Kids make mistakes. A lot of them. They have to. How else will they learn? Parents must be understanding and repeat lessons again and again. This is the dance. But, of course, there are mistakes that fill parents with a deep, burning rage because they spent years making it clear to their children that those actions are not acceptable. This is the role of a parent. To get mad. To expect better. Still, to find out your child did something really stupid or mean or hurtful, is never easy. It makes parents lose it and look at their child and themselves and ask Was I too easy on them? Did I not teach this lesson? In short? it sucks.
This feeling, however, is universal. How else do we all learn? But how do you cope with it? Here, more than a dozen dads regaled us with the angriest they’ve ever gotten at their kids. They shared stories of everything from rude phone addicts, to budding social influencers, to poop-stained sofas, all of which will remind you that you’re not alone when it comes to getting fed up and demanding better.
My Son Wouldn’t Turn off his Phone.
“My son went through a bad rebellious phase in eighth grade. There were times I’d just had enough. One time he was on his phone during dinner, and I just lost it. He was being inattentive, rude, and making snarky comments every time his mother or I would ask him to get off. I think it was just the disrespect that got to me, and made me boil over. That wasn’t the first time he’d done it, but it was definitely the most brazen he acted about being reprimanded. He said something like, ‘Yeah, whatever, Dad’ when I tried to explain the concept of being considerate, and I went through the roof. I think we took his phone away for a month. It worked, though. He got the message.” – Kendall, 44, New York
My Kid Didn’t Get His Ass Up for Six Hours
“Something happens to 13-year-old boys that just makes them lazy and useless. One Saturday, my wife and I were going to our other son’s football game. It was far away, and our oldest son – the 13-year-old – had a long week at school, and asked if he could skip it. It was cold and rainy, and he just wanted to stay at home. I understood. We said he could stay home, but that he had to complete a list of chores. Take out the trash, do some laundry, walk the dog. Stuff like that. When we got home, like six hours later, he hadn’t done anything but play Xbox all day. It was so typical of the ‘lazy teenager’. I went off and said something like, ‘Really?! You had six hours all to yourself, and you couldn’t take five minutes to walk the damn dog?!’” – Brandon, 45, Ohio
My Kid Told Me to Get a Job
“I was unemployed for about a year. I had to run an errand, so I asked my older son to take out the trash while I was gone. He pushed back. He said he’d been at school all day, was tired from volunteering, had tons of homework, and so on. I made it clear that I needed his help, and he said, ‘Why didn’t you do it? You’ve been home watching TV all day!’ I was almost as devastated as I was angry. He knew he’d screwed up. I laid into him right away, and didn’t talk to him for the rest of the night. I told him he had no idea what I was doing to keep the family going, and he had no right to question me, or my work ethic. To this day, that was probably the worst disagreement we’ve ever had.” – Jay, 39, New York
My Kid Spray-Painted a Snake
“He was 14 or 15, and he and a friend found a harmless garter snake in our backyard. The first thing he thinks to do? Grab a can of spray paint, and color it bright orange. I don’t know if I can even describe how livid I was. It was such a senseless, dumb, cruel thing to do. I sent his friend home, and just unloaded. I told him how I’d lost so much respect for him, based on the way he decided to treat a living thing. He had no answers regarding why he did it, and that infuriated me more. Just a lot of ‘I dunno.’ Cruelty to animals isn’t something I take lightly. And the worst part is, he knows that. I think that’s what upset me the most. It was just a blatant disregard for life.” – John, 55, North Carolina
My Daughter Stole $100 from my Wallet
“Have you ever seen True Lies? There’s a scene where Arnold catches his daughter stealing from him with a spy camera. I noticed that some money was missing from my coat pocket one day. And then another day. And another. It was obvious something was going on. So, I got a webcam and set it up facing where I drop my wallet and keys. Sure enough, I caught my then-15-year-old daughter pickpocketing me. First I showed her the video. She wouldn’t tell me what the money was for, and that’s when I got heated. It ended up just being clothes and food and stuff, luckily. But I was so outraged. I made her work off every penny that she stole and, honestly, she’s yet to fully earn back my trust.” – William, 40, Ohio
My Son Bullied a Kid with a Learning Disability
“They were in the same third grade class. I got a call one day that he was teasing another who had mild ADHD, because the student had trouble focusing on her spelling and math lessons. I had to calm myself down, because I was livid. It had nothing to do with the ADHD, but everything to do with the concept of teasing. I had to compose myself, because yelling at a kid that young does nothing but scare them. The lesson doesn’t get through. But, he knew better. And teasing is such a cruel thing to do, to anyone. I asked him why he did it, and he said some other kids were doing it, too. Long-story-short, we had a talk about being a leader versus a follower, that I actually think sank in pretty well. But, that phone call broke my heart.” – Lee, 35, Montana
My Daughter Tried to Become an “Influencer”
“She was posting pictures of herself that I found to be inappropriate. Maybe I’m ‘square’ or something, but she’s 13, and doesn’t need an online profile where she talks about makeup and tank tops. She set up the account without her mother and I knowing, which was strike one. After we found it, we just sat in awe at how vapid and clueless it made her seem. That was strike three. We skipped strike two. Her safety was my main concern. All the creeps out there? But the way she came across was just so, so disappointing and arrogant. We made her delete the account, obviously, but nothing ever really goes away online. She used her real name, too, so I wouldn’t be surprised if someone looking to hire her for a summer job can dig it up and see what an idiot she acted like.” – Matt, 37, Pennsylvania
My Son Called Me Cheap
“Money was tight, and so I couldn’t send my son on an eighth grade overnight field trip. All of his friends were going, of course. So, when I told him that I couldn’t afford it, he called me ‘cheap.’ I think ‘cheapskate’ was the exact work he used. I lost my shit. He had clothes. He had food. He had a house. But he also had video games, a phone, and all sorts of unnecessary stuff that he just didn’t appreciate. It probably could’ve been a teachable moment, but I was too pissed to care. That crossed the line, and I let him know it.” – Court, 38, Maryland
My Daughter was Rude to a Cashier
“We were in line at the grocery store, and my daughter had to be somewhere. ‘Had to’. She was going to The Cheesecake Factory with her friends. She was going to be late, because the cashier was new and having a hard time with the register. So my daughter says, ‘Can you hurry it up, or what?’ There was a mom behind us in line, with her kid, and they both looked at each other like, ‘Where can we hide?’ First, I apologized to the cashier. Then I just scolded her in front of everyone. She acted like a rude, entitled brat. On her phone, smacking her gum, and just completely dismissive. She didn’t make it to The Cheesecake Factory that night.” – Chuck, 39, Ohio
My Second Grader Snuck a Beer to School
“True story. It was completely innocent, but it caused a whoooole wave of shit. Apparently, he thought it would be cool to swap out his juice box with a can of beer that was in the fridge. He did it right before we loaded his backpack for school, so we didn’t see it. Now that the dust has settled, that story makes me laugh. It was years ago. But, we got calls from the teacher, the principal, other parents, blah, blah, blah. I was angry at him, but angry at myself too. It was just a stupid situation altogether.” – Jesse, 35, California
My Son Snapped Pictures of People on the Toilet.
“You heard that right. My dumb son and his dumb friends would go into public restrooms where people were pooping, then hang their phones over the stall, snap pictures, laugh, and run away. How fucking depraved do you have to be to do something like that? Of course they said, ‘We thought it was funny…’ It’s also a felony. And mean. And perverted. I didn’t know where to begin. I didn’t talk to him for about a day. Then I took his phone away until I figured out how to completely restrict it. I don’t think I’ve ever been more angry at — or disappointed in — anyone or anything in my life.” – Allan, 42, Connecticut