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The Worst Your Kid Can Do

Updated on August 10, 2010

How Do You Rate Your Kid?

In my work at a Children's Mental Health Clinic, I've seen or heard of all kinds of crazy things that a child can do.  Some are down-right horrible.  If you think you've got it bad as a parent, read through the following list of infractions to see where your child falls.  It's listed as mildest to most severe, but some may disagree on which actions should be considered worse than others; and I'm sure I didn't think of everything so if you have one that doesn't fall under these categories, feel free to leave a comment. 

What Those Brats Can Do

Procrastination, short delay in responding to requests or chores, being untidy, “bad manners”

Frequent tardies

Failing to do tasks correctly or thoroughly. Missing homework, low grades

Mild lying (white lies, incomplete truth to avoid consequences)

Minor disrespect, (rolling eyes, sarcasm, ignoring requests)

Minor outbursts, (slamming doors, raising voice)

Mild Risk taking / impulsive behavior, (accident prone)

Physically aggressive with siblings or peers

Intentionally breaking small or inexpensive objects

Leaving without permission, fleeing from parent temporarily

Skipping classes

Minor theft

Frequent physical fights with peers or siblings


Sneaking out at night

Mild substance abuse, (cigarettes, alcohol)

Possession of pornography

Refusing to maintain hygiene, (not showering or brushing teeth, etc)

Pattern of playing with fire, abusing animals

Mild assault by contamination, (spit or boogers)

Damaging moderately expensive objects (TV, Stereo, gaming system)

Moderate disruptive behavior (referred to principal, complaints by neighbors)

Mischievous behavior (instigating, getting others in trouble)

Moderate lying that results in significant consequences

Marijuana use or possession

Mild vandalism (tagging)

Distribution of pornography, sexually acting out

Intentionally cutting self (mild)

Severe disruptive behavior (setting off fire alarm, expelled from school)

Direct and obvious displays of disrespect to parents (directly cursing, obscene gestures)

Moderate theft (in excess of $25)

Minor Assaultive behavior towards parents (pushing, slapping, throwing small, light objects)

Obvious symptoms of a severe eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia)

Moderate Drug Use / Sales  (Ecstasy, LSD, Shrooms)

Gang involvement

Running away for more than 48 hours

Assaulting family members so as there’s lasting pain, bruises, scrapes, etc.

Major assault by contamination (urine, vomit, feces, etc)

Possession of a firearm or immediate access to firearm (in defiance of caretakers rules)

Major lies (false reports that result in investigation by Child Protective Services)

Severely injuring a family pet (cat, dog, etc)

Assault or self injury requiring medical attention

Hardcore drug use / sales  (Heroine, Methamphetamines, Cocaine and Crack)

Homicidal/suicidal threats

Grand larceny, Grand Theft Auto, Burglary of a Habitat

Severe lying (such as false accusations of abuse resulting in a criminal investigation)

Severe disruptive behavior that results in family's eviction from home  OR...

Severe disruptive behavior that results in a parent losing his/her job.

Killing a family pet (cat, dog, etc)

Running away for several days, weeks, or more

Unintentional overdose requiring hospitalization

Severe destruction of property (wrecking car, arson)


Sexual assault

Homicidal / Suicidal attempts or gestures

Physical violence resulting in permanent injury / disfigurement

Inciting group violence


Completed suicide


Murder of several people (school shooting, bomb detonation)

Condoms, Condoms, Condoms!!!

So, as you can see, there's a wide range of behaviors that a child can engage in.  The larger categories that this list was derived from consists of Aggression / Violence, Self Injury, Lying, Theft, Damage to Property, Drug Use, Running Away, Disruptive Behavior, Disrespect of Authority, and Sexual Misconduct.

From what I've seen at our clinic, at least half the cases that we see of serious behavior problems in children are somewhat perpetuated by the parent's own mental illness or severe lack of parenting skills.  For some odd reason, many parent's believe that they will just "know" how to parent correctly by recalling their own parents and making modifications accordingly.  This is often not enough, and parents are the most defensive when being told that they might be even partially responsible for how their kid is turning out.  I've seen countless parents in denial and totally clueless about how they are creating little monsters.

Please remember that you can never expect a child to have more self control than his parent.

You can't expect a child to have a better sense of right and wrong than her parent.

You can't expect a child to have better coping skills than his parent.

You can't expect a child to have better anger management skills than her parent.

You can't expect a child to have better communication skills than his parent.

You can't expect a child to have a better sense of responsibility than her parent.

You can't expect a child to have a healthier outlook on life than his parent.

You can't expect a child to have a better____________ than his/her parent.......


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    • fundamentallife profile image


      11 years ago

      This was a real eye widener for sure, thanks for the article.

    • Laura du Toit profile image

      Laura du Toit 

      11 years ago from South Africa

      Frightening but an eye-opener and at least most of us can be thankful that our children and grandchildren only test us now and then by overstepping the boudaries in minor ways. I think the most important message of this hub is that parents must set the example as we cannot expect children to live by a different set of rules than what we as adults and parents do.


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