People Raised By Strict Parents Share The Insane Rules They Had To Follow

People Raised By Strict Parents Share The Insane Rules They Had To Follow

When you're a kid, you assume that the way your household works is how every other household works. You often blindly believe that because your parents have restrictions and rules, that all other kids your age must be following the same ones as well. And although you may not agree with the rules, you have no choice but to oblige.

It's only once you get older that you realize the reasoning for some of these parental guidelines may not be, well, reasonable. There are some cases where maturity brings uncomfortable realizations about your parents. In the case of the following people, that realization was that their parents were insanely strict.

Read on to hear some of the craziest rules people around the world have had to follow when growing up.


71. No Locks In This House

Pretty tame, I guess, but I wasn't allowed to lock my bedroom door. My mom's reasoning was "anything you have to lock the door for is something you shouldn't be doing". Bathroom door locks are A-OK. Not bedrooms. She also had a habit of just coming into my room randomly to try to catch me doing something. I was a shut in nerdy 13 year old playing RuneScape and watching anime. Clearly the poster child for felonious behavior.

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70. Christmas Is Canceled

I was not allowed to talk to boys. One Christmas Eve Day, I was doing last minute shopping in the downtown of our little town. I ran into two male friends from my German class and we talked for several minutes and wished each other a Merry Christmas. I was fifteen at the time. My older sister drove by and saw me, told my parents I was "hanging out with boys." When I walked in the house both my parents were waiting and the yelling began. Some Christmas Eve.

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69. No Being Cool

No trends, or 'passing fads'. Pokemon, banned. Barbies, banned. Beanie babies, banned. Playstation/Gameboys? Banned. Anything particularly fashionable, or popular regardless of actual merit was met with derision and we'd be mocked for even suggesting interest. We were achingly frumpy kids with interests and cultural references (or lack thereof) that isolated us from our peers and they wondered why each of us were bullied.

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68. Keep It Down

Dad was a narcissist... Biggest rule in the house was not to make any noise around him. If he was home the whole house got quiet and tense. Even my mom used to eat her cereal in the bedroom because she'd get in trouble for chewing crunchy food. Now she's long rid of him and married to a way better guy, but she still apologizes for eating crackers.



67. A Hairy Situation

I have too many to name growing up in an Asian household but the one that was the most embarrassing was I was not allowed to shave my legs or armpits and I hit puberty at an early age. So I had really hairy armpits and legs and was forced to wear shorts to gym class. I was so embarrassed about my legs that I would wear shorts with opaque pantyhose which just made the whole situation worse and was the butt of many jokes in middle school. My mom has apologized thousands of times since, but it still brings back crappy memories.


66. It's Only Rock N' Roll

We could not listen to music with guitars in it. I will never forget the day my brother was listening to Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and my father took the radio and threw it through the window. Spent my childhood listening to Richard Marx and Michael Bolton. Thanks dad.

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65. Wardrobe Malfunction

I was called at a friend's house at 11 PM at night because I left 2 T-Shirts slung over the chair in my room vs. hanging them in my closet. I had to go back to my house and then I was grounded for a week. Upon getting home, my mother had gone through my entire room and tossed every item out of my dresser. She claimed they were messily put in the dresser.... Fun stuff.

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64. A Thorough Dressing Down

I was/am not allowed to do the following: use the washing machine, wash the dishes, pull the weeds, vacuum outside of my room, I must ask to use the vacuum, I can't cook a meal, I can't have the remote, I get instructed on how to use the microwave that I've been using for years and if I ask where we are going I get told "out" and I have to dress in jeans, a shirt and running shoes no matter how hot because he doesn't like shorts. And no jacket no matter how cold.

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63. The Injustice

My life with my parents is unreasonable. I am 22, have to live with them, go to college, and I can't move out because of my diabetes supplies costing too much. If I get a job while living with them, I get thrown off their insurance plan. I am not allowed to go over and see my friends, invite people over, drive a car, go outside without them except to go to class and they GPS track me, still have a curfew, and they take my stuff away if I don't answer the phone or call them back within 5 minutes if I missed a call (basically not even allowed to take a nap or a crap without their knowing).

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62. No Soap

The list is endless but the one that stood out the most was this:

On weekdays, I was not allowed to go hang with friends, no tv, no video games, all the way until I was 18. When I was about 12 or 13 I was so bored I would go to the living room to watch my mom's soap operas with her, but she literally made me go back into my room and do nothing because the tv said her show was TV-14.

I’m honestly happy I rebelled and as soon as I was 18 and became as social as I am. I feel like a lot of kids that went through the lack of a social circle like I did have some social interaction difficulties.

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61. Gotcha

Well, I pretty much couldn't do anything at all. I wasn't even allowed to put posters on my wall. I'm not sure whether it was to protect the wall or some other silly reason. All I wanted to put up was a cute poster of a cuddly seal. So I ended up sticking it behind my door.

My dad once told me that he was going to 'ground' me due to my poor performance in school. So I simply responded with, 'go ahead, ground me. It's not like I go anywhere anyway.' His dead silence after that was an acknowledgement that he knew I had a point there.

My radio was taken away during exams. Because I had to 'concentrate'. THE RADIO HELPED ME CONCENTRATE.

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60. Paying To Play

I had to write essays on tv shows that I wanted to watch, in order to have them unblocked by the parental controls. I remember writing a riveting piece on the educational and cultural benefit of Disney's That's So Raven. Also, I wasn't allowed to watch PG-13 movies, even after turning 13.

Wasn't allowed to rest my head on my hand with my elbow on any table while there was also food on that table.

If my parents found out I was going too fast in my car (small town, so other parents would snitch on me pretty regularly for going 10 over) I had to pay my parents "speeding tickets". Also, they would make me pay for the whole family's phone bill if I texted a boy. By the time I moved out at 17, I had given them well over a grand in punishment money earned at the Sonic Drive-In.

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59. Teenage Rebellion

My mom wouldn't let me listen to any music unless she read the lyrics first and they were deemed acceptable and christian (yeah, that didn't really stop me..) I was not allowed to "walk around town" if I went to a friends house. And my mom would purposely drive through town to check. I have been caught. No phone after 9 PM. No trick or treating. No boys allowed upstairs, even with the door open and with a group. I had to be out of bed and dressed by 9am, even on weekends unless I was very ill.

The nice part is that I am a very independent and adjusted adult who has a wonderful relationship with my mom - now. She tried very hard to make me think about making good choices and raising me the best she knew how and I did NOT like breaking rules and getting in trouble as a kid until most of the rules above started. Then I went wild and really made some bad choices in my teens. Thankfully, nothing I couldn't fix or move on from but I think things could have been different if my mom wasn't so strict.


58. No Cry Babies

You can't cry no matter what happens. If you cry, you get hit. If you hide and cry, you're hit more. However, if my mother wants to cry, it's all okay. And she does that to get all the attention.

One day, I told her I was stressed about something, she started crying and screaming at me for being stressed. Then when I got angry, I got hit. Started crying because couldn't take her crap anymore, got hit more. I'm 19, mind you. My sister is being brought up the same, and I can't do anything about it because mother starts a whole new tantrum if she is told to back off.


57. Spick And Span Stairs

My room was up a narrow flight of stairs into a converted attic space. If I left anything on the stairs, it went into the garage where I had seven days to "earn it back" by doing extra difficult chores in addition to my normal chores. Anything not reclaimed in seven days went in the trash on the next pick up day. And I mean anything. I lost a jacket, a pair of shoes, a bunch of toys, some books. My stepdad didn't want it on the stairs.


56. Death To The Doves

At one point, after having already moved out of my family's home, my father came to the apartment my ex and I were sharing. I had given my family extra keys for emergency reasons. I was at work, and he was at a friend's. When I came home, our doves and pigeons, all of which we had raised from either hatchlings or eggs, had been thrown outside to die. My father doesn't believe in birds being inside the house apparently. We were unable to rescue any of them.



53. Book Ban

I was grounded from the library. I got in trouble for reading a novel in Spanish class and my parents called the local library. They had them add a note to my account baring me from borrowing any books and also told the librarians at my school (who knew me well) to ask me to leave if I came into the school library.


52. Antiquated Ideals

My dad wouldn't let me go to college because that's "not what girls do." He threw away my acceptance letters. I had applied to the local tech school without his knowledge. I found out a couple of years later. He let me party and drink but god forbid I try to better myself. I also wasn't allowed to have a driver's license or have a job. Ever. I moved out at 18 and never listened to him ever again. There was no way I was staying with him until he chose my husband.


51. Microwave Aversion

No one in our family was allowed to eat microwaved food. Even when we went out, we’d get seated and my dad would ask, “Do you microwave your food" If they said yes, we would get up and leave. Mind you, this was 20 years ago before people thought microwaves were a health hazard.


50. Church Dwellers

Attended Church three times on Sunday (9 am, 11 am, and 7 pm) followed by Bible study Tuesday nights and Youth Group Friday nights. I can count on one hand the times I missed attending from birth until I moved out at 17. I haven't been back since.


49. No Knobs

I wasn’t allowed to have a doorknob on my door. Why not just take the whole door? Her reasoning was it would be too easy to spot her spying on me without one. This lasted up until last year (age 26). Spent a few months away from home and realized this was really messed up and my mother was abusive. Moved out the same day I came home and I’ve never been happier.


48. Watch Out For The Walls

My dad is all about cleanliness, despite not really washing his hands. He likes the walls, floor and bathroom to be impeccable. Since I can remember I haven't been allowed to touch any of the walls in our house. He actually gets upset with me and will lecture me on it if he catches my finger grazing a wall. I haven't been comfortable touches walls ever because of this.



47. On Time Or Toast

If we (my brother and I) weren't at the breakfast table by exactly 6:30 am, all we got for breakfast was unbuttered toast. My mom was all about breakfast but she despised tardiness. My brother ate a lot of unbuttered toast growing up.


46. Dry Dinners

I wasn't raised strictly at all, but looking back I realize that not being allowed to have a drink at dinner is kind of weird. At lunch? Fine. At a restaurant? Sure. But regular dinner at home? No drink or you might be too full to eat all of your food. What the heck, mom?


45. Texting Cap

I had unlimited texting on my cell phone plan, but couldn't go over 100 in a month or I was grounded.


44. Strict About Sims

I was not allowed to use the money cheat on Sims growing up because that's not how the "real world" works. I used the cheat once and couldn't explain where all the money I had came from so I was grounded and had Sims taken away.


43. Put A Sock In It

My parents weren't really strict (didn't have to be), but one of the dumbest rules I ever had to endure was I had to wear socks at all times because my step-dad hated me walking around with bare feet. It was only me -- my mom could be barefoot, my younger (half) brother could be barefoot, but I couldn't. To this day I hate wearing socks unless I have shoes on.


42. Hairy Reasoning

No one in the house was allowed to shave or have a razor at all. I could go to a barber or shave at a friend's house but had my PC taken away when I tried at home. I still don't understand my mother's logic behind this one.


41. No Boy Toy

Maybe not so strict, but my mom would always say that I can't use the computer because "computers are for boys" (I'm female). When I wanted a Gameboy she said she won't buy me one because it has "boy" in its name. She would always say that I'll waste my life on computer games and I should be sent for therapy. This year, I finished a degree in Computer Science and I landed a good full-time job in IT.


40. Witchcraft And Wizardry

My grandmother made me write out the encyclopedia entry on witchcraft when she found out I had read the first four Harry Potter books.


39. Father Of Time

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.


38. Donut Tell Me How To Eat

My parents were super laid back but my mother's stepdad, Larry, could be a huge jerk. She told me that one morning, as a kid, she was given a chocolate covered donut and, as a kid will do, decided to start nibbling off the chocolate. Larry decided this angered him, and asked her promptly to stop eating the donut like that. "Oh just let her eat the donut how she wants," said mom's mom, washing dishes. Kid (my mother) continues to eat chocolate around the edges. Larry then shoots up shouting, "KNOCK THAT OFF" and pitches his morning cup of coffee across the kitchen where it explodes on the wall next to mom's mom. I'm thankful that Larry was not in my mother's life for long.


37. Room Restrictions

I wasn't allowed to leave my room. I could go to the bathroom or kitchen but I better have a reason to be there.


36. Contractually Bound

My stepdad typed up and printed a five page list of rules. He made me print, sign, and date the last page.
I was to be held accountable and if any rules were broken I had to move out. I wasn’t a bad kid. The whole thing was to establish his dominance over me.


35. Bracing For Breakfast

I couldn't brush my teeth after breakfast on school mornings. I had braces, and my mom wouldn't let me brush my teeth after breakfast in fear of us being late for school. In order to compensate, I offered to make my own breakfast earlier in the morning, so I could get all the gunk out of my braces after eating. However, when I made my breakfast the next morning she revoked my "ride to school privilege." Had to ride my bike to school every day from then on (luckily my school wasn't a long ride, but rainy days sucked). It was my punishment for being disobedient.


34. Take A Lap

I wasn't allowed to swim in public swimming pools because I would catch AIDS. When my PE class would go to the pool one week a year, I had to walk laps around the pool because I couldn't participate.


33. Malicious Mailman

My mom was paranoid everyone and everything was a kidnapper. She hated the mailman on our route. So, when I was young, three or four 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.


32. The Lockout

If I farted, it was hours -- hours outside, even in the freezing winter. One day, I collapsed in the cold and was taken away from my mum after I was hospitalized three hours after collapsing; I then lived with my grandparents for the rest of my childhood and legally was not allowed to see my mum until I was 18. Guess it counted as child abuse.


31. Bless You

My parents were horrible parents in general but the most bizarre rule that my siblings and I put up with was that we weren't allowed to sneeze multiple times in a row. One sneeze? Fine. Another sneeze after some arbitrary number of minutes later? No problem. Two sneezes in a row? You get yelled at for being unhygienic (even if you covered your nose/mouth properly) and for having no manners. God forbid if you sneezed thrice or more in a row... I have seasonal allergies and one time my dad was in a particularly bad mood and caught me in a sneezing fit. He grounded me for a week.


30. Crazy Way To Clean

One of my chores was cleaning the bathroom every Saturday morning. I wasn't allowed to use toilet bowl cleaner and a brush though. I could only use wadded up toilet paper. Not even paper towels, just toilet paper which of course disintegrates immediately when wet and has no scrubbing capabilities at all.


29. Ruining Writing

I think I was a half decent writer (for a child) and was asked to read a poem I wrote for some project at a school assembly. My dad decided to capitalize on this by making me write something as punishment any time I did anything he didn't like. Say I hate something? Write me a page describing how much you like it. Bug my sister? Write her a poem about how much you love her. Break something? Write a story about why it's broken. Better be sure your grammar and spelling is perfect, and he likes it, or you'll do it again. Thanks for ruining writing for me, dad.


28. No Going Back

During dinner, you could not take seconds of anything. You had to take everything you wanted to eat and put it on your plate at once. Forgot to take something? Too bad. No going back. I guess you missed out. Maybe you’ll get some tomorrow for leftovers.


27. Nine Or Never

I wasn't allowed to come home after 9 pm. If I was going to be out past 9 pm, I wasn't supposed to come home at all. This, of course, led to plenty of "staying at a friend's house" and partying all night. Mom didn't care -- she wasn't going to have me waking her up by coming home late.


26. Keeping Plastic In Place

When my dad was driving the car there were a lot of rules but the weirdest one I can remember is that I wasn't allowed to move plastic bags around because they were "too loud." If I had to get something out of a bag and he was driving he'd always ask in a loud voice, "what are you doing?" I don't know, maybe getting the CD you asked for out of the bag.


25. Music Scanner

They had to listen to every CD I bought or was given before I was allowed to have it. If they didn't get around to it sometimes I waited months for my music that I bought with my own money. They believe that music causes evil spirits to enter you and make you do evil things (like girls wearing pants and dating) if you listen to "wrong" music. Well, to be fair they think everything is demons.


24. Toy Execution

Put all your toys away. That's a normal rule. But if I left my toys out, my mom would hang them by a string or yarn from the ceiling. She put the yarn on a nail or stable in the ceiling. And there my teddy bear and dolls would be... out of reach where I couldn't play with them, but I could see them, hanging from the ceiling.

Also, if I did the dishes and there was any grease on any of them, they all had to be re-done. Mom would check for grease. My sister and I had chores, but not normal chores (we found that out later in life.) We alternated weeks of taking care of the kitchen, bath, floors, laundry, etc. So one week was my week to do all of the chores, and the next week it was my sister's week to do all of the chores. Then it would be my week again.

When describing that I cooked, cleaned, did dishes, laundry, floors, cleaned the bathroom, folks who knew my mom was a stay at home mom would ask, "What did your mom do?" Good question. When you have strict parents, you tend not to ask those questions.


23. Beaten Over Bubbles

I got my butt beat like three times in a row because my brother wouldn't tell them that he was the one that put the bubbles in the bathtub water. I kept telling them each time that it was him and was ignored. They would hit me with the belt 10 times then my brother. They had hit me and him with the belt around 30-40 times before my brother finally confessed. Who the heck hits kids because one of them made a bubble bath? My brother was probably 10, I was around six.


22. Games Over Gangs

They tried to stop me from playing video games because "it is worse than being in a gang." Ironically, Warcraft 3 made me rush home every day from school to finish work and get some games. This kept me from hanging around a really bad crowd in class. Last I heard, three of them were sentenced for trafficking.


21. Remote Supervision

Apparently, I have to notify my mom when and where I go out to dinner with my boyfriend. I'm 20 years old, living at college, and I've been with him for over five years. I've also gotten yelled at for breathing too loud and also for speaking Spanish in front of her?


20. Tough Tan Lines

I'm female. I wasn't allowed to wear tank tops until I was 15. Mad farmer tan until then.


19. Kitchen Hours

I will mention my wife's mother. Literally, the kitchen was run like a military mess. The kitchen is 'open'; the kitchen is 'closed'. One soda a day. One little glass of orange juice at breakfast. One glass for drinking water. When you go toward the kitchen in our home, you can feel my wife's eyes on you. It is very common to hear, "Use the other glass. Don't open that. Why are you so messy?" etc. Due to Seinfeld, I call her the 'Kitchen Nazi'. It makes her mad as heck, but stupid is as stupid does.


18. Application Date

My parents were super strict (at least for me and my sister). We couldn’t date until high school, which I had no problem with. Mostly because I wore big glasses and had braces in middle school and was super into sports. But once I got contacts and the braces came off, suddenly guys became interested.

Anyway. If any boy wanted to go out with me, he had to fill out an application. Name, address, parents' names, where they work (parents and kid), SSN, after-school activities, criminal record, which of my older brothers they knew (my dad also listed my brothers' sports and misc. accomplishments), etc. It’s worth mentioning that my dad was a lawyer. It sounds like a joke, but he was super serious about it. Each kid that asked me out got their own file. It was so embarrassing.

Of course, my brothers didn’t have to do that. Good old double standards.


17. Scared About Social Security Number

I wasn't allowed to hold a real job while I was in high school. Babysitting was fine, but nothing that would require a social security number. Why, you ask? Because my mother was convinced that my grandparents would disown her and leave me "everything" if I had a social security number. She was also the kind that literally searched my back-pack every day after school and grilled me for hours about everything I did and everyone I spoke with.


16. Hurting His Homework

Under my stepdad's orders, I had to be home by 6 pm every school night, and from 6-9 pm I wasn't allowed to use any electronics that could connect to the internet. I could listen to music on my iPod nano, but that was it. This time was originally meant for homework purposes, but since I graduated high school in 2014, a good majority of my homework was online. Still couldn't use any computers or iPods with an internet connection. I barely got any homework done after extracurriculars and time spent with friends to keep my sanity.

Since I got no homework done, some grades dropped below C, so I wasn't allowed to use the internet after 9 pm either. So, I had to either come straight home and do my homework and skip play/musical/film club/book club/art club/friend time, or fail and have nothing to do but read the same books in my room from 6 pm until the next morning. I tried to confront my mom and stepdad about this but every time, they said I had no respect, and they're just doing what they thought was right, even when I tried to explain to them that their system didn't work.

Because of this, I still have a grudge against both of them. They're not in an abusive relationship, so it's not like he brainwashed her into mega-controlling me. But, it's more like she took his side in every single argument and never stood up for her own daughter even when I was making perfect sense.


15. Short-Sighted Parenting

I'm a girl. My mom wouldn't let me wear shorts that were shorter than above knee length. I remember how embarrassing it was on spring break when long shorts were all I had to wear and even my friend's parents were wearing shorter shorts than me.

Once when I was at the mall with my friends,I bought some normal sized shorts. I put it on with a tank top and asked my mom if I could go to the movies. She told me I looked like a street walker. I was 12.

When I was even younger, around eight, I got a dress from Limited Too that I loved. I wanted to wear it to church. While I was in the car my mom started yelling at me about how it was too short and I was embarrassing and how we'd have to turn around and she'd make me change. It made me cry. My dad stood up for me and told her it was only a dress and to stop being so mean.

So fast-forward to several years when we were looking at old family photos. I saw my mom wearing extremely short jean shorts herself when we were babies!

Ever since I got my own car and could buy my own clothes I wear extremely tight. Short shorts and tank tops. Screw you mom, you're the only one who cared what I wore, you body shaming witch.



14. Fear Of Food Prep

Not me, but my best friend grew up with a very odd rule. I basically lived at her house growing up and we'd always have boxed or frozen dinners and stuff for meals when I was visiting. I never thought about it since I figured her family was too busy to fully prepare a meal from scratch.

Anyway, my friend was over at my apartment after I'd moved away for college. She was 17 and I was 18. I was making soup and needed help chopping the veggies for the soup. So I handed her a knife and a bunch of carrots and asked her to chop them for me. She just stared at me blankly and said, "I don't know how." And I asked, "What do you mean you don't know how?" She shook her head. "My parents never let my sisters and I use knives because they were scared we'd cut our fingers off so I never learned."

It occurred to me the reason why we'd always have boxed food at her house was because her parents were too terrified to teach their kids how to prepare meals from scratch out of fear they'd cut themselves, so this entire family subsisted on frozen pizza and ramen. It was just plain odd.


13. Thirst Trap

My dad was an expert at creative punishments, and usually for bizarre reasons. Once I was at church, and during the service I got thirsty. I left the chapel and got a drink at a fountain in the hallway. On the way back, I ran into two friends and started up a quick conversation.

Two minutes later my dad stormed out, demanding to know why I left. I told him I was thirsty, but since I was talking to friends he decided that I was ditching the church meeting. As my punishment, he made me carry two separate two-liter bottles full of water in a backpack everywhere I went for two months. You know, just in case I got thirsty. And he'd show up unexpectedly to make sure I wasn't cheating and had both bottles full at all times.

Another time I criticized his cooking because he kept serving us spam for dinner. So he decreed that I would only eat spam for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for two months. I also got a multivitamin (to make sure I didn't get scurvy) with breakfast. Lunch at school was a fine home lunch full of cold spam slices. That was pretty rough, and I still get nauseous at the smell of that meat product in a can. I could go on and on.


12. Heartless Parents

I was never allowed to draw hearts. Got beat when I drew one in chalk on my tree house once. My guess is that my immigrant parents correlated hearts with relationships/dating/sex and didn't want their eight-year-old daughter involved in it. Couldn't have hearts on anything, not even clothes or toys.

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11. Who's The Boss

I wasn't allowed to say anything when my father called my name. I was required to immediately stop what I was doing and run to him to find out what he wanted from me, no matter where I was or what I was doing.

This was a trial and error rule that I had to figure out all on my own. I got in trouble for saying what, what do you need, what do you want, do you need anything, did you call me, what's going on, what's up, sir, or anything else. Nothing worked.

He'd get furious and yell/snap something like 'I don't need anything! I am your father and you're supposed to do what I tell you to without questioning me, child! I am. Your. Father.'

Sometimes I think he just wanted to remind me that he was my dad and he was in charge.

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10. Go Down In Flames

My father was very very strict. But the oddest thing that still bugs me to this day, is that he would burn all my things as punishment. And I get it, seeing my Toys and valuables burning sucked, and I probably learned some lessons. But he not only burned toys, he would burn EVERYTHING. Every year or so for school we would go to Meijer and buy me new school clothes and shoes. He would also burn those, like sometimes days after he bought them. At 8 years old I remember now have to buy me more clothes. But that wasn't the point I suppose. He once took me to the palace of auburn hills in Detroit to see the globe trotters one year and during the night he bought me a globe trotters basketball and jersey. We had a fun night. The very next day, I had left something on the floor in my room and his punishment, among other things, was to burn the basketball and jersey he bought for like 150 dollars less than 24 hours earlier. It just never made sense to me. My friends would joke about it all throughout middle and high school.

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9. Tidy Up, Or Else

We couldn't go sledding during the winter - or any other season, obviously - because my mom was a neat freak and didn't want snow slogged into the garage. So, no snow playing of any kind, really. Never built a snowman. Did go sledding when I was an adult. It's pretty great.

All of our clothes in our closet had to be arranged by color, descending in order by shade. So, for example, midnight blue at one end of the blue section, and tarheel blue at the other. There was a system in place for colors, too, so if the yellows were by the purple's, for example, there'd be hell to pay.

No shoes on in the house under any circumstances. Was super uncomfortable when my brother's friend, who had prosethetic legs and always had shoes on, came over and didn't take his shoes off. Mom got really mad and confronted him.

No Legos or puzzles allowed, as they make messes and look like disorder. I love puzzles as an adult. One of my favorite hobbies.


8. Them's The Rules

I was not allowed to wear makeup or shave until 16.

My mom was controlling about food. Everything was kept track of.

I had to be in marching band in order to get my permit.

I had a job, but even if I worked second shift (which I did) and came home at 11, I would have to clear the plates from the table for the dinner that they ate.

If I asked to hang out with a friend in the presence of said friend, the answer was automatically no.

I was only allowed to do things if the friend or their parent was paying for it.

The straw that broke the camels back (and ultimately made me move out at 16) was that I had to live like a boarder. Showers cost five dollars, a load of laundry was $1.00 for washer, $1.00 for dryer. Telephone time cost $.25 per minute.

money-2159310_1920-300x225.jpgImage by Peter Stanic from Pixabay

7. Going Hungry

My mom was insanely controlling about food. Weird rules were in place like "one slice of lunch meat per sandwich." No one but her was allowed to cook. She'd make one giant batch of spaghetti or something and we'd have leftovers for days, so she only had to make dinner twice a week. She did not work or anything, just didn't like cooking every day. Breakfast was cold cereal and you'd only be allowed a small bowl with just enough milk to moisten it. Occasionally she'd bake something she called Corn Toasties which was simply cornbread baked in a sheet pan. She'd cut them into squares and fill the freezer with them and we could have one of those for breakfast as an alternative.

Once when I was fourteen I bought a pack of hot dogs at the store, snuck them home, and lit the grill. I was almost done cooking them when she came out screaming about fire hazards and swatted the plate out of my hand. She had been making spaghetti, what an ungrateful little bastard I was.

So then she orders a pizza for the rest of my family, wraps individual servings of spaghetti in freezer paper, and puts them away. She tells me that I will be eating nothing else until it's all gone. Took about two months to choke it all down. Went without eating a lot of days. I was also grounded for over a year.

But I sure learned a lot about "consequences."


6. The Truth Sessions

I was from a large family and discipline was very strict. If myself or one of my siblings broke one of the major rules, my parents would hold a 'Truth Session'.

All the children would be brought to my Dad's study where the guilty party would be given an opportunity to confess. If nobody came forward, we would be hit in turn in order of ascending age. The eldest four were hit with a sewer rod while, in deference to their age, the youngest ones would get a whack of a bamboo stick.

A sewer rod is basically a four foot long flexible rubber rod, around an inch thick and with a metal cap. It would leave the most remarkable welts. Horrendous things really.

Anyway, this would continue until someone admitted their 'guilt'. At that point they would receive the blows that everyone else had received to that point.

So that was awful. I fully acknowledge that. I'm under no illusions. However, that wasn't the actual unreasonableness. No, the unreasonable part was that the person who 'caused' the Truth Session didn't always receive the accrued punishment owed for having their siblings beaten. Sometimes they could just be let go making their siblings HATE them for causing pain to them. There'd be no explanation. The study door would be opened and we'd all be told to leave. That meant you could be rewarded for holding out and avoiding the punishment you'd definitely get if you admitted it at the beginning.

My parents now tell fun stories about how when I was a child and I'd done something wrong, I'd always begin with, 'let me tell you my story.' 'Haha' they chortle at my childish phrasing while I recall the terror that such an approach was meant to stave off.


5. It Still Burns

Had to pay .05 every time we went in or out the door during summer.

Not allowed to drink any sodas or eat any of the junk food in the house because we didn't buy it. All labeled with "this isn't yours".

Church every Sunday regardless of illness or any other circumstance. One time I had a severe sunburn and I still was forced to put on a dress and go. When I got home and was finally able to take it off, I vividly remember feeling my skin slide off of my arms and back and chest and saw it covering the inside of the dress. Passed out from pain and disgust.

When making coffee, had to stand by the pot and as soon as it started to make the bubbling sound you had to turn it off instantly, put it in a karaff and wash and clean it. No unnecessary steam/heat was allowed to enter the room or money was owed. Same for boiling anything on the stove or using the oven. Had to whip the door open. I remember one time I wasn't pouring the hot coffee I made for my parents fast enough and he came over and raised my elbow to make me go faster and it spilled all over my hand and burned me.

Also. If he lost something, everyone was expected to look until it was found. Lost a flashlight and it's almost midnight and you have school the next day? Too bad. You lookin'.

If he was installing an update on one of his several computers, literally no electronics of any time were allowed. No stove, no microwave, no over or apliance. Still do not understand that one.

On Halloween no lights were allowed on in the house because he didn't want trick or treaters coming by. Had to go into my closet and close the door so that I could do my homework because he saw a tiny light on in my room and threatened to cut all of the power.

Man remembering all this is nuts.

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4. Be Cool, Grandma

Uh well, I'm 18, and I live with my grandparents. One rule right now:

No laptop after 9 pm. They take away my laptop. But they forgot about my old laptop, which I promptly cleaned and updated (which I am using right now). It's an HP laptop and the screen flickers when it wobbles, but it's usable. Really, I argued with them about it, but grandma basically said they'd kick me out if I didn't adhere to that rule. So now it's Lenovo by day, HP by night.

One rule was that they want to know who I'm hanging out with, meeting their parents, and etc. This caused me a lot of stress growing up because it was embarrassing, and still is. I opted for spending my time alone in my room because I could do what I wanted in there. Still don't know if this is a rule or not, but it has hindered me.

Only G rated movies. They still want me only watching G rated movies. And yet, they never monitor my internet?

That was, until recently. They put OpenDNS on our internet a few months ago, which blocks porn and proxy sites, stuff like that. Basically like a web filter you'd find on any k-12 school network. THAT pissed me off. I promptly switched to Google's DNS and that solved it. I mean they don't monitor my internet, but they tried in this way. I've never said anything to them about it, so they must think that I'm not browsing anything they wouldn't like, which is a bonus.

All of this stuff results in me doing stuff behind their backs, like putting a black pair of pants against the crack under my door so I can stay up late, or like using the other laptop after 9 pm.

Sure, I could move out. I've considered it, but determined that that is not what I should be doing. My life isn't bad here, just annoying. I don't want to take out loans for things right now, I don't want to have to work longer hours at work. If I hadn't found a way around the internet filter though, you bet I would've moved into a dorm at my college.


3. At Home With Monsters

I was interested in learning about Wicca, because I was young and in highschool. Early 2000's. When Harry Potter was still happening and all that stuff. My mom and step dad found out by reading an email I sent to my cousin. It was the summer and they freaked out. Took everything. I couldn't read, I couldn't listen to music, I couldn't watch TV or movies with the family, I couldn't hang out with friends, couldn't talk to my cousin anymore, basically anything that might bring me pleasure was taken. They made me do chores all day, would go on family outings without me. Soon I became a shell of a person. I turned myself off.

They hated it. They weren't getting a rise out of me anymore, anything they said to me, to extending my sentence I wouldn't react to. Since their narcissism relied on a victim, I wasn't a source anymore. So they extended my grounding even further. They could have told me to go pick up dog poo in the backyard with my teeth and I wouldn't have flinched.

My step dad's family (just as terrible) would come over and belittle me as well. I was told to "smile". So I'd humor then and flash an empty smile for a second and return to my blank expression I had to find solace in.

All this to "save me from going to hell" the only thing that saved me that summer was my visitation with my dad. My mom and step dad tried to paint him in a bad light like he was the abusive one. Even as a kid I knew my dad didn't make me feel as bad and empty as they did. I eventually got through it.

Years later, (about 4 years ago now) I ended up working at a job (unexpectedly) with a girl I used to play with in the neighborhood. I always wondered why she stopped showing up. Turns out that when I wasn't home, or in another part of the house, she came to the door and asked to play. One of my parents opened the door and told her I didn't want to play with her anymore. I always wondered why she never hung out with me, or talked to me. Even finding this out in a more recent term, I cried and apologized to her.

I could have had a great friendship. With a lot of people but they just wanted to alienate and control me.

Unfortunately this is just the tip of the iceberg. I don't talk to them anymore, but I still llive in the same city as them and I have a lot of social anxiety because of that. One of my roommates, exhibits some of the behavior my parents were so kind as to bestow on me. It's making things difficult to handle.

I just want people to be happy and live in a healthy environment. It's so screwed up that the biggest monsters in the world are the people closest to you.

blonde-1031534_1920-300x200.jpgImage by Free-Photos from Pixabay

2. No White Lies Allowed

"No lying." Seems reasonable, maybe, but it's not.

It wasn't about the rules. It was about the CONSTANT INTERROGATIONS. There weren't so much rules, as there was her personality and the things that bugged her, and the fact she was going to interrogate the absolute life out of us every single day. It's the complete lack of privacy and the total suspicion that makes living with this kind of parent the worst. Not even the whitest of lies, or the tiniest of omissions were acceptable.

Where were you? Why? When did you get there? When did you leave? Who else was there? What did you do? Why did you do this? And did so-and-so do that? Why did you let them? And how is that related to this other thing? Why did you just lie to me? It's hard to explain, maybe, but there was this Socratic lawyer-type method being applied constantly to invent lies to catch you in. Like she was looking for an excuse to backhand you, digging in until our memories failed to provide total consistency, and then she could ground us, or whatever. If she was in a bad mood, she'd scowl around the house until she found something out of place so she could scream at us. Screaming. Lots of screaming.

For "strict" parents, it's often not really about the rules. It's about "respect", which is a dog-whistle for total domination of the subordinates in the household. If there were rules, there would be times when I was allowed to do what I was doing without suspicion. This did not exist.

Every single day on my way home from anywhere, I had to prepare a huge list of answers, try to find where she would dig in and build up the walls. Keep stories simple. Build big emotional walls. It mostly didn't work. We didn't really have a relationship. We didn't talk about my feelings.

Maybe try imagining if every day you had to cross the border twice and board a flight, but the border agents are all your mom.

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1. The Evil Stepmom

My step-mom would never let me have a birthday party. When I turned 12, she finally let me have a sleepover with friends. I was going to a Catholic elementary school at the time that had a rule that if all of the class wasn't invited to a birthday party, then invitations could not be handed out at school to avoid hurting feelings. Step-mom wouldn't let me hang out with friends outside of school but also wouldn't let me invite the whole class. So I had to sneakily hand out invites at school to the few people I was allowed to invite, since that was the only time I ever saw them. The day of the party, my step-mom got a call from the school about what I had done, and just as everyone's arriving and going inside, she grabs my arm and yanks me aside to question me about what I'd done. I burst into tears trying to explain that I didn't know what else to do. She said I was grounded for 3 months and I needed to suck it up and not let on to my guests that I was grounded.

We also had assigned seats at the dinner table when we had "family" dinners in front of the tv. My dad rarely ate with us. Her and her 2 kids got seats facing the TV, I got one that if I craned my neck I could see it, and my 2 siblings (when she let them eat) had to face the wall. When my oldest sister moved out, if one of my step-mom's 2 kids had a friend over or if my dad graced us with his presence, I had to face the wall.

In junior high and high school, I wasn't allowed to do any extra curricular activities if it meant she had to drive me to and from events unless I joined one of her kids in something, like choir. She would take her son to and from basketball practices and games all over the country, and her daughter did soccer all over the state. But if I asked to do an after school club I had to find my own way home.

I actually rebelled against her my sophomore year of high school and tried out for a select choir that did a lot of events outside of school. When I got in, I had planned to turn it down because I knew how pissed she would be about it. My dad decided to leave her that month, though, so I was able to enroll in the class anyway. Turned out to be one of the most fun classes I'd ever taken.

woman-standing-beside-window-curtain-1541212-300x200.jpgPhoto by Tess Emily Seymour from Pexels