Parenting Pinterest Fail


Ever see a spectacular idea on Pinterest and then had it implode on you? This is one of those stories…

Last year, when my daughter started Kindergarten, she had a very difficult time focusing at home and doing her homework.  Being a teacher, I wracked my brain for various ways to motivate her.  I tried setting a timer to see if she could get her homework done before it beeped.  This worked for household chores, but apparently not homework.  She could care less about finishing.  I tried breaking it up into smaller chunks, such as do a few math problems and then try another activity.  However, it was still pulling teeth trying to get her to do those few problems.  Then, I saw this on Pinterest.

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 5.36.48 PMAnd inspiration struck.  I bought a box of princess fruit snacks, split her homework into manageable chunks and rewarded her with one single gummy for every part she completed.

Llama loved this!  Every day, she came home and looked forward to her homework.  Being five and overly concerned about rules and fairness, she wouldn’t eat a single gummy until she finished each part of her homework.  Gummy homework worked fantastically!  I patted myself on the back and felt I had discovered some great homework secret.

Until 6 months later.. when Llama has a dentist appointment.  The doctor reviewed her x-rays and then swiveled around to give me the news.

“Mom, she has 11 cavities.”

What?!? 11 cavities!! Are you joking?  We brush her teeth every day!

Oh man…. it’s the gummies.

Honestly, we didn’t brush her teeth everyday.  My daughter acts remarkably mature and we had a newborn. We trusted that when she went to “brush her teeth” that she was doing a good job.  She wasn’t.  That moment in the dentist’s office made me feel like a failure as a parent on so many levels.  But the truth is, parenting is rough.  One has to make so many decisions everyday.  We made a mistake by not monitoring her teeth brushing more carefully (and feeding her a daily dose of fruit snacks).  But mistakes happen and we move on.

I ended up taking Llama to 3 separate dental appointments to fix her 11 cavities.  Overall, my little gummy motivation cost me $1500. Needless to say, we do not eat fruit snacks anymore.  Homework has become an expectation in our house now instead of something that is rewarded -which I should have done from the beginning.   Just to show you, even though I am a teacher, I don’t necessarily use the same logic with my own child as I do in the classroom.

I chalk this up to a Pinterest Parenting Fail.

What have you tried on Pinterest that ended in disaster?

JoAnn Crohn

CEO/Founder at No Guilt Mom
JoAnn Crohn, M. Ed is a parenting educator and life coach who helps moms feel confident in raising empowered, self-sufficient kid while pursuing their own goals & passions.

She’s an accomplished writer, author, podcast host of the No Guilt Mom podcast, and speaker who appears in national media. Work with her personally in Balance VIP

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  1. It does sound look a really good idea, maybe a healthier treat like a single grape instead of a gummy bear, but I like the idea, but also understand that rewarding kids for everything they do may not be the best approach! Sorry for the dentist bills – yikes! I thought that that sort of thing was teeth genetics as well, that even some children who don’t eat a lot of sweets can still get a lot of cavities if they have a propensity to have them anyway??

    1. Ya, the dentist told me it was partially due to her tooth genetics as well. I didn’t get any cavities in my baby teeth but my husband had a ton. I guess she has his tooth genes 🙂

  2. I honestly believe we have all been there. The same thing happened to my five year old and I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I was doing the worst things because she had a cavity and a big dental big for such a young age. She rarely ate sweets. Yet I thought she was brushing her teeth too as she said she was each morning and night. Ugh, I felt like the biggest loser of a mom. So I think a lot of us can relate.

  3. Pretty much any time there’s any kind of parenting advice I try it ends up in disaster. I’ve just resigned myself to the fact that my toddler rules the house and there’s not much I can do about it except duck when he throws things at my face 😉

  4. We went through this with Bacon. He had to be seditated, so we got it all done at once, but he wound up getting two root canals.

    Gummies are outright banned in our house except for special occasions. (I do kinda feel bad Marzipan won’t get to binge on them, but not $2200 bad!)

  5. Good news, they were baby teeth right? And with her new found love of studying she’ll probably go on to make plenty of money for a nice set of porcelain veneers 😉

    1. LOl, Camille! Most of them were baby teeth, but surprise, surprise… some of her first adult molar had already snuck in at the back. So she has cavities in those two molars. Here’s to her studying and getting rich 🙂

  6. Haha, this is so funny! I’ve seen that post many times but haven’t actually done it! Oh, well! And now you know not to rely on the gummies!

  7. Oh no!!! This totally sounds like something that would happen to me… My little one doesn’t have teeth yet, but I’m sure that I’ll feel terrible once he gets cavities.

    This too shall pass. 😉

  8. I think we you can chalk this up to “it sounded good at the time” LOL. Pinterest just has a way of making things look so easy! I once saw a post where a man made an air conditioner out of his cooler using a block of ice, a fan and a plastic pipe. It looked awesome but someone I knew had tried it and said it doesn’t work!

  9. I had a horrible trip to the dentist this week (TWO sessions: one on Tuesday, the other today). I am not eating candy for a whole week lol 🙁

    P.S: Cavities are covrered by insurance in Canada. We recently moved from Canada to the USA, and WHOA…they are NOT free here.

  10. I want to hug you. If it makes you feel better when I was in college I did the same thing with mini m&ms. Every time I read a chapter I got to eat 5 🙂

  11. Oh wow!! I read your comment about it being a genetics thing, because that’s crazy! I’m sure there are kids who eat a lot more junk than that, a few gummies a day wouldn’t do that alone. Hope you didn’t beat yourself up about it ♥

  12. Aww, it will be ok. My son doesn’t even eat a lot of sweets and we brush and floss all the time and he had a TON of cavities. The dentist said that some people are just more prone to them than others.

  13. Oh dear! Thanks for the warning. Visiting from the sitssharefest. I did the M&M reward thing for potty training. Desperate times!

  14. Oh my gosh, this post made me smile. This will be a great story to share as your daughter grows up. Thanks for posting this today on the SITSGirls sharefest!

  15. Oh man!! How’d she take the news? It’s okay mama! Parenting is a high calling and honestly it was a good try to keep her motivated!!! Also you even tried fruit snacks verses actual gummy bears!!!!! Reminds me to brush though! Lol

  16. Almost everything I copy from Pinterest is a disaster! It’s always fun trying though- but I am talking about recipes and crafts. As I was reading this I was thinking “I need to try this with my daughter.” She’s ten but still hates doing her homework. I had not thought of the cavity issue so you are not the only one!

    Honestly, my kids ate fruit snacks every day from ages 4-6 and I did not always brish their teeth for them or supervise their teeth brushing. There were even a few times where they fell asleep before brushing their teeth and no cavities. Then I know moms who are meticulous about brushing their kids teeth and feed them no sigar at all and their kids have had tooth issues. So, sometimes things just happen even with our best efforts. Don’t feel too bad. You were trying to do the best thing for your child. Now maybe you can use a different snack at homework time 🙂

  17. My jaw dropped. That is awful!! My mother was a dental hygienist, and we were always being supervised. We pretty much didn’t eat sticky candy.. fortunately, chocolate was okay (apparently the cocoa butter in chocolate helps to keep it from sticking to your teeth.) I think I’ll be sharing your story today. Reminds me of that old phrase “No good deed goes unpunished” We just keep trying, right? Happy SITS day:)

    1. Indeed Seana 🙂 My daughter also seems to be one of the unlucky few who has very cavity prone teeth. Thanks for stopping by!

  18. Oh I can so relate to both the homework fight and the bad tooth brushing. My DD is almost 8 and although homework is better, the tooth brushing still needs lots of supervising. I fear our next dentist appointment. I suppose apple slices wouldn’t have the same motivation. Another question I always had was why so much homework in K and 1st? Ahh, but that is a discussion for another time. Happy SITS Day!

    1. There is a lot of homework in K and 1st, isn’t there? You can always share with your DD our disastrous tale. Seriously, 4 trips to the dental office. She was sedated for 3 but on the third, the sedation didn’t work and she decided she didn’t want it for the 4th time.

  19. Oh my heavens! That thought never would have occurred to me either! Is okay Mom. Lesson learned for BOTH of you! Happy Sits Day!

  20. oh no…hugs and laughs with you. I’ve so been there. Half of the things I try fail so bad and other times when they go wrong they work out better. I once tried dyeing pasta cooked pasta so he could have a sensory activity. It turned out to be a huge, nasty mess. There was pasta everywhere for days
    Happy SITS day

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