10 Worst “Throw Him in the Pool, He’ll Learn How to Swim” Parenting Stories

Krystal DeVille

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Kazakhs are famous for their right-of-passage eagle hunting.

The son must climb dangerous cliffs in search of a juvenile eagle he can train to hunt one day. Boys as young as seven must scale treacherous ledges in various weather, risking death to achieve their heroic status as tribe members. 

This sink-or-swim mentality is prevalent among many cultures and still occasionally emerges in our softer Western cultures. For example, someone posted a thread this past week asking for people’s best Darwinian parenting stories, and the responses were hilarious.

Here is a collection of haphazard parenting adventures shared in an online conversation this week. 

1. Cutting and Running

Imagine graduating high school only to return home on your last day to find your parents have sold up and left. This happened to one poor girl, forcing her to become “financially independent” ever since. 

2. Driving a Drunk Dad Home 

Resourceful dads are everywhere. In this story, he decided to save money on taxis by forcing his kid to drive him home from the bar when he was too drunk. The kid is now an adult who claims they “drive [a] stick [sic] like a champ now.” 

3. Driving Mom Mad

Another driving-related incident involved a mom who used to have panic attacks while driving places. Her poor son says he would be forced to drive the journey’s remainder, often to the sounds of his mom panicking over her 12-year-old’s driving skills. The irony. 

4. A Broken Leg and an Underage Driver

In a harrowing account, a poor boy was on a desert hunting trip with his dad. After tripping and breaking his fibula, his dad told him to walk it off.

Then, being too drunk to drive home, his other young son had to take the wheel. His injured brother “blacked out” as he nervously shuddered home. Needless to say, Child Protection Services arrested the tyrant. 

5. No, He’s Swimming, You See? 

In this story, a junior lifeguard saw a five-year-old bobbing up and down at the local pool, inhaling water. After fishing out the struggling toddler, their dad refused to call an ambulance, which was enough for the manager to threaten police action. Additionally, the lifeguard is adamant that he was just drunk. 

6. Force Feeding Nuts

A picky eater’s mother gave him a bowl of almonds to finish, declaring he must finish them before he was allowed to leave the table. Little did she know, her son was allergic to nuts and complained his mouth was itching. Mom wasn’t interested in such hysteria. 

7. Asthma: Just Try and Breathe

Some dark corners in this thread speak of violations most people would find astonishing. In one such fable, a boy’s chronic asthma attack during a family holiday prompted a “Just breathe better” response. They passed several hospitals, fearful that CPS would take him away when the doctors saw him. 

8. He’ll Be Fine

When your four-year-old cousin decides to climb on the house’s roof, what is the best option? One uncle’s philosophy was either he would “learn to get down himself or stop climbing.” He did learn to get down — he fell off and impaled his leg on a fence pole. 

9. Survival of the Fittest

A sneaky stepmom opted to reinforce clichés by taking her kids hiking in the woods, only to distract them, escape, then run back to the campground. Her excuse was that she wanted them to “learn survival skills,” though her real reason was the margaritas she had been downing in their absence. 

10. The First Rule of Fight Club

Finally, the redneck father trope made a mark in the debate, where his neighbor’s two boys bullied a young man. After stealing his basketball, the user says his former pro-boxer father made him fight each boy and “earn” back the ball. 

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