Parenting Fails: The Good; The Worse and The Ugliest

People say raising kids is hard work so some parents try to ease the hardship by finding innovative ways to deal with their children in challenging situations. This is the politically correct way of saying some parents display bad judgment at times and since good parenting is subjective, there are always critics ready to exact judgment on certain parental choices. Dubbed “parenting fails,” the very term already infers that the parent did “something bad” when describing questionable judgment. Once again, parenting fails is subjective depending on where you’re coming from. However, it is safe to say when the same themes and pictures reoccur on various parenting fails websites and parenting fails lists, chances are they are definite examples of bad parenting. These reoccurring pictures include the use of duct tape as safety equipment, children sitting next to wild animals, a baby posing with a boa constrictor lying on him and a Dad holding kid upside down over a railing (didn’t Michael Jackson do that?) to feed raccoons (oh never mind, Michael was just dangling his kid for no reason). Other examples of such fine parenting include a father holding his child who is grabbing onto an electric fence near a sign that says, “Don’t touch! Electric fence.” And the list continues: another dad holding his little girl at a strip club while cheering on a stripper and a kid pushing his toy supermarket cart that his parent filled with bottles of beer. Now, is there anything really wrong with that? The kid was being useful! People tend to get “judgey” and condemn these types of parental choices as wrong but are they any worse than dressing up your young child like a dime store hooker and putting her on display? Oh, there’s a phrase for that too, it’s called child beauty pageants. 


Parenting is one of the toughest jobs in the world so no wonder people have found unusual ways of dealing with this always demanding, never ending challenge. A popular coping mechanism of late has been parents pranking their kids.  What better way to teach your kids about a sense of humor than by telling them they have Ebola or wrapping underwear in an Xbox box and giving it to them on Christmas? Some people call pranking your own offspring a form of parenting fail but others like to call it humor. Geez, after all, isn’t parenting suppose to be about having fun too?



Jimmy Kimmel is the Pied Piper of parenting pranks. In 2011, he asked parents to prank their kids by giving them really crappy gifts and letting them open it early so they can film their reactions and send them in to his show. The kids’ reactions ranged from amusement to all out meltdowns when some got really visibly upset at the crap gift. This Christmas prank was so popular, it has now become an annual segment on Kimmel’s late night show. Kimmel repeated this prank at Halloween when he asked parents to fool their kids by telling them the next day that mom and dad ate all their Halloween candy. Not as seriously upsetting as the Christmas gift prank, nevertheless, some kids did freak out when finding out that all their candy was gone. Others took it in stride and one seriously zen kid told his mom, “Then you must have a bellyache.”




Depending on how you view things, this prank can either be one of the worse parenting fails ever or one of the finest parental pranks ever. In October 2014, when news of the spreading deadly Ebola virus was making headlines, a Bedford, Ohio woman, LaTierra Hampton, 48, told her 8 year-old son, Russell that he had Ebola. The video was filmed by their 19-year-old cousin, Tevyn Demmings and show LaTierra who works as a nursing assistant, wearing a face mask and protective gear, looking ominously at a thermometer. She then tells Russell that that he has contracted the virus and upset, he bursts into tears. LaTierra shows the thermometer to the camera, as Russell’s dad says, “Oh hell no, he’s got Ebola.” The video went viral and received over 3 million views. When branded “the worst parent in the world,” the mother of three responded,“Everybody should chill out. People are taking it too seriously.” LaTierra told The Sun newspaper that people have threatened to contact the police, calling her “heartless.” What people failed to recognize is that Russell’s parents played the prank on him as a jokey payback since Russell pretended to have Ebola more than once.  Well, this sure will teach him not to lie about deadly diseases! LaTierra said Russell cried for 15 minutes after the prank and didn’t believ her at first when she told him it was just a joke. LaTierra explained that she and her husband were “always playing pranks” and are not bad parents, just good pranksters.



Written by Vicky Choy