Some parents have chosen fascinating methods of parenting their kids that have really stuck through adulthood.
The Classiest Redneck In Town
“Before I was totally competent swimming by myself, my mom would put a life jacket on me, tie a long piece of nylon rope to it, and chuck me in the river. She’d basically swim me on a leash down the river for fun.
Mom, you are the classiest redneck.”
The Kids Would Eat Cows That Had Been Named After Them
“Every Sunday my dad would take me to my grandparent’s house for lunch with his siblings and their kids. I spent a lot of time around my extended family and never realized any of these occurrences were weird.
-My grandad raised cattle and would name them after his grandkids. He would then slaughter and feed them to us. He made sure to tell us which of my cousins we were eating that day.
-My uncle would tie us to trees by the road and steal our shoes. We always thought it was a lot of fun, but looking back it’s a little concerning that no one ever stopped and helped us.”
A Special Christmas Fight
“Our favorite part of Christmas was the ‘beatin sticks’.
We’d take the empty wrapping paper rolls and wrap them top to bottom with duct tape. Then we’d have a family battle royal until all of the beatin sticks had deteriorated and fallen apart.
Growing up, I always found it odd that other families threw out their beatin sticks instead of using them for their intended purpose.”
They Knew More About Finances At 12 Than I Do Now
“Taught my brother and I how to pay bills when we were of middle school age.
When my parents played house with us, instead of limiting it to the fun stuff like cooking like most parents did: my parents typed up pay stubs, bills, and printed checkbook registers as part of “playing house.” Also made us practice writing checks.
I didn’t know it was weird until I grew up and talked with a few of my friends about adult responsibilities. When I said that I knew how to balance a checkbook since middle school they all looked at me like I had 7 eyes.
Even though it was weird I’m kind of glad they did it. Made me much more prepared for adult responsibilities than most people my age were.”
“We would have sock wars. It would start by a basket of clean folded socks being left out in the living room. My brother would usually instigate it with my step dad. Typically it was usually an hour war of hiding around the house and having an artillery of socks hidden and bombing each other with them. It usually ended with my mom coming home and getting pissed that all the clean socks are gone.”
The Double Life Of Drug-Dealing Parents
“When we had ‘the talk’ it wasn’t about the birds and the bees . . . instead, my mother sat me down one day just before the start of sixth grade (around age 11) and had a very serious talk with me about search warrants and police jurisdiction. I was given specific instructions on what to do if the police ever knocked on the door, and also taught strategies on how to stall the police. I was never told why this was necessary. I didn’t really think much about it until I got a few years older and started coming across pounds of drugs hidden around the house and well, let’s just say A LOT of weird shit from my childhood suddenly started making sense.
-Why my parents had so many friends who would only visit for five minutes, and sometimes wouldn’t visit at all, but would only thrust $100 bills into my hands and tell me to give it to my parents.
-Why my mom made frequent ten-minute trips to her friend’s house and I had to wait in the car. One time after visiting this friend, my mom randomly revealed to me that the friend had a wall safe and told me where it was.
-How my mom was able to make thousands of dollars a week ‘cleaning houses’ -she really did clean houses, but only two -the houses of an extremely rich attorney and her boyfriend who was a circuit clerk judge.
-Why my parents were constantly paranoid and obsessed with maintaining appearances. Church, sports, family vacations to places like Disney and the Grand Canyon, tupperware parties . . .On the surface, everything always had to look ‘perfect’ and I used to get so frustrated at how “fake” everything was. That was before I knew the truth.”
The Hanukkah March
Growing up, we used to spend every Hanukkah at my dad’s parent’s house. They lived in the same town as we did and my mom’s parents lived overseas until I was a teenager. The same was true for my dad’s brother’s family — they lived either in the same town or a few towns over, while his wife’s parents lived overseas. So it made sense that we’d spend most of the nights together. All together, there were six kids celebrating Channukah a few nights each year.
My family had a tradition of marching around the house after lighting Hannukah candles. If you know the basic story of Chanukah, it makes sense — it’s the story of a military triumph, so doing militaristic type of things is a sensible way to make the holiday. And besides, I didn’t know anything different. When we celebrated with my mom’s side of the family — my cousins were also in the same town — we also marched, but in retrospect that’s probably because I’m the oldest of all those kids and that’s what I ‘knew’ to do.
After I got married and had my first kid, we started celebrating Channuka at my parents’ house instead. (My grandparents had already passed.) I was the first of my siblings to get married and have kids, so it was basically my immediate family — parents, siblings, wife, child — and my in-laws, as my wife has no siblings. We continued on with the tradition, and my wife, who grew up in a less observant household than I did and in a smaller family, just kind of participated in our traditions without explanation.
A few years later, and now me with multiple kids who — as now — were old enough to know to march, we had some family friends over for one night of the holiday. My kids start marching right after the candles are lit and the other families’ kids are standing there at a total loss as to what happened.
Only then did I realize that this was a family tradition and not part of the holiday’s typical rituals.”
30 Minutes Extra TV? That’ll Be 10€
“We would have a bunch of weird stuff going on, the first thing comes to my mind is The Credit System. It simply meant that by doing tasks around the house, keeping my room clean, following our cleaning schedule (it was divided between me and my older brother and we had a long list of stuff that needed to be done every other week pulled together by my engineer-minded old man), taking dogs out, helping with painting the house or chopping wood etc. we would earn credits worth either 5€ or 10€.
We could also in case of different, longer term jobs agree on a fixed price and we would always do a written agreement. (Before taking this approach, dad got me painting him some wooden planks for several hours to only tell me that he’s not paying me anything, because ‘if you don’t agree, something on paper, the job is worth nothing’)
The task (short description) and payout would be filled in a personal notebook and used, when needed. We could either withdraw the credits as cash (this was possible only on Sundays however, so needed to always think forward regards how much will I need) or spend it to some ‘luxuries’ at home. Like being able to use the computer extra 30 minutes or watch TV earlier than 6PM.
The credit system worked pretty awesomely until I was around 11 or 12 years old. So several years – I think I earned the first credit at 7 yo. Then it kind of started fading as I got my own computer and a bank account and my parents weren’t really able to monitor anymore how many minutes my brother or I were spending with our devices.
It wasn’t until my late teens that I realised that not every family has systems like this and most kids would just get a small weekly compensation. That made me feel weird as I had been used to the thought of having to put into some effort for the cash.
A great lesson amongst many I am grateful for.”
Dads Dinnertime Book Club
“My dad would read books aloud at the dinner table. From when I was age 0 – 10, (my brothers are older, and so he did it for them while I was still a baby) He would finish his meal really fast, and then while the kids were eating, he’d read some book to us. And these were never books intended for little kids, but HIS favorite books. We read Lord of the Rings, all 7 Narnia books, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Wizards of Earthsea, Citizen of the Galaxy, Count of Monte Cristo, I Robot, etc.”
His Lifelong Habit Of Grabbing The Freshest Looking Toothbrush
“So, there were too many kids in my family for all of us to keep track of our own toothbrush. My mom tried labeling them or color-coding a few times, but the lifelong habit of just grabbing the freshest-looking toothbrush and using it was too deeply ingrained, so it stuck. She later explained that she figured we’d probably all get sick when one got sick anyway, and she had a theory it was good for our immune systems. Eventually, we kids realized this isn’t how all families manage their dental hygiene, but probably not til college.
Fastforward to present day. The first time my brother brought his girlfriend home to meet the family, everyone was home for the holidays. She woke up on Morning #1 and pulled him aside to see if he had any extra toothbrushes – she said she thought someone had gotten mixed up and used hers by accident after she left it in the bathroom. He had to explain to her that it isn’t safe to leave your toothbrush in the bathroom at our house – especially if it’s the freshest-looking one. I don’t think she ever looked at us the same and I can’t blame her.
There’s way more where this tidbit came from as you may expect. I still don’t know how many other families eat roadkill…. that they swerved towards and backed over ON PURPOSE, on a regular basis.”
A 12 Year Old Survivorman And Gun Expert
“I knew how to disassemble and clean most weapons by the time I was 12.
Everything from ARs to Sks, SAA’s, to the semi Ak-47 style Not a true ak because tax stamps are annoying and Fully Autos are a waste of ammo and money. But basically most common firearms.
I learned to trap, make fire without anything, how to navigate with a compass and very basic cartography.
And yes it only got worse when Survivorman started airing when I was around 15. That’s when I started getting interested in edible plants for areas that I would be likely to visit. Shoutout to Cattails being the most versatile plant ever.
My dad thought the shit was gonna hit the fan and trained me to be able to survive. The Red Scare was no joke. I know I’m not the only kid that was raised in a similar way.
But it was soooo much fun!
Side Story he use to hold me over the railing of the stairs. As a child me laughing and crying sounded exactly the same. It wasn’t until many years later that he found out it actually scared the holy hell out of me. Haha good times.”
Everyone Has To Feed The Birthday Boy!
“So this is incredibly common in Indian families but as a kid in the US I didn’t get why all my white friends didn’t have funny cake-feeding stories.
When it’s someone’s birthday, we don’t just sing happy birthday, blow candles, eat and relax. The birthday child sits in a chair with a slice of cake in front of him/her, and every single family member in the house takes turns feeding that birthday child a bite of cake. While this bite of cake is being fed, all the adults around take out their camera and take pictures of the magical moment when the birthday child chomps down on the piece of cake being fed to them.
It’s such a big deal that a picture of the EXACT MOMENT the child bit down is taken that it ends up that the feeder of cake just awkwardly holds a fork of cake outside a kid’s gaping mouth while everyone snaps as many pics as possible. Oh, and there’s always one family member who thinks they’re funny and inside of feeding the birthday person, just flips the plate of cake into their face and makes sure they’re as filthy as possible.
I don’t plan on ending this strange tradition.”
Forget Fairy Tales — This Mother Told Her Kids Real Horror Stories
“You know how parents tell their kids bedtime stories? Me and my sister badgered my mother to tell us bedtime stories when she didn’t want to.
So, she told us the classic bedtime stories, but with their own twist. She had this massive book of fairy tales that she’d.. add special themes into. Slavery, genocide, persecution… we were introduced to these difficult adult themes through bedtime stories. There’s no real record of her versions because she pretty much just improvised, which is a shame because some of them were really good. Wee Willy Winky, the boy who personified sleep in the classic scottish nursery rhyme, was portrayed as a misanthropic demon who would kidnap and enslave kids who weren’t asleep before 10PM.
We asked her about it some time back. I had this theory that my mother was subconsciously teaching us about the horrors that she witnessed as a child growing up in a warzone. Like, the Wee Willie Winky story above? Maybe it represented how, when my mother was a child, her uncle was caught by the government forces outside of his home during curfew and was never heard of again.
Turns out she just wanted us to stop bugging her for bedtime stories so she tried to scare us away from asking about them. It was kind of a bummer.”
Made To Feel Left Out When Grounded
“When I was younger there was no ‘being grounded’ in our house, if I did something wrong I had to sit on the steps where I had a perfect view of my siblings having fun. Now that I think about it I’m pretty sure my parents told them to be more playful when someone was in trouble so that they felt like they were missing out. I really don’t know whether my parents told us to be more playful when one of us were on the steps because I was the main trouble maker, but they certainly would encourage play by saying ‘Alright you guys can ride the Razor scooters inside for a little bit”‘THAT’S NEVER A THING WHEN I’M NOT ON THESE STEPS.”
“My parents were part of a cult known as ‘Family Radio’, and they gave them buckets of money. It wasn’t until 2011 that I realized this was a cult when the leader “Harold Camping” convinced millions of people that the world would be ending and that they should sell all their property and travel in an RV group to tell the world of the end. My parents called me the night of “The end” and screamed and pleaded with me to come over to their house and spend our last hours on earth together. The next day my parents were entirely different people, and don’t attend church anymore.
Basically…My parents were cultist until the cult was proved wrong, then they became normal people overnight.
If anyone is interested…. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Camping“
It’s Like Her Family Is A Musical
“My family (immediate and extended) often bursts into song at random moments. And we harmonize perfectly and do spontaneous solos like we’re a fucking boy band or something. They are all really religious, so it’s usually Jesus songs, but it happens with Christmas songs a lot too. I honestly had no idea it was weird until my boyfriend came with us on some kind of fairly long drive and my sisters and I burst into a rendition of ‘Daddy was a Preacher.’ The look of confusion and horror on his face was really unexpected and hilarious. He told me later at home that he thought that was a thing that only happens in cheesy movies. It still freaks him out when it happens, even though he’s been around it for 3 years. I’m still not convinced it’s super weird, but I don’t know haha.”
His Parents Brought Them Up Living Off The Land, Literally
“Tried to recreate Walden. Growing up I thought it was normal that my parents had chosen a heavily-wooded lot in the middle of nowhere (at that time) and had bought house plans and had the house built (and helped build part of it themselves.) We grew most of our own food, spent lots of time canning it in the fall for use in the winter. Dad cut down, chopped, and burned all our own wood to heat the house. We did as many of our own installations and repairs on the house as we could ourselves, including dad learning plumbing, electrical, and even making his own furniture. While mom taught history as our primary income, dad became a beekeeper to produce and sell honey, and mom sewed some of our clothes and kept the store-bought ones in repair. We listened to only classical music and the walls were full of bookcases with the classics (Homer, Ovid, Socrates) as well as books about survivalism (the entire FoxFire series, how to build a yurt) and books on birding and flower identification. We had no TV until I was a teenager and even then we stuck mostly to watching PBS.
Only when I went off to college was I able to experience how other people lived and then look at my upbringing and realize ‘That…wasn’t entirely normal.’
No regrets, mind you. Except that I didn’t appreciate and realize what I was experiencing as I was experiencing it.”
A Cow Named Fireball Meets An Unfortunate End
“My dad raised cattle for beef when I was growing up, as a hobby rather than a real profession. They were black brangus cows, so when a calf was born that was completely orange it was a bit strange. Occasionally calves would be born with a red tint that would soon go away, but this calf stayed orange-red into adulthood. As with anything different, my brother and I took a special interest in the cow, and decided that specific one would be our pet, and we named it fireball. We hand fed fireball most days (some days we’d just be lazy) and basically treated it like a big dog in a fence. About a year or so later, fireball went missing. After eating burgers one night, our father explained to my brother and I that he’d had the cow slaughtered, and we needed to understand that those animals were not our friends, but instead a resource to harness. While this is a sad reality in most places, and I understand the lesson he was trying to convey, it was a pretty mind-fucking way of teaching it. You’d think he would have just tried to stop us from taking a special interest in the cow or something.”
I Didn’t Know You Could Hide So Much ‘Stuff’ In A Frisbee
“Not really weird per se, but there is a story that comes to mind that I didn’t understand until much later in life.
When I was a little kid in the early `80s (six/seven), before my parents divorced, they used to keep an upside-down Frisbee under the living room couch that I was forbidden to touch. Well, one afternoon while I was at home with the babysitter, my dad comes home from work to find me in the backyard playing with that frisbee and he freaked out.
Turns out they kept their drugs in the frisbee, and being a kid I didn’t know what all the greenery was so I just dumped it out in the yard before playing with the frisbee, thinking it was grass clippings or something. Wow, from all the responses I’m getting it’s becoming increasingly apparent that stashing your pot on an upside-down frisbee was a popular thing for some reason. I guess my parents weren’t that weird.”