Everyone either had strict parents or knew someone with strict parents growing up. As we get older, the rules that our parents had for us begin to make more sense. Most of the time they were just looking out for our best interest whether we believed that at the time or not. However, some rules that parents had for their kids still make absolutely no sense.
Let's take a look at some of the most absurd rules parents had for their kids.
All posts have been edited for clarity.
"I wasn't allowed to bring my cell phone into the basement or to the second floor, which only consisted of my room. I was only allowed to have it and use it on the main floor. I couldn't text or call past ten pm on school nights and midnight on weekends. My mom would look online to see our family's cell phone records and see how many minutes I texted past curfew. For every minute past curfew, my cell phone would be taken away for a day. I constantly broke curfew because the best conversations happened late at night. Sometimes texting past curfew was an honest mistake though. Needless to say, I went months without my cell phone as a junior and senior in high school.
Once I started driving I would also get my car privileges taken away because of arguments with my mom about my grades. I barely passed math, my worst subject, even though I stayed after school once a week for tutoring voluntarily and tried my best. She didn't believe me because if I tried that meant I would have an A. I also got in trouble for giving classmates rides to and from marching band practice when they didn't have a ride because their parents were still at work. It was sometimes my fault but most of the time my mom was being extremely stubborn.
When I was younger, we had a rule that if I couldn't finish my dinner in the allotted time, usually how long it took my parents to finish eating, I would have three options. I would be forced to sit there until my plate was clean. Go straight to bed and miss out on spending the rest of the night watching movies and playing games with the family. Go straight to bed plus my food would be put in the fridge and I would have to finish it for breakfast without reheating it, and it was all I was allowed to eat all day until I finished it. Now keep in mind, this was when I was between the ages of eight and sixteen and I was a skinny little girl. The portions I was being served were three to four times larger than what I should have been eating. This was because my family would dole out whatever they cooked onto all of our plates until the pots and pans are empty. For some reason, leftovers weren't a thing. Additionally, I'm a slow eater because I like to enjoy my food, so I was always the last one done, and therefore the child most often punished. Eating dinner was awful."
"On the extremely rare occasions that I was allowed to see a friend, there was usually a thirty-minute max before I had to be home or they had to leave. It felt pointless and my grade school friends stopped bothering with me because of it. By the time I was in high school, I didn't bother to have any social life whatsoever.
When it came to television, we had one small TV and a large antenna with an indexing rotor. I was given a long list of chores to do after school, starting in fifth grade. If my mother got home and the chores weren't done or if there was evidence that the TV was on, I'd get screamed at. The trick was to turn the rotor to pick up the station that played cartoons then return the rotor to the exact position it was on prior. Usually, I'd see my mother's car approaching the driveway, panic, and just shut the TV off. Big mistake. It was a massive antenna, so turning it 180 degrees was loud and would take about a minute.
When my parents bought new furniture, I was not allowed on it. I had to sit on the floor for the first year after they got it.
Oh, and God forbid I get any food after school. That was a mortal crime. A friend of mine a few roads over actually put together a bag of junk food in a Ziploc bag, walked through the woods, and handed it to me out of pity one day. Totally unexpected. My mother found out when she saw the Ziploc bag in the trash and went nuclear over it."
"They wouldn't buy me a GameBoy, so I traded thirteen holographic Pokemon cards for a GameBoy Pocket and Pokemon Red.
All I wanted to play was Goldeneye, but it was 'too violent.' After I saved my lunch money to buy an N64 off of a friend, my mother left it outside after she confiscated it. Then it rained. No more N64.
I bought a GameCube from a friend. My mother took the power cord so many times that she bent the pins, and that stopped working.
I saved up lunch money and bought myself a Playstation 2. My mother made me delete save data in front of her as punishments for unrelated things. The pins don't line up on that power cord anymore, either. It works sometimes, but moving the controllers around frequently causes disconnection when the pins stop lining up for a second or two.
Then I moved out during college, and I've bought whatever consoles I wanted ever since. My mother wonders why I rarely talk to her, and why I never listened to her about game ratings when she commented on why I was playing M-rated games in college."
"Food was locked up, and motion sensor alarms were placed on the kitchen and food storage. We weren't overeaters or fat children, so why would you need to lock it up?
Also, we had to finish our food. No food waste. I had to eat clearly bad fettuccine alfredo because my lactose intolerant dad wouldn't believe it had gone bad. He doesn't eat it because he's lactose intolerant, so he'd have no clue it had gone bad. It came out both ends at the same time at three am, safe to say I left it for him to clean up.
Vegetables. We had to eat vegetables with every meal, if we didn't eat our veggies we got plain whole wheat bread and milk and off to bed. They'd bring veggies along to fast food restaurants and make us eat them there before we could have the food. I got so fed up with baby carrots that I threw them in the trash once, and my dad made me dig them out of the trash and eat them. Didn't wash them first or anything.
I'm really lucky I'm a relatively normal functioning adult when it comes to food."
"We weren't allowed to speak at the dinner table. The entire meal took place in complete silence.
I wasn’t allowed to speak to boys in front of my dad when I was younger. This was all the way from pre-school through junior high. He would give me the dirtiest and most angry face he could and it would make me so scared that I tried not to talk to any boys even if my dad wasn’t there. I wasn't allowed to hang out with my boyfriend more than once a week during high school. I also could not have a boy in my room under any circumstances.
I had to wait until I was a freshman in high school to have sleepovers with friends.
I couldn't have a phone until I was a sophomore in high school. I had to borrow a friend's phone to contact my parents. We weren’t allowed to keep our phones in our room past nine pm. We had to go put it in our parents' room for the night.
My parents didn't let me leave the house to hang out with friends during the Summer. I was forced to sit at home by myself while everyone else was out having fun.
When I turned 18 and I was finally able to hang out with my friends and boyfriend more often, my curfew was nine pm. I still had to ask for permission from my parents to leave the house to do anything, even going to the library. I was not even allowed to attend church by myself. I always had to attend with my parents.
I had to wait until I was 18 to get my driver's license. I wasn't allowed to be driving if I was alone with a boy in the car. The boy always had to be the one to drive.
Once I started going to community college, I wasn’t allowed to leave campus without asking my parents if I could go get food or do anything in between classes."
"My mother is a malignant narcissist so the rules in my childhood home went from bad to straight-up disturbing.
We could only shower twice a week. We lived on a pig farm. I loathed that rule.
I had to wear my clothes at least two to three days in a row, regardless of playing outside, working, or getting dirty. Going to school was not fun, but I did get in a system where I wore different clothes underneath and shed the outer layers on the bus. Eventually, in my later teens, she slightly loosened this rule.
We weren't allowed to make any phone calls. If my friends ever called I almost always had to say 'I will see you at school,' and hang up.
My mom had a very strict clean-your-plate rule. I wouldn't give a dog what my mother cooked. If I wasn't finished with my meal first she would grab my chair and throw it across the room. I then had to take my plate and go to the chair to finish my meal. I never stood a chance, my siblings could inhale a buffet of anything and she always gave them whatever portions looked the most appetizing first. They were, of course, allowed to belittle me when this happened.
I was not allowed to watch the endings of TV shows and movies, and what we watched was strictly controlled. This is one that actually left huge mental scars for years. It may seem petty, but it's also been well proven that children grow much more attached to a storyline in TV and films than adults do. I need to know how that last plot twist ends, even if to an adult it is cheesy and predictable. My mother knew this and would always barge into the den at the cliffhanger commercial break and turn off the TV. It was a form of hijacking information to deliberately keep me confused and reinforcing her absolute control over every aspect of my life.
If I wasn't the first person in the kitchen in the morning to set up breakfast I would have to take my clothes off and eat in my birthday suit while everyone else ridiculed me.
My father worked sixteen hours a day on the farm and wasn't around for most of this. When he saw it one day he put an immediate stop to it. The damage was done though. Again, the game was rigged for me to lose.
I had severe insomnia for years, laying awake every night for hours going over and over about whatever had happened that day and how to fight the next crazy storm coming. I could never wake up in the mornings and just bound out of bed.
We were not allowed to set our own alarm clocks. So as soon as my mom set the signal off we had to fly out of bed and bound down the stairs."
"My mom also gave me a ridiculous amount of time to complete a lengthy list of chores. I would have twenty minutes to get the house clean, dishes washed, dried, and put away by hand, vacuum, dust, sweep, laundry started, and bathrooms cleaned. Not being done meant a beating, and even worse was that I was not allowed to go back and finish it afterward. Our house always looked like half a pig pen which drove me nuts.
We were not allowed to use the dryer for our laundry unless it was below freezing outside. We lived in Central Canada. We were also not allowed to turn on the heat at night, even in the dead of February in Central Canada. She gave my siblings electric heating blankets. I was told to shut up. Our house was very old and hardly insulated. I now live in a temperate climate where there is no winter.
My mother would frequently sign me up for clubs and activities, and refuse to take me to them in the car. We lived at least ten miles from anywhere, and the vehicle's gas usage was a business tax write-off for the farm. She would yell at me to call the other kids in the clubs for a ride which was not an option. I either didn't know who was in my group or I had to ask one of my classmates and none of them liked me. There was no way I could call and beg for rides from my location in the middle of nowhere.
She made me get a summer job when I was eight. It was picking rocks out of neighbor's crop fields before the planting was done. I was paid fifty dollars a week which was big money when I was eight but I wasn't allowed to keep any of it.
I had to work at least a part-time job starting when I was twelve. By thirteen, I had to buy my own clothes, school supplies, field trips, and summer camps. My mom signed me up for the summer camps but I was the one that had to pay for them. She would say 'You're working now so learn how to pay for it.' She also forced me to sign up for a possible year-long exchange student program in Europe and insisted I pay for it entirely myself. It was six thousand dollars. I didn't have even a fraction of six thousand dollars and she would have certainly made me pay it or forced me into a loan from her with unimaginable strings attached. Thankfully, I signed up too late and was denied. A year later she paid for my brother to go on the same exchange.
I had the shock of my life when I moved out and figured out that life was one hundred times easier. I'm not saying that things always go smoothly but not having a raging control freak over your shoulder makes everything much easier. I left at seventeen and I have never gone back. I am maintaining very little contact with my family and it is working out very well for me."
"I've worn glasses since I was like seven, so I had to get periodic vision tests. When I was thirteen or fourteen, I got one with an automatic machine that determines your prescription. I'm not sure what happened, but the machine definitely messed up. It said I was legally blind, and I had to wear thick coke-bottle glasses. I got horrible headaches because it wasn't the right prescription. My mom was fine with giving me medicine for my headaches, but she and my step-father refused to believe me when I said the prescription was incorrect.
My step-father would ground me any time he saw me without my glasses on. I kept taking them off when they weren't around because I couldn't see anything with them on. At one point, I was grounded for nine months straight for taking off my glasses. He would follow me around sometimes, sneaking so I didn't know he was there, just so he could bust me taking them off. This would also lead to spanking me really hard with a ping-pong paddle.
They were ridiculously religious. I went to a religious university for summer camp one year and decided I had had enough. So, I devised a plan. When the crazy healing part of the service started where you could go up and people would pray your affliction away, I went up and had them pray for my eyes. I made sure my youth pastor and several kids in my group witnessed this. The next day, I declared my eyes were healed and that I didn't need such strong glasses anymore.
My mom and step-father were very skeptical of this story of healing, so they took me back to the eye doctor. It was a miracle! My eyes were better! They weren't perfect, but definitely way better than before! Hallelujah! They had me get up at church and testify four or five times over the next year so everyone could celebrate my miracle. I finally had the right prescription."
"I was a 90s kid growing up between two households. My mom was fairly lax about things. She put her foot down a few times but nothing serious. She was religious. We attended church at holidays and special events but in general, she was very easygoing with her faith. My dad, however, was a born-again religious person married to a psychotic banshee. I spent almost every weekend and many major holidays with him.
My dad did not allow us to wear Doc Martens because they were 'Nazi boots.' We were also not allowed to wear Black, Navy Blue, or any Dark colors in general because they were 'Gothic' and 'Satanic.'
We weren't allowed to watch Eurekas Castle or read Harry Potter because they contained 'Occult Themes.'
We were also not allowed to watch The Simpsons, Rockos Modern Life, Ren and Stimpy, Pee Wees Playhouse, Beavis and Butthead, The X-Files, Star Trek, Golden Girls, any show on Nickelodeon or Disney involving occult themes, MTV, HBO, Cinemax, and any PG-13 or R rated movie in general.
There was no unmonitored TV or Internet access. Period. This was while Dial-Up Internet was still the standard, so they could and did enforce it. If we wanted to watch TV or use the internet, my dad or step-mom had to be present in the room with us.
They also dubbed anything even referring to another religion, Unitarian Universalism, what little LGBT content the 90s had, most comedians of the 90s, and the local Alternative radio station as Satanic.
We went to church every single Sunday with no exceptions that I can recall. Every social event I can remember attending was also religiously themed.
I see my mom multiple times every single week, but I haven't been in contact with my dad in twenty years."
"We weren't allowed to have anything remotely positive to say about our father, whom my mother had been involved in a bitter divorce with. If we said anything like that we missed him or liked him, we were hit or mocked. We were really young, only four and six so we learned that talking bad about our poor dad earned us laughter and praise.
One time, we went on a court-ordered visit to Dad. We had a great time. We came back and foolishly didn't hide this fact. We were screamed at and our China dolls that our father gave us were jumped on in front of us.
What I know now is she was conditioning us. All this lead to us having a fear of my dad. My dad was fighting for visitation at the time. So when we were put in a room with him in front of social workers we flipped out, screaming and crying to get away from him. It made him look terrible and he didn't get visitation."
"From age five until I was in high school if I wanted to play with the other kids in the neighborhood I had to check in every single hour. I wore a kids waterproof watch and every single hour, I had to at least stick my head in the door of the house and just yell that I was checking in.
One of my parents would come and look at me then say 'Okay, go back out.'
This served a double purpose. My paranoid mom would know I hadn't been abducted. That was her first thought if I was late checking in. It also meant I couldn't go too far from the house. Otherwise, I couldn't get there and back in time to check-in.
If I was late checking in I was instantly grounded for the next seven days. I was grounded a lot.
If we were in the middle of a game of tag, hide-and-seek, or basketball it didn't matter. I had to drop everything and go home once an hour.
When I got older I got really tired of the whole thing so I started staying in, playing video games, or chatting with friends online. And Mom wondered why I didn't want to go out anymore."
"As teenagers, our parents' punishment of choice was 'sentences' or 'lines' as some people call them. Basically writing the same thing over and over again. It started at ten. Then twenty. Then forty. Then fifty, then one hundred, then two hundred. These were for minor infractions like talking back or forgetting to take out the trash.
It got to where we were 'earning' two to four hundred lines a day. Sometimes we would earn too many to get done in a day. This was when my parents invented something called the doubling rule. This rule was that the remainder of any sentences still due at midnight doubled and were added to the next day's tally. Naturally, this quickly spiraled out of control.
I spent three years writing sentences basically every waking minute just to pay off my 'debt.' Finally, my father put his foot down and said 'This is ridiculous, this punishment is not working and is no longer allowed.' We weren't awful kids, we were just kids but my mother insisted on aggressively punishing absolutely any minor deviation from absolute, total obedience and perfection."
"When I was in sixth grade and my brother was in fourth grade, we lived a little over a mile from school for a period of time. My mom and step-dad insisted that we make it home in half an hour. We would find each other after school and speed walk or jog as fast as we could because we knew my mom would call at four o'clock on the dot. More often than not, my brother would run the last two blocks to make it to the phone in time. He once wet his pants on the way home because he was too afraid to stop on the way. My parents were intolerant of excuses. The slightest infraction, like missing the four o'clock call by a few seconds, but calling my mom right back, were met with hours and hours of screaming, making us stand in the corner and threatening to kick us out.
They also made me take all of my textbooks to and from school in my backpack every day. All of them. I could barely walk and my back hurt all the time. There was no reason for me to have my books with me all the time. We rarely used them in the classroom, they were mostly for required reading and homework."