Raising a child is a difficult process. It's impossible to tell what kind of situations might arise with children, since they're their own person. And of course, there's the inevitable teenage rebellion phase when nothing is off the table. But sometimes, a child goes too far, exceeding the boundaries of normal bad behavior. Below, parents, and some children, tell the stories of what their children did that even they could never forgive. Content has been edited for clarity.
"This Saturday, my son will have been sober for 18 months. He got his GED this year, and he starts at Community College at the end of August. He finally has a job that I didn't get for him, soon he will be moving into his own apartment, and he hasn't missed a single appointment with his therapist. He has done everything you would expect of a precocious 17-year-old who hit a rough patch after meeting with a particularly bad influence.
He is 29.
His mother and I gave him every opportunity we could. I don't expect any praise for that, because unlike my son, I don't expect praise for doing what you're supposed to. She and I worked hard to give him a loving, stable, comfortable, supportive home. We let him stumble and fall and make mistakes and get back up again.
However, one day, while I was away, he spent an uncharacteristic night at home and on his best behavior. After his mother went to sleep, he followed her to her bedroom. He took a knife with him. He crept into the room, straddled her, put the blade to her throat, and slid his other hand inside her.
I don't know exactly what happened next. I know he held her down and tried to undress her. I know she fought. I know he stabbed her. I know she got away and locked herself in the bathroom before he could catch her; I hope that means she kicked him good in the balls. I know she broke the window and screamed for help. I know he ran. I know she was lucky the ambulance got to her before she bled to death. I know he called his friends to brag and beg a ride. I know the police caught him.
I know if I'd been home, or if I'd caught him, I'd have killed him with my bare hands.
The state tried my son as an adult. He pled out, but only after making his mother testify and smiling the whole time. She divorced me a month after his sentencing; I looked too much like him. She killed herself a year later.
I would be a liar if I said I didn't blame him for her death, because I absolutely do. He was sober when she went to her room, sober when he pulled out his knife, sober when he climbed on top of her, sober when he violated her, sober when he stabbed her, sober when he ran, sober when he called his friends to brag, and sober when the police found him. When I made the mistake of visiting him after the divorce, he laughed and said she'd had enough of his d that I could never satisfy her. When I made the mistake of visiting him after she killed herself, he laughed again and asked how it felt to have 'some prick take your girl away.'
I should have killed him right there. It is to my eternal shame that I did not.
In stark contrast to the ball of garbage that is my son and his life, I have watched my friends' and colleagues' (those who will still talk to me, that is) children go on to become doctors, lawyers, skilled tradesmen, actors and musicians, academics, entrepreneurs, and career military. I've seen a few start their own families. And even the ones who've had a rough start, or who stumbled and fell, managed to pick themselves up again, or are bravely soldiering on. I have nothing but respect for them.
I am not proud of my son. I am sorry for inflicting him upon the world."
"I'm stepfather to my wife’s three kids, a son and two daughters. The younger two are great kids but the oldest daughter has always had a knack for choosing the wrong thing to do in situations. She of course does the normal teenager things of consistently choosing to hang around the wrong people and despite her mother and I's attempts to get her to not repeat our own past mistakes, etc...
She gets into narcotics, ends up regularly doing crystal. We put her in rehab multiple times which she falls out of and relapses. Insurance has covered all they will so we try having her join Narcotics Anonymous for a while and she again relapsed.
When she realized we are going to find out, she crossed the final line. She robbed us blind while we were both at work and took off with a guy she was hooking up with. I could have even gotten over the material things, stuff is stuff. But she went farther than just cleaning out the house. She stole my wife’s identity and cleaned out our bank account.
We were very much living check to check at the time and bills were not all perfectly on time. This was catastrophic to our finances.
Insurance fought the claim as it was a family member who lived in the residence and had permission to use things she took; we also were not great at documenting possessions so they were really fighting the things we claimed. In the end we dropped the entire claim out of frustration and replaced essential things slowly out of our own pocket but we only ever replaced about 25% of the items.
I’ve managed by a small miracle to keep things afloat with the help of family and serious overtime. Wife managed to get another job, paying less but still something.
We'd gotten to an untenable position even with her new job and were losing the house. We managed to find another place that was smaller but a few hundred less in rent as well as less in utilities as it was newer construction.
Daughter was arrested and sent to a local jail pending identity theft charges. Stress was high as wife and daughter tried to work things out. Wife develops medical issues and she has to cease working, turns out the last two years of stress really took a toll and it appears after some significant testing that she has MS and it’s getting worse quickly unless she takes steps to reduce her stress.
Eventually we dropped the identity theft charges with the stipulation on my end that she never, EVER, live with us again for any reason.
Wife in the meantime can't get disability yet due to her social being royally messed up due to the identity theft. I get a second job and work 70-80 hour weeks to pay the bills, we downsize a lot. We lose both of our cars and I buy a $1,000, 20 year old clunker. We sell whatever we can (not really much left) that doesn't have too much sentimental value, I cash out my 401k.
It's now 4 years later. I'm still working 70-80 hours a week. Our bills are finally stable but I'm still paying off almost 80k in debt, I've still not gotten a new car and have spent around $1,000 a year keeping this old one running. It will be nearly 2020 before I have clawed my way out of this hole.
No, I can never forgive her for this."
"I remember the day when I told my mother that my 17 year old girlfriend was pregnant. Something changed in my mother and it definitely was not for the better. I knew I had messed up but didn't truly understand the struggle like my mother did. You see, my mother had me when she was 17 also. She had scholarships to go to art school and potentially make something of herself. She ended up taking care of me instead.
I remember my mother looking at me and saying, 'You are stupid if you choose to take care of that child.' We got into a fight over it. I felt that since I was the dummy that got my girlfriend knocked-up, I should be the one to take care of it. I had computer repair skills and a knack for working hard. Finding work wouldn't be that hard, would it?
Fast forward a few years and I can understand just exactly what she meant. Please note: I do love my children every single day and wouldn't trade them for anything. I spent those years watching as all my friends grow further away from me. Most got distant and didn't want to talk to a guy who had 2 jobs and a kid. I was a buzzkill for most of them. I struggled and pushed through everything that I had to take care of her. I honestly wasn't sure if I was going to make it for a while. 2 jobs making minimum wage isn't enough to afford daycare and a 1 bedroom apartment here in Iowa. I feel I lost a portion of my sanity through those times. I spent most of it wondering what life would be like if I gave her up for adoption and had done what my mother suggested. Would I be happier? I would have graduated and have a job making significantly more money than I do now.
I did eventually prosper but my mother and I have never been the same. She lost custody of me when she was younger because she couldn't keep up. She was definitely proud of me when I received my degree and got a real job. It took 6 years to do what would have taken 2. I still did it though.
My mother was never going to forgive me for putting myself through exactly what she went through. I proved her wrong nonetheless. Just because you are destined to fail doesn't mean you will. I have a 2nd beautiful daughter and a wonderful girlfriend whom I plan on marrying next year!"
"My grandmother gave me her coin collection before she died. Every silver dollar, half, quarter, dime, nickel and penny form every year since 1885. Also, most mints as well. every silver certificate, every bill, EVERYTHING except 50's and 100's. This was her masterpiece and her pride and joy. My stepson took the entire collection and spent it at face value. Took it from a safe box that I never open.
I only found out it was him because I went through his room and when I picked up his shorts, he obviously had a ton of coins in the pocket. Reached in, pocket was full of just pennies. At closer look, of course they were steel pennies, wheat pennies, etc... I will never forgive him for it."
"My son was a great kid as a child, but at about 11 or 12, he started to really change. In 5th grade the school told them to draw pictures of what they did over the summer. He drew a picture of what we did on the 4th of July and was promptly sent to alternative school because he made 'Terroristic Threats' for drawing pictures of explosives.
He got 3 weeks at the school. We fought the punishment hard. The problem is, by time we got some movement where they were lifting it, he had started getting in trouble at the alternative school. He was the middle kid and he would try hard to fit in. So now that the school had relented on the original punishment, he was in trouble and sentenced to more time in the alternative center because of his behavior there. He spent the rest of the semester there, got back to regular school after the new semester and then wound up going back for other stuff.
Anyway, a year or so later, his mom and I split up. He came with me along with his little brother, and our daughter stayed with her mom. He progressively got worse as he went through puberty, more and more trouble with school, extremely mean and defiant, etc.
Move forward about 2 years and he is 15, a month away from his 16th birthday. We had been camping and when we got home, he immediately sat down to play XBOX. I told him we needed to get things sorted out and that he could play afterwards, in about 30 minutes. He got super angry stomped to his room and slammed the door and locked it.
I brought in another load or two and after about 5 minutes, I went to talk to him. His door was locked so after trying to get him to answer me through the door, I went and got a key (he did this a lot, I replaced the doorknob with one that had a key so I could get in when he did) and walked in to see my son had hung himself.
I yelled for my girlfriend at the time to call 911 and started trying to pull him down. I had to hold his body against the wall with mine so I could untie him. I laid him down and started CPR. After a few cycles, I got a very thready pulse and he started breathing, so I stopped and monitored the pulse and it faded again. So I started CPR again. This happened for a few cycles before the ambulance arrived.
They induced a coma and he made it through this ordeal, but it was a huge loss. He is diagnosed with an Anoxic TBI, which knocked a lot of his intelligence off. The recovery was slow, and he spent 6 weeks in rehab. For the first year, he was very sweet again. He made it back to high school and then it got 1,000x worse than ever.
He started getting very suggestively inappropriate as well as having violent outbursts. One day he didn't come home from school. I panicked and after calling the cops to report him lost, we found out he had been taken to jail. The cops nor school ever notified me they were doing it.
So now you have a 16, almost 17 year old kid with a TBI, that the state will not allow to live with any of his siblings.
At Christmas, my father and mother, who he was living with, took him to my brother's around the middle of the week. I was to meet them there on the weekend. I drive down and walk into all chaos breaking loose. Apparently, he had exposed himself to a cousin and got confrontational when confronted with it. My mother tried to intervene and he shoved her and she fell.
Anyway, I had to load him up and drive him 4 hours BACK home and miss Christmas with my family. He wound up with a 3 year sentence over all of this and served 18 months of it.
So the part I can't forgive? For one, my father, who I was VERY close to, passed away the next summer. Because of my son, I missed the last Christmas with him.
More than that, though, I will never, ever forgive him for the thoughts I have had through out all of this.
A parent should never, ever...EVER have to wonder if they did the right thing by saving his life. I hate that I have wondered how the last 6 years might have been had he died that day."
"My brother was diagnosed with autism when he was 2. My mom quit her $80k/year job so that she could take him to doctors appointments, make every meal from scratch to avoid his dietary restrictions, and tutor him. He had always been a smart kid, he just has a hard time with speech.
He was 8 when this happened. My mom and I were a little torn up over the death of our 20 year old cat that she had gotten before I was born. But a few months later, I found a kitten in the rain outside the library. She was only about 2 1/2 weeks old, so I took her home.
My mom and I (but mostly my mom) raised her. She would get up every 2-3 hours to feed her through the night and take care of her all morning. I would play with her and care for her after I got home from school. We put a lot of time and love into this kitten.
One day, we caught my autistic brother carrying her around in a pillow case. My mom flipped out a little bit, but we sat him down and told him that he could hurt her very badly by doing that. He is good at knowing his restrictions so we told him he wasn't allowed to touch her until she was full grown.
Everything went well for another month and a half, until one night we found her on her side struggling to breathe. I picked her up so we could rush her to the emergency vet and she was bleeding from the mouth. She died soon after we got there.
An autopsy showed that one of her ribs punctured her lung and another punctured her heart. We found out that night that my brother had gotten mad, so he put her in a pillowcase and dropped her from the top of his closet. It was at least a 6 foot drop. He did it on purpose. I don't think he meant to kill her, but his intention was to hurt her.
My mom will never forgive him. She loved that cat immensely."
"My step-sister and I are about the same age. Her dad first started seeing my mom when we were about 12, and he moved in with us when we were 13. She lived with her mother but would visit us fairly often. He talked about how wonderful she was, she was his little girl. When I first met her, I immediately realized she was a pathological liar. She'd lie about absolutely everything, but he ate it up. This drove me crazy when I was a kid, but for years he'd think she could do no wrong.
When she was 20 and dating this 35 year old guy, she got pregnant. They were going to raise the baby together. She drank, smoke, and was on a lot of prescription medications during the pregnancy, never giving up her partying. Needless to say, the baby was born with some pretty significant issues. She wouldn't eat and nearly starved to death, she didn't walk until she was 3, and even now at 6 she can only say a few words. She's incredibly small for her age, at 6 looking no more than 3 years old. I'm glossing over many years, but it was clear fairly quickly that this child had issues and was going to require special care.
She started couch surfing with a baby in tow, still going to parties and leaving the baby at random people's houses. My parents sometimes took the baby just so they knew the baby was safe, but eventually stopped to try to convince her that she should have some responsibility.
My parents and the father of the child started lobbying to take the child out of her custody. He's a wonderful person who only wants to take care of his child, but since my step-sister was just couch surfing, it was difficult to find her and the kid. Eventually, after some of her friends spoke up about her partying and her lying about his abuse at the custody hearing, she lost custody of the kid. The child lives with her father now, and my parents go visit her a couple of times a month. My step-sister doesn't even get her a present on Christmas or her birthday.
My step-sister still calls on occasion to ask for money, pretending to miss her family, the same shtick she used when she was 14, but my step-father has basically cut off all contact with her. He doesn't really talk about her now, but it's been a long road since 'daddy's perfect little girl.'"
"My stepson came into my life when he was 12. He had a younger brother that was 6 at the time, also my stepson. Younger brother was relatively normal, but older stepson was having a lot of trouble in school, got in trouble all the time.
Older stepson is cutting himself in school, there's a suicide attempt. I'm devoting lots of time to trying to help him, trying to fix his life - he's incredibly intelligent and thoughtful. In the middle of this all, we find he has tens of thousands of pictures of unclothed children on his computer. We delete them, consult a lawyer, bring it up in counseling, lock the computer down, install monitoring software. At 16, he brings home his 14 year old girlfriend's underwear, I take them away, he comes at me with a knife. Police are called, but he's smart and knows how to work them. We find a treatment program to deal with the addiction to images of unclothed children. Go to counseling once a week and group counseling once a week. Part of this program is admitting your wrongs. You have to come out and admit it in front of the group. He drops a bombshell: he's been abusing his younger brother since he was 6 or 7 and he forcibly violated his now ex-girlfriend.
The DA won't press charges because there's no proof, so we have to do this all 'voluntarily.' In the meantime, his younger brother is having issues. He throws tantrums all the time, has to be restrained at home. We learn how to restrain our kid to prevent him from hurting himself.
Eventually, he's about to turn 18 and the state is going to end their custody over him since he's a voluntary case. He has to figure out what to do or he'll be homeless, as he can't come back to living with us. He asks if we could just kick his younger brother out of the home and make him go live in state care so he can come live at home.
I'll never be able to forgive him for that moment where he was absolutely remorseless - where he asked if he could just take the place of his victim because the path he had chosen made his life harder. He knew very well what he was asking. He was never sorry for his actions."
"My daughter came into my life when she was 18 months old. I started dating her father who had just won full custody of her and was struggling to raise a girl on his own (Man you should have seen the way she was dressed!).
I come from a background of step-parent adoption; my biological father was never in my life and I feel as if I was truly blessed to have this man who owed my mother and I nothing, come in and be the best husband/dad around. So, once it became time and we agreed to marry, I felt that the right thing to do was to adopt her and give her everything that I had been given.
Fast forward 3 years, and long story short, the marriage is over.
At age 12 she ran away from her dad's home in the middle of the night. I really had no clue kids in the 2000's would actually tie bedsheets together and shimmy out windows, but alas, the sheet billowing in the wind was proof. This was somehow my fault, not sure how, and, the first time I heard all of the malicious rumors she has been spreading about me. When speaking with the local law enforcement, a neighbor came out screaming and crying that I be taken into custody for physical and mental abuse of my daughter. For 3 years my kid had been playing on this woman’s sympathies, telling her that I force her to have relations with my boyfriends, burn her with smokes, beat her and threaten to kill her father if she tries to speak up. Then I find out the whole neighborhood believe this is true. They believed that I was beating the poop out of my kid and my ex-husband for years!
We also discover at this same time that she has over 20 social media accounts, each one representing another side of her personality. One she was a gang member, toting weapons to school and beating others. One she was a victim of forced penetration, reaching out to persons on chat to 'build her back up.' Another she was a blasphemous angry teen who beat the heck out of her mother. The only common theme across her stories was the horrible mother she had to endure.
A week later she was admitted to the psychiatric children’s ward due to an incident at school. There they blanket diagnosed her with Depression, suicidal ideation and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. She begged to live with me with no visits to her father and, because I knew she needed the help, I agreed for the short-term. For 3 months we lived with no separation. She was never left home alone, she was worked back into society with established visits, counseling, socialization. I did it all. I lived life on edge waiting for her to steal, run, scream, anything. Police to come to my door and tell me I was arrested for kidnapping her. Something.
Dr.’s and all of us are starting to realize that this isn’t depression, this is something more. ADHD, Bi-Polar, Schizophrenia, Cluster B Psyochopathies… Can’t find a name for it, can’t find a medical mix that works.
Today, she is 15. In mid November I received a 9 page letter from her demanding that I change or she is going to return to the old her. That she hates me and the worst thing I have ever done in my life was adopt her and that I either need to her go…or die.
5 days later I packed up her things and sent her to her dads. I can’t do it anymore and I feel like garbage for giving up. But, I now resent her for taking away all those years and destroying my interest in children. I have no interest in ever having one of my own now and I cannot look at my niece and nephew with affection because I am so jaded.
I do not know if I will attempt contact with her any more. I don’t know if my heart or my head can take it anymore. I believe the anger is mis-placed, as it is all mother related so could be abandonment issues stemming back to her biological mother, but I don’t know if she realizes, or will ever realize what she has done. All I know is… don’t ask me to babysit."