No Exceptions To This Rule
“My grandma had a ‘no leaving the table until you eat your food’ rule. Pretty reasonable, except she would prepare your plate, often with more food than you wanted.
One time, she made me a chicken salad sandwich, but the chicken salad had turned. She wouldn’t let me leave; she just sat across from me to make sure I didn’t get up until I ate it. This went on for hours until my mom got off work and picked me up.
It wasn’t even that strict a household, I think she liked the control and this was one of the few areas where she could exercise it.”
I Don’t Know What’s Worse – The Weird Rules Or Passive Aggressive Father
“We had to wear a jacket if the weather was under a certain temperature. Even a single degree wouldn’t sway my dad. He kept a thermometer outside so he could check every morning.
On the other hand, our health insurance sucked, so there’s that. Once I grabbed a jacket out of the hall closet, sending everything else flying off the hangers and into a pile on the floor. I was halfway through my mile-long walk to school when he pulled up in his car, his face red, refusing to talk to me. I thought something terrible had happened to my brother. When we got back to the apartment, he pointed at the hall closet. After I cleaned up, he refused to give me a late note (school had already started) or a ride.
Once, I saw him on campus at my high school, looking for me over the tops of kids’ heads. I turned around and made a beeline for the bathroom. I have no idea what terrible transgression I committed that day – left a jar of jelly open, perhaps?”
No Anger In This House
“This was something I only really came to understand after I’d left home and gotten some perspective on my childhood, but basically:
My sister and I were not permitted to ever be angry.
It wasn’t that we weren’t allowed to shout or raise our voices, that was a given. It wasn’t that we weren’t allowed to talk back or argue, that was also a given. It wasn’t even about not getting violent or something, there was no question of that.
It was that we were never supposed to display any signs of being angry. Being angry isn’t ‘nice’ and we were supposed to be nice little girls who only said, did, and thought nice things.
So it didn’t matter how horribly I was being bullied or how staggeringly unfair something was or how cheated I felt about another unreasonable change of mind on my parents’ part. I was never allowed to get angry and if I was angry, I was not allowed to let that show in any way.
There would be enforced smiling, being made to say, ‘Thank you, daddy, for making sure I don’t waste money on the thing you promised I’d be allowed to buy,’ or whatever was necessary to make sure that all the emotional autonomy and ‘wilfulness’ was absolutely stamped out of me.
It wasn’t that we were taught to manage our anger and deal with issues in a more reasonable way, we were just expected to repress it all and never mention it.
For anyone out there who might be wondering what the longer-term life consequences of that might be, rest assured that it involves a lot of very messy relationship problems and a lot of fairly harrowing therapy.
Trying to learn how to experience and express anger for the first time in your late 20s is stupidly uncomfortable.”
Her Mother’s Rule Cost Her A Chance At Healthy Relationships
“I wasn’t allowed to get dropped off at the mall with my friends without an adult when I was 13.
Eventually, the other girls stopped calling and inviting me places, then my mom thought there was something wrong with me because I didn’t have any friends. She’d get really mad at me and try to force me to invite kids over to our house to do dumb stuff like play dolls.
When I was 22, I finally made a friend and was going to crash at her house in the city after seeing a late play. She made my friend come in and meet her and asked her questions about where we were going and who would be there, who was driving, what their driving record was like.
It was humiliating.
I moved out two months later without telling anyone, to an apartment that I couldn’t afford on my retail paycheck. I went to metal bars every night until 2 am and kept ‘unsavory’ male company at my place.
My mom’s parenting backfired a little bit.”
Their Rules Had The Opposite Effect
“I wasn’t allowed to have tampons because ‘they’re for harlots’ and no padded bras (and I mean padded like so your high beams don’t show, not push up) because you guessed it, ‘they’re for harlots.’ Not to mention my mother refused to buy any bra that was bigger than her size (B cup), because she simply couldn’t process or deal with the fact her young daughter was stacked.
For the record, I was about 10 or 11 when I started needing a bra and sanitary products. Her comments were really inappropriate and weird.
Unsurprisingly, I ended up being a loose teenager because as soon as I had freedom, I wanted to explore what had been made so shameful. And guess what, I’m not ashamed! I love my womanhood and hope I one day have a daughter to teach about all things womanly instead of shaming her for them.”
The Homeschool Kid
“I had a friend with SUPER strict parents. He was homeschooled until his junior year of high school when they decided that he needed some socialization.
He was a cool dude but his parents were insane. They didn’t let him stay the night over anywhere but home and had a curfew of 9 pm.
We had just graduated high school and our group of friends decided to have a long weekend of camping before we all went our separate ways. His parents said no. We explained to him that he was 18 and a high school graduate on his way to college, he didn’t actually have to ask for permission. He was still afraid to ask. I had him call his mom and had him hand over the phone to me.
I was very polite and said something along the lines of, ‘Hello, Mrs. X, we’re all going camping up in Easton for four or five days. We’re just going to leave from here and we already have everything we need.’
She said ‘friend’ wasn’t allowed to go and I said something along the lines of, ‘Ma’am, you’re misunderstanding me, “friend” wasn’t asking your permission, we’re just informing you as a courtesy.’
She threatened to call the police so I gave her my cell and said feel free to give them my number.
We went on the camping trip, he went to college. He’s married now and has a couple of kids, so I think he more or less survived his crazy parents.”
This Rule Sounds A Lot Like Child Abuse
“I was not allowed to use public restrooms. I ‘ruined’ our Disney trip because of how many times we had to go back to the hotel (not on site) when I was 6 years old. And I quite honestly had accidents when I was far too old to do so because my parents had my teachers reporting bathroom use to them, too. There was no place I could safely use the restroom other than home without getting into trouble.
Finally, I got to use public restrooms without punishment when I went to college. I got pretty good at hiding restroom use in high school because the school refused to report it to my parents. Why did none of these teachers spot the abuse?”
The Rule Of Law
“My dad was a judge and was very strict on curfews. One night, I went to a movie with a friend. My dad cruised the movie theater parking lot looking for the car I left in and blew my phone up when he couldn’t find it. My friend’s mom dropped us off. I had to tell him the end of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ because the movie ticket and popcorn weren’t proof enough that I was there.
On the flip side, I got arrested in high school for fighting. I was PETRIFIED of what my dad was going to say and do. After I was bailed out, I was to go to his house. He was waiting in the garage as I pulled up. I walked up, expect a beating or the worst tongue lashing I’ve ever had.
Dad: ‘Give me your car keys, you’re grounded for as long as you’re suspended.’
I silently handed over my keys.
Dad: ‘Jail sucks doesn’t it?’
Dad: ‘You gonna do anything to ever go back?’
Dad: ‘Dinner is inside. Go take a shower and get county off of you. I’ll warm you up a plate.’
He had his moments of being a strict jerk, but he was a hippie parent compared to his WWII veteran father.”
It Looks Like These Parents Were Trying To Overcompensate
“I was an unwanted child that my parents decided to keep out of pity, as I was always told growing up.
I wasn’t allowed out of the house for anything other than school or family events. I couldn’t see friends, wasn’t allowed a phone until 16, which was only for emergencies and checking in when I got to school and when I left.
Everything had to be spotless and my bed had to be made by 7 am. If I did something they didn’t like, I would never hear the end of how terrible I was.
Finally, when I was 17, I snapped when my mother hit me in the face with a rolling pin. I pushed her against the bench and punched her in the face a few times. My father came in hearing all the noise and charged at me; we wrestled and tried hitting each other a bit until I got on top of him and grabbed a plate off the bench and smashed it on his head. I got up and ran out of the house and went to a friend’s house. That was the last I ever saw of them. I just got on a bus and never went back. They got my new cell phone number seven months after I left. The moment she said it was her, I told her I hoped she and my father would both die and to never contact me again and hung up.
It’s been two years since that call and I’ve had people tell me they asked for my number, address and stuff but the only people they know who know that stuff are people that know to some degree why I hate them.”
The Religious Zealot
“My mother became religious after I was born. I was the youngest of three kids. When I was born, my brother was 6 and my sister was 3. My mom started going to church and I was not allowed to watch or play anything involving magic because she believed all magic was demonic. I wasn’t allowed to watch any Disney movies. My favorite show as a kid was ‘Dragon Tales’ and would secretly watch it when my mom was at work.
Growing up, my siblings watched ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Lord of the Rings,’ etc., and I was forced to sit in another room and not watch it.
I was always angry when I got banished to the other room while they got to watch them
My mother even allowed my brother to play ‘World of Warcraft’ and knew there were magical elements to the game. I wasn’t even allowed to play Pokémon because she assumed they were magical creatures.
My first Disney movie I saw was when I was 15 after my father passed and she tried cheering me up with ‘Aladdin.’ I finally saw ‘Harry Potter’ when I was 21.”
No Matter The Weather, He Had To Sit Outside To “Better His Eyesight”
“NO BOOKS. Seriously.
Both of my parents have really bad eyesight, so naturally, I have bad eyesight as well. Unfortunately, my parents firmly believe it was my fault for having bad eyesight, so they started off by banning anything electronic: computer, TV, video games, etc. They even banned a toy dog that required batteries to operate (I’m still baffled by that logic).
I was forced to write everything by hand until middle school. When my eyesight continued to deteriorate, they started locking me on the balcony for an hour every night so I could ‘look far away’ and ‘better my eyesight.’
We lived in Illinois, which gets horrific weather. Did my parents care? Nah. I still had to spend a miserable hour outside every night, which by the way, never improved my eyesight.
They reached their extreme when they tried to ban me from reading books. It seemed like they wanted me to do math problems instead, but if we’re talking about my eyesight, what’s the difference between a math book and any other book? It didn’t last as long as they probably would have liked, mostly because I had some great teachers who started lending me books from their personal collection once they found out about my situation.
The only upside is that I’m amazing at speed reading from all those times I wanted to read but had to hide it from the parents.”
The Evil Step-Mother
“My stepmother tried to boot my brother (12) and me (14) out of the house because she didn’t want us living with her. My dad realized if that happened, he would end up dealing with child services, so he ‘compromised.’
As the female, I was allowed to live in the house but had to remain in my bedroom unless asked to come out for dinner. I had to ask to use the bathroom. My door had to be open at all times and no phone allowed. I was never allowed to have cash, so all of my stuff (school bus tickets, sanitary products, etc.) were bought for me. I often went without lunch as she wouldn’t make it for us (only HER son), and we weren’t allowed in the kitchen. A teacher at school worked this out pretty quick and started bringing me food each day.
My brother was not allowed in the house. He lived in a van (I mean a literal work van) around the side and had allocated shower and bathroom times. He had to eat outside. He thought it was cool.
One day, when I was 15, the police came to my school and said I couldn’t go home as my brother had done something to set her off and she had chased him up the street with a broom, then came back in and trashed my room and the van with an axe.
There were no consequences for her, but we weren’t allowed back in the house and she obtained restraining orders on us coming to the house. I’m still not quite sure how as I did nothing! My dad paid for an apartment and we both lived there. He would visit once a week to take us food shopping. This lasted until I was 16 and someone tried to break in while I was home alone and I rang my 17-year-old boyfriend in a panic. He came over with his dad, who sussed things out pretty quickly and I went home with them. I stayed with them for the rest of high school and college as his girlfriend initially and then as a roommate.
I am now a teacher who works with disadvantaged youth and use my experiences to inform my support for them. My brother has not coped as well (partly due to personality and also being younger than I was) and is an addict who I have very little contact with after he stole from me repeatedly as an adult.
My dad and stepmother stayed married for 20 years. He left her last year. They are divorced now and he’s about to marry a Chinese lady I’ve never met.”
Television Is The Devil
“I wasn’t allowed to watch TV. This was not a punishment, I just wasn’t allowed to watch TV in general. Apparently, it lets in the devil. The second I, as the last kid, moved out, they started watching TV all the time.
My parents were a part of a Christian religious offshoot named ‘The Move’ or ‘The Move of God.’ It was founded by a man named Same Fife, and is continued today by a man named Buddy Cobb.
Some things ‘The Move’ believed in that we had to endure as kids: women had to wear dresses, no TV/video games, forced participation in religious ceremonies, little to no contact with the outside world (all my friends were Move-ites), and exorcisms. The school I went to was part of ‘The Move’ group, too. There was no escape.”
No Privacy In This House
“I had zero privacy growing up. I wasn’t allowed any.
The room to my door was always open, up until my teens. My mom read my diary my entire life and grounded me for what I wrote, so I eventually stopped keeping one.
No watching TV alone. No talking or texting on the phone at night ‘because you say things at night you wouldn’t during the day.’ Soon this became turning in my phone nightly. They eventually wised up and just put a keystroke thing on my computer and a parental control on my phone so it couldn’t work at night.
Once they caught me texting a boyfriend and my stepfather took my phone into the garage and smashed it into pieces with a hammer in front of me.
Many, many other examples of control. I wasn’t allowed to go to prom, I couldn’t wear makeup or pluck my eyebrows, no form fitting clothing even into high school. We had rules for what we could and couldn’t eat and when.
My father poked fun at my weight all the time. ‘Through the lips, straight to the hips,’ he would say and poke at my 13-year-old stomach.”
A Little Overprotective, Don’t You Think?
“My friend’s father was really big on protecting my friend’s hands because, at the time, he played the clarinet, and his dad was terrified that he’d hurt himself and would never play again.
So if there was a game – any game – that involved hands, he wasn’t allowed to play it. No arcade games, no N64, no sports of any kind. His dad literally tattled to my parents once because we were playing Thumb War (you know, 1, 2, 3, 4, I declare a thumb war), and he was afraid that a bunch of 6-year-olds would kick it into overdrive and accidentally break his son’s hand.
So yeah, when we were invited over, the only thing we could do was watch TV and watch him practice his clarinet.”
Was This A Home Or A Prison?
“I’d say there’s quite a list:
-No closed bedroom doors. For any reason.
-The router got unplugged at 11 pm on weeknights.
-I wasn’t allowed to go to any friend’s house for any reason unless my parents had met the parents.
-No electronics in the bedroom. This included laptops to do homework.
-Phones were turned into my parents weekly (at a random time and unknown day) and unlocked to be ‘looked through.’
-No dating. No exceptions.
And I must say… The only thing these rules did was make me a sneaky child.
There were some really strange rules as well:
-Nothing could be stored under my bed.
-If I was home alone, I had to be in the kitchen or living room.
-The hallway light was never to be on unless I was in the hallway. They went as far as to charge me a dollar every time they saw it on.
-I wasn’t allowed to go into the garage that was attached to our house by myself.
-I wasn’t allowed to wear lip gloss until the eighth grade.”
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