"I was a lifeguard for 4 years in my teens. Long story short, parents expect the lifeguards to do their job for them- either they just drop their kids off, or they don't pay attention. Background- this was a city pool. We didn't have too many terrible things happen, but we still saw our fair share of weird stuff.
This guy, let's call him 'Guy', probably late twenties early thirties, dove head first into the pool - the kiddie pool (very, very shallow). I saw it, blew the whistle, and gave him a head shake. He acknowledged, rubs his chest because he scraped it on the bottom, and I thought it was over with. Five minutes later, he dives head first into the kiddy section of the regular pool (2 feet). I blow the whistle, call him over, and talk to him sternly about how I'm not reprimanding him for any other reason than that I don't want to have to backboard him for a spinal. Guy agrees, says it was stupid, apologizes and walks away. Cue screw up number three.
Guy walks away from me, over to this 6-foot water slide we have for the little kids. This is the cutest water slide but still towers over its primary users- 2-year-olds. Along his way to the slide, Guy scoops up what I assume is his son, and puts him at the top of the slide- still standing up. This kid couldn't be more than 2-3 years old, had floaties on and all. Guy points at me, and over the regular pool ruckus, I hear him yell 'See that lifeguard? He told me he wants you to jump off the side of the slide.' He then proceeds to point at the concrete.
I see the kid's knees buckle as he goes to jump, and my heart sinks like a rock to my stomach. I immediately shoot out of my chair and yell 'HEYYYY!'
2 things of note: 1. As a guard, you're never to stand on your tower unless you see someone in apparent danger. This is so other guards have a clear sign that something's going down, and to pay attention/get help. 2. I have a deep voice. A VERY deep voice. I'm quiet often, but when I get angry, I utilize it to my advantage.
What one of my friends later described as 'The Voice of God' echos put across the pool and the entire place falls quiet. Guy immediately puts his son down on the ground and starts walking towards me. I call over my manager, explain it all, and she tells him he will be removed by the police after any other incidents. He apologizes, then goes on about his pool experience.
Two hours later, I'm in the 5-foot section. Guy is walking along with friends, sees me in the chair, and goes 'Watch this.' I'm still surprised he didn't say 'Hold my beer' instead. He runs and dives in really deep.
Screw up numero cuatro, reporting for duty.
In front of his son, who was behind the legs of some other bro and peeks out after his dad submerges, Guy floats up to the surface of the pool- face down and unresponsive.
We had to evacuate the pool, stabilize him and backboard him.
Guy kept entering his name into Darwin's Lottery, and won."
"I was waiting in line for a ferry in WA state. In case you've not done it there is a big parking lot and everyone waits in their cars till you load up on the ferry.
The guy next to me obviously does not know I am looking at him and he turns around and smacks the stuffing out of a crying 2-year-old while his 6-year old daughter is watching. He hit him 7-8 times in a pure rage style beating. He looks over and notices I am watching and tries to pretend nothing happened.
I get out of my truck and start to head over to the bomb dog cop they have around. As I am heading over there he runs up stops me and asks me what I think I am doing. I kept trying to get around him without a confrontation, he kept pushing me but I was able to sneak by so he tripped me. I got up walked into plain view of the officer and the dude punches me in the back of the head then spit in my face. The officer saw all of this and came up and put the guy in cuffs. All of this is in view of the small children in his car.
So I took a punch and got spat in my face but in the end the children were taken into protective custody and I pressed full charges. There was another witness to the guy hitting the kid and they had security footage of the guy assaulting me so I didn't even have to go to court!"
"When I was a cashier, this mom came in with her son's piggy bank. The kid was with her and must have only been about 6 years old. He wanted to buy a candy bar with his money, but the mom told him no, that his money was going to help support the family.
She then proceeded to buy a 6-pack of beer and some cigarettes with the money while the kid watched. The poor boy had tears in his eyes the whole time.
I refused service to her, and the manager ended up ringing her up. She was paying with mostly pennies and nickels, and while she was distracted I saw the boy walk over to the candy rack and wipe the tears from his eyes.
I asked him what was wrong and he told me it had taken him three years to save that money, but his mom didn't have a job so she took it from him.
I bought him the candy bar he wanted and gave him a bunch of quarters for the gumball/toy machines.
His mom saw him trying to get one of those sticky hands from the machine and then took all the quarters he had from him."
"I worked in retail for many years. I have seen a lot of stupid stuff, and even more related to kids/parenting, but there were two that came to mind.
First was a girl and her dad coming in to return a CD she purchased. At the time (Not sure if it's still the same) the policy was CDs (DVDs as well) could only be exchanged for the same title when defective due to copyright and the ease of pirating it. The guy at customer service explained the policy, apologized, etc. Dad turns to the girl (who is ~9-10) and just gets in her face in a complete yell telling her she should of read the policy before opening it and needed to know what the heck she was buying and just screaming nearly incoherently until this girl was immediately in tears.
The guy at customer service told the guy to shut up and stop yelling at her. The guy turned to him and started to yell at him. He later said he figured a guy with that temper would turn it on him and at lease he spared the girl more verbal abuse. In the end, due to all the yelling and the fact it was a CD, our manager made an exception, let them exchange it, etc.
The 2nd one is quite a bit worse. We were remodeling the store, moving the car audio department to a new location, which meant after the store closed a bunch of us would stay overnight, move shelves, product, etc. The 3rd night we were doing this around 11:30 or so, a little kid (no more than 7-8) walks out rubbing his eyes like he just woke up. Sees us, starts screaming, then another kid (11-12 maybe) comes running out from behind a box in appliances.
At first, we just thought they fell asleep so we called the police when the two kids saw the police they started crying and explaining how their mom and her boyfriend had hidden them there and they were supposed to open the side door when the clock shows 12. They bring out a wristwatch with the alarm set for midnight. The cops had us all move our cars to the side of the building, so they were not visible from the street and well when the parents 'knocked' it wasn't their kids that opened the door."
"I work in a pharmacy and we have one woman who is constantly being a mega-bad mom, we'll call her Jane. One day I was working with the pharmacist and we both happened to be on the phone with other patients when she came up. I saw her come up and acknowledged her, put my hand over the receiver and said I'd be right with her. Most people understand when this happens but Jane did NOT. She started literally screaming/shrieking like a banshee and told her kids to 'Mess this store's stuff up' so I had to basically hang up on the person on the phone because they were literally breaking things. I fxcame over and asked what the emergency was and she told me she didn't want to wait. I rang up her scripts and one had $1 copay and then she lost her mind again and started calling me every name in the book and having her kids tear up our store again. Another one of our patients was waiting in the store and saw her acting all crazy and was like 'hey I'll pay for your RX but here's the thing- you need to learn how to act right. Your behavior is appalling and you need to set an example for your kids, I heard you say you've 'been arrested and don't mind going back' really, that's what you want your kids to hear? That's how you want them to behave? Be better.' That woman is my hero, she's amazing all the time. Other (crazy) lady has since been banned from our pharmacy and her kids' dad now has full custody."
"Not a parent in the case I saw, but a grandparent - I used to nanny two kids under 3. The boy was very shy and cautious just by nature, and it took time for him to get used to new things and people. His grandparents lived an hour away and would sometimes babysit, but of course a two-year-old doesn't really remember people they only see once every couple months.
One day the grandparents came over to babysit and brought a new kiddie pool. The boy had played in a kiddie pool as a baby the previous summer, but of course, he doesn't remember that, he's two.
So the grandparents set up their gift, fill it with water, and I got the kids changed. I'd always stay an hour or so after the grandparents arrived to make sure the kids were comfortable with them first. Grandpa was so excited for little boy to see the gift... but the little boy wasn't sure about it, because he's basically never seen a pool before.
I started getting him used to it, put his sister in, dipped my toes in, encouraged him to put his hand out and feel the water, etc. It was taking time, but he was warming up.
Well, grandpa ran out of patience. He grabbed the kid and just plopped him into the pool. Little boy immediately started panicking and crying, and then grandpa started mocking him for crying about 'a little water.'
I took the kiddo inside and told his parents what happened. Scaring the crud out of a shy toddler is pretty terrible, but mocking a baby for crying when he's scared? That is foul."
"Standing outside a supermarket a couple of years back, a woman walks out, toddler in a pushchair, a kid who might have been about 7 or 8 walking maybe 5 feet behind her.
The older kid had a small rubber ball and was bouncing it on the ground and catching it. He seemed perfectly happy, it wasn't making any noise or bouncing around or anything, it wasn't bothering anyone. He was just bouncing and catching his ball as he walked.
The woman (I assume it was his mom) noticed this after a minute, spun around and grabbed him hard by the upper arm and then shouted right into his face 'If you keep bouncing that ball I'm going to SMASH YOUR FACE IN,' shook him hard once and then just turned around and walked on with the pushchair.
The poor kid just looked so... emptied. Like he wasn't even allowed this one small pleasure.
It doesn't matter how annoying you find it when your kid bounces a ball, that's just never an ok thing to say to your child."
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"I truly don't try to judge other parents because parenting is hard. But, my god, I want to just yell at my sister-in-law and her husband sometimes. My nephew is one of the single worst children I've ever seen and they don't seem to acknowledge any of it.
A few years ago I was picking my kids up from my mother-in-law's house (she watches the grandchildren when everyone is at work) and my daughter informs me that my nephew bit her. She pulls up her shirt and shows me the Band-Aids which are over the bite mark that broke the skin. The kids bit her so hard through her sweater that she started bleeding. It was about this time that my sister-in-law arrived to pick up her kids and asked what was going on. My nephew starts bawling his eyes out and she starts consoling him telling him no one is mad at him. I corrected her and said I'm actually quite angry. I'm not sure he ever received any punishment for that. I'm still angry over it.
Then a year or so later he starts preschool and started throwing tantrums whenever he had to go. I never personally witnessed them but from my understanding, they were quite bad. Their solution was to unenroll him. My nephew is a preschool drop out. I asked if they were concerned that he was going to do the same thing when he starts kindergarten and they were certain it was just a phase. Well, kindergarten started back in September and the tantrums have been quite regular.
Another gem comes from one time when I was babysitting this kid. He wanted to play Mario Kart on the Wii. I say sure and the two of us play along with my daughter. He plays at his house so he's quite competent with the game, although not terribly good. He's throwing a fit saying our game is broken because he was getting last place. When his dad came by to pick him up I told him about it and his response was that they have the computer controlled racers turned off at home so he can win. First off I didn't even know that was possible. Second off, you're setting your child up for a really rough life if you won't even let him lose in Mario Kart. Keep the AI on, and he will learn the game and get better. Your kid needs to fail sometimes in order to learn and get better. I know it's just a video game but that is almost entirely the point. IT'S JUST A VIDEO GAME. What are you going to do when he might fail at something meaningful?
The last story comes from a family vacation we took last summer. It was all of my wife's family, so fifteen people. We all went to Wisconsin Dells and the kid was awful the entire time. If he didn't want to do something he sure as hell made us aware of it. We went to a water park and all he wanted to do was hang out in the most basic pool. He didn't want to do water slides or go in one that had any fun stuff to play with. I kept explaining to him that my kids want to hang out with you but they also want to see some of the other stuff. They didn't want to hang out in a pool that is exactly the same as the one down the road from our house. Then if we wanted to do any other attraction he threw a fit and his mother pretty much said they weren't going to do it. She didn't want to spend money on something her son wouldn't like. She eventually had kind of meltdown and yelled at all of us because she was apparently the villain of the trip. Nobody was trying to vilify you. We just suggested that maybe you should expose your kid to more things. This was a family vacation and we want to do stuff as a family and you're saying no to everything because you want to keep one person out of the fifteen of us happy.
By no means am I the perfect parent, nor are my kids perfect by any metric. But I take great comfort in knowing that I didn't wind up with a kid like my nephew. This is the worst teenager I've ever been exposed to and he's only six."
"I actually saw an awful example of bad parenting yesterday. Took a tour out on the boat for some scuba and snorkeling. The family came on board that had a dad, mom, two kids. Their little boy was about 5 o 6, their daughter was around 12. We get out to the site and moor up over the reef. The boy is excited about snorkeling for the first time, wants to see a shark. Sweet, this is what I do best.
We get out there and the weather is icky. Waves are about two feet, but the water is really clear. Mom is nervous, we talk to them and explain how to snorkel well. Kids are excited, dad's excited, moms still nervous. Everybody goes in and Mom immediately grabs onto the little boy, who was happily looking at the reef and drags him to our exit ladder, screaming that the water is too rough and he is drowning. I actually saw her push his head under while she pulled him towards us. We get the both of them on the boat, and she tells him that he couldn't go back in because he wasn't strong enough for the water. He flat out pleaded with her to go back in, said he was having fun and that it was cool. Poor kid just wanted to see a shark and his mom decides to make him stay on the boat while he watches his sister and dad go snorkel. Mom sat with him the whole time and explained over and over how terrible the trip was, and how weak he was. She even started talking to everyone else on the boat about how bad her son was at snorkeling, and that I and my crew were terrible for bringing them out on such a terrible day. Meanwhile, the son just sits there and tries to convince his mom that he can do it. I can't imagine the rest of his childhood, being told every time he wants to try something that he is weak. Ugh. I've never wanted to tell someone to learn to parent so much."
"This happened many years ago, when I was about 10 or so.
My mom's ex-friend... we'll call her Patty for the sake of this story. Well, one day, there's a knock at the door and mom goes and opens it to find Patty's son John (also not his real name), who was only about 5 years old at the time. His mom is sitting in the car in our driveway, and he's just standing there by himself.
My mom says 'Hey there John, what brings you guys here today?'
Little John then replies 'Mom said to ask if you have a can.'
Mom says 'A can? Like a soda can?'
John says 'I dunno. She said she needs a can so she can smoke her drugs.'
My mom (who was most certainly not any sort of angel herself) fumes with anger over this. She says 'John, go inside and play with (me). Close the door and don't look outside.'
So John comes in and I put some cartoons on for him to watch. I then peek out the window whilst he is occupied with the show.
My mom is screaming at Patty through her open car window. I couldn't hear what was being said, but they were both screaming at each other. And then my mom punches Patty in the face through the open window, pulls open her door, drags her out of the car onto the driveway pavement by her hair and beats the everloving sin out of the woman.
After she finally lets Patty go, Patty gets up, gets into her car, and drives away, with her son still in our house. Luckily, my mom was friends with Patty's brother-in-law (which is how we knew her in the first place) and she called him, who in turn called the kid's grandpa (since he himself was at work) to come and pick him up. Grandpa apologized profusely for Patty's behavior and took John home with him."
"I was at a restaurant when I was 12 with my dad. Across from us, there was a Husband and Wife with their kid and, presumably, her parents. Anyway, the kid is being a normal 4-5 year old at a restaurant, kind of moving around in his chair talking a lot, nothing that would've been a problem for any normal person. That is everyone except his dad. Keep in mind, the father is extremely short (maybe 5'3" ish? Just a guess his feet weren't touching the ground in a regular chair). Every time his son would move or talk the dad would start screaming at the kid. Sometimes it would be telling him to shut up, and other times it would be actual yelling. It was clear which one was the more behaved. So the parents of the wife are looking on in horror and the wife is having one of those 'goddamit not again' moments. Then the father took it too far. He actually started swinging his feet at the kid trying to shut him up, and this isn't like the guy next to you is talking too loud so you gently tap his leg, it was full-fledged rapid kicking. Pretty disgusting to watch, especially considering it being in public with people all around.
On a lighter note, every time the guy swung his feet, they wouldn't reach the kid because he was so short, and at times he was slipping out of his chair trying to reach the kid. Meanwhile, my dad and I are looking on and cracking up watching this tiny jackass fail to be an abusive father and he ended up trying to come over and yell at us, but when my dad and I stood up we were both much taller than him, so we laughed some more. He then retreated to his table and sat the entire time mumbling to himself and thankfully ignoring his family. After that we had the cops come because he actually ended up hitting his kid and the wife much earlier, and I really hope that is no longer a family."
"A couple years ago, I was on a shuttle in Yosemite. A little girl approximately age 10 had this nasty tight cough. Being in the medical field, I was concerned and asked if she had asthma. The father answered in a curt and rather annoyed tone that she was fine. They were doing controlled burns in the park which was causing my own asthma to act up. The girl was not fine as she clearly was struggling to breathe. I bit my tongue but to this day wish I had somehow persuaded the father to get her help."
"I use to work in a country pub, just outside of London which was what you would call a child-friendly, with a large back garden for children to play in and so on.
There was one occasion when a large group of, parents and children turned up to the pub and started having a few beers in the garden. I was working the floor at this point and clearing glasses where possible. I had been over to their table a few times and was ware that they were starting to get a little bit loud etc, by this time is had been two hours since they arrived.
It was roughly an hour later that I was working behind the bar, when all of a sudden I noticed on the opposite side to me a child of around 7 years old, holding some money and asking for a beer. Of course, I was shocked by this, as the child proceeded to tell me it was for his dad.
I was so taken a back I walked the child back over to his parent's table, where I explained that (as they should have been fully aware of), I was unable to up serve to anyone under 18 years old. However, one of the fathers started berating me and stating that did I think it was funny to suggest they would let their child drink beer.
To this day I have never gotten over this moment, how or why would they even consider sending their kid to get a beer for them? And how could they not have thought that I would question their actions?"