Sh*t I Forgot To Teach My Child. A Few of My Most Epic Parenting Fails.

Just A Few Really Crucial, Important Life Lessons I Somehow Forgot to Teach My Teen. (Also known as important sh*t I forgot to teach my child. Oops.)

Yesterday, the unthinkable happened. My daughter started high school. (Here’s a recap of the evil ways I made her summer vacation before high school completely suck.)

Hold the phone. How in God’s name did she get old enough to be starting high school?

Just yesterday we were still playing with roly-polys in the backyard. Now she’s a teen with the attitude to prove it.

But there were so many things I planned on teaching her that somehow slipped past us. Some very important life lessons that she needs to learn before she leaves me and heads out into the big wide world alone.

Epic failures while parenting a teen. All the stuff I totally got wrong |


So here are some of the basic life lessons I somehow forgot to impart. I better get crackin’ before she’s off to college.

1. Times Up for the Kid’s Menu.

Guess what? You won’t be able to order off the kids menu. In fact, you’re actually not included as a kid anymore and most restaurant menus offer these cute kiddie meals to those 12 and under. Which you aren’t.

There will no longer be a parade of beige foods. Meals of pasta with butter and cheese. White starch, butter and cheese served with a coloring page and a dinosaur cup.

This might even be the year that your food has to mingle. Mix. Be all together on a single plate.

God forbid, you might even have to have foods with flecks of veggies in it. You might have to start eating an entire plate of veggies merrily dancing together in puddles of broth.

I know, life is SO unfair but most dining establishments won’t be serving you kiddie fare in cute containers when you’re 30 so now might be the time to make peace with that.

Which brings me to my next point.

2. The Short Order Cook Just Quit.

When I was working full time, we had a nanny. Sonia was the most amazing surrogate parent on the planet. She adored CeCe, and did whatever she could to make her happy. Which included making whatever food CeCe wanted. Whenever she wanted. It was like having her own personal chef available 24/7.

We don’t have a nanny anymore but sometimes out of parental guilt I find myself doing that whole personal chef routine too. “How about grilled cheese tonight? Nope? Soup? No? Quesadilla?”

WTH? Most kitchens you will encounter in your life will NOT come equipped with a full time chef.

3. How To Turn Stuff On. How to Put Things in Pots.

When I was growing up, dinner at our house often meant half a grapefruit and a bowl of popcorn. So cooking doesn’t come naturally to me. I kinda blanked on teaching her things that happen in that strange room with open flames and dishes, i.e., THE KITCHEN.

Just this summer, I got my ass in gear and taught her to turn on the stove. How to take a frozen pizza out of the oven. How to use a can opener. How to make macaroni and cheese FROM A BOX.

Yes, I know I suck! Let’s move on. 

3. Not Everyone Is Going To Ask What’s Wrong.

Got out of bed on the wrong side? Grumpy? Don’t want to talk?

As a parent, of course, I ask that most stupid of parenting questions: “what’s wrong?”

She’s a teen. That’s what’s wrong. Hormones and growth spurts, coupled with teen angst and too much time with your laptop creates unstable emotions. Pouting. The silent treatment.

The world is not going to continually ask you why you don’t feel like participating, so to get you ready, I’m going to stop asking too.

If you feel grumpy, that’s OK, but the world will just keep speeding by. You play along. Or not. No one is waiting to find out why.

Sh*t I forgot to teach my teen. epic parenting fails

The divorce left me feeling like I was a bad parent. I over compensated and babied her too much. I helicoptered. I held on too tight. I think she needed it as the time.

And so did I. Now, not so much.

Yes, my Grandmother is probably looking down from heaven and wondering what the hell I was thinking. Wondering why I didn’t teach her all this stuff yet. (Let’s not forget she’s still got to learn how to use a needle and thread, turn on the washing machine, or even iron a shirt…)

Well, Grandma RoRo, here’s what I was thinking; that I had all the time in the world to teach her this important life stuff.

Who knew that they really do grow up fast. That they suddenly become young adults and you’ve still got a whole list of things you still have to teach them.

So there’s the Sh*t I forgot to teach my child. I’ve fessed up on a few of my epic parenting fails. Now what about you?  What important stuff did you forget to pass along?


  1. says

    Don’t feel so bad. If you peeked inside my home, you’d think I forgot to teach my teen boys how to pick up stale socks, walk their dishes to the sink, and have the decorum to wait until I’ve finished an important call to ask for a few bucks. I assure you, I didn’t forget. But they sure did! Parenting is a blast. 🙂
    Rica recently posted…Simple Thoughts That Will Transport You NowMy Profile

  2. PatricIa says

    Love it! I turned on Pandora to The Beatles and, “You can’t always get what you want” was playing. I asked the kids who were enjoying the Lemon cake which I did not bake, which I feel guilty about not baking. Chasing a rabitt but somehow baking in an electric oven compared to my Professional grade 6 burner with grill and double oven Vulcan, just isn’t as appealing. I think I miss my kitchen more than anything. On the days I let myself think about missing. :;) Back to the story….they answered that it was The Beatles! Panic! How could they be in Highschool and not know who The Rolling Stones are!?!? Yep! sh*t I better teach before they fly away!

    • says

      Oh Lord! And music. Totally forgot to introduce her to all these important bands and musical styles. My daughter has no clue who the Stones or Beatles are. I need to add to my parenting to do list!

  3. says

    Oh how well I know this one! But you know what? She will be FINE. It’s us mums that suffer – the children just get on with life. It’s that ending of childhood that seems so sudden, even though we KNOW it is coming. I still suffer from what you are talking about here and my boys are 33 and 36! The one thing I wish I had taught them was to stay right here where I live so I could see them all the time 🙂 Miss mine SO much!

  4. says

    We mustn’t confuse being a busy mom with being a bad mom. We all have epic fails. We are human. By the time 10 more years pass you will see how wonderful your daughter is can be significantly credited to how wonderful of a mother you are.

  5. says

    My daughter can’t thread a needle but she is a successful career woman and Mum who I am very proud of. She was also affected by my divorce but I am so proud of her and you are of your daughter. We worry so much about our chlldren and maybe sometimes don’t give them enough credit. I love the photo of you both and I bet you are a great Mum who is just beating herself up like all of us Mums do!
    sue recently posted…3 ways my grandson helps me find JoyMy Profile

  6. says

    All in due time. You couldn’t teach me anything if you tried when I was a young kid.. I WAS STUBBORN! But look at me now… a mother, a traveler, I write for a living and I own a bar… I’m not the next POTUS but I’m doing pretty good! And I took pride in teaching myself things! You’re doing just fine!

  7. says

    I have too many fails to list but my worst is forgetting anything. I feel like I should remember it all and I never do. When my kids were babies they were lucky they had on diapers. Maybe that’s why they potty trained so easily. lol

    • says

      Oh I’m with you on forgetting things. I almost drove off and left the gas pump in the gas tank this morning when I was filling the car with gas!

  8. says

    Oh, I love this post! For me, it’s what I forgot to say. I should have told her such and such at that moment…these dumb thought wrack my brain. I did teach her how to use the washing machine, do a little cleaning, take public transit etc. I wish I taught her some man stuff too though. SIGH, we never get it right. Sounds like you’re doing a great job!!
    Lisa Thomson recently posted…Can We Go Home Again?My Profile

  9. says

    Evidently I forgot how to teach my kids to open dresser drawers. Because they can open drawers to snacks I just assumed they could generalize. Untrue. Also, I clearly never screened “lightswitch, the sequel…turning the light OFF.” Stupidly I assumed that being able to turn the light on came hand in hand with the opposing skill. Not the case.
    Anna R Palmer recently posted…The shallow endMy Profile

  10. says

    I taught my son to do laundry and how to wake to an alarm – two very valuable life lessons he has utilized through the ages. Oh yeah, and he made his own lunch. I paid for school lunch and if he wanted to pocket the money he had to make his own lunch. He was a bit of an entrepreneur and took the road with free money. Good job teaching your daughter to turn on a burner and learn that the Kid’s Menu is over. 🙂
    Molly STevens recently posted…You need to know about these obscure conspiraciesMy Profile

  11. says

    These are interesting and useful considerations. Not all of these items are relevant to us as we live in a very different country; no kids menu here, for instance. But it does not matter. This made me think of the things I need to remember to teach my 10-years old; I need to have a sequence in my head, I do not want to start teaching all at once and in a haste to make up for the delay. And some things in your article are universal. “Not Everyone Is Going To Ask What’s Wrong” – oh this is so true.
    Eugenie recently posted…So Tired and Sleepy that I Can’t Sleep – Catch 22. My Tips for Healthy Sleep.My Profile

    • says

      Oh Eugenie-there’s so much to teach!! You’ve got time to fit it all in since yours is 10. You are probably lucky that you don’t have kids menus so you don’t have to wean them off of them into ordering real meals!

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