Rewind back to your childhood for a moment and remember all the rules you had to follow. Some of them were meant to keep you safe, some were to keep order in the house, and some were plain outrageous.
Many of us could probably swap stories about the ways we got into trouble for breaking the rules but getting punished for an odd or cruel rule is a memory you’re carrying for life. In many cases, you can probably look back and laugh at the complete ridiculousness of your quirky upbringing.
Parents, stepparents, and grandparents have all played a role in “laying down the law” for kids since the beginning of time, but we urge you to compare notes when you read the stories below.
Gathered from the anonymous and colorful threads of Reddit, here is a list of some of the strictest, weirdest, and dumbest rules people grew up following or breaking.
My mom was paranoid everyone and everything was a kidnapper. She hated the mailman on our route. So, when I was young, 3, 4 years old, my mom told me it was illegal to be outside when the mail came. Around 11:15 every day I’d see that truck coming. I’d high tail it inside the house, terrified I would be spotted.
Fast forward 30 years. I still genuinely feel a tinge of panic in the smallest recesses of the back of my brain when I see the mailman arrive. Only now it’s overpowered by the excitement of my latest Amazon package I really don’t need.
Limited Dinner Options
If you didn’t instantly say what you wanted to eat my father would cook onions and garlic. He didn’t like people wasting his time.
I was raised religious and my mom invented a concept called microsinning. Home by 11; make it home at 10:50 punished because it was too close to 11 and you’re being defiant.
French Fry Rage
My parents were all over the place with strictness. When I was old enough to drive, my younger sister and I would drive to McDonald’s, just a few miles away.
My parents would admonish us “Whatever you do, do NOT eat french fries in the car!!!!”. Invariably, we would get home, they would run out, open the car doors, sniff, and start screaming at us for eating french fries in the car. We never did.
My mom wouldn’t let me open a new milk without her permission or open anything really without it. Like we would have an extra milk in the garage fridge and I would use the rest of the milk inside. Instead of a normal household where you could just get more I had to call her and ask. So that meant if she didn’t pick up then I would have to wait for her to call back.
The first time I realized this wasn’t normal is when I friend went to open a new gallon of milk and I got super anxious and was like, “dude you have to call your mom right now or she’ll freak out.” She was like “umm… my mom will be okay if I need a glass of milk.” It suddenly clicked that my mom was a control freak.
No Wild Thoughts
Some parents are really weird. My husband wasn’t allowed to say “frigging” or “gosh” or “fudge” or “goodness” or “sugar” or even “oh fiddlesticks!” because it meant he was thinking a swear word and it’s “the thought that counts.”
Not our house, but in my grandma’s house: no whistling. If you whistled, you were calling for the Devil to come.
My dad wouldn’t let me use straws because he said it could cut through my tongue or cheek like a hole punch. He also got mad at me when I said, “What the…?” when I was eleven. Didn’t even finish with anything, just “what the.”
Shh. . . .
We had to be quiet when we drove through Chicago because “Oprah was filming there.” I’m guessing it was because I was being too noisy or my parents were trying to concentrate on the directions, but I can’t believe I bought into that for years.
Play By the Rules
We had to ask before we started playing with a new toy. And we didn’t usually get to play with more than one type of toy at a time. (For example, we couldn’t play with Legos and Barbies at the same time.)
No Coupling Up
No “Ken” dolls (or any male Barbie-type doll). Because that was immoral. I got news for you, mum and dad: all our Barbies married our stuffed animals. Because, you know, bestiality is soooo much better.
There were many strict rules that are much worse than these, but we didn’t want to highlight that cruelty. As a result, we’re quite sure that it’s impacted the parenting styles of these anonymous posters. You too, perhaps?
Let us know some of the craziest rules you were made to follow and if you ever rebelled. What was your punishment for breaking the weird rule(s)? Do you have strict or oddball rules for your family?