You see a kid screaming in public. You think, "ugh, this is annoying." But then the parent shows up, also yelling. Just yelling and yelling and yelling at the child. Suddenly you know why the kid is screaming.


Teachers get to see this on a much deeper and more psychologically complex level. Family personalities are inherited and forced upon children. They act out based on how they are treated at home.

So when u/LightQueen1600 asked:

"Teachers of Reddit, what 'Clicked' about a student after you met his/her parents?"

The Worst Thing To Learn About A Kid

"I was in my first semester of student teaching and this student was crushing it: straight A's, class role model, and then his grades dropped off, and I reached out to the step dad to discuss."

"Turns out the step father was doing all his work (virtually) and went on vacation. Next thing I see the next day is his son with a black eye."

"He told me it was from football, but then told three other teachers three other things. I became this student's tutor after school so he could be in a safe place if only for a moment."-Ice9Vonneguy

Why Nobody Should Have Food Insecurity

"Many kids who are unable to focus and have challenging behaviours are just hungry. I work at a low socioeconomic school, many kids arrive with no breakfast and no lunch. (no such thing as cafeterias in this country. Packed lunches from home or buy some dim sums from the canteen)"

"The school has a club 3 times a week where kids learn to cook basic breakfast meals and eat together. It's advertised as a cooking club but it's purpose is really to ensure the poorest kids get a nutritious free meal."

"Getting food into them changes their behaviour in a very perceptible way."-LilPeaHen

A Scary Home Life

"10th grade student who had zero self-esteem, passive body language, shy, hesitant, fearful, slouching."

"Over the first month of school, he opened up with us, as none of the other kids were d*cks and the environment was pretty fun. He was very smart, very funny, and witty to boot. He had self-confidence, he just kept it very well hidden."

"I didn't understand why he still maintained that shy, quiet, reticent presence when he was in the hallways and with other teachers. Why he still always looked like he wished he was invisible."

"Met his parents and understood everything about his home life immediately: his dad was a domineering bully. I could feel it in my bones the minute they walked in."

"The way he sat down, the way he talked to me, the way his wife acted...everything. He was like a ticking bomb."

"I'm not putting it into words well, but I could tell my student lived in two very different households. When dad wasn't home his life was filled with fun and laughter. When he was, he was full of fear."-GingerMau

It's a good challenge to people who say they don't like kids. Who is it they really don't like?

The Things Parents Can Really Do

"I used to work at a school for violent and troubled kids. It was basically the last step before juvey. There was one kid who was an absolute bully and a shocking, and I mean shocking, misogynist."

"But only when he was around peers. We found that this same kid was incredible when working with the one lower functioning class we had, as long as none of his peers saw him."

"We had to suspend him one day for fighting with another kid, and I drove him home early. His dad was on the porch waiting, as the school had called."

"I've never seen a kid crawl into his shell faster than this kid when he saw his dad. This bully who was just an hour ago wailing on some other kid, just completely cowered when he saw his dad."

"He walked onto the porch and barely met his dad's eyes. His dad looked at him with a rage behind his eyes and said, 'Get inside.' I was pretty far away, but it really looked he was holding back tears. He disappeared inside and the dad told me, 'Sorry for what he did. Don't worry. I'll take care of it.'"

"I said something about how we were still getting to the bottom of it and how he was a good kid, and the dad just scoffed and went inside."

"I got back to the school and spoke with one of the counselors (I was just out of high school and basically just a glorified security guard they called a 'teacher's aide') and said I was uncomfortable with what I saw."

"The counselor was like, 'Ya, we're pretty sure there's abuse in that household, but we can't prove it.' still think about that kid. Heart of gold when no one was watching, and incredibly smart too."-karlverkade

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Narcissism Is Inherited

"I had a student accuse me of picking on her. If I called on her to read (everyone reads in my room unless they come to me at the beginning of class and ask me not to call on them because they're having an off day) then she'd text her mom that I only called on her."

"If I gave her a B and her friends an A, she'd text her mom and say I graded her paper unfairly. When I caught her cheating on a test and took her cheat sheet (I didn't fail her. I just took her means of cheating.... this is more kind than any other teacher I know.)"

"She went to the principal and complained I was being unfair and didn't give her her makeup work and therefore she HAD to use a cheat sheet. Then she texted her mom that I wouldn't let her finish her test, which wasn't true."

"Her mom turned out to be a teacher's aide at our elementary campus. We met for a parent/teacher conference when it got to the point that she was pulling her phone out every few minutes to text her mom one complaint or another. "

"I was always on edge and wanted to discuss the behavior with her mom, especially considering students aren't allowed to have their phones out and she was the only student breaking the rules. "

"During the meeting, she refused to even look at her daughter's work to see why her daughter received a B when her friends received an A. She refused to listen to my aid when he told her that her daughter was one of about 15 students called to read that day. "

"And she LITERALLY closed her eyes and turned her head away when I tried to show her the emails between her daughter and me regarding her missing work before the upcoming test. "

"She closed her eyes and said, 'I'm not looking at anything you have to show me because my kid does not lie and I refuse to let you sit here and show me something telling me she does!' Like mother, like daughter. "

"The grandmother was in charge of the lunchroom too and mistreated her staff and was rude to students. The whole family was just awful, terrible narcissistic people."-MycologistPutrid7494

Wandering Eyes

"Kid could never focus on anything. His eyes were always traveling around the room and rarely on his work."

"Dad came in for a meeting and did much the same. I don't know if I've ever had a one on one conversation with someone where they were looking all over the place like he did. Nice family though."-mrotto7

Getting Treatment

"I taught a kid in Japan who was textbook ADHD. Taisei. He just made class impossible. Sweet kid, but a complete distraction who made no attempt to learn English."

"When I went to introduce myself to his mom when she dropped him off one day she just ran away from me. Bolted to her bike and took off."

"Over there, mental disorders are still seen as kind of a source of shame, especially out in the country where I was. So the mom literally running away from the problem rather than acknowledging anything about me as a teacher was all I needed to know about Taisei's unchecked ADHD."-tmptsitwm

When it comes to kids, some things really just don't change from parents. Parents often dictate their child's behavior.

Bullies Beget Bullies

"I was giving summer school cooking classes, was just about to end college. We were on recess, my group of kids (4 kids between 10-14 yo) were playing with the kids (one of which was a college teacher's daughter) of a friend of mine on the ping pong table."

"Suddenly, this girl older than them, came to the area, and without any reason, crushed the only ball they had and went back to sit down. I went to her to ask nicely who was responsible for her, and that her bullying wasn't nice."

"Her teacher was another friend of mine, we talked after and she told me this girl didn't want to get into trouble and was sorry, asked my friend not to tell her mom so she wouldn't worry. I was ok with that."

"Suddenly, after the kids left, my friend and I get called by our boss (the person in charge of the summer classes) and told us the girl's mom was on the phone going crazy because I screamed at her daughter."

"This mom starting berating my boss and telling her she was useless and she wanted to talk to someone with actual authority. We could hear her through the phone screaming like a maniac, I just gave the look to my friend and boss and said 'well, we see where the girl gets her bullying from.'"

"Turns out she asked my friend not to say anything so she could control the narrative, I didn't get in trouble because there where multiple witnesses, my boss's boss told the mom that we could check the cafeteria cameras if she wanted, her attitude went 180 and didn't even continue making a fuss about it."

"The teacher's daughter told me that the 4 years she's gone to the summer school, that girl had been bullying everyone."-RPAVONM

Kids Always Deserve Better

"I worked as a tutor with a kid who was bright and worked hard, but who always had her guard up. It was months into our work together before she finally cracked a smile - that was a big day!"

"You could just sense this coolness and distance behind her eyes. I gave her her space, and it was really one of the nicest compliments a student has paid me when she started to relax around me. I was glad she realized she could trust me."

"One day I was at her house when her mom and I think step-dad needed to talk to her about some really minor teen infraction - if I remember correctly, something that hadn't even happened yet, but some scheduling thing she hadn't realized would be a problem."

"Holy. Cow. They turned it into a 5-act full stage production with me sitting right there, just relentlessly laying into her over and over despite her immediately saying she'd sort it. I felt for her - and yep, totally saw why she was the way she was."

"I think of her sometimes. I hope she got out into the world and found good people. She deserved it."-Terpsichorean_Wombat

It's a hard realization when you finally see that a kid usually isn't the problem. It's somebody else; usually in their household.

Kids learn how to either thrive or survive based on their home lives. School can either be an extension of that or a relief from that. The best teachers really invest their lives in these kids.


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