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In the early days of parenting, kids are perfect. You have a child who can do no wrong for those first couple of years. Broken watch? That's fine. Shattered dishes? We'll more buy, no problem. Punched another kid at the park so hard they broke their nose? Well, there we have a problem. Your opinion of your child will change at some point but all you can hope for is that it doesn't happen as it did with the following parents.


Reddit user, u/majesticat81, wanted to hear from parents firsthand when they asked:

To the parents out there, what is one incident that completely changed your perspective of your child/children?

Handling Things Like An Adult

the simpsons GIF Giphy

My daughter, the baby, the princess, the quiet one (of 4) who seemed, although very smart, like she was going to need a little more help than the rest to get off the ground... I texted her when she got home from school during the fall of her junior year and asked what she was up to, and she said, "havin a snack. just filled out the FAFSA."

!!!! OK then. I guess you're good.

ChosenPrawn

How Quickly They Change

This is a bit hard to describe. When my first child was young (under 1 year old) I made a face at him. He made the face back at me. IT BLEW MY MIND.

My thought process was along the lines of... He sees me and knows that is my face AND he knows he has a face AND without seeing it he is contorting the muscles in his face to mimic my face BUT he can't see his own face!!

Anyway, now he plays xbox a lot. But that was the first time I realized he was an intelligent being.

cmdr_kestral

Break Their Limits, But Don't Overestimate Them

My daughter was born with a cleft lip and palate. Pretty severe, and it affected a lot of things at the beginning. She had her first surgery one week shy of five months old. She recovered so quickly from that first surgery that her doctors were astounded, her nurses said they've never seen someone go home so quickly after the operation she had. She started eating immediately, really just wanted the heck out of there. We learned that day that we did not ever need to doubt her strength.

Six months later, she had her second surgery. It was a lot rougher on her. It took her a couple days to be able to eat, and she laid at home just whining for a couple of days. After her amazing bounce back from the first surgery, we were so surprised. We learned that time that while we could never doubt her strength, we also could never expect her to be anything more than human.

sol-for-soul

A 3-Year Old Aware Of Self-Care

My 3yo recently told me, mid cough, to worry about myself.

All I was doing was asking if she was ok.

El_Dood_arino

The Language On This One...

The Simpsons Reaction GIF Giphy

I am a father of 2 beautiful children. My son is my biological child, and my daughter is my step child. I first met my daughter when she was a year and a half old. Her first words to me were " who the f-ck are you?" Our relationship was always very rocky. Things happened with the real dad that super f-cked her up. I can't go into details, but it made life crazy for a long time.

She recently apologized to me for being difficult, because she had this idea of how to treat a step parent that her dad taught her. I recently gave her away to her husband and couldn't be prouder of her. I just wish our relationship was better through her childhood.

hawkm69

Well, That's Nice, But Also, What A Little Jerk

My son was a certifiable little sh-t. I love him but for a good long while he was a deep sighing, eye-rolling, obstinate, obnoxious little weasel. At the early teenage where he barely spoke to his father or I, I was pleasantly surprised to learn he was spending a lot of time with close neighbors of ours, an older couple with an empty nest who went to our church.

That little jerk went out and formed a friendship with the nicest people on the block all by himself. He even helped them with chores! I couldn't get the little jerk to clean his room under threat of death and he's out there carrying out another woman's trash! I was never so pleased or proud.

Maxwyfe

Lied So Casually

I was playing hide and seek with my youngest Daughter recently. My Wife was counting and the two of us ran off into the house to hide. We both hid in her room and for the life of her, my Wife couldn't find me. She did find our Daughter though. She asked her where I was. Innocently she said, "I don't know, Mommy. Let's go find him!" Took her hand and led my Wife away. I could hear her running [interference] the entire time, reassuring her Mom that she didn't know where I was, and tried to innocently redirect her from double checking her room.

When she did go back to her room and find me, my Daughter let out a [surprisingly] devious laugh and ran to me, gave me a high five and said, "Yea, Dad! I didn't rat you out! Did you see how I lead her away!?!"

We all laughed, but now we know we're going to have to really keep an eye on her. She's way too sneaky and way too good of a liar for a four year old.

openletter8

Proud, And A Little Sad.

homer simpson hug GIF Giphy

My daughter was always "the quiet one" and "the shy one" and "we've got to get her out of her shell" "she gets intimidated to easily".

When she was 4 we moved an hour away, she changed locations for 4yo kinder (inb4 comments, in Australia) near the end of the school year so she went into a class where friendship groups were already established, she buddied up with a little girl who no one played with, for relevance to this story, this girl has a large birthmark on her face.

Within two weeks I was called into the teacher's office because "her behaviour was unacceptable". Turns out this boy (who over the year has been repeatedly picking on her friend) told her friend "I think you have the ugliest face in the world" and my daughter replied "No one cares what you think, you're not important".

The teacher wasnt overly impressed with me because my response was a very flat "But no one should care what he thinks about someone else's face" , but talking with her about it afterwards it was the point where I realised that she wasn't intimidated, she was just a listener, she told me everything this boy has said to her friend in two weeks, she took it all in, and she reacted in a way that we felt was actually appropriate.

As she's gotten older it's become more obvious that that's the case with her, she picks up on things very fast because she's always listening and taking everything in, she's not shy or intimidated.

t12aq

Strong for the kids

Having a panic attack in front of my kids changed my idea of "being strong for the kids," or not letting your kids see you as anything but an authority figure. For some reason my husband is convinced we should always be happy in front of the kids, never let them see you struggle, never let them see you sick. If you're unhappy about something, suck it up and smile, that way they don't know you're upset. He always tells me to go to a different room if I'm having anxiety, mind you, this line of thinking has left me alone on many occasions during times that one should not be alone, such as during labor and childbirth.

I suffer from pretty intense anxiety, I assume it's partly hormonal and due to medical issues, and I can usually put on a neutral face and get on with whatever I'm doing while quietly panicking. He has no understanding of anxiety although I do think he suffers from it as well, in his own way. Anyway, I had a complete meltdown one day and both of my kids were so gentle, and kind. They immediately stopped what they were doing and rushed to my side, hands on my back, and told me that they would be quiet so that I could relax. It made me realize that they aren't just blobs that always need to be taken care of; they're also little people who recognize the pain and suffering in the world and that their first reaction is that of empathy.

-Salt_Air07

As a child of parents that did that, I suggest you be real in front of your kids. Let the whole world in, good or bad.

My parents tried to maintain a facade of pleasantness in front of us. The principle is nice, I guess, but it backfires in the long run.

We could always tell when stuff was wrong. The anxiety creeps in and poisons the atmosphere. Bad times in our family were a slightly nightmarish time of fixed smiles and tension that couldn't be resolved because our family culture didn't allow us to talk about our feelings.

And it fed into us too. We learned that pain wasn't allowed, and kept our bad times to ourselves. It's something I'm still having to work on in my 30's.

-Black_Sky_Thinking

My 3yo recently told me, mid cough, to worry about myself. All I was doing was asking if she was ok.

-El_Dood_arino

Maybe a different answer than what you were looking for, but I started out only wanting two kids. Wife wanted to have another, and I eventually agreed, but I wasn't super excited about it. My career had taken off, and I wasn't looking forward to all of the work that it takes to raise a baby/toddler/child.

That kid is the kindest, most loving person I have ever had the pleasure to meet. My other two kids are great in their own ways, and I know all three will be successful in their lives, but #3 has taught all of us a little more compassion and kindness.

-usernamesarehard1979

This is my experience too! I have 3 boys, all loving, sweet, affectionate, but my 3rd is beyond. He is now 8 years old, but has always been the sweets, kindest, most loving snuggle bug. Even when he was born, they placed him on my chest and he wiggled his way up until he was buried in my neck where he stayed. He is happy, empathetic, caring, thoughtful, joyful, funny, magnetic and generous. He is the most loving human being I know.

-ronsinblush

Last year around this time, I was really struggling to figure out whether or not to keep trying to make it work with my partner, keep going to couples counseling, etc, or just call it & start the process of moving out. We all went to IKEA one evening & while our daughter (she'd just turned 7 at the time) was in Smaland (the on-site child care), we picked up some stuff for her for Christmas.

That night she came upstairs to talk to me before bed. We hadn't stashed the bag with her gifts in it well enough & she got a little peek inside. My partner (now ex) started yelling at her for snooping. Our daughter replied, "I didn't see anything! & it was all very forgettable anyway! It's okay!" My ex was like, "Wow, maybe I should just return it all then, if it's so 'forgettable'. That's really insulting." They went back & forth like this (neither of them can let the other have the last word) until I separated them & got everyone cooled off & into bed.


My ex was already at work the next morning & I was getting our daughter ready for school. She brought up the bag of gifts again & was like, "It's okay! It was forgettable!" I realized that she just meant that she'd try to forget what she saw & act surprised at Christmas, she wasn't insulting the gifts. My daughter has always had a vocabulary that kind of outstripped her ability to use it accurately, & this is FAR from the first time that she used a big word in slightly the wrong way & caused big miscommunications with her other parent. At this point, I was so used to translating that I just did it in my head automatically.

So I told her, "Okay, I understand what you're saying & I appreciate you making that effort. You just need to be careful about the words you use with your other mom. She can be kind of quick to take things personally, so it's important to stop & think carefully about the words you're using with her. Don't call the gifts 'forgettable' in front of her again."


My kiddo was like, "It must be hard to be that way. You get your feelings hurt a lot when they don't need to be hurt." I was like, "Yeah, that's true. That's a very thoughtful way of looking at it."

Then she said, "Do you have to be careful with the words you use?" I was like, "Yeah, but I've had a lot of practice, I'm used to it." She said, "It must be hard to be in a relationship with someone like that."

I was dumbfounded. It WAS hard to be in a relationship with someone like that. It was killing me. It was so hard to communicate with her about anything because my words would be twisted & misinterpreted, & I was exhausted all the time & just not talking about a million tiny things that were making me crazy because I knew they'd devolve into fights & did I really want to have a fight about a million tiny things? & then I realized that I was coaching my child, my FIRST GRADER, on choosing her words so as to not incur the wrath of a f**king adult, & I was like, WHAT am I DOING?!??!? When my ex got home from work that night, I told her it was over.

-youhaveonehour

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