Everyone’s childhood is strange in one way or another. After all, what is normal? However, after reading this Reddit discussion, you might start thinking that yours wasn’t so unusual.
A post created by user u/ctsom asked people to share a house rule they had as a kid that they thought was completely normal until they grew up and realized that it probably wasn’t. And many obliged!
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From mandatory milk consumption after dinner to a ban on home-alone showers, here are some of the most memorable answers.
We had “family council” every Sunday night after dinner. We would sit and say good things that happened that week, share our grievances if we had any (we always did), make a dinner menu, and assign chores.
Frankly, it was stellar parenting. Though, if I mention it to my mother now, she will brag about it for a solid 20 minutes before we can move on.
Image credits: Illarie
My mum used to pay me to be my own babysitter between the ages of 10-14 or so. The rule was that as long as I didn’t make a mess and I’d put myself to bed by the time she got home then I got $10 in the morning.
Image credits: anxiousjellybean
Any of the kids (7 of us) can play with any toy that is left out. The owner of the toy can’t take it back until whoever’s playing with it is done. If the toy is put away in the owner’s room, permission must be asked.
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My parents would check my and my brother’s teeth for “sugar bugs” every night after we brushed our teeth, before we got in bed. If they thought we were trying to skip brushing our teeth they would tell us they could see the sugar bugs in our teeth and would make us go brush again. My brother and I were so convinced these sugar bugs were real we would constantly ask when we’d be able to see them, my parents always told us only people 13 and older could see them, but by the time we got to be 13 we had completely forgotten about the sugar bugs in our teeth.
I love thinking about creative parenting tactics like this, I’ve even used that one while babysitting a fussy kid who doesn’t want to brush their teeth/get ready for bed and it helps a lot.
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We weren’t allowed to eat anything without first 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 over Christmas, I was reprimanded for getting an apple without asking first. It’s just all so weird but it used to be so normal.
Image credits: bigmacnpoet
When I was really young I had a “night night bell”. It was this old clay bell(?) that hung in the kitchen, and when I had to go to bed I got to ring the bell and everyone would come say goodnight and then I would go to bed. Not really a rule, but a weird little ritual in our house.
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No curfew as long as I told my mom where I would be. I was always honest bcs I loved being 16 with no curfew.
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I wasn’t allowed to take a shower if I was home alone.
I also learned at age 7 that other households closed the bathroom door when using the toilet and keeping it open was weird. I learned that by keeping the door open at a friend’s house, a friend walked by the bathroom, saw me, told their mom, their mom called my mom, and all of a sudden the new house rule was we close the bathroom door when using the toilet.
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Maybe it’s not a “house” rule. But when I was six my mom told me that if a behaved she would let me skip school on Saturdays and Sundays.
One day my teacher said “see ya Monday” and I knew
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If you ever ran out of toilet paper whilst on the toilet, you had to sing the “Stranded” song or else no one else in the house would bring you a roll.
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.
Image credits: llamallama-duck
If I got hurt doing a certain activity I wasn’t allowed to do that activity again.
My mother ended that rule though when I broke my wrist snowboarding when I was 16 and didn’t tell her until a month later when I couldn’t move my wrist at all and it required surgery with a bone graft to repair.
Image credits: _njhiker
Haiku night dinners.
Some nights we spoke in haiku
And *only* haiku
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When I got in trouble I was put on “reading restriction” as a punishment. I loved to read as a kid (still do!) so it was an effective punishment at the time.
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If you don’t get A’s you don’t eat at the table. I legit thought this was normal until I had dinner at a friends’ house and my friend brought home a devastating report card. His parents were so supportive and loving..
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When I was sick I couldn’t be in my bed because it would make it dirty. My mom put a towel in a corner on the hardwood floor and I had to stay there until she deemed me better enough to use my bed.
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Not being allowed to leave the table until your meal was finished. I remember eating at a friends house and looking really uncomforable trying to finish a food I didn’t like, only to be told, “You don’t have to finish it if you don’t want to.” Mind blowing.
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We weren’t allowed to watch anything remotely sexual like if people were kissing on screen my mom would freak out and run to cover the TV with a pillow and go “blah blah cough cough” loudly until it was over.
Once I tried to see a pg13 movie with my friends and my mom cried and my dad called me horrible for making her cry. I was 14.
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I grew up with 6 siblings. In the TV room, there we more people than couch seats. We had a rule that you couldn’t steal someone’s seat if they got up to go the bathroom, get a drink, etc.
My parents instituted it because of all the fights that would happen over seats. We all instantly realized how great a rule it was. No more arguments, but more importantly, your seat was safe for the night.
I never thought it was a “normal” rule as defined by the OP, but it is a great rule that every family should have.
No sliced bread in the house. Like my parents were perfectly normal in every other sense. But I think my mom assumed the uncut bakery bread at the grocery store was better quality or healthier or something? Anyway, I remember going to a friend’s house at like 13 years old and making a sandwich with pre-sliced bread! It was awesome! So much easier! My friend and her family laughed at my revelation but I’m not kidding it was a game-changer. I’d been cutting my own slices for years and they were always slightly uneven and it made making sandwiches or having a piece of bread a bit of a pain. I went home and immediately demanded sliced bread. It took a bit of convincing but eventually my mom caved to my demands. To this day my parents still prefer unsliced bread but whenever I visit my mom will go to the store and buy a sliced loaf just for me.
We weren’t allowed to get into the fridge or the cabinets without asking permission. My family was very poor and we had a limited food budget, so eating something without permission very possibly meant eating one ingredient of a meal my step mother was planning on cooking within the next few days.
I went to friends’ houses and they just ate whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.
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My father never let us talk around the dinner table. Once when I was 15 I asked everyone around the table how they were doing and how their day was. My dad got up angrily after hurriedly finishing his meal and said: “I can’t stand people talking around a meal, if I wanted to talk to you I would.”
We finished our meal in silence.
If you couldn’t find something, and you asked someone for help (sibling or parent) and they found it for you, they got to punch you in the arm.
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We weren’t allowed to walk in our dining room unless we were using the room for a special occasion. The carpet always had that “just vacuumed” look so it was a dead giveaway if anyone walked across it.
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My mom freaks out about hearing commercials on TV. The second it goes to commercial break it has to be muted. She also mutes it if she thinks it’s about to go to commercial, even though sometimes she’s wrong. And she doesn’t really pay attention, so she doesn’t notice a lot of the time when the commercials are over so she leaves it on mute when the show is back on. It’s very difficult to watch TV with her.
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I come from a large family. Any time we’d order pizza, we ordered a few different kinds because, obviously, there were different preferences. Any left overs were left in their respective boxes and placed in the oven.
I did that when I lived with a couple of roommates and of course their reaction was: “I just burned this box. Why was this in the f*****g oven?”
My dad made a rule that I had to kill seven flies a day during my summer break.
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I had SUPER laid back parents but there were a few certain things that they were randomly crazy strict about.
No play doh.
No cereal with sugar as one of the top 3 ingredients.
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.
Image credits: SiFiWiRi
First thing upon coming in the house you have to change into clean pants and wash your hands. (Guests were exempt from the pants rule but not hand washing). If you took your shoes off while you were out you had to change your socks as well.
No singing at the table, unless it’s a birthday.
Still to this day I don’t cope well with quiet, but I guess when I was a kid the karaoke party never stopped. It was a good rule, but not necessary for most households