30 Things Tiger King Reminded Me to Teach My Kids

Netflix/Tiger King

I’ve been a parent for almost fifteen years, and I gotta tell you that it’s impossible to remember, like, everything you’re supposed to teach your kids. What helps is to remain open to new experiences, and take notes when stuff comes up that you haven’t covered with them yet. This is why I’m glad my friends talked me into watching the most totally bananas, meme gold mine, what-did-I-just-see bedazzled documentary on unhealthy relationships and poor decision making ever: Tiger King.


This dark, disturbing program isn’t for everyone, and the content causes a wide range of emotions and reactions—not the least of which is a deep need to shower/bleach one’s eyeballs after each episode. That being said, as situations played out, I couldn’t shake the niggling questions that kept popping up in my head about whether or not I’ve explicitly covered this or that with my kids. Usually when this happens, I invite my kids to watch with me, but this is 100% not a show either my kids or I am comfortable with them watching. Nope nope nope.

Instead, I wrote all the things down that I’m fairly certain I’ve yet to explicitly spell out to my son and daughter (some of which I never even knew were words I should string together into these sentences to say out loud). Scenarios that came up. Choice patterns that weren’t the wisest. Ideals of people on the screen that I prefer they do not strive for ever, ever, ever in their life now or in possible future reincarnations. Here is the list of things I saw on Tiger King that I plan to review with my kids in the hopes it helps them live more respectful, happier, healthier lives that have precisely zero content worthy of a Netflix limited series.

30 Things Tiger King Reminded Me to Teach My Kids

1. Pets can be nice to have.

2. Pets who can easily murder you are not nice to have.

3. With hard work and creativity, it is possible to make a career out of your passion.

4. Love who you love, but you shouldn’t have to persuade (or trick) someone into loving you back.

5. With the right attitude, you can learn how to stand on your own two feet even if you do not actually have your own two feet.

6. Run your new job’s salary and responsibilities by a few people to make sure you didn’t just get hired into a sweatshop/cult.

7. If your arm gets bitten off at work, it’s okay to look for a new gig.

8. There’s no need to record everything you do.

9. There’s definitely no need to share everything you record and do on the internet.

10. Just because you can afford to buy something, doesn’t mean you should.

11. If you find a hat-and-sunglasses aesthetic or fabric print that makes you genuinely happy, it’s fine to stick with it foreverrrr.

12. Don’t smoke. If you ever do try it, please don’t do so while refilling a gas can in a storage room full of gas cans.

13. If you meet your friend’s new gal and think even for a second that she seems like the kind of person who’d feed an ex to her pet (metaphorically or literally), intervene in any way possible. 

14. Not all of your wedding photos need to be shared publicly.

15. Let go of grudges before they get out of control.

16. Behave and communicate like all of your conversations are being recorded or screen-shot.

17. Aspirations are great, but don’t aim to make your first job in a new industry the highest role in that industry. Working your way from the bottom to the top will give you the education, experience, and earned respect to do a better job once you get there.

18. Take good care of your mom once you’re the grown-up. She already took care of you for decades. Consider her officially retired from cleaning up your messes. 

19. Wear clean shoes before going into the ring.

20. If you are in an unhealthy situation, get out. Just go.

21. Don’t take advantage of others. Don’t let yourself be taken advantage of, either.

22. Think long and hard before getting a tattoo. Think even longer and harder before getting a new tattoo to cover up the old one you regret getting.

23. Purchasing burner phones is rarely a sign of someone with nothing to hide.

24. A solo ride on a jet ski with a killer theme song blasting is a good way to clear the mind.

25. Anything tastes good on pizza. Yes, even expired meat from the back of a truck.

26. Cruelty to animals can often look like a cute photo op or entertainment.

27. Cruelty to people can often look like a charitable opportunity.

28. How a story is edited—by the person telling it or the one sharing someone else’s—can change everything about it.

29. Please keep your shirt on.

30. Don’t overlook the quiet people in the background keeping their heads down, doing their work. Oftentimes they are the best people in the room.

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