There are few people on Earth more creative and, at times, conniving than parents, ESPECIALLY when it comes to creating odd-yet-specific rules for their kids.
So this week, when Reddit user ctsom asked, “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?” You already know the responses were WILD.
Here are just a few of the most “what the heck” rules shared:
This adorable trick:
“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 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.”
This strict enforcement:
“If I got hurt doing a specific activity I wasn’t allowed to do that activity again. My mother finally ended that rule 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 all because I wanted to keep snowboarding.”
This literal self-care:
“My mum used to pay me to be my OWN babysitter between the ages of 10-14. As long as I didn’t make a mess and I went to bed by the time she got home, I got $10 in the morning.”
This weekly check-in:
“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.”
This ask n’ eat:
“We weren’t allowed to consume anything without asking first. Even a glass of water, we were required to ask first. When my boyfriend and I started dating, I would always ask his parents first and it was a hard habit to break when his mom told me I could literally eat or drink anything. It was so weird to just go into the fridge or pantry without permission. I sometimes fight the urge to ask my boyfriend 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 so weird, but it used to be so normal.”
This random-yet-specific list:
“I had SUPER laid back parents, but there were four things that they were (randomly) strict about:
No gum. No Play-Doh. No cereal with ‘sugar’ as one of the top 3 ingredients. No The 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.”
This talkative baby:
“We had ‘wakey wakey time.’ No noise or annoying mum and dad until 7 A.M. This was a really necessary rule because I was a very early riser as a kid, and I loved to talk to my parents. The rule was that — while I could come to their bed and curl up next to them — I couldn’t talk until 7 A.M. It was actually really nice, and made sure I got enough rest myself.”
This changing challenge:
“First thing upon coming into the house, you had to change into clean pants and wash your hands. Guests were exempt from the pants rule, but not the hand washing rule. Also, if you took your shoes off at any point while you were out, you had to change your socks, as well.”
This toy time trouble:
“Any of the kids (there were seven of us) could play with any toy that is left out. The owner of the toy could not take it back until whoever was playing with it was done. However, if the toy was put away in the owner’s room, permission needed to be asked.”
This pizza storage method:
“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 leftovers were then to be left in their respective boxes and placed in the oven.
I thought this was how everyone stored pizza until I did it myself when I lived with a couple of roommates and their reaction was: ‘I just burned this box of pizza. Why was this in the oven?!'”
This off-limits room:
“We weren’t allowed to walk into 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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This cruel and unusual punishment:
“When I got in trouble, I was put on ‘reading restriction’ as a punishment. I loved to read as a kid (and still do!), so it was an effective punishment.”
This A+ “good night” routine:
“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 ‘good night,’ then I would go to bed.”
This seat-saving standard:
“I grew up with six siblings. In the TV room, there were more people than couch seats. We had to institute a rule that — if someone got up to go to the bathroom, get a drink, etc. — you couldn’t steal their seat, it was claimed for the night. My parents created 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.”
This hilarious promise:
“When I was around six my mom made the ‘rule’ that, if I behaved, she would let me ‘skip’ school on Saturdays and Sundays. This worked for a while, but one day my teacher said, ‘See everyone on Monday!’ and I realized what was going on.”
This showering scare:
“We can’t take a shower if we’re home alone. My dad apparently busted his head open slipping in the shower when he was living alone in college. He had to get up and drive himself to the emergency room, so now he won’t let us shower if we’re alone, because he’s paranoid the same will happen to us.”
And finally, this fantastic dinner plan:
“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. Instead of ‘set the table,’ my mom would say, ‘Go lay out the blanket!’ I remember being really confused when I learned that every family didn’t have a ‘food blanket.'”
Now it’s your turn! What was a “house rule” you had growing up that — until you went to someone else’s house and/or moved out completely — you thought was totally standard? Share yours in the comments below!