Often, we look back on our childhoods as pretty normal. Sure, everyone has their quirks, but mostly it's pretty vanilla. But sometimes something sticks out at you, something you can't forget, no matter how hard you try. These Redditors spill the details of the most unsettling interactions they ever had with a friend's parent. Content has been edited for clarity.
"In 2nd grade, I went to a neighbor's birthday party. I ate 2/3rds of a hot dog and tossed the rest. Friend's dad literally made me eat it out of the garbage. Stopped the party, picked it up, handed it to me, got this wild-eyed sneering look on his face and started screaming about how he 'worked for that' and I 'was going to eat it' and 'respect his hard work' and 'don't waste it.' And the dude was loaded. He could afford to lose 35 cents worth of chicken toes and pork snouts, but apparently the insult (from an 8-year-old) was too grave for him to accept.
He passed his attitude onto his kids too. They were all insanely status-conscious, constantly buying new stuff whenever our family did. When us kids built a rickety 'tree-house' out of 2x4s, they hired a bunch of day-laborers to build a house on stilts for their kids. We got chickens? They hired day-laborers to build a picturesque chicken coop. We got a computer? They did. We got a Nintendo? They got a Super Nintendo.
I didn't realize people like that actually existed, but they totally do."
"When I was in 1st or 2nd grade, I was at a friend's house and forgot to turn off the lights when I left the bathroom. My friend's dad lost his mind. He cussed me out, made me stand in a corner, and wouldn't let me leave until I wrote 'I will not forget to turn off the lights when I leave a room' 100 or so times.
It was my first and last time going to that friend's house."
"I was friends with a girl growing up and she didn't come from a very clean home. All the time there were clothes in huge piles all over her bathroom floor. Okay, whatever. But for some unknown reason no one in her family EVER flushed the toilet. They would sit, poop, and just go on with their life. Every once in a while when the bowl got too full, someone would just try to flush thus resulting in week old poop and pee pouring out in the floor all over this laundry. Nine times out of ten, they would kick around these clothes then just leave the scene. They constantly bought new clothes. The worst thing was that this was all just completely normal to them."
"My dad was a contractor and I made friends with one of his employee's sons because we'd always end up on the job site with our Dads. The first time I slept over at his house I got there after dark. The house was a giant one-room log cabin. The kid had like 5 siblings and all their bedrooms were just sectioned off with walls made of clothes lines and sheets. Even the bathroom didn't have walls. It was just this massive structure with a maze of hanging sheets everywhere. It made me really uncomfortable that night.
Fast forward to the next morning when we go outside to play. We walk out the back door and there's a giant mansion in the back yard. Actually it was more like this cabin was in the front yard of a mansion. Turns out the dad had bought the land and built a cabin for the family to live in temporarily while he built their dream home. He gave every member of the family some awesome feature in their new room and it remains one I'd the coolest, most unique homes I've ever been in.
We're all still friends to this day and I would describe them as the most loving family that I know."
"When I was about 12-13, I had this friend who lived in a house with her mother and 4 other sisters. One day I went to her place while on my period, and ended up using her washroom to change my tampon. I put the used one in the garbage can--which had a lid--completely wrapped up in toilet paper. Later in the night, right before dinner, we're all sitting at the table waiting for their mother, when we suddenly all hear her screaming from the bathroom 'WHO HAS THEIR PERIOD?!? WHO USED A TAMPON??!' she came rushing down and all the sisters denied having theirs. I ended up sheepishly coming clean, to which she said 'AND YOUR MOTHER LETS YOU USE TAMPONS?! DON'T YOU KNOW WHAT THAT DOES TO YOUR BODY?!' She then proceeded to make a whole dinner conversation out of why tampons are horrible for me, and why they've 'ruined my purity forever' and bragged about how her daughters would never use anything so 'primitive.' Needless to say, I never went there ever again.
I thought it was so weird because the only way she would have seen my used tampon is if she had actually gone through the garbage, looking for something incriminating. The thing is, that's totally something this woman would do, to try to find something to yell at her daughters about."
"When I was about 11-12, I had a friend that lived in a huge house in my neighborhood. We were never allowed to go to her house, outside or inside. One day, we were riding bikes and I fell right near her house and I insisted we get a napkin from her house to clean the blood. She was really weird about it. I only went into the kitchen and there was a door that was closed, she opened it and yelled that I was in the house. Her mom came in, she was a very pretty woman and was wearing a silk robe. She told us to hurry up and then sent us on our way.
About three months later they were in the news for running an illegal adult services business out of their home. Both of her parents went to jail and my friend was sent to Florida to live with her grandma. I can't imagine what her life was like during that time or afterwards."
"Neighbor kid took out a stick of butter and started dipping it into a canister of Kool-aid. After licking all the mix off the butter he repeated it over and over as if it was that fun-dip candy. It creeped me out and I declined his generosity when he offered me the Kool-aid and the butter. His older sister's were there, and they said they do this all the time, it's great."
"My best friend when I was 12 had a very pretty little sister who was a couple of years younger than us. One time when I was sleeping over at his house we went into his dimly lit basement to get his mother and she was 'entertaining' a couple of creepy looking old men who were drinking and awfully 'friendly' with his sister.
They were asking her for kisses and to sit in their laps. His mother looked deeply depressed and I remember feeling so strange and so uncomfortable that I blacked out this memory for decades.
The five minutes I spent in the basement were the darkest five minutes of my life. I really can't do it justice or find the words to describe how dark it was. I'm almost 50 and have been through a lot, but it was the worst experience of my life. Everything felt wrong. The men were evil, the mother was so depressed and so obviously complicit. My friend's sister had obviously gone through situations like this before and was used to it. She was 10 and was acting flirty with the old men. The girl's father was somewhere in the house, but he wasn't in the basement with his wife and 'guests.' Everything was so off.
I found out a year ago that my friend's sister killed herself at 35 leaving her nine-year-old son without a mother."
"I went to a friends house and could hardly breathe as soon as I stepped through the front door. They had like 20 dogs/cats and would just let them pee and poop anywhere in the house. The smell of ammonia was so strong that I could barely breathe. All the floor boards were just soaked with urine and were rotted."
"I grew up down the street from this family of four– Mom, Dad, a son that was my age, and an adopted son that was like six years younger than us. The son my age was pretty quiet and a little odd, but definitely fully functioning (which I feel like I have to mention to understand just how weird this was).
One day, the mom approached me and asked if I could be a baby sitter for them over the summer. The older son and I were both around 13 at the time. I assumed the son my age was busy or something and I was to watch his younger brother, but when I got there both of the boys were there. About an hour in, I realized I'd been hired to babysit both of them. I would try to make it less weird by making it like the two of us were babysitting his brother together, but then he'd do weird stuff like ask if he could play his video games and if he could stay up a bit past his bed time to finish a movie or something, and he'd address me with 'Mr.' and then my first name. It was just really uncomfortable, especially having class with him once we were back in school."
"During primary school, I was involved in an out of school program that required travelling to another local school. Because my parents worked during the day, they arranged for me to be picked up by the mother of one of other children in my class. We went back to their place where I was to wait until my mother came to pick me up.
While I was waiting, her son picked up a book and his mother turned to him and said, 'What have I told you about touching your step fathers stuff?' She then grabbed him by the ear and pulled him over to his bedroom shoved him in and locked the bedroom from the outside with a heavy bolt. I can remember hearing him screaming from the other side of the door. I can't remember exactly what she said to me, but it was something along the lines of this is the way it has to be.
I told my parents and needless to say I never got a lift home with them again. Also, a few months later, he was removed from his parents after he set fire to his bedroom."
"I stayed at this girl's house on a school night for whatever reason and we all had to take a bath. They told me to go first, but I was playing with this girl's only toy - a globe - and said I'd go last. Little did I know, they all used the same freakin bath water. Five kids and two adults. They all, all seven of them, took a bath in the same water. I got pushed to the end of the line and when my turn was up, the water was brown. I mean, no longer transparent. I cried, and they called my mom and then ran me new bath water.
It would appear that they were really poor, but no. Her dad was an orthopedic surgeon."
"I grew up in a horrible housing estate in London called the Aylesbury estate, I lived on the 12th floor of a high rise block. I made friends with a boy called Nicky who was from Grenada, and he was black and lived with his mother and father (or so I thought). I went around his place to play with a new fire engine I bought with birthday money. His house was so strange– every single light in the house was red, every single bulb. His mother's bedroom had a bolt lock on the inside for some reason. I saw his dad for the first time but something was a miss, HE WASN'T BLACK. He was 100% white.
I was creeped out for a while. I went around his place again the following week and the man he called dad had changed– he was a completely different man and the same happened again and again.
Here's where it gets really messed up: his mother died and he went into foster care. I asked my mum why he didn't live with his 'dad.' It turns out his mother was a lady of the night and had convinced Nicky that his dad was shapeshifter. SHE CONVINCED HER SON, HIS DAD WAS SHAPESHIFTER when they were just customers.
This was about 40 years ago. I never saw Nicky again, sadly."
"When I was around 8-9 years old, there was a girl in my neighborhood that hardly anyone ever saw outside of school. She was maybe a year younger than me. I tried talking to her a few times and she was very, very shy. She was never allowed at other kid's houses. Reasonable, I guess. There were a lot of questionable people in our town. However, no one was allowed over at her house either. Not even in her yard or on her driveway. This was because, in her words, her parents 'didn't like kids.' Okay. A friend of ours managed to see into her house a few times. Apparently all the furniture was always covered in plastic and everything was dark.
We went maybe a month without seeing her outside of school, which was normal. One weekend, a friend and I saw her walking down the sidewalk and she told us that her father had died. Her mom told her that he 'started bleeding from the inside after he ate some crayons she didn't clean up' and that it was her fault for not cleaning well enough.
She lived in the same house until after high school. She hardly ever spoke and when she did, it was just a whisper. She sort of seemed like a small child a lot of the time, with how she acted and pronounced words. If I weren't just a clueless kid then, I probably would have said something to someone."
"When I was 8, I took a trip for a month to Alabama to visit my friend and his family. His parents were extremely catholic and had VERY strong opinions on contraceptives. One day while I was there, we took a 'family trip' to the grocery store and poked holes in contraceptive boxes. I didn't realize what is had done till years later. I still feel awful about it."
"So this wasn't me, but it happened to a teacher I had back when she was my age (22) interning as a school psychologist in the mid-80s.
There was this 5 year old girl she noticed in a class would never sit down. Everyone thought this little girl was a stubborn shrew of a child because she would never listen and insisted on standing and walking everywhere. My teacher notices this and had just learned that refusal to sit down can be a sign of physical abuse because it's painful for kids who get beaten across the backside to sit still- makes sense.
My teacher mentions it to the classroom teacher and get blown off repeatedly. She says something to the school psychologist she is interning with and gets blown off. Both of them tell her they see this all the time, that she is new doesn't know what she is talking about, and that this little girl is just a trouble maker.
My teacher is really distraught, so she goes back to her own graduate professor who tell her to talk to the school nurse. Thankfully, the nurse is cooperative and calls this little girl into her office. She asks her some questions on if she has been hurting in her private areas and she says no. The nurse asks if they can examine her. This little girl drops her underwear, hops up on the table, and exposes herself like it was no big deal some stranger was asking that.
My teacher says she has never seen a more horrific example of prolonged abuse to this day. There was nothing normal about how this girl looked 'down there.' The nurse is horrified and the school calls the cops.
The cops question the parents and thinks the mom knows what is going on and is involved in the abuse because how could a mother not know about what was going on with her own kid.
The cops discover that the mom worked nights and for her whole life had never once put her daughter to bed or woken her up in the morning. This girls father had been assaulting and violating her since she was an INFANT and no one ever knew. They also found out he was starting to do it to the other two siblings in the house who were younger. That little girl had to have total reconstructive surgery."
"I had a friend in middle/high school whose house no one had ever seen the interior of. Whenever we hung out, it was at someone else's house. If me or one of my other friends came by to pick her up to go somewhere (she didn't drive), we were never invited in and had to wait outside until she was ready. My other friends and I were always convinced her parents did some sort of top secret government work or something like that.
One of my friends finally did see the inside of her house, after dropping her off and having to pee so bad she threatened to go in the bushes in their yard. Turns out, the parents were hoarders and had stacks of papers EVERYWHERE and that's likely why no one was ever allowed inside."
"I had a friend who lived with her mum and her mum's brother. One day, I was standing at the bottom of the stairs waiting for my friend to get ready, and the mother and brother were at the top of the stairs behind the banister. Making out. I just stood there and watched in horror. And then I heard the mother whisper 'Oh no, Chris (me) is down there,' and they quickly parted ways.
I never mentioned any of that to my friend, ever, not even until this day. But I did later find out that it wasn't her mother at all, it was her much older sister (and older brother obviously). Just... weird. I don't know."
"In middle school, I was friends with this one kid whose mom had some serious self-esteem and projection issues. I remember one day she picked us up from school because my own mother was ill and proceeded to ask her son everything he ate that day; not just his packed lunch that she had made him, but snacks and what not.
When he admitted to buying fries during lunch, she proceeded to scream at him, calling him things like unhealthy pig and almost sobbing at the very idea he might get fat, despite the fact that my friend was literally the most active, physically fit player on the baseball team. If this wasn't awkward enough, she stared me directly in the eye and said, 'See Evan? What if you get fat, and the only wife you can find is a girl like HER?'
I threw my backpack at her. Evan and I weren't allowed to hang out anymore, partially for that, partially because I told my mother about his nutcase mom."
"When I was 10 (1989) we moved from one neighborhood to another nearby. For a while, I made friends with the kids across the street. Their daughter was a year younger than me and the son maybe another one or two. It didn't take long before I noticed more and more stuff about them that was just 'off' and over the course of the next three years, before I was basically not on speaking terms with the kids, I noticed stuff.
The 'treehouse' that had out back was basically a two-story apartment built around a tree, which was really impressive. This was done by professionals, not dad with his set of tools. It was odd that the kids spent a high percentage of their time back there and not in their house, even for meals and such some times. They had a border collie that was always trying to bark since they didn't fence in the back yard entirely and the dog could always see the front yard and the street. The thing is, they had the dog's vocal cords removed, so all it did was this faint impression of barking but it did so CONSTANTLY for years until it died.
The mother of the house was an odd, reclusive woman who mostly reminded us of the most frightening aspects of Princess Mombi from Return to Oz. She was almost always frowning or looking sullen. I never saw her interact with the other people in the neighborhood. The father of the house actually seemed pretty normal. Most of the time, he seemed to be coming and going from work, mowing the grass, etc. My father told me much the same.
The one singular time I was ever in that house it was PACKED with stuff. Now, we recognize people with houses like that as hoarders. As a kid, it was a house packed with a combination of junk and fascinating stuff I'd never seen before. Turns out, dad started and ran a retail chain. That one time I was ever in the house with the son was also the only time I ever saw the mother smiling, however, the INSTANT she saw me that smile switched immediately to a frown, and we were shooed out of the house.
Over the next year or two I fell out with the kids, and we didn't talk anymore. The son was a dirtbag and the daughter just kept to herself. The family eventually had another daughter who is more than 10 years younger than her siblings. Can't say that I've ever met her.
By about 1995, we noticed that the family mostly wasn't around the house. We learned that they had other property they spent much time at, though the kids still went to our local school district schools. By this point, they were the weird, reclusive family that nobody really knew and nobody really liked, so far as I knew.
Come summer of 1996, it turns out that dad was up to some major stuff. The most seemingly normal member of their family to the outside turned out to be a serial killer.
We found this out because the investigation blew wide open into the public when he drove up to Canada and blew his head off after he knew the jig was up. Suddenly, I was coming home to having reporters following me into my driveway. This died off after a few weeks but you can imagine that the family pretty well just disappeared for a while.
During the years that followed, the property with the bodies/bones was sold off I believe. Then, the family went back to living full time right across the street. The wife went back to her maiden name. The daughters both ended up normal so far as I know. The son was a burnout last time I saw him."