes, asking advice, confessing our short comings as parents and wanting to know how to improve.

The parents on here that are speaking in generalites about parenting aren’t helping anyone by starting down at the rest of us. It’s easy to say “I discipline my child.” “I spanked my child once and he never did that again!” (Um, sure but what else did he do while growing up????) I’m sure we would all love to be June Cleaver and bake cupcakes everyday but none of us are nor will we ever be! It’s time to wake up and say “Well, if the kids are happy and healthy then job well done Mom!”

Mr Liberty

April 14th, 2009
12:14 pm

From what I’ve seen, the bad parents aren’t proud of it, they are just ignorant of it. Then when its pointed out, they are defensive and in denial of it. What they never are is remorseful or willing to correct it. God help our future.


April 14th, 2009
12:21 pm

I’m not a perfect parent by any means, but fortunately my two daughters are fairly easy to “handle”, for lack of a better term. They both know if they start acting up, and I say “Do it again”, that’s the last straw. I don’t believe that a swat to the bottom has damaged them at all. I don’t think I’ve had to pop them in a long time. Plus, now that they’re older, we can take away their electronic gadgets, and that has an impact as well.They both know that they are loved, and they are told that be me and my wife bunches of times each day.

On a different note, I know that I drove my mom nuts. She would occasionally use a wooden spoon to spank us. When I was 3 years old, I hid all of the wooden spoons in the house. She also tried to turn the clocks ahead an hour, so she could put us to bed at “7″. However, at 3 years old, I had also figured out that the news came on at 6 (this was years before cable tv, and yes, I could tell time), so that it really wasn’t “7″ until the news was over.


April 14th, 2009
12:24 pm

The examples quoted are not really that bad…except for the stealing from the piggy bank, that is BAD.

Most of them come across to me as just what happens when you are tired (mom that didn’t pull birthday togather for the second birthday) to the lazy (not teaching kids to tell time) the 2 YO is NOT going to remember that later in life and would probably find it amusing depending on the rest of their upbringing. The teething kid sounds a little risky but I guess that stuff is for “consumption” so to speak.

It is not easy to be the parent. but remember the goal and don’t beat yourself up too much when you do soomething wrong, learn from it and try to better next time. Then laugh about it years later :)


April 14th, 2009
12:25 pm

rj, i carried the switch to let him know that if need be, I will go there. By no means did i pick it up and threaten him or place is so that it was a constant reminder. Heck, i let him play with it. he broke them a time or two playing with them but i did not fuss or spank him. He was a great baby and kid even today but I did not ever let him get so comfortable with acting out and acting up to think that i would ingnore it or allow it to go unpunished. i do not and did not believe in time out. Sometimes when he acted up i would tell him ” I’m gonna let you slide this time and often let him get two or three deep with passes. But believe me he learned very quickly when to get himself back in check. I failed with my girls. there is a seven year gap between my son and my first daughter. The discipline kinda fell off but. they are now teenagers and my son tells me that there so mouthy because i didn’t check as often as i should have when they were younger. i have to admit I slacked off terribly with my youngest who is 15. but she is a lot like my son. that middle one, boy do i wish i could go back about 10years. i would deal with her on a whole different level.


April 14th, 2009
12:31 pm

I totally believe spankings were necessary when my kids were young. They are teen agers now and they hate when kids act like little heathens in public. They know the rules now and if they break them, they will have something they deem valuable taken away, i.e. car keys, cell phone, TV. They also have household “chores” they do weekly without me having to tell them, or something may be taken away. You see, all their “stuff” is a priviledge, they don’t own them, I do. They live in the house also, so they have responsibilities, they had to clean their own rooms starting around age seven or so. As they got older, they had more responisibilities added, my two boys can clean and do their own laundry. They NEED these skills. One can cook, the other has no desire, OK. They also get to do yard work! But they are not behavior problems for anyone, not me or their teachers.

Oh, I guess I’m the parent and they are the kid – maybe I have raised them as I was raised – to be responsible persons. I didn’t leave them to do whatever they wanted. No parenting isn’t easy – sometimes it’s damn hard! Did I ever fail, of course! I am no saint, but I never gave up either. You have them, you are responsible for them and the way they turn out. I agree with an earlier post, sometimes after a certain point, you have done all you could do and they have to take care of themselves, but I gave them the foundation.

It’s very hard to consistantly be consistant! But you don’t give up, you keep on trying to teach them to do the right thing all the time, everytime – even if you don’t always… Jesus was perfect, I’m not. Yes I yelled – but they hated it when I got very quiet – it meant things were not going well at all. But you also let them know that you love them even when you don’t like them very much.


April 14th, 2009
12:34 pm

Half of all parents should have been sterilized……

David S

April 14th, 2009
12:34 pm

Wow, first what defines a “bad parent?” Does not owning a TV make you a bad parent? Does home schooling your kids make you a bad parent? Does socializing your child by having them interact with other kids while you are around or by having them interact with adults rather than with whomever under government employee supervision at a government run school make you a bad parent? Does only serving organic vegetarian meals to your kids make you a bad parent? Does not letting them have sodas make you a bad parent? Does teaching them that theft is wrong, even when the government does it make you a bad parent? Does teaching them that poorer people should be assisted where possible because it is the right thing to do, but that these folks are not in any way “entitled” to your money or help make you a bad parent? Does raising your child with a religion other than Christianity make you a bad parent? Does believing that decisions on your child’s safety should be your decision and not dictated by government legislators or worse, bureaucrats from DFACS make you a bad parent?

Everyone has their own take on what makes a bad parent. In the old days, we used to use peer pressure, face to face confrontation and societal pressure to send these messages. Now busy bodies turn to the force and guns of government to “decide” what a good or a bad parent is. My how times have changed.


April 14th, 2009
12:55 pm


April 14th, 2009
12:58 pm

momtoAlex&Max, I could not agree with you more..People would be surprised at the reasons why DFACS will come out to there house..My nephews ex wife had DFACS called on her because her son yelled at her when she went to pick her 2 older children up from school..When the DFACS worker showed up at her house, that is just what she told her..Someone at school at called because the youngest screamed when she took a toy away from him & she smacked him on the hand..

JATL, I loved you post also..No one is a perfect parent, you just hope that you do the best that you can..


April 14th, 2009
1:03 pm

I think we all just do the best we can. sometimes we get it right, sometimes we fall short of the mark, and sometimes we screw up royally. None of us are perfect, and neither are our children. sometimes I yell. Then I feel terrible. Sometimes I lose my cool. Sometimes I don’t comb my 4 year olds hair and she looks like she has a rats’ nest in her hair. Sometimes it is just not worth the fight. But she is loved, and she knows she is loved. And, we muddle through doing the best we can.


April 14th, 2009
1:41 pm

‘Bad parent’? Since when is changing your 2 year olds birthday so he doesn’t get let down about not having anything planned a sign of being a ‘bad parent’? I think that was good thinking so she doesn’t dash his hopes and can make him happy the next week. 2 year olds are rarely potty trained and are not really beholden to calendars. I do not think Junior will be scarred for life by not having a huge blow-out for his birthday at the age of 2.

Some of you Mothers are so harsh and judgemental. Mothers are human beings. And the WORST idea in the world is to make your children the epicenter of your universe. Then you get wimpy, self absorbed and useless children.

My mother had some of those ‘bad parent’ moments which we all laugh about now. My 28 year old sister is not in therapy because my mother had to tell her the toothfairy didn’t want to wake her and left the money with my mom. Reality: my mom had been out with friends and forgotten to leave the money under the pillow. My sister got her dollar the next days along with a great description of what the ‘tooth fairy’ looked like and we all get a laugh as adults.

Honestly, the way some of you act it seems as if a slight infraction could just RUIN a child. If so it is a wonder that people prior to now have ever grown up to be productive and happy members of society.

chiefs fan

April 14th, 2009
1:47 pm

My kids are in prison and I’m raising their kids, but I was a great parent.


April 14th, 2009
2:09 pm

I am NOT a parent & never will be. So I feel odd putting my $0.02 in. However, JATL, you are so right on, especially here:
Bad parents ALWAYS put themselves first before their kids.
Good parents realize the kids come first, but once in awhile Mommy and Daddy MUST have some personal time and pleasure!


April 14th, 2009
2:18 pm

Enjoyed today’s reading. I posted a comment in reply to DB regarding the rental car keys
( yesterday’s column) this morning at 7:30 and it never showed up. I see there are no other comments either for that column. What is up Theresa?

I remember when our son was about 8 or 10 and he was goofing off in the family room. My husband was watching a show he was totally into and kept telling our son that he needed to go in another room.
Finally, he had enough and threw the remote at him. It hit him in the face and scratched it big.
I laughed and said that he may as well tell his teacher what happened or DFACS would be on our step. My husband thought I was nuts. Was I?

David S.: a bad parent is one who generally puts their own interests ahead of actual parenting. When you created that child…you assumed responsibility…whether you like it or not. Too many parents today are not instilling any manners or values in their children. I understand where you are coming from and agree that we certainly can all have different interests and opinions.

My daughter came home from a Gwinnett County Park 2 weeks ago, where she works. A Dad was polishing off a beer ( inside the gym) on the sidelines of a kid’s sporting venue and she saw him gather his children and drive home. To ME that is a bad parent, on several accounts. My daughter was quite upset.

I do have episodes that I would not want to repeat and was embarrassed by my irrational behavior..I was so distressed with the actions of my children. BUT I do not think my behavior would be a red alert for DFACS. My kids had a bath every night and went to bed with dinner in their tummies….unless they refused to eat what I had fixed and then it was their choice to drink a glass of milk and be hungry for breakfast. I know way too many parents that are short order cooks and these children rule the dinner table…another topic for another day!


April 14th, 2009
2:33 pm

Personally, I don’t think all of these examples are of a “bad” parent. The definition of a bad parent is subjective. There are some that post here that would feel my husband and I are bad parents because we don’t attend church with our children. It is not bad parenting to us. It is a difference of opinion.

Changing the clock for new years…that’s creative parenting in my world :)

I think a mother that steals from her child is behaving very badly. I have borrowed money from my son when I’ve been low on cash and didn’t have time to stop at the cash machine. I’ve never taken it. There is a difference.

Do my kids take a bath every single day of the year? No, sometimes they don’t need one. Sometimes a good nights sleep is more important. But not bathing your children for 3 weeks is neglect and definately falls under the heading of “bad parent” according to my definition of the term. I am judgemental of such lazy parenting.

Escapee, your tooth fairy story is funny. Again, that falls under “creative” parenting to me. :)

Last night my son went to his baseball game with dirty pants. Does that make me a bad Mom?? According to some, perhaps. However, I don’t think so, it was a lesson in responsibility. They should have been in the laundry. They weren’t. He wore them dirty.

People are talking about being perfect parents. I don’t know anyone who claims to be a perfect parent. We all make mistakes. But there are differences between making honest mistakes or coming up with creative ideas to the issues that we face and just plain lazy and bad parenting.

New Step Mom

April 14th, 2009
2:45 pm

This is a great topic! As someone who is co-parenting someone else’s child, I am glad to hear some of this. I often feel like the ultimate harda$$ because personal responsibility is something I was taught at home (much like the dirty pants Momsrule) and I have been met with a lot of defiance and disrespect in teaching the same thing in our home. I hope one day she appreciates it ;o)!


April 14th, 2009
3:05 pm

I agree with those of you who realize that none of us are perfect parents and we make a lot of mistakes along the way. The important thing is that we learn from these mistakes. My son is 8 years old and I doubt that I have gone a month where I didn’t do something that I’m not proud of.

When my son lost his second tooth the tooth fairy forgot to come. He woke up that morning in tears because his tooth was gone but there was no dollar. While he was eating breakfast, I found the dollar under the bed and that he probably accidentally dropped it back there when he looked under his pillow. The truth is I took the tooth while I was tucking him in the night before but I didn’t have any cash and forgot to get a dollar from my husband when he got home.

Just last month my husband had a dinner meeting and since I wasn’t in the mood to cook, I told my son he could have whatever he wanted to eat. He chose microwave popcorn, Oreo Cakesters and an ice cream sandwich. I let him eat it for no other reason than because I didn’t want to cook.


April 14th, 2009
3:10 pm

Momsrule….you are certainly not a bad parent if your child does not get a bath each night BUT kids do need one IMHO ( a hop in the shower takes less than 5 minutes).

Those of us who have been in the classroom and smelled 10-12 children when the heat is on or on a hot day know that even little children have body odor. You would be surprised at how many children notice those kids who do not bathe or brush their teeth and wrinkle their noses to tell the teacher:
“_____ smells bad.” There are teachers who keep soap and deodorant for children…even tooth brushes too.

I cringe when I select children to come up and help me with my puppets and costumes and there is one who REAKS of cigarette smoke. The poor child does not have a clue that he/she is walking around with a profound aroma that will be with him/her every day until they move out.

We used to open gifts from my in laws in our garage and let them air our as their smoke had penetrated every aspect of the box and since we are allergic to it, we got sick. Too bad.

It is refreshing when I bend over to adjust things on a child and when I can smell a sweet shampoo smell or even the fabric softener that was used on their clothes. These kids come from homes where parents care.

Criticize me if you wish but other teachers will validate that there is a broad spectrum of smells belonging to children and those that have had a bath and their teeth brushed are a joy to be with when it gets hot and crowded in the room or on the bus.

As a girl, I did not bathe every night but once I started teaching…it was mandatory at my house.
A summer swim in the pool does NOT count. My kid’s rooms may be a mess but their personal hygiene is a pattern that was set long ago and they are both clean.

I absolutely agree with the personal responsibility lesson of sending your son to the ball game in dirty pants. This is a lesson he will learn early and you would be amazed how many children do not do their own laundry before college and have no clue!


April 14th, 2009
3:11 pm

Good points MomsRule.

I think that many times the means justifies the ends. What was the parent’s intentions. If one is teaching a lesson to the child or it is for the child’s best interest that is one thing. If it is just lazy parenting, that’s another thing.

I think there should be a happy medium between Joy’s and A Little Different’s take on being a friend to your children. I certainly want to be open and available to my children, but I also want there to be their parent. They are looking to me for boundaries and guidelines. JMHO.

A Little Different- I completely agree with the last two sentences of your 11:29 post!


April 14th, 2009
3:20 pm

MomsRule, I like the “creative thinking”..For years, my nieces thought that I really did have eyes in the back of my head, never knowing that I could see them in the mirror..

Like others said, what works for one parent, doesn’t always work for others, but bascially as long as your children have all of their needs, you aren’t being a bad parent..

My nephew & his wife have about about once every other month, a night of dinner that is “junk” food..The kids love it & because of this, they tend to eat better other nights..