18 Real Parenting Photos That Are Totally Gut-Wrenching

Some of these photos just look like boneheaded ideas to snap the flash, and others appear to be the reason you call Child Protective Services.

Being a parent is not an easy thing. Anybody who claims it is isn’t trying hard enough, has hired help, or has his or her own show on E! (ahem, Kardashians). Keeping a small human alive is actually much harder than you may think it should be. It’s why parents always seem tired.

But parents are also human, and it’s hard to be on guard 24/7. The problem with having momentary lapses, whether you're genuinely neglectful or are just trying to be funny, is that everybody and their brother has a camera these days. It doesn’t matter if it’s a joke or if you genuinely made an error in judgment and are otherwise a good parent because the world is going to know.

This list aims to celebrate examples of both at the same time. These are a bunch of parents who either knew the picture was being taken or likely took the picture themselves and probably didn’t think they were doing anything wrong at the time. Little did they know their stupid decisions would land them a place on the Internet for all time.

We can only wonder what’s going on for these kids when a camera isn’t part of the formula. Are we seeing the worst possible moment of these parents’ decision-making, or is this just a pattern, and there are bad things happening all the time? Some of these photos just look like boneheaded ideas to snap the flash, and others appear to be the reason you call Child Protective Services. Either way, they’re shocking, so let’s get to the 18 Chilling Real Parenting Pics That Will Leave You Speechless.

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18 Play With Me, Mommy and Daddy

There are a lot of people who will say having a baby kills their social life. These are what we call the responsible parents. There are also a lot of kids who get upset because their parents don’t play with them enough. These are what we call whiners. There’s nothing wrong with a friendly game of beer pong, but there's something wrong when you use your child as an obstacle in the game, as if they were a windmill on a miniature golf course. And while this is already pretty pathetic, is it even a smart idea to be playing a game where the goal is to get as drunk as possible when you have a baby to take care of once the game is done? Since these idiots were playing with the garage door open, hopefully, someone driving by saw all the kinds of wrong happening and called the police.

17 Wear Something Different to Church, Dad

You’ve probably heard the phrase “They’re always watching” when people talk about kids. Well, in this family’s case, hopefully, she isn’t always reading because Dad clearly likes himself some nose candy and doesn’t care who knows. Based on the hair and fashion, this photo looks like it was taken in the 1980s or modern-day Alabama, but such an open, free attitude toward cocaine didn’t exist even then publicly, in case you’re wondering. But this guy is going to love his drugs and his little girl, and what better way than to put on their fancy clothes and drive down to Sears so they can have a family portrait? It’s sweet that he’s capturing this moment in time with his daughter, but we wonder if mom was busy working that day, left behind because of her husband’s affinity for drugs, or just overdosed earlier in the day.

16 Like Father, Like Son

When you take the little boy away, this guy just looks like a massive douchebag who feels he’s way cooler than he actually is. With the little boy, this guy is an even more massive douchebag who feels he’s way cooler than he actually is. We appreciate the creativity and continuity of giving the smaller human one of those little nips that the real hardcore alcoholics enjoy. It’s funny 'cause shirtless dad has a big bottle and shirtless junior has a small bottle. But it’s a bottle of alcohol. Based on the fact dad doesn’t know how to get a grill that fits, we hope mom will be doing the shopping for clothes. Based on everything else, we hope mom leaves dad real soon, too.

15 When Ya Gotta Go

Remember that time we visited Sydney, Australia and little Jimmy was learning to use his “big boy” underpants and screamed at us that he had to go the bathroom? Well, we weren’t about to just let him have an accident in his pants, and the waterfront was right there. And, well, how many kids can say they’ve taken a whiz into Sydney Harbor with the Opera House in the background? That’s a moment you have to get on film to remember the vacation, right? The mom in this photo is pretty hot, but she doesn’t look like the strongest woman in the world. What would've happened if, during junior’s wee-wee, he had lost his footing? Eh, she looks young. There were probably more kids to be had. Perhaps they could do a No. 2 during the Running of the Bulls?

14 Put Down the Camera and Help Me

Doesn’t it appear that the toddler in this photo is the only one part of the situation who sees something isn’t right with this photo? Dad, who clearly made a few extra bucks as a model on one of those tattoo shows, loves his son. You can tell because he’s kissing him. You can also tell because he has a handgun less than 10 inches from his little boy’s face. This is clearly one of those scenarios where you see a poor kid and think to yourself, “He didn’t ask for that.” Dad is obviously a gang member, and while we applaud him for being there for his kid, we wonder if he just sees fatherhood as another method of recruitment. Let’s focus on the positives here -- at least the dog and the kid seem well fed.

13 The Family Business

We have nothing against strippers. We love ‘em in fact. But, we like our strippers in dark clubs where the blacklight and alcohol help hide the women's flaws. The other nice thing about strip clubs is that the whole experience hinges on fantasy and anonymity. The guys can pretend the girl actually likes them and isn’t just after their rectangular pictures of dead presidents. Part of the fantasy includes believing the dancer doesn’t have a real life. Unfortunately, when you mix these two worlds, you get the picture we see above. Sure, this could just be a pole-dancing class, but really, does that make it any better? Teaching your daughter to twist her body around a stripper pole around the same time you’re trying to teach her to walk probably won’t get you elected as the head of the pre-school PTA.

12 Midnight Snack

This kind of makes sense if you think about it. When your food is undercooked, you could say that it came out of the oven prematurely, right? Instead of going through the whole process of putting it back in the oven, you just pop it in the microwave. Well, if you’re a complete moron as a parent, maybe you think that you can help your premature baby speed up its growth with a few seconds of being nuked. Of course, if you think that, it’s time for the authorities to step in, not only because you want to cook your baby but also because you don’t know what a premature baby looks like. This one pictured is clearly normal-sized and doesn’t need any more cooking. You can just put her in the fridge until you’re ready to eat her later.

11 Combating Illiteracy At An Early Age

In 16 or 17 years, this kid is going to look at Playboy magazine and think about sex. Checking out the silicone-enhanced models in the pages of it now, he probably just thinks it’s time for a feeding. Now, you can say it’s just a funny picture, and the kid with the magazine doesn’t know what he’s looking at, but there comes a point where you do know what you’re looking at. We don’t want to suddenly sound like a bunch of feminists, but should dad be leaving his softcore reading material out where a kid can find it? If he grows up objectifying women because he saw them naked in magazines from a young age, having a normal relationship that isn’t based on the physical is going to be a tough thing. Then again, maybe he’ll turn out just fine and find love with a flat-chested woman. You never know with these things.

10 This Is Nothing But A Bad Idea

There's no amount of securing, tying, fastening, or bolting down that can be done where the rational person says, “Oh, that’s OK now. Take your infant for a ride on your all-terrain vehicle. It’s not like those things don’t flip over all the time without a child tied in poorly to the back.” One of the non-child abuse issues of this photo is that this guy is clearly in front of a place of business based on the OPEN sign we can see in the window. What kind of guy not only straps his kid into an ATV but also uses that as their prime mode of transportation when they have to go run errands? Probably the kind that the government doesn’t think should have a regular driver’s license. We know it’s a cliche to suggest that you have to pass a test to get a driver’s license but that any idiot can be a parent. In this case, this guy seems to be an epic fail with both.

9 Junk In That Cake’s Trunk

Because kids are cute and innocent, this kid is probably wondering why his father isn’t using a fork to have a taste of his thong cake. He doesn’t understand the joke when everybody tells him his father likes a tasty piece of ass. And then, in a year or two, he wonders why he only gets to see his father on weekends. We’re all for guys having a good time, and while this probably isn’t a bachelor party, there’s nothing wrong when men get together and act like a bunch of cads, as long as they do it behind closed doors or at least in public places kids can’t get at. Hopefully, this child understands that it’s not actually a real-life woman his father is licking, despite the fact we have a feeling dad has experience with that, too. Otherwise, it would appear to the kid that his father is a cannibal.

8 I’m 4, and Even I’m Ashamed!

When the kids on the playground taunt this kid by calling his mom a whore, all he’s going to have for a comeback is “Yeah, so what?” If you think about it, this kid should be happy that his mom seems to have no lines of decency. Since motherhood clearly isn’t slowing her down, we bet there’s a little brother or sister (or several) coming for him in the next few years. Just don’t expect them to have the same father. We could hypothesize that this woman was just trying on bathing suits, had to bring her son into the dressing room, and asked him to turn and that the photo was being sent to a friend for an opinion on the cut of the suit. We could also say it’s probably safe to look directly at a solar eclipse, but we don’t like to say things that just don’t appear to be true.

7 He Seems Cool With It To Us

There was once a time when an airplane flight was a big event. Much like men and women used to dress up to go to sports events, an airline flight was an occasion for formal wear 50 years ago. Over time, it became more casual, and it’s reached a point where now, it’s equal to a bus ride in the sky. Bad food costs way too much and you have to pay sometimes $50 more if you have an extra piece of luggage. The tradeoff hasn’t been lower prices. Tickets cost just as much as ever. We applaud this woman’s attempt to beat the system. Technically, she carried this child onto the plane. He isn’t oversized and fits nicely into the overhead compartment. Once closed, the darkness and hum of the engines will probably lull the kid off to sleep. Does it make her a bad mother that she decided to save $200 and treat her child like a duffle bag? Yes. That answer is yes, 100%; it does.

6 Why Does It Smell Like Burnt Hair Over Here?

We said this was a list of shockingly bad parents, and in this case, the result of bad parenting is a lot of shocking voltage. We don’t know who this guy is, and we don’t want to throw him under the bus because his bad parenting may not be his fault. He could very well be a visitor from a country that doesn’t have electrical fences, so he doesn’t understand the concept. Or maybe he doesn’t speak or read English. Maybe he can speak English but can’t read it. It’s more of a tragedy than it is bad parenting that nobody ever taught this skinny, skinny man to read. And now, his poor child is going to see a horsey or a moo-cow on the other side of the fence, reach out for it, and just like in the cartoons, their bodies will make a cracking noise, and you’ll be able to see their skeleton because that’s what really happens when you get electrocuted.

5 Stop Checking Out My Thong, Dad

If this guy is a bad parent, then our parents were horrible because they always made sure we had underwear. What kind of message does it send if a father denies his daughters the right to wear underwear? They'll probably grow up to be the kind of girls visiting sailors for an evening. No, we have no problem with the actual gift depicted in these photos; it’s the way dad is leering at the underpants of the girl on the right. We’re going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that the one with the pink underwear is his daughter and the one with the black shiny ones is his daughter’s slightly sluttier friend. At least, in that case, dad is checking out the friend’s underwear and not his own daughter’s. That’s better... right? Maybe he’s not even picturing her in them in his mind. Maybe he’s thinking about himself in them and how he can steal them when she’s not watching. Just for the record, our parents never did that.

4 No Regrets

It’s sad to see a baby crying in any picture, but for those of us who've been under the needle to get body art, we can feel this kid’s pain. It’s totally natural for someone that young to cry getting his first tattoo. In most states, you have to be 18 years old to get a tattoo unless you have your parents’ permission. In other countries, they’ll let people of a younger age get a tattoo without parental permission. So, clearly, prior to inking up this kid’s arm with a giant eagle spitting blood on a serpent, one of his parents had to sign off on the idea. And they had to find an artist who was willing to put that on a kid. Based on some of the sketchy people who've worked on us, we’re guessing that once the parent said they’d pay the cost for a traditional adult-sized tattoo for a small one, the artist explained he didn’t have a booster seat but didn’t think it would be a problem.

3 The Not-So-Great Outdoors

This is just horrible parenting on so many levels. It’s one thing to dangle your kid out of a hotel window like Michael Jackson did -- and you’re welcome we didn’t include that on this list -- but it’s another thing to put yourself in danger. While it seems cute to have a baby human and a baby bear together, we’re guessing that the baby bear could really ruin that child’s day. And we know for a fact that that bear’s father could beat up that kid’s father in a fight. That kid’s father looks like what Larry Bird would've looked like had he been born a foot shorter and with no access to socks. We’d like to think that moments after this photo was taken, the bear cub took a swipe at dad, and he dropped the kid, who got away safely. If there’s any justice in the world, dad didn’t get away unharmed.

2 The Last Time We Heard That Baby Cry

Clearly, this father is very taken by his looks because he’s taking a selfie about 40 years before they ever became a thing. Imagine having one of those old-school 1970s cameras and trying to maneuver it in such a way as to take the perfect selfie. That would probably take a little while and some real focus and concentration. It would take the kind of time that would allow a big brother to leave the yard, go to the garage, find dad’s toolbox, take out a hammer, and return to the yard. It also involves the kind of concentration and focus that allows you to miss your son doing this and to forget that you’re supposed to be watching your children. But what’s more important: your children or your sweet, sweet sideburns? We’re guessing that’s the first question the police asked after they saw this photo, which looks like some really bad stuff is about to go down. We don’t know who these people are, where they’re from, or if the kid actually swung the hammer. It’s probably better that way.

1 An Unintended Nature Show

We’ve always found it impressive when we see nature documentaries and they have giant snakes who detach their jaws and eat a badger or a groundhog in one giant gulp. We saw one show where a snake was able to swallow a light bulb without breaking the bulb. The snake usually approaches its prey slowly and quietly, slithering around its target, ready to squeeze the life out of its unfortunate meal. We think this is the point when mom or dad decided that instead of saving the baby, a picture had to be taken. Even if this snake didn’t end up doing anything to this child, is it a good move to have a baby and a giant snake in the same government-subsidized apartment? This is the kind of picture that would make the kid, if he grows up to be a normal person, confront his parents and ask them how much weed they smoked when he was a baby.

Sources: YouTube; Pinterest

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18 Real Parenting Photos That Are Totally Gut-Wrenching