Some parents don't know when it's time for their little chicks to leave the nest. These poor teachers gain first-hand experience on how controlling some parents can be. Content has been edited for clarity.
"I currently have a sixth-grade student whose stepmother emails me on a daily basis. Good kid, has an A in my class, no behavior problems, but yet I've had 94 emails from her this year. Typically they are completely unnecessary, and I want to ask her, 'DO YOU EVER TALK TO YOUR SON?!' He could answer 95 percent of her questions! Yet, she still sends me emails asking things like, 'What was the situation that caused M to be marked tardy to your class?' and 'There is an assignment in the grade book marked with a 0/0. It's titled Extra Credit Bonus Points. Please advise on how this will affect his grade.'
Her child's online grade sheet reflects that, since August, she has checked his grades 717 times. Holy heck. Your kid is 12, cut the cord and teach him personal responsibility."
"I'm a K-12 music teacher. For discipline, I use the 3-strikes-you're-out method. With Kindergarten, I use the 'happy face/sad face' on the whiteboard, dependent upon behavior each day.
I had a parent sneak into my classroom during my lunch period and erase his son's name from the 'sad face list' on the board, claiming that he 'got a feeling' while he was at work that his son was being mistreated at school. He could only believe that I had wrongfully accused his son of something because his son was an angel. He picked the lock to come in and 'defend' his son!"
"I worked in a daycare. I had this one kid whose mother made me want to strangle her. In fact, I wanted to strangle the entire family.
My boss had absolutely no spine and denied the parents nothing. Nothing. So this one parent wanted me to track her son's entire day and write a log. Every day. If I didn't have at least a full sheet of paper, she would FLIP OUT. I had to record every little thing this kid did, including every word he used, times, etc.
And the kid was an absolute terror. He was a big, spoiled brute. He was bigger than most of the four-year-olds. Initially, I would include his behavior problems in his 'report,' but the mom got so mad at me--her angel couldn't POSSIBLY have hit little Jimmy in the head with a firetruck! Never mind that Jimmy has a bump the size of a goose egg on his forehead, I was just trying to blame my negligence on her child. Ugh.
She was usually the very last parent to pick up, usually late (sometimes being as much as a half an hour after closing) and so I would normally be alone when I'd get the verbal lashing.
The situation only stopped when another parent had been a little late as well and was taking their child to the bathroom before they left for home. He comes out with his daughter as this woman is calling me all sorts of horrible things because I forgot something in the note from the day before and blah blah blah.
The dad is all horrified when he comes out with his daughter and the woman shuts up after that. After that point, either he or his wife was always there until the big brute was picked up and I think either he spoke to her or he spoke to my boss, but a few weeks later she pulls her kid out of the daycare.
As far as I know, he wasn't allowed back into any center in the area because of his mom. And his biting."
"The power that these parents have in coming into the classroom and changing how things are done is scary. I had three kids who were caught turning in the same paper, and after giving them zeros for the assignment, they got their parents to form a witch hunt. One of the parents rallied all the other parents in the class who all came in to hold a meeting about me and how I teach, even though none of them have been in my class or have talked with me. This is a highly advanced class, and the LOWEST grade is a C which is impressive. I'm proud of all of them.
Anyway, parents got the administration to have me allow them to redo the paper AND I now must be evaluated because of the things these parents say I do in my class. Meanwhile, I still have to teach these kids and act as a professional toward them, which I will. This behavior is unacceptable as a parent."
"I had a student last year in 4th grade where his mother was always claiming he had some health issue that was pretty serious. While I hate calling people liars, she would make it obvious. The best example I can give is her claiming he had severe asthma. I made every accommodation I could for this kid including everytime he complained of chest pains I would send him to the nurse immediately. I began to wonder when I would see him at recess running around like a maniac without any complaints. He only got chest pains during a test or whenever it was convenient for him. I never questioned it because I didn't want to even try to argue.
Another example is during science we were playing on microscopes, and he thought it would be ok to just run around the room. Of course, I kicked him out and told him he flunked science. Well at the end of the day, I had a change of heart and made him read a chapter out of the science book and write a summary for homework. The next day he came in with this elaborate 3-D model of the chapter and his summary was written in pen, and the writing looked like a grown woman's, not a fourth-grade boy. I ask him to tell me about the chapter and of course, he couldn't, so I called his mom. She proceeded to tell me that he spent hours on this thing and she watched him do it. I called her out and explained he couldn't tell me anything. She admitted she helped but felt there was nothing wrong with her writing for him or constructing the model.
Probably the worst was when she called my room and said that she was short on this month's rent by $30 and needed help. Of course, I couldn't turn her down, so myself and 2 other teachers gave her the money. I know we should not have but we were thinking more about the kid.
Her son is in 5th grade now. I asked his teacher for this year how he his doing and his new issue is his heart and again, how he can't be active and do anything. It sounds really suspicious just because this kid is SUPER hyperactive.
She was and still is psycho and I can't wait until he goes to middle school."
"Parents are why I stopped teaching. I have a real big problem with keeping my mouth shut when people are hurting their kids.
So this story is not education-related, but I lived with my 26-year-old cousin and one of our friends - all young professionals, swanky bachelor pad, only unit on the pool in a really nice complex. Then he got sick and had to get surgery, and his mom came to live with us... and stayed for months after he had already recovered! She'd cook his food, do his laundry, SLEEP IN BED WITH HIM, and nag at him the whole time. Her voice has two tones: high-pitched yelling and condescending yelling. She yelled at him for not being appreciative, not cleaning up the way she'd like (even though she cleaned EVERYTHING), watching TV (remember he's 26), playing video games, sleeping too much...
I started dating a girl pretty seriously, and she started yelling at me anytime we were together. I can't tell you how awkward it is to be an adult, watching a movie in your own den only to have your psycho aunt come 'home' and start telling you it's inappropriate to have a girl stay the night.
Eventually, she stopped living with us (I think my mom, who is awesome, had a talk with her), but she'd still visit from time to time. I had a few friends over for a party at one point and she showed up and tried to shut it down, claiming we would get evicted. The leasing staff were in attendance. And we were all adults. I moved out as soon as the lease was up."
"My mom used to read over my papers and say that they were 'utter garbage' that they read 'like a mentally challenged person wrote them.' Sometimes, she'd do this while hitting me. She'd then sit down and slowly write out an essay that I was supposed to turn in, all the while telling me how much of a disappointment I was. When I turned it in, it wold be obvious that she wrote it. She was a lawyer, so everything that she wrote sounded cold, detached, and very, very legal. Her version never followed the prompt. She'd get lost in the formatting (noteworthy in that the formatting that she used was not the one that we learned in class). I'd usually get a C or D when I turned in her versions. One teacher even wrote 'Don't get your parent to write this stuff!' right next to a big red D. She'd then beat me and said that I was a freaking idiot for getting such a low grade. Whenever I managed to write a paper without her interference, I'd usually get a B or an A. Teachers would compliment me on my writing. She never did, though. Not once.
She did the same thing when I was typing my Eagle Scout report. No matter what I wrote, it would be trash. I remember crying a lot. Eventually, she just wrote it herself. My Eagle ceremony was 15 minutes. I didn't invite any of my friends. The badge is now collecting dust under my dresser. I've never bothered to get it out from under there. I love Scouts, but I am not at all proud of my Eagle rank. When I think back to my project, I don't think of helping little kids in a Title 1 public school; I think of the stuff my mom used to do. It remains one of the worst experiences of my life.
Anyway, that's the worst helicopter parent that I know."
"The dad of one of my second graders frequently tries to sneak into the cafeteria to spoon feed his daughter her lunch. If she doesn't eat all of her food, he packs it up in containers to take home. He'll also try to get other kids to give him their leftovers or have her ask others for their food. It's gross. He hangs around the school campus practically all day (he doesn't work very much) to make sure she and her younger sister are ok. The cord is not cut with this one. She can't do anything without mom or dad because they keep her attached at the hip when she's not at school. It creeps me out a bit. I shoo them away whenever I can."
"I taught ESL to a bunch of high schoolers, many of which were at an SAT level. There was this one kid who was incredibly fluent and would write wonderful essays in my class.
However, his mother wasn't satisfied. She forced him to write a 10,000-word essay every single day. Now, she had never learned a foreign language, didn't speak English; I don't think she even graduated from college. But she would (through her son and other translators) give me an earful on how I was being too easy on the students because I wasn't making them do four hours of homework a night.
And this poor kid... this unfortunate, 14-year-old who was fluent in two languages and was ready to take the SATs in a language not his own ended up getting worse and worse at writing. He would repeat things again and again just to get the word count because his mother would check the essays every night (she'd check the numbers, she wouldn't be able to read the paper). He would lie and make up stories, interjecting them at weird places. He did ABSOLUTELY MISERABLY in his exams because he wouldn't take my advice to 'stop writing when you've run out of things to say.'"
"I have a child in pre-school and have witnessed some craziness. I went to pick up my kid and heard the teacher say to one of the moms, 'Just so you know the bottom of Chloe's shirt is a bit wet. She spilled some water while painting, but I dried it off as much as possible.' No big deal, right? And nice of the teacher to take the time to mention a tiny spill. BIG FREAKING DEAL to this mom. 'I don't understand why that would have happened! This concerns me that my daughter isn't being supervised! This is a brand new shirt!'
Are you friggin kidding me?! This is also, of course, the mom that has her 4-year-old still in diapers, because, 'She doesn't have an interest in potty training and I would never try to force her to do something she doesn't want to do.' So at least once daily the teacher has to stop the class to go to the bathroom and change her.
After I witnessed the heli-mom having a breakdown, I went home and emailed the teacher a note, just saying I wanted them to know her much I appreciate her and what an amazing job she does on a daily basis. I got a phone call from her in tears, thanking me and telling me how much that meant to her."
"I directed some of the kids in my school's middle school division in a play of 'Treasure Island.' One day, when we weren't allowed access to the theater, we did a rehearsal at the house of this girl (let's call her 'G'). Her mother (let's call her 'M') invited us to come over, and at first, I was wary as something always seemed a bit 'off' about her, like she was always in an insane rush to get her daughter home after all of our regular rehearsals. But they had a very large house, and I didn't want to give up the space, so I agreed to hold the rehearsal there.
Once we were there, M politely greeted us, but G was holed up in her room. I asked if she could come and join us, but M kept insisting we start the rehearsal without her. I explained to her that G was one of the most important parts of the play, and it would be hard to practice without her, but M just kept saying that she had work to do and wasn't available.
Finally, after about half an hour, G came out to meet us, but her crazy mother told us that she could only stay for 15 minutes and then she had to go back to her work. G then turned to her mother and said, 'I don't have any work' to which M responded, 'Yes you do, sweetie' in the most passive-aggressive way I've ever heard someone talk to their child. I decided to stay out of it, and we started rehearsing with her.
I then opened my laptop to show them a video of what they did, but M happened to be walking past at the time, and she ran over and slammed my laptop's lid down, shouting 'No Media!' repeatedly and then lifted it up and ran away with it somewhere. It was my computer, so I followed her and asked for it back, and she carefully explained that they were a 'no media' family and that it was important that G wasn't exposed to that. She then said that her daughter should get back to work anyway, but I said we needed five more minutes.
When I got back to G, she said 'Isn't my mom so annoying?' and I wasn't sure how to respond, but G saw the uncertainty in my face and kept talking about her mother. It turned out that G wasn't allowed to watch TV, go on any computer, or even listen to music on an iPod. She had to do her schoolwork and read books that had already been read by her parents. She was in the sixth grade, so of course, she didn't have that much work to do, but her mother would make her study her notes from the day every day, and would frequently make her do homework again as it wasn't long enough. G could have been getting straight As with less than half of the work she had to do, so I told M that she shouldn't put so much pressure on her daughter, and she responded to that by kicking me out of the house. Her parents got divorced a year later, and her father has full custody, and I couldn't be happier."
"We pulled a child who was allergic to eggs out of a lab in which eggshells were broken down by vinegar, then the eggs were placed in hypotonic/hypertonic solutions to illustrate cell membrane action. The parent flipped their lid that his child missed two lab periods - although we'd prepared handouts, gone over the relevant info with the kid, and sent him to the library so he wouldn't die of anaphylactic shock. Geez, we're trying to save your kid's life, here, two lab periods in the seventh grade won't make a big difference."
"A colleague of mine has had the most helicopter parent I have seen in my eight years of education.
This mother, middle eastern descent in a mostly Caucasian school, felt that in first grade that each school and grade level should be voting for a child that would be the master of their peers. She felt that her son would one day be the President of the United States and that his early elementary public education should reflect that, so she felt that he should be voted upon to rule the rest of the grade level delegating responsibilities to his peers. Mind you he had just turned 5 years old and had skipped kindergarten based upon parental request in spite of his kindergarten level formative assessment levels.
She forced her child's teacher to have him present powerpoints each month on complicated issues such as segregation and photosynthesis. She would come in on these days to videotape these presentations that were done by her. She would keep him after school three times a week to make sure his reading points not only met what was expected but was ten times what was expected. She left the district this year with her children in search of a private school where a second grader could be voted as the master of all grades K-6 to learn leadership of his peers. Bless her heart."
"Freshman year of college my roommate's mother was a helicopter mom to an extreme.
One morning around 7 am, I hear a pounding on the door. I pull myself out of bed and open it only to see her mother standing there looking beyond furious. Apparently, she found out somehow that my roommate had been skipping one of her classes. She had driven two hours to show up at our door at 7 am to scream at her 18-year-old daughter. She also yelled at me for a few minutes for not waking up my roommate/not telling her to go class. I left pretty quickly and spent the rest of the day hiding out in friend's dorm rooms."
"I was working with a class of gifted high school students taking a summer course. During a field trip, one of my students needed to go to a doctor's appointment and would be picked up early by her parents. The only way to contact the group on the field trip was my cell phone, so the parents had my personal number. With a week left in the summer course, I received 23 text messages and 15 calls asking why their 10th-grade daughter had not called them back."
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"Teaching second grade, we took a field trip to our district's vocational school so the kids could get a sense for the wide array of career choices available. One parent would not allow her daughter to attend because she was so afraid her daughter might take a liking to one of the non-collegiate career tracks (horticulture, culinary arts, etc.) and ruin her predestined path to medical school. Second. Grade."
"I teach middle school English at a public school in Texas. I brought a mom in several months ago to discuss how her son had been plagiarizing (poorly, I might add), but she only wanted to talk about his acting career. She pulled out a leather-bound portfolio stuffed with acting/modeling photos of her little angel and talked at me for an hour about each one.
Cut to weeks later. He turns in a paper about his strongest childhood memory. It's a two page summary of every famous person he's acted with and what movies I would know them from now. Looking at the writing style and level of detail, the mom CLEARLY wrote the essay."
"The eighth graders at my middle school used to take a trip to a theme park or something every year, but you weren't allowed to go if you were failing any of your classes. Well, some kid's mom called and whined that her kid couldn't go (because he was failing) and it was discriminatory towards him and ended up getting the trip canceled for everyone.
The end of the year trip was the ONLY field trip that they would keep kids home on for failing and they knew upfront that they were expected to do well to get to go. This kid just didn't care about school. He skipped a lot, was constantly in trouble for acting out, and in one class that I had with him we were getting ready to take a test, and he said 'Forget this,' tore it up and walked out.
His mom should have been more focused on getting him help rather than ruining things for the kids who did try."