20 People Tell The Stories Of The Worst Parents They Ever Met (And Their Kids Who Never Had A Chance)

A baby and his parent hold hands
Unsplash / Aditya Romansa

Found on Ask Reddit


I worked with a guy who’s about 5 years older than me. I was 20 at the time so he’d have been about 25. Still lived at home with his parents because mom wasn’t ready to “let him go.” He had a 9pm curfew and ALWAYS had to have permission to “go over to a friend’s house.”

I was nice to him because I felt bad for him and I guess in his mind, that meant we were friends so I got to know him slightly better than you would a standard coworker. He did have a learning disability (so helicopter mom’s got a valid concern) but he wasn’t retarded or slow. He was a fully capable adult.

The first time I met his mom I KNEW there was no hope for this guy. She CONSTANTLY controlled his every move. He couldn’t eat certain foods because they’d “give you gas” or “I don’t think you’d like that anyway,” and he wasn’t allowed to do ANYTHING without her permission. He had his license, but she drove him to and from work. She even ended up getting a job in the same building, though a different department, and I suspect it had nothing to do with “carpooling to save gas money.”

Last I heard, he FINALLY was able to get his own apartment, but I still see them around town together. I NEVER see him on his own. She’ll even go with him to the bathroom at the county fair… And I’m 27 now so he’s gotta be around 32ish.

Helicopter mom ruined that guy and he’s gonna be so screwed when she kicks it and leaves him behind.

— InsomniaticWanderer


My friends mother home schooled him because she didn’t want him interacting with females…

— YourAverageJoe00


I try not to think this – I work in child protective services and that means I have to find every possible way I can to reach parents to change behaviors, lifestyles, etc that threaten the safety or wellbeing of their children.

With that being said, the most frustrating for me was a mother who was emotionally and mentally abusive to a daughter who has mental health issues.

The mom, daughter, and brother were all survivors of an extremely physically abusive father (mom’s ex), the children at a very young age that very clearly caused them immense trauma that manifested as mental health issues (ADHD, violent outbursts, inability to regulate emotions, several other things all piled together). I became involved years after that man was out of the picture.

Mom spent the entire time I was involved with the family essentially blaming everything on the daughter’s outbursts and as much as said with her daughter present (and old enough to understand) “she was forced on me when he took off his condom” with regards to whether the daughter was planned or an accident. I spent several days working with this family and not once did I hear the mother say anything resembling love, affection, caring, kindness, or understanding towards her daughter and the vast majority of the time the mother was trying to elicit sympathy from other adults in terms of how difficult the kid was to manage. She made multiple disparaging comments about her daughter as if she wasn’t present in the room, coldly ignored her for large periods of time while sitting right next to her, etc. She very obviously still had her own trauma from the abusive ex and seemed to transplant all of her negativity towards him into her behavior towards her daughter. We had statements by police officers involved after one of the violent outbursts by the daughter that the mother told them (in front of daughter) “take her away, take her anywhere, I don’t care where she goes, just get her the hell out of my house.

The daughter wasn’t even a teenager.

I have no idea what happened following my involvement (I’m mostly investigative) but yeah…that kid’s got a rough future ahead no matter which of several possible scenarios plays out .

— Downside_Up_


The only reason I know the names of the kids across the street is that their mother is constantly screaming at them from her perch on the porch.

A quote from earlier: “Eden! Eden! Come here! No! I just told you to stop being so stupid!”

— ginger_whiskers


I used to work at a pawn shop several years ago. One day a particularly trashy couple came in to pawn a few DVD’s and some fake gold. They had their son with them and he couldn’t have been more than three years old. So while his dad is at the counter and mom is wandering around the little boy walks over to the bike display to check out the bikes. When Dad notices this he yells “HEY” very loudly and the boy immediately starts running back towards the dad. The mom sees the little boy running back to his father and assumes he’s being yelled at for running around the store. She looks at the dad and says as casual as can be “just hit him.”

I don’t think I’ll ever forget thinking in that moment “sorry kid, you’ve got very little chance of being normal.”

— edgarallenpwn


My aunt and uncle are terrible parents. Such awful people that we’ve cut almost all contact with them.

Aside from their terrible parenting of their first child, they’ve completely destroyed their second child’s chance at a life.

He was born with water on the brain (I know there’s a proper name for it but I forget). The doctors wanted to put a shunt in to drain the water and avoid damage. The parents refused for some reason, so the kid ended up with some slight brain damage. It probably wouldn’t have been too bad. He’d always be behind his peers and he’d be delayed but he had a good chance of being somewhat independent one day and living an overall happy life.

Of course in order to achieve this, his parents would have to work diligently with him to catch up delayed development, and likely have him in some sort of developmental therapy and the likes (which I know the gov. and my uncles work benefits would’ve helped cover, not that money was an issue anyways). Instead his parents decided to ignore his problems completely. They never spoke to the family about it and we’re all pretty sure they think we don’t notice that the kid is a bit different.

Anyways, he just turned 10 and isn’t potty trained which he absolutely has the ability for, they just never bothered teaching him. He can’t read at all, which again he is technically capable of, just nobody has taught him. He can’t speak clearly at all, I can’t understand him although I know he is trying to say valuable and competent things. He’s been removed from countless schools because his parents refuse to put him in the special ed classes or get him any extra help. His parents are also super cold. They never hug or praise their kids. He is extremely violent and never receives any discipline. I can see him becoming a serial killer or something in the future because he loves torture, weapons, and dead animals. It’s probably from the lack of affection his parents gave him but I know whatever happens to him in the future isn’t really his fault. He was never taught anything in life and it’s so sad.

— 15kak7


My sister in law. Her and her boyfriend are the most selfish people i have ever met. They live with her mom, who is mainly the person who takes care of her 2 year old but she spoils him and he is extremely bratty. He hits, bites, and spits in the face of every kid that comes near him. He throws giant tantrums for up to an hour sometimes that usually end in him getting what he wants. His mom hardly ever interacts with him even though she lives in the same house, she is usually just on her phone. Once when I stayed the night at their house i went to the kitchen at like 2am and he was awake begging for his mom to put him to sleep and she ignored him and continued to just watch tv. Her age isnt even an excuse (like her mom likes to claim) shes 29.

— littlelady125


Mom is in labor, CPS is standing by to take the baby. She’s had no prenatal care, is addicted to drugs, and this is her 6th pregnancy. The previous five have already been apprehended (the 4th and 5th were also apprehended at birth). Father is unsurprisingly not present for birth.

— ericchen


My son’s daycare class has a kid in it who’s missing an eye. He has an eyelid/lashes/etc, just was born without the tissue used to see with. He’s a completely normal looking kid, it just looks like one eye is always closed and instead of the roundness of an eyeball behind is flat since it’s missing. There’s nothing scary, or weird, or gross about him.

I once watched a mother scream and throw a tantrum at pick up time because the teachers insisted he wouldn’t be moved from the class as there’s nothing wrong with him being there. She swore up and down that this kid was scaring her child and the daycare teachers should do more to ‘protect her baby from people like that’ and her child shouldn’t have to be around ‘freaks’ and he should have to go with the special education kids.

Her kid seemed fine with this other kid, but his mother was horrified by him interacting with someone who wasn’t her idea of normal and she lost it when the teachers refused to give into her weird demands about it. I can only imagine what fucked up prejudices this kid is going to have thanks that vile woman.

— 2354PK


I met parents who didn’t let his kid get into other parents cars for car pooling as it was too much of a liability issue. These parents also have a zero violence tolerance for video games. Mind you but this kid is in high school for Christ’s sake.

— ransudz


couple i know have 3 kids under 6, and will smoke weed, dabs, cigs with the kids on their laps.

kids are always naked, even when strangers are over and often are running through the halls of their apartment building naked and alone.

here’s the worse part, “jokingly” getting the 5 year old to smoke weed, how the story went was the 5 year old said he wanted to smoke, his dad “jokingly” packed a bowl, held it up to the kids face and lit it, and as he said “ little fucker sucked it back and coughed out a huge fuckin cloud, thought the kid was gonna puke he was coughing so hard”

( cps has been called but i don’t think anything was ever done since they still have the kids)

— unknocked


We went to a pediatric dentist who still brushed her kid’s teeth for him. He was 12.

— thegreatgazoo


In high school, I remember seen a mother dragging her kid to where the teacher was and slammed her kid’s exam on the table and said “I don’t understand!, my kid got 60% at first, then he got 70% and 80%, so he was improving. Now he’s got a 65%!??!?! what the hell???”

Jesus…The teacher had the best poker face I’ve seen in my life during all of this

— paladin400


“I’m going to pull her out of school in the 8th grade and then homeschool her because I don’t want her in an environment with boys”

Idk why he chose 8th grade.

— Sycou


I worry about my cousin. His parents were in their late forties when he was born (oops!) and both already had grown kids. Safe to say they’re over the whole parenting thing at this point, and the kid is only 9. They just kind of accept that he doesn’t like/isn’t great at school and do nothing to help him improve. He’s such a sweet kid, and I hate that he’s not getting the kind of support he deserves. It seems so unfair.

— thoughtfulturnip


A woman posted a video to a local Facebook group I’m in last night. The video was captioned “teaching my 9 year old gun safety!”

Within the 14-second video the child:

  • points the gun at her face while struggling to pump it and…
  • proceeds to lose her balance, swinging the gun around wildly and briefly pointing it at the camera

Mom just kept on filming, because of course she did.

— anderc26


My brother’s got 8 kids with 7 different women. It would’ve been 10 with 8 but his twins died at childbirth.

His baby mamas have a Facebook group where they all go to talk shit about him and his inability to pay child support. We joke about them unionizing. It’s pretty funny.

— not_thedrink


Ok, I’ve got one.

My ex girlfriend and I had been dating for 3 years at the time this story takes place (let’s call her Caitlin). She herself had a friend who had taken an interest in her (let’s call him Timmy) and she had set him up with one of her friends (let’s call her Crystal).

Now, Caitlin and I’s relationship was on the rocks. We were on again off again and the relationship was clearly doomed, but we were still a couple and were planning an out of state vacation to the very first anime convention of the year, Ichiboncon. We thought it would be a great idea to invite Timmy and Crystal. God bless Timmy, he tried to warn us. He told us that they were having problems in their relationship. He told us Crystal was going a bit zany. We had no idea. We thought it was normal couple fights. We were not prepared.

The night before we’re supposed to leave, we’re getting our costumes together and Timmy and Crystal get into one of the worst screaming matches I’ve ever heard. It’s loud, it’s angry, objects have gone airborne. Crystal is screaming/crying and we go in to make sure they aren’t hitting each other. Timmy has her in a chokehold. He’s got a huge knot on his head. She threw something at his head. “Don’t worry, I know how to restrain her when she gets like this. She’ll be fine.”

The drive there is just as bad. I’m navigating and Crystal is driving (since it’s her car). She threatens to veer us off the road a few times and when we finally arrive in the city, she’s so distracted yelling at Tommy that she turns onto a one way street. Here we are, on a collision course with a semi, impulse takes over and I pull the bottom of the steering wheel towards us to veer left. I guess thus was just an every day thing because Crystal turns back around, gets us back on track, all whole continuing this horrible screaming match without missing a beat.

Caitlin and I are trying to have fun, ignoring the abuse happening in the room (per their request). I talked to Timmy about it and he told me just how bad things were. They hadn’t had sex in 6 months. He was being physically abused by Crystal, she wasashing out HARD over some mental illness related problems but refused to see a therapist or submit to a facility. She was bullemic and had gotten so bad her toenails were falling out. Timmy knew the end of their relationship was inevitable, and planned on dropping her off at a facility after the vacation. He knew she wouldn’t forgive him, so he figured it would be best for both of them if he just didn’t see her after that. OK, whatever, sounds like a plan. He’s got thus handled.

After a stressful night, having our lives threatened, having her threaten to call the cops screaming HELP before killing herself, threatening to drive back by herself leaving us stranded, etc. We finally made it home. The first thing I did was cut contact with Crystal. Timmy said he’d take her to a facility within the week. Sounds like a plan.

But that’s not what happened. Oh no. What happened was 5 months later, we find out that Crystal is pregnant. I guess during one of the hotel screaming matches they’d fucked bareback, because they hadn’t had sex before or after the trip. Timmy was absolutely sure she would make a terrific mom, because heaving a kid will “mellow you out”. He decided to join the military (probably to get away from her) and as a cheery on top, they named Caitlin the godmother.

Ho. Ly. Shit. That poor, poor child is absolutely FUCKED.

— LanAkou


I was at a child’s birthday party once and was pushing a big group of kids on the merry-go-round. This one or two year old boy, not from the party, started meandering his way toward us with no regard for the large metal spinning disc he was about to walk into. I slowed the merry-go-round (much to the dismay of the kids on it) and went to lead the boy away. He then said something, I don’t really remember what, that indicated he was thirsty. I looked over at the lady who had brought him there and waved her over. It took a while to get her attention, since she definitely was not looking our way at all. She eventually got up reluctantly to come toward us and it turned out to be his grandma. Once I told her that he was thirsty, she started to pour her Mountain Dew energy drink down his throat with no hesitation. I stopped her and said I had plenty of bottles of water from our party and I would get some. She shrugged and accepted one, let him drink a little, and then walked away from him again to go back to smoking her cigarette about 10 yards away.

It was pretty upsetting to imagine the possibilities of how that kid’s life was going to be. I know it’s not a huge deal, and I’m not a parent so I try my best not to judge others, but force feeding a child sugar filled energy drinks on a hot day in replacement of water seems to be the first sign that the guidance in that family isn’t going to be the best.

Oh, and on a similar judgmental note, I know a kid whose first words were “Chicken Nugget”.

— tsmooths


My son has a friend who was held back a year in school because his father wanted to “buy” an extra year to give his son a better chance at earning a football scholarship. The dad believes that since his son will have another year to grow before high school football, he’ll have an opportunity to start for all 4 years and will earn a scholarship to a good football school.

The boy is also the 5th child in his family. All of his siblings are sisters and the son knows that his dad kept trying until he got his boy that he could groom into a football star. That’s a lot to live up to and my mind immediately went to Todd Marinovich when I met the dad.

— Mannings4head Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Callie is a writer, editor, and publisher at Thought Catalog. Her debut book, ‘The Words We Left Behind,’ was released in January 2024.

Keep up with Callie on Instagram, Twitter and calliebyrnes.com

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