Say a father want to teach his children a lesson by giving an example of a behavior or thing that is immoral or illegal. Or imagine a teenager want to teach his or her friend a rude action and you as his or her best friend want to advice him or her not to do that. Or a TV program that isn't suitable for children.

How can I as a mother or best friend, tell them that what you are teaching or the example you are giving may have a bad impact on them because they will learn something (like using drugs) that they may want to try that because of the natural curiosity of human being?

I am looking for a word that means "the way of teaching, especially to children, where you teach someone something immoral or illegal not on purpose."

  • 1
    It's "detrimental" to their learning
    – Hank
    Feb 10, 2017 at 15:51
  • 4
    It sounds like to are talking about "setting a bad example", but your post is a little unclear. Feb 10, 2017 at 16:03
  • 4
    In principle the father would be corrupting his children, but that's a bit strong for many contexts. Perhaps he's leading them astray. It's really a matter of opinion which expressions suit which contexts. Feb 10, 2017 at 16:04
  • 1
    it sounds like that would be a “dangerous and irresponsible approach” to their education.
    – Jim
    Feb 10, 2017 at 17:05
  • The OP is somewhat confusing, but I think the example is supposed to be of a bad thing to avoid, not a bad thing to indulge in.
    – deadrat
    Feb 10, 2017 at 20:39

1 Answer 1


If the bad lesson was unintentional, the words could be misteach or misinstruct.

The father mistaught his son about gun safety.

The priest was found to be misinstructing the boys about the violence used by Joshua.

Also, misguide could be the word.

The mother misguided her daughter as to the Birds and the Bees.

In some contexts, misinform will work.

Billy misinformed Johnny as to when he needed to be back in class.

  • I think mis-instruction is close to the word in my language. Thanks.
    – Dante
    Feb 14, 2017 at 5:32

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