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Stories of Growing Up Under 14 Surreal House Rules That Border on Abusive

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Establishing household rules serves as a cornerstone for delineating boundaries in a shared living space, offering benefits to both children and adults. However, a challenge emerges when these guidelines veer into the realm of impractical or unjust expectations, potentially impacting the harmony within the household.

On a trending online forum thread, the community shares rules they experienced in their childhood, either directly or witnessed by their friends- that they didn’t realize were weird at first glance. Some of them are quite shocking and left a few readers wondering why some parents decided to have kids in the first place.

1. Keeping a Tab

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“My friend’s parents ran a ‘tab’ for him and his brother. They added up how much they spent on food, clothes, sports, etc. and told the two boys that’s how much they would have to pay them back. I remember once we got yelled at for eating his dad’s ‘snacks’ and he added it to the tab.

When they graduated, the parents ‘cleared the tab’ for their graduation gift, so basically, they got nothing other than a reminder of how much they cost.” Talk about feeling like a burden your entire childhood.

2. Don’t Drink Too Much Water (Try Soda Instead)

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“When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time at my best friend’s house. Her mom wouldn’t let us drink more than one glass of water in the afternoon because she thought it would dilute the nutrients in our body. Instead she gave us 7-up if we we were thirsty. I ended up secretly drinking water out of the bathroom faucet every time I used the bathroom when I was thirsty at her house.”

At least the child had enough sense to drink water over soda, even if it had to be from the sink. Crazy!

3. Follow the Rules, or Get Kicked Out

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“When we were 13, a friend of mine was kicked out of the house by his parents for a week because he stacked things wrong in the freezer, and some bread got squished. He spent the week staying at different friends’ houses each night until his parents let him come back home.”

Seems a little steep for a 13-year-old that made an honest mistake.

4. Early Curfew for a 20 Year Old

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“I knew a guy who, in his 20s, still had a bedtime enforced. He had to be in bed by 8pm, and if he was sleeping over at a friend’s house (in this case at my house during my 21st birthday party) he had to phone his dad at 8pm to say he was going to bed (he didn’t go to bed though at least).” Interesting.

5. Beer is Devilish

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“My wife once had a friend over for a sleepover when she was little. Suddenly, their mum showed up to take them home. Apparently, the friend had seen beer in the fridge and called her mum crying because of it. They were not allowed to look at, talk about, think about, and especially drink beer. Scared her so much that she called her mum to come get her.”

This seems like an extreme stance that is bound to backfire at some point.

6. Driving is Pointless

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“My FIL forbade my wife, and tried to forbid my two children, from driving once they passed their driving test. His wisdom was “put that piece of paper [driving license] in a drawer for five years” to reduce the amount of insurance they would pay. Spoken like he was passing down the knowledge of the Ancients. F*****g idiot.”

A few noted that not practicing after learning to drive seemed dangerous for all parties involved.

7. Guests Cover Their Own Costs (Literally, Everything)

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“That guests have to pay for their stay… They invited me for dinner, then calculated how many minutes I was over, charged for my portion of food, drink, electricity and water usage. Yes, they counted toilet flushing and timed me on hand washing. I could never do this to anyone.”

The best response was, “Did you get a receipt?”

8. House Rules: I Always Win

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Apparently, this mom didn’t like to lose.

“A friend’s parents had a pool table. His mom decided to play with us one day, and gave us the house rules. She said, “When it’s someone’s turn to shoot, I tell them. If someone gets ahead of me, they lose their turn. Everyone plays very hard, and in the end, I win.”

9. No Tissues in the Kitchen Trash

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“I was in a friend’s kitchen (we were 8), sneezed, then turned and took a kitchen paper tissue from the roll, cleared my nose, and walked toward the kitchen sink door, to throw the [tissue] into the trash bin. My friend burst out “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”. I’m like “What? Throw away the trash.” He continued “ARE YOU CRAZY?! SNOT PAPER DOESN’T GO IN THE KITCHEN TRASH!! – WHAT IF MOM FOUND OUT!!”

I’d already thrown it, but he fished it out of the bin and flushed it in the toilet in under ten seconds. I already knew his mom was a nasty ol’ battleaxe, but I had no idea how deep her will manifested itself in that sick house.”

10. No Drinks at the Dinner Table

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A few users talked about adults with a rule about not drinking anything while eating.

“I went to a sleepover at a kid’s house when I was 8 and they had the same rule. They also had to chew a certain amount of times and were not allowed to speak during dinner or go to the bathroom. It was so weird I called my parents to come get me.”

11. Keep Your Socks On, Always

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“My stepmom had a totally bonkers rule about feet. She was irrationally afraid of plantar warts and, according to her, anyone she didn’t know intimately had plantar warts. As a family we had a second home/beach house that was basically a small bungalow and only had one restroom with one stall shower. Nobody, no friends, relatives, could use that shower after the beach because they’ll get their plantar wart all over the floor and then she’ll take a shower and she’ll get plantar warts. We also had a swimming pool and she would make new people, including children, WEAR SOCKS IN THE SWIMMING POOL. And as far as I know, nobody living in our house including her ever had plantar warts so… unreasonable? Sure. Effective? Sure.”

12. Stop Being Such a Girl

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“When my sister was expecting her first boy, I got the baby a little stuffed bunny. Its ears happened to have a floral pattern. she got rid of it because “there’s no way my boy is playing with flowers.”

Some people are still very concerned about traditional gender roles, it seems.

13. Beware of Demons in Kid’s TV Shows

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“The kids could not watch Barney because it’s a “dragon”. It was a religious family.”

14. Doors Are Not Necessary

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“Ooh my wife didn’t have a door on her bedroom until she was a teenager because “you shouldn’t have to hide anything from your parents.” Her mom also would get really upset if she closed her bedroom door at night when she went to sleep. All of the siblings would sleep with doors open.

It was a big adjustment for her at first when we got together to sleep with the bedroom door closed.”


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