When you’re a kid, you think everyone lives exactly the same as you with all the same rules and with parents as annoying as your own. Then you grew up and realized holy hell, my parents were nuts.
An AskReddit thread exploring this realization that we all grew up under hostile regimes in our own childhood homes went viral.
The question was, “What was a house rule you had as a kid that you thought was completely normal until you grew up and realized not all households followed?”
Scroll through these responses from 12 adults who only thought they had normal childhoods.
1. Sounds like they needed to review their constitutional rights as citizens of their house.
We voted as a family on all important decisions. Under 18s got half a vote each, so the three kids always got outvoted 2v1.5 but we were stupidly content that we’d lost in a ‘fair’ democratic vote.
The system collapsed when we had to decide whether to have a cat or not and Mam unexpectedly abstained.
2. What’s wrong with play doh?
I had SUPER laid back parents but there were a few certain things that they were randomly crazy strict about.
No gum. No play doh. No cereal with sugar as one of the top 3 ingredients. No Simpsons.
I had basically no rules growing up, but those four things would make them lose their goddamn minds. I still get anxious when I’m chewing gum and I’m 35.
3. As one does…
Haiku night dinners.
Some nights we spoke in haiku
And only haiku
4. Um, I don’t like anyone washing their hands in my kitchen sink either.
Not mine but my mother in law and her sister will fuss at you in you wash your hands in the kitchen sink. I think that’s weird.
If there’s a sink and some hand soap I say wash away. My wife isn’t like that.
5. “Cool. I’ll just catch him at school. Thanks.”
I had to answer the phone “hello this is first-name last-name speaking” whenever I answered the phone (this is obv in the 80’s before caller ID on landlines.) My mom tried to make my childhood friends do it too when they called me to play. As in:
“Hi can I talk to geeltulpen?”
“Who is this?”
“Well, friend, when you call this house and I answer the phone, you should say hello to me and then tell me that it’s you, your first name and last name, before you ask to speak to geeltulpen.”
Boy, was I popular.
6. Did they keep an inventory?
We weren’t allowed to eat anything without asking. Even a glass of water, we were required to ask first. When my boyfriend and I started dating, I would ask his parents if I could eat or drink something if I was hungry or thirsty and it was a hard habit to break when his mom told me I could literally eat or drink anything (other than the alcohol).
It was so weird to just go into the fridge or pantry without permission. I sometimes have to fight the urge to ask my bf if I can eat OUR food in OUR apartment.
When I went to my parents house of Christmas, I was reprimanded for getting an apple without asking first. It’s just all so weird but it used to be so normal.
7. Coming home late to a messy, smelly kitchen? Ugh.
I had to wash the dishes every night, even if I wasn’t home for the meal. There were times I’d get home from an away basketball game (I was in the team) after 10pm and the dishes had sat since they finished eating around 6:30pm.
My older brother’s nightly chore? Take out the garbage.
He’d be done in 2 minutes. I’d have 30+ minutes of washing, drying, putting away, and cleaning up the kitchen.
My dad made a rule that I had to kill seven flies a day during my summer break.
9. Parents really need to let children know what goes on in normal homes.
My family had a thing we called the food blanket. When we’d eat casual meals, we’d lay a blanket on the living room floor and eat on it, like a picnic. My parents didn’t want to get any food on the carpet. Instead of “set the table,” my mom would say, “go lay out the blanket.” I remember being really confused when I learned every family didn’t have a food blanket.
10. That’s when you’ll forever be known as the “weird friend.”
My parents used a laissez faire parenting style. No censorship whatsoever. I watched Rocky Horror Picture Show with my brother when I was 7.
Pretty awkward when I brought the VHS with me to a sleepover at a friend’s house. The parents were mortified.
11. I would rather you wash your dirty hands in my kitchen sink instead.
Wasn’t in my home but my aunt and uncle never let us use the up stairs washroom when we were kids because they thought we’d touch the walls with our dirty hands so they made us piss in a jar they kept under the kitchen sink and just poured it down the drain when we were done. Never thought is was strange until I brought it up to my cousin a few years ago, we laughed pretty hard about it.
12. DIY Climate Control
Winter meant the thermostat was turned to 55, all vents but living room vent get closed, magnetic sheet put on the vents to prevent leaks, then ALL windows get the plastic sheeting & hairdryer treatment. Sheet hung from ceiling by staircase to prevent living room vent from sending all heat upstairs. Lots of baking done. Of course bathroom and kitchen vents stayed closed year round.
Summer meant thermostat set to 80, all vents downstairs get closed and magnetic sheet put on. Curtains would be drawn 24/7, oven use was kept to a minimum.
I’m sure all these super weird rules made perfect sense back in the day. My big issue would be why didn’t anyone tell me we were super weird before I went over to normal houses?
What was your weird house rule that you didn’t know was weird until you grew up?
Let us know in the comments.