33 WTF Things You Didn't Know You Had To Teach Your Kids

Photo: Zastolskiy Victor / Shutterstock
two brothers playing on floating table

By Joanna Schroeder

Having kids is a miracle, even if it doesn't feel like it sometimes.

Like when you have to clean throw-up off your new dining room table, or you have to clean crayon markings off your newly painted walls.

You can read all the parenting books you want, but there are some things that are going to be unexpected.

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Here are 33 WTF things you didn't know you had to teach your kids:

1. Pee IN the toilet, not on it. Not around it. In it

It wasn’t until I potty trained my kids that I understood what makes frat houses smell so bad.

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2. The gift that is the courtesy flush

Parents, remember that someday your kids are going to be completing Operation Dumbo Drop around people who don’t love them unconditionally.

3. How to wipe your own butt

I knew that I’d have to potty train them, but I guess I thought they came installed with some sort of hard-wired sense of cleanliness.

4. How to not use too much toilet paper

See above. Or Google “plumber”.

5. Not to drink poison

Listen to me, kids will drink poison if you don’t watch them. It didn’t happen to mine, but not for lack of them trying.

6. Not to walk into traffic

You know you’re going to have to teach them “look both ways” but did you know that they’ll probably still walk into traffic if you’re not there to yell at them? At least for the first six years or so.

Another ten years on top of that, if they’re holding an electronic device in their hands.

7. Don’t poke the dog in the weiner

I mean, really.

8. Don’t smell the dog’s butt

Not good for you, not good for the dog.

9. Don’t shove a pencil into your earhole

My kids are not unlike Hannah Horvath from GIRLS. They just have to push everything one step too far, all the time.

10. You have to change your underwear

Yes, every day. Part two of this: Take off yesterday’s pair before putting on today’s underwear. I’m not saying one of MY kids was layering three or four pairs of underwear at a time, but I’m also not saying they didn’t.

11. How to shave your armpits

Yet another thing you think they’ll just figure out on their own. But there are things grown-ups know about how to get into the tricky parts that simply cannot be figured out by a 13-year-old.

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12. How to be less annoying to your friends

This starts around second grade. Up until then, your friends accept you for how totally weird you are. They like that you make thirty different bird sounds just randomly. They think your wide array of fart noises is great.

No problem that you talk to them with your face a quarter inch from their faces. They don’t mind that you just sang “Let It Go” seven hundred times on the playground and that you always demand to be Elsa.

But then second grade hits, and man-oh-man, you better learn how to read faces and body language to know when you’re starting to piss people off.

13. How to use shampoo

All those years you were shampooing them in the bath? They were not paying attention.

14. How to rinse the shampoo from your hair

See above.

15. What condoms are for

You knew you’d have to explain this somewhere around middle school. But then your 8-year-old asks, and you find yourself face-to-face with a conversation that involves the words “venereal diseases” “pregnancy” “penis” and “vagina.”

Thanks so much, fifth graders on the playground. You’re just grand.

16. The definition of the word “what”

Try it. Go and try to explain the word “what” to a 4-year-old. I’ll wait.

17. That baby Jesus never actually had a spaceship that flew him up in the sky so he could laser-beam King Herod’s army to death

This only happens if you’re watching Family Guy on the laptop wearing headphones while you think your partner has taken the kids out for ice cream, and you don’t realize they’ve snuck up behind you and can’t tear their eyes from the screen.

Not that I’d know…

18. Mind your space, dudes and ladies

It’s like my kids are playing a game of human pinball when they’re walking through public spaces. Ten points for every person you almost knock over or leave a chocolate-y handprint on.

You really do have to explain to them that these people don’t want you to touch them, bump into them, crawl through their legs, or stand right next to them, breathing hard, and wiping your nose with their sleeve.

19. You cannot just take the money out of the tip jar at Starbucks, even if it’s right in your face

Sorry. I get it. But no.

20. That your parents aren’t famous, and not everyone knows us

“But my dad is Ivan” doesn’t cut it at the gas station when you didn’t bring enough money to pay for your gum. Super sorry.

21. You are not the center of the universe

I mean, duh. But seriously, they think that.

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22. Nobody wants to smell your finger, my friend

I hear you saying “It smells like bubble gum” but we both know that really means “it smells like butts.”

23. That people WILL eventually figure out you’re the one who farted if you laugh every time you let one rip

I remember the day I learned this. And I don’t want to talk about it.

24. “Boner” is not a good name for a hamster

This happened.

25. That you can leave the bag in the cereal box when you pour it


26. And if you take the bag of cereal out of the box, it’ll never go back in the same way

It’s just not going to fit in the cabinet like that.

27. Twenty minutes in the microwave is too long for oatmeal

There was a fire. And lots of smoke. All humans, animals, and property (except the microwave) escaped unharmed.

28. You really do need to wear underwear under dresses

At least in public. I’m all about body pride. I’m 100% against body shaming. But this is about germs and other people not needing to see your bits. Cover the bits.

29. That babies don’t come out of butt holes

I sort of wish this was true, and I sort of don’t. But it’s not.

30. Beets will turn your doodie red

There will be screaming from the bathroom.

31. Just because you want to kiss that person, doesn’t mean you should

We can all name about thirty reasons why, but try telling that to a preschooler. Still, the rule stands.

32. If you lick the ice cream cone too hard, it’ll roll right off the other end and the dog will eat it and then vomit it up on your rug

Better hope it wasn’t Superman flavor.

Side note for child-free folks: Superman flavor ice cream is NOT good, no matter how delicious you remember it being.

33. Nobody wants to shake your hand if you pull it directly out of your pants

Need I say more?

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Joanna Schroeder is a feminist writer and media critic whose writing has appeared in The New York Times, Time, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, BuzzFeed, Babble, Everyday Feminism, Vox, and more.