Do parents know best? Not always! Everyone had rules growing up, but likely none as bizarre as these individuals. These people share the insane and irrational rules they grew up with. Way harsh, man! Content has been edited for clarity.
The Perfection Demanding Parents
“My parents were strict about nearly everything.
They forbade my siblings and me from interacting with anyone outside of our family unless they explicitly told us otherwise. They believed this would prevent us from meeting people who didn’t subscribe to the same ideologies they did. I wasn’t allowed to speak to the other kids in my neighborhood because they went to public school, and I was homeschooled.
Naturally, any television show promoting anything my parents didn’t believe in was bad and banned from our household. This was almost every show, and it didn’t leave us much to watch. My family even stopped talking to certain family members who didn’t believe the same things they did.
We didn’t get a say in what food we ate, or how much food we ate. We weren’t allowed to exercise, as we couldn’t go outside often.
In school, they demanded perfection all of the time.
They would put on a front and say, ‘It’s fine if you do your best, but if you actually did your best, you would have gotten a better grade.’
If we struggled with a subject in school, our parents would berate us. They believed struggling with something was a sign we were lazy, and it was considered ‘disrespectful.’
Our parents didn’t like us asking questions. They claimed they wanted us to question things and be skeptical, but when we did, we were punished. Sometimes questioning things came back to bite us.
One time, my dad had me digging trenches for his new sprinkler system. At the end of the day, he told me to throw away a plastic bag that was tied shut.
The bag felt like it had some hard objects inside, so I asked, ‘Are you sure this is the bag you want to throw away?’
He interrupted me and asserted, ‘Throw it away. Now.’
I didn’t want to get into an argument with my dad, so I threw the bag away. The next weekend when we started on the project again, we found out it was the bag with the supplies in it after all. He claimed it was ‘my fault’ the bag was thrown out.
When I got older, my parents became paranoid about me getting into a relationship with anyone. At this point, they had given up on homeschooling. We still weren’t allowed to interact with people outside of school, though.
My mom asked me if I had a crush on anyone, and I made the mistake of telling her I liked someone named ‘Jessie’ in my art class. I think she assumed I was saying ‘Jesse,’ and she started to go on a huge rant about how I couldn’t like another boy. She called my father and complained about it. When he got home, he started screaming at me about it, too.
We weren’t allowed to have our own spending money. People would give us money for birthdays and holidays, but my dad would confiscate it. After confiscating it, he would donate half to an organization of his choosing. He would put another forty percent in the bank, which we never got back. This didn’t leave us with enough money to buy things very often.
On top of the money issue, we weren’t allowed to get a part-time job. They believed working was a major distraction from school. There were a couple of times my dad threw a fit because we wouldn’t buy him something, but my siblings and I didn’t have the money to do so.
There were a bunch of other petty things my parents got mad at us for, too. One time I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Apparently, I was being too loud, so he waited at the bathroom door and yelled at me when I walked out. I didn’t wake my family up by using the restroom, he woke them up by yelling and causing a scene!
A couple of times, my father flipped on my bedroom lights in the middle of the night to make sure I was in bed. In retrospect, it was pretty counterproductive for him to do this.
One time, I got sick at my grandparent’s house. My father became angry with me because they made dinner for us, and I could stay and eat. Thankfully, my grandparents called him out on his attitude, but it didn’t stop him from being mean to me when we got home.
In general, my parents were authoritarian tyrants. My grandparents were very laid back, so I don’t understand where they got their parenting style from. I can only assume my grandparents were worse and have mellowed out with age.”
Tasteless Television Shows
“I wasn’t allowed to watch television shows with themes my parents deemed, ‘inappropriate.’
The show ‘Cheers,’ was a major no-no in our house. This wasn’t a problem because I was far more interested in family-friendly shows rather than a show featuring all adult actors. This became an issue later in life when I inevitably lost interest in the family-friendly shows and became more attracted to more mature shows.
One thing that still angers me happened when I was sixteen years old. My family was on vacation, and we were going to some event they knew I would be bored at. They said I could pick up a magazine from the grocery store and read it at the event. There was an article in ‘Premier Magazine’ I knew I wanted to read. The magazine was a mainstream movie magazine, so there shouldn’t have been a problem with a sixteen-year-old reading it.
We went to the store and I grabbed the magazine, and my parents looked inside it.
My father said, ‘Put it back. Now.’
In shock, I put the magazine back on the shelf. We left the store without buying anything.
In the car, I had a complete meltdown. I was in tears! I was looking forward to reading an article, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t.
I asked my parents, ‘Why couldn’t I buy the magazine?’
They responded, ‘There was content inside not appropriate for you.’
Great, we were having this conversation again. The magazine I wanted was simply a movie magazine. There wasn’t any inappropriate content in it! This wasn’t a ‘trying to sneak adult material past my parents,’ situation. I just wanted to read about a movie I liked.
I had a feeling my parents saw a racy advertisement in the magazine they didn’t like. Reading is supposed to be a good thing. Even if the reading pertained to movies, I thought it would be good to expand my horizons.
Thankfully, I am older now and can read whatever I would like to. My parent’s rules were not helpful at all.”
“I Didn’t Have A Great Childhood”
“My parents were strict about virtually everything.
On the extremely rare occasion, I was allowed to see a friend, I was usually only allowed to see them for thirty minutes. After time was up, I had to go home or they were forced to leave. It was a pointless rule, and my grade school friends stopped asking me to hang out because of it. By the time I was in high school, I didn’t bother to have any social life whatsoever.
Regarding television, we had one small TV and a large antenna with an indexing rotor. Starting at eight years old, I was given a long list of chores to complete every day after school. If my mother arrived home and the chores were not complete or there was evidence of the television being on, I would get screamed at. I quickly figured out a trick of turning on the rotor to pick up the station playing cartoons, and then I would return the rotor to the exact position it was on prior. Usually, I would see my mother’s car in the driveway, panic, and just shut the television off. This was a major mistake on my part. The antenna was massive, so turning it was loud and it took about thirty seconds to do.
When my parents bought new furniture, I was not allowed to use it. I had to sit on the floor for the first year after they purchased it.
I also wasn’t allowed to have any food after school. A friend of mine a few roads over put together a bag of junk food in a Ziploc bag, walked through the woods and gave it to me out of pity one day. My mother found out when she saw the Ziploc bag in the trash and went nuclear over it.
I could write a novel about the messed-up rules my parents enforced. I didn’t have a great childhood.”
“Strict Parents Raise Sneaky Children”
“My parents despised all electronic devices. They tried to isolate me from computers and video games the entire time I was growing up.
On my first day of kindergarten, some kids brought their Nintendo DS to school. I played Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart and I had an awesome time. It was the first time I had ever been exposed to a video game. I wanted my own Nintendo, and I told my parents all about it when I got home.
My mom lit into me and said, ‘Absolutely not. Video games cause violent tendencies.’
It didn’t stop me though. I continued to play with my friends on various gaming systems when I went over to their houses. My parents never allowed me to get a cell phone, or even buy one with my own money. Some of my friends had spare iPods or phones they let me use whenever I came over to play games with them.
About six years ago, I got my own computer. It was a hand-me-down from my grandparents, and my parents expected me to only use it for school work. I used it to secretly play games in my free time every now and then.
Strict parents raise sneaky children. I certainly found ways around their ridiculous rules.”
Lost In Translation
“My first language is French. When I was learning English, my dad would often have me repeat things I would say in English if I were speaking French. While it wasn’t weird, he would often have us do the reverse if we were speaking English. I thought it was weird because we were both fluent in the language, and it wasn’t like we were learning a new word. We were just talking about day-to-day activities.
When I was older, I realized he did this because my mother didn’t always understand us when we spoke English. She could pick up on enough context to carry her through conversations, but sometimes it wasn’t enough. I found out that sometimes she felt upset when she missed out on something we said. She noticed we would be excited during some of the conversations we were having, and she felt left out. My dad simply wanted to brighten her day by letting her hear about our days and have her understand.”
“She Was Grounded For Two Years”
“This wasn’t my parent’s rules, but my friend’s parents. My friend was not allowed out of the house past six in the evening. No matter what. She wasn’t allowed to stay at anyone’s house, nor was anyone allowed to stay at hers. On her sixteenth birthday, she rebelled against her parents a little bit and had a couple of drinks at the park with us. She got home around nine in the evening and unfortunately, her parents found out. She was grounded for two entire years until she was eighteen years old.
Her parent’s personalities were super strange, too. Her mom claimed to have prophetic dreams, and she wore bottle-thick glasses. She would make strange brews and teas to cure her children’s illnesses. The parents owned every game console in existence, along with hundreds of games they expected their children to play.
It was pretty cool, but it was weird how obsessed they were with it.”
“I Would Get In Trouble For Literally Everything”
“My mom and stepdad were pretty mellow about their rules. They trusted me not to act like an idiot, and they knew I was a good kid. All I did was read, play video games, or watch television. I wasn’t a bad kid.
Living with my dad and my stepmom, though, was rough. I would get in trouble for literally everything, while my stepsister was treated like a perfect angel.
I spent the majority of my time living with my dad and stepmom grounded for nothing. She was caught doing the worst things as a teenager, but I got in trouble for wanting to read instead of working for my father.
My dad ran all over creation trying to build my stepmother her dream car, a nineteen eighty-six Cadillac. He spent so much money on it, that I was amazed he didn’t go bankrupt. When it was my turn for a car, I got a piece of garbage Pontiac Venture. Plus, he never even let me work on the car or learn to drive.
Nope, I wasn’t bitter about it at all.”
“His Rules Made My Childhood A Nightmare”
“In the nineties, I lived in Sicily with my family. I grew up between two different households. My mom’s house, a weekday residence, was fairly relaxed. She put her foot down sometimes, but it wasn’t over anything serious. She was spiritual but fairly easygoing in her faith. My dad, however, was extremely spiritual and strict. I spent almost every weekend and holiday with him.
My dad had several insane rules that didn’t make sense. I wasn’t allowed to wear Doc Marten boots or dark colors in general. He was strict about the television shows and movies I watched, and I wasn’t allowed to watch Harry Potter because of the ‘occult themes.’ I also wasn’t allowed to watch cartoons such as The Simpsons, Rockos Modern Life, or Beavis and Butthead. Anything PG-13 or rated R was off-limits.
Unmonitored television or internet was banned, period. At this time, dial-up internet was still the standard, so they were able to enforce this rule easily.
My siblings and I had to go to spiritual service every Sunday, and there were no exceptions.
I visit my mom at least twice a week still. I have only seen my dad a couple of times in the past twenty years. It may seem petty, but his rules made my childhood a nightmare.”
“Their Rules Have Scarred Me For Life”
“The list of rules my parents had for me was egregious.
I wasn’t allowed to speak at the dinner table, ever. Even though all of my friends had cell phones, I wasn’t allowed to have one until I was a sophomore in high school. When I finally did get a phone, I couldn’t keep it in my room past nine in the evening. I couldn’t hang out with my boyfriend more than once per week in high school, as my parents didn’t want us to become too close. My friends weren’t allowed to come over for the longest time. When my parents finally allowed them to, they had to leave at nine in the evening.
I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere without asking my parents for permission first, even the library. My parents didn’t allow me to learn how to drive or get my license until I was eighteen years old. I couldn’t go to spiritual services by myself, always had to attend with my parents.
Once I began attending college, I wasn’t allowed to leave campus without asking my parents first. I was an adult in college, and they still treated me like a child. Plus, my parents said I wasn’t allowed to have a boy in my dorm room. They claimed they would always find out somehow.
Their rules have scarred me for life.”
“My parents were extremely strict about my bedtime. Most of the time, I went to bed when I was told to. Sometimes though, I behaved like a normal child and didn’t want to go to bed. I simply wasn’t tired. When this happened, my parents would lose their minds. They would yell at me until I finally went to my room and closed the door.
Even at five years old, I would think, ‘Yikes, this is a bit excessive, don’t you think?’
My older sister would never go to bed. She and my parents would fight until two in the morning, and my parents would take turns staying up with her. This would go on until they had to wake up at six in the morning for work. Our pediatrician told my parents to lock her in her room at age four, and it was traumatic for everyone. When I was born, my parents felt like they needed to nip any sleeping nonsense in the bud, and they went to the extreme.
Typically, after having one child, you think you have the rules figured out. I was completely different from my older sister, and I would have benefitted from different parenting.”
“I’m Lucky To Be A Normal Functioning Adult”
“My parents were strangely strict about food.
All of our food was locked up, and my parents placed motion sensor alarms throughout the kitchen. My siblings and I weren’t overeaters, so my parents had no reason to lock up the food.
Also, we always had to finish all of our food. Waste was not allowed in my parent’s household. One time, I had to eat rotten fettuccine alfredo because my dad didn’t believe it had gone bad. He was lactose intolerant and didn’t eat the alfredo, so he had no idea it wasn’t good. I got sick around three in the morning from the food, and I left it for him to clean up.
We also were forced to eat vegetables with every meal. If my siblings and I didn’t eat our veggies, we were given plain whole wheat bread and milk, then sent to bed. My parents would bring veggies along to fast food restaurants and force us to eat them before we ate our other food. One time, I became extremely fed up with baby carrots. I threw them away, and my dad made me dig them out of the trash and eat them. I didn’t get to wash them first or anything.
I am really lucky to be a somewhat normal functioning adult when it comes to food.”
“I’m Glad I Don’t Live At My Parent’s House Anymore”
“My dad always had an extreme rule regarding waking up early in the morning. Regardless of if there were chores to be done or just menial tasks, I had to wake up to complete them. My feet had to be on the floor and ready to go at seven in the morning every Saturday. My sister and mother were allowed to sleep until noon, though! My dad would come poking his head into my room every weekend to make sure I was already awake. Mind you, I couldn’t simply wake up this early. I had to be fully dressed and ready to work. Usually, there would be some tasks my dad had planned such as yard work or cleaning the cars. Sometimes, there wasn’t anything to do, but I still couldn’t go back to sleep.
I am so glad I don’t live at my parent’s house anymore.”
“I Didn’t Make Meaningful Relationships Until College”
“When I was growing up, I wasn’t allowed to have any friends. My parents went through their lives dealing with some pretty unsavory people, and in their adulthood, they were sick of meeting new people.
I remembered my dad telling me, ‘Everyone is out to get you. People are untrustworthy, and all you need is a house and your immediate family.’
As a result, I was told from day one the friends I made at school were constantly plotting against me and weren’t worth my time. I didn’t go to any birthday parties, didn’t hang out with anyone, and wasn’t allowed to have people over.
I didn’t make any meaningful relationships until I got to college. I understand some people are crummy, but sheltering me from the world wasn’t the right thing to do.”
The Pajama Problem
“My mom hated when my siblings and I wore pajamas.
She believed pajamas were only acceptable when we were about to go to sleep, currently in bed, or briefly out of bed to use the bathroom. Otherwise, she would yell at us to get dressed in ‘real clothes.’ We even had to be fully dressed while watching the morning cartoons, opening holiday gifts, and when we were at home sick.
Recently, I asked my mom why she did this.
She responded, ‘I honestly can’t remember why it made me so angry. I think it came from when I grew up in an old farmhouse. The house didn’t have insulation, only a single wood stove for heat. I had to be fully dressed under my blankets so I wouldn’t freeze.’
Her explanation made sense, but why she enforced the rule, I will never understand.”
“It Was A Major Invasion Of Privacy”
“When I was growing up, I wasn’t allowed to have a door in my bedroom. I never did anything wrong, went anywhere, or spent time at my friend’s houses. My parents thought I was untrustworthy, so I couldn’t have a door. As a teenager, I felt like this was a major invasion of privacy. Eventually, I was allowed to put a curtain up when I was sixteen, but my parents weren’t thrilled.
Also, ‘toilet humor,’ was expressly forbidden. Anything that happened in the bathroom was considered unfit for conversation according to my parents.”
A Hairy Situation
“My parents were super strict about my hair. I wasn’t allowed to cut or dye my hair how I wanted. I did it once, admittedly behind my parent’s backs. When they found out, they screamed at me for hours about how disrespectful I was. My dad slammed every door in the house out of anger. I barely did anything ‘crazy’ to my hair. Originally, my hair was about to my chest, and I cut it chin length. I also dyed it from brown to black.
To this day, I still don’t understand why they cared so much about my hair.”
The Kitchen Controversy
“My parents were super strict about finishing my food.
They never let me serve myself, and I suppose they weren’t smart enough to give me smaller portions at a time. There were nights when I simply couldn’t finish my plate, and they wouldn’t let me leave the table until I did. I would pull chairs together, line them up, and go to sleep on them instead.
Having parents with control issues is awesome.”
“Maybe My Mother Was On To Something”
“My parents didn’t allow me to watch cartoons. My mother had this idea that if all children watched the same cartoons, they would all act like ‘braindead children.’ She also detested parents who would just put their kids in front of a television instead of interacting with them.
Nowadays, I watch classic children’s cartoons with my partner. I am astounded by the messages that are taught in these shows.
Maybe my mother was on to something with her crazy rules.”
“The Rule Still Doesn’t Make Sense”
“I wasn’t allowed to watch television scenes where people were kissing, but violent television shows were perfectly fine. At eight years old, I couldn’t watch somebody express love to another person, but I could watch shows like Law and Order and Saw.
I am twenty-one years old now, and the rule still doesn’t make sense to me. I was a child watching the goriest shows imaginable, but a kiss is where my parents drew the line.”