Every one of us has experienced a bad parenting moment. Whether it's accidentally locking a child in a house or a car, injuring our precious little one or failing to plan ahead — we all have a story to tell. Check out this list of real stories from real parents. Learn from their mistakes, and you'll probably walk away feeling better about your own mishaps.
1. Marketplace mishap
Carmen L. shares that, "Shortly after becoming a mommy of six, I attempted a trip to SAM's club with all six children and no husband. The kids were so good and even helpful. We completed the shopping and went to the checkout. The clerk rang up the goods, I swiped my debit card and then the clerk told me it didn't go through. I swiped it, again. Still nothing. He asked if I was sure there was enough funds in the bank to use my debit card. I took it as an insult. Then he asked if I had cash or check. I had neither. The manager came over to see if he could help and discovered that my debit card had expired the day before. I was so frustrated that I just scooped the two littlest out of the cart, said, "we're leaving" to the other four and stormed out of the store. We got to the car and my four-year-old asked, "Why didn't we bring the food?" And I lost it. I had a huge meltdown. Looking back, the only stupid thing about the whole experience was the way that I handled it. Truthfully, I wasn't in a mental state to be able to handle it, but I acted poorly and set a bad example to my kids. They still ask me if I have the right card when we go to SAM's club."
Lesson — Face challenging situations with a deep breath and sense of humor, and always take along some cash.
2. Keep calm and get the keys.
Kasey B. writes, "My daughter was sleeping in her crib and my two-year-old was playing quietly with his trains so I decided to take the trash out. When I came back in I went to open the door and it was locked. I was freaking out! No one else in our apartment building was home so I decided to just drive to my husband's work and get his key. I was frantic and crying the whole time. When I got home and opened the door, my son looked up from where he was playing — calm as could be — and said, 'Hi mom.' I, of course, was still a wreck and cried and gave him a huge hug and lots of kisses. Since that happened, my husband showed me how to get into our apartment without a key."
Lesson — Accidents happen! Stay calm during a crisis and hide an extra set of keys somewhere.
3. Accidental injury
Unfortunately for Ashley M., "In December, our family was playing around and my husband had this wonderful idea to do the helicopter ride with our little girl. Turns out that the ride gave her nurse maid's elbow, and she had a sprained elbow for a week. This happened two times before this event, and we thought she was faking it. We, as parents, felt awful. We will no longer swing or pull on her arms."
Lesson — Sometimes it pays to listen to the kids, and while kids are pretty resilient, keep the roughhousing gentle.
4. Know what you're getting into.
Elizabeth H. got into a sticky situation when, "Our principal won an award, so my daughter and I, along with other parents and staff, went to surprise him when he received it. I thought it would be a quick in and out, but it dragged on as we waited to be brought into the convention area from the lobby. After 30 minutes, I realized most of the staff were in the bar area of the restaurant hanging out and thought we could go hang out with them for a few minutes. So, I took my 12-year-old daughter into a bar to hang out with all her teachers. It was a great learning experience and a good conversation starter for us about having decisions made before you're in the situation."
Lesson — Use uncomfortable situations as dialogue starters with teens and preteens. Also, try to keep the kids out of bars!
5. Guard yourself against bad advice.
Amber A. shared this short but poignant story. She says, "I believed Dr. Phil when he said it was possible to potty train a two-year-old in one day. Um, no."
Lesson — Every kid develops on his own timeline, and what might great advice for one child may not work for you. Trust your own parental instincts.