Parents always say as long as their children live in their household, they have to follow their rules. But what if those rules are just borderline extreme? These people share the absolute worst rules and punishments they received and why they're thankful to be out of the house now.
Up In Flames
“The worst punishment was one time they decided that we were such bad kids (my sister was like 14, I was 12ish) that they took everything we owned and bagged it up into garbage bags and made us carry them out to a burn pile and they burnt everything we owned. All of my childhood memorabilia, pictures, clothes, diaries, everything, burnt it all. Messed up. When it was done burning the next day or so later, my sister and I looked through the ashes and all that was left were 2 silver rings of hers that we cleaned off and kept.”
It Turned Out They Weren’t A Failure, But Their Dad Sure Was
“My stepdad’s favorite thing to do was to wait till I got home from school and then he would take my sister to get ice cream, or some other equally fun activity, and then after getting home, he would use a wooden spoon on me and explain to me why I didn’t deserve ice cream. He would say stuff like ‘See how nice I am getting your sister ice cream? And you couldn’t even sweep properly.’ It never made any sense. I hadn’t even swept that day.
Sometimes he would buy me something like candy and tell me I could have it when we got home. Then he would take it away and do the wooden spoon thing again, saying something along the lines of ‘I was nice enough to get you candy, and this is how you repay me?’ while pointing at a messy kitchen or something even though I had literally just got back from school, and he made the kitchen messy.
He got me so used to failing that I didn’t realize he was manipulating me.”
These “Household Commandments” Turned Their Life Into A Nightmare
“My childhood was riddled with ‘household commandments.’ Here are some of my personal favorites:
-If you were old enough to have ’email privileges,’ all emails were fair game for parents to read. Same goes for phone messages and Facebook. Also, no laptops/emails/phones/Facebook until you’re at least 16.
-If you had a personal computer (desktop, not the laptop), then all of your keystrokes were monitored using some program. Parents knew everything you typed, every website you visited.
-Curfew was 11 pm for me until I was 21. Now I’m 23 and have moved out, and when I go home to visit, my curfew is STILL midnight.
-Until senior year of high school, bedtime was 9:30 pm Sunday-Thursday, strictly enforced.
-Three hours of TV a week until 8th grade.
-Mom/sister could use any shoes/clothes they wanted from my closet, any time they wanted to, permission not required. I, however, was not allowed to wear anything belonging to them.
-No going into my mother’s room.
-No using the bathroom in the basement.
-No saying ‘never’ and ‘always’ because nothing is ‘never’ or ‘always.’ My parents saw these words as exaggerations. For example, if I say something like ‘Man, we always have chicken for dinner!’ I would be reprimanded/grounded.
-No bringing up things that happened in the past (for example, we would be sent to our rooms indefinitely if we said something like, ‘I’m still angry about that thing you did two weeks ago’).
I could deal with all of this, but the one rule that really, REALLY messed me up long term was the diary/journal rule. If we kept a diary/journal/any kind of notebook with anything remotely personal written in it, our mother would take it from us and read it. And then, she would leave us notes in it to let us know she had seen it. She would give feedback. She would punish us for things written in our diaries. Her justification was reading them was her right as a parent and her way of keeping us safe.
I was sneaky with my diaries. I would hide them expertly. I would keep two or three decoy journals to throw her off of my real diary’s trail. When she found the decoys, I would throw them out and craft new ones. I would take the real one to school and work with me. I needed my real diary because it was the only place I could freely express myself, so simply not keeping one was out of the question. It was on my person at all times.
And then one day in high school while I took a shower, my mom went snooping. She found the real one in the middle of my mattress. She took it, read it, saw where I had expressed my frustrations about her and life, and about wanting to die. She then screamed at me and kicked me out for two nights as punishment for writing such horrible things.”
After Years Of Abuse, They Refuse To Speak To Their Mother
“My mother is a malignant narcissist so the rules in my childhood home went from bad to straight up disturbing.
I could only shower twice a week. We lived on a pig farm. I loathed that rule.
I had to wear my clothes at least 2-3 days in a row, regardless of playing outside, working or getting dirty. School was not fun, but I did get into a system where I wore different clothes underneath and shed the outer layers on the bus. Eventually, in my later teens, she slightly loosened this rule.
No phone calls. If my friends ever called I almost always had to say, ‘I will see you at school’ and hang up.
Clean your plate rule. I wouldn’t give a dog what my mother cooked. If I wasn’t finished with my meal first, she would grab my chair and throw it across the room. I then had to take my plate and go to the chair to finish my meal. I never stood a chance, my siblings could inhale a buffet like a shop vac and she always gave them whatever portions looked the most appetizing first. They were of course allowed to belittle me when this happened.
If I wasn’t the first person in the kitchen in the morning to set up breakfast, I would have to take my clothes off and eat naked while everyone else ridiculed me. My father worked 16 hours a day on the farm and wasn’t around for most of this. When he saw it one day he put an immediate stop to it. The damage was done though. Again, the game was rigged for me to lose. I had severe insomnia for years, laying awake every night for hours going over and over about whatever crap had happened that day and how to fight the next crazy storm coming. We were not allowed to set our own alarm clocks, so as soon as the signal went off the rest were already halfway down the stairs before I even realized what was going on.
I was not allowed to watch the endings of TV shows/movies, and what we watched was strictly controlled. This is one that actually left huge mental scars for years. It may seem petty, but it’s also been well proven that children grow much more attached to a storyline in TV/films than adults do. I NEED to know how that last plot twist ends, even if to an adult it is cheesy and predictable. My mother knew this and would always barge into the den at the cliff hangar commercial break and turn off the TV. It was a form of hijacking information to deliberately keep me confused and reinforcing her absolute control over every aspect of my life.
To this day I find TV shows I watched as a child and binge the series, just to see how each episode ends.
She would give ridiculous timings to complete a lengthy list of chores. I would have 20 minutes to get the house clean, dishes washed/dried/put away (by hand), vacuum, dust, sweep, laundry started and bathrooms cleaned. Not being done meant a beating, and even worse was that I was not allowed to go back and finish it afterward. Our house always looked like half a pig pen. Drove me nuts.
Also, no using the dryer for laundry unless it was below freezing outside (this was in central Canada).
Also on that note., not turning on the heat at night, even in the dead of February, in freaking central Canada. She gave my siblings electric heating blankets. I was told to shut up. Our house was very old and hardly insulated.
My mother would frequently sign me up for clubs and activities then refuse to take me to them in the car. We lived at least 10 miles from anywhere, and the vehicles gas usage was a business tax write off for the farm. She would yell at me to ‘call the other kids in the group for a ride,’ which was not an option as I either didn’t have a clue who the heck was in the group and if it was any of my classmates they all hated me. There was no way I could call and beg for rides from my very-out-of-the-way location.
She made me get a summer job when I was 8 picking rocks out of neighbors crop fields before the planting was done. Technically it paid $50 a week, which is richer than Bill Gates when you’re 8, but I wasn’t allowed to have my money.
I have worked at least a part-time job since I was 12. By 13, I had to buy my own clothes, school supplies, field trips and summer camps (which she would also sign me up for and then give me a bill for the cost because ‘you’re working now, so learn to pay for it’). She also forced me to sign up for a possible year-long exchange student program in Europe and insisted I pay for it entirely myself. It was $6000, which I didn’t have even a fraction of, and she would have certainly made me pay it or forced me into a loan with her with unimaginable strings attached. Thankfully she signed up too late and was denied. A year later she paid for my brother to go on the same exchange.
None of this includes the daily battles just to get anything done, the fights that were created out of thin air, arbitrary things being turned into WW3, the constant stress of knowing the next battle is coming soon.
I had the shock of my life when I moved out and it was 100x easier. Not saying things went smoothly, they certainly didn’t, but not having a raging control freak over your shoulder makes everything much easier. I left at 17, never went back.”
Dr. Phil’s Advice Ruined The Rest Of Their Life
“One time Dr. Phil’s show told my mother that having a bed was a luxury for kids, so she immediately took mine away. I slept on a cold wood floor until I escaped that nightmare and cut off all contact. My dorm in college was the first real bed I’d slept in for 10 years.
I didn’t own a bed when I moved into my first apartment after college, so I was back on the wood floor. I’d moved in with the clothes on my back, my cat and her stuff, and my laptop which I used to make money by transcribing at night while I worked for $7 an hour at a deli. It was the only place that would hire me since I didn’t have access to my own car.
I cried myself to sleep every night on that wood floor. It was a reminder of how much I’d failed – leaving myself back in that position.
My roommate must have heard me crying one night and figured it was back pain because they lent me an air mattress to sleep on. It was like I’d moved into a 4-star hotel.
Eventually, I saved up a spare 50 bucks and bought a bed off Craigslist. Sketchy, but I hadn’t owned my own bed in 16 years before that. I still have the bed and refuse to part with it because I don’t want to end up on the floor again.
I have many chronic back problems that I don’t think will ever be fixed due to being forced to sleep on a floor starting at age 7. I take pain meds when I can and do yoga, but it does not help. Sometimes when I can’t sleep in my normal bed, I find myself still defaulting to the floor. When I wake up I cry because I’m worried I’ll always be like this.
Parents have no idea how much they can mess up their kids.”
There’d Be No Dinner Conversation In This House
“It was my dad’s rule to not talk at the table, other than the occasional ‘Do you want some more of this or please pass that.’
We could not talk about anything at all. No small/idle chat was allowed. The first time you did it, you got yelled at. The second time, was a whooping and then sent to your room, until the next day, without the rest of your meal.
I think this was because he grew up in a very large farming family (11 boys, 3 girls, and 2 adults). Having to feed a family that size 3 meals a day were likely very time-consuming and with this being a farm there was work to do, so the faster the gang got done eating, the more work could be done. This was back in the late ’40s early ’50s era.
I believe it was a carryover from that. He did loosen up later when he got to be 50+, and 2 outta the 3 of us kids were 20+.
Meal times for my family are hugely social times for me and my family now. We laugh, joke and just talk and even have the occasional food tossing at one another!”
Being Loyal To Their Sister Brought More Trouble Than What She Was Worth
“My mom was raised in a very strict and abusive environment. When my sister and I became teenagers, she was struggling with mental health issues and also never had a good example of what level-headed parenting looked like. It doesn’t excuse some of the things she did, but I’m more understanding now that I’m older.
Anyway, craziest, most out-of-hand moment:
My sister and I are 16 months apart in age and had a lot of the same friends in high school. When I was 14 and she was 15, our curfew was 9 but we got a summertime curfew of 10. This was before everyone had a cell phone. Our friend was watching the time, but we got caught up hanging out that we lost track of time and realized at 5 after 10 we were late, but we still managed to get home by 10 after. My mom was furious, made us sit down at the kitchen table for a 30-minute lecture during which she slammed a utensil so hard on a plate in front of my sister that glass shards flew in her face. My sister got up and left the room at that point but when I tried to do the same, my mom put me in a headlock, like freaking WWE style and I punched her in the back to get her to let go. My sister and I were both grounded for something like 2 weeks and I got an extra week for ‘hurting’ my mom.
The most ridiculous punishment? My sister at age 16 picked up smoking. She’d been at it for a week, I told her that it was her own head and that it wasn’t worth it and she should stop, but she kept on. She, like an idiot, pressed her luck and brought a pack of smokes into the house where my mom found them in her room (our mom would go through our stuff constantly; literally had to hide any CD with profanity or things like permanent markers that we could ‘get high on’). My sister, again, the idiot, totally bought it when my mom told her I’d blabbed about everything and they knew the truth – I didn’t.
This happened a week before summer vacation. My sister was grounded for the entire summer vacation; 2 months, no friends, no going out, 10 minutes of phone time a day, no electronics, no internet, no pool, no movie theatre, nothing. My punishment? The exact same freaking thing for not coming to my parents and telling on my sister. That summer was the freaking worst.
I spent a large portion of my teen years being grounded for minor things or for not being the sister spy. It sucked, especially considering I got decent if not great grades, never drank, smoked, tried illegal stuff, fooled around, skipped class, or otherwise got into any kind of trouble. I’m almost 30 and about to have my 2nd kid and I’m still a little salty about it. My parents tried so hard to keep us from experiencing normal teenage stuff that both me and my sister made some really poor choices once we had the tiniest amount of freedom.”
Their One Late Night Out Was The Last Straw For This Mother
“My mother is an honest to god narcissist. I graduated from high school early at 16 and didn’t go to college immediately so I worked a part-time job while all my friends went to school. Anyways, when all my friends graduated high school we celebrated by going to the movies.
My friend’s mom dropped us off and another friend’s father was going to be picking us up. My mom was very upset at me going to the movies since it wasn’t going to be over until after 9 pm – my bedtime at the time. She finally she lets me go on the condition that my friend’s dad gets me home by 10 pm.
My friend’s father ran into late night construction on the way home with me and several other friends in the van. The closer it got to 10 pm, the more I started freaking out, telling everyone I was going to be in huge trouble if I didn’t get home like, RIGHT NOW. My friend’s father assured me he would speak to my mom and all would be fine.
I was the first to be dropped off because I was panicking so severely. The moment the van pulls into the driveway my mom comes barreling out of the house telling me she was going to kick my butt for being late and keeping her up.
My friend’s dad tries to calm her down and separate her from hitting me, that is when she realizes I’m chewing gum…
My mother HATED gum. She said the only reason you would ever chew gum was to hide something. So naturally, she makes the assumption that I was late/chewing gum because I was busy touching my friend’s dad’s junk. Yup. That was the only explanation in her mind.
She grounded me for 12 weeks – an entire summer. I wasn’t allowed to have a phone, tv or books the entire summer. Every morning my mom would take the cable box, home phone handset, and keyboard to make sure I couldn’t do anything.
Needless to say, my friends never invited me anywhere again in fear that my mom would call the cops and accuse me of touching their dad’s junk.”
At Least This Fairy Godmother Was Ready To Save Her From This Cinderella-Like Situation
“I got grounded from an end of year party (I was 11) for getting a B on a paper (even though I still got all A’s). I was devastated. It was thrown by my best friend and I was never allowed to do ANYTHING and I had been looking forward to it all year.
I had the perfect dress to wear because my aunt’s (via marriage) mother had taken me shopping and bought this cool dress that made me feel like Molly freaking Ringwald. I was never allowed to wear it before and it had been in my closet since September!
I was seriously having a Cinderella moment (although I honestly related more to Jane Eyre because I was adopted and a bookworm).
The day of the party, I’m bawling. I’m a good kid. I try to be PERFECT every waking moment, now I’m grounded from my best friend’s party.
The mom of my best friend knows how tough it is at home. I’m screamed at, belittled, hit all the time. This party was a freaking beacon.
Arlene (the BFF mom) barges into my house, tells me to get ready and get my stuff together because I’ll be spending the night. My mom protests.
‘How about I call CPS about the 50 freaking cats in your house?’
I go to the party and Arlene teaches me to be a boss.”
No Religion Could Stop Him From Enjoying The Things He Loved
“I grew up the first-born son of an officer in the Air Force, in the Bible Belt. I was an extremely inquisitive child, and mentioning anything weird I found that didn’t make sense in the Bible resulted in a beating, either with a belt or a wooden spoon with my pants down.
I also wasn’t allowed to play Pokémon or Yu-Gi-Oh or anything as it was Satanic.
So of course now I play a boatload of Japanese card games and escapist video games, listen to the obnoxious screaming metal, and have a healthy interest in European occultism.
Go me, I guess.”
“At Least I Grew Up To Have Fantastic Balance”
“As punishment, my dad would make us face a corner, stand on one leg and keep both arms straight up in the air for a certain length of time. If our leg or arms went down, he’d double the time. Sometimes he’d give you a surprise visit from his belt or shoe if he was particularly ticked off. At least I grew up to have fantastic balance.”
They’re Weren’t Even Free To Pee
“I was not allowed to use public restrooms.
My crazy grandmother and especially my mother believed you could contract STDs and assaulters.
When I did have to use one it was coated with toilet paper and they would hold me over it.
This rule continued into middle school, which was a nightmare. My pad leaked so many times. This was primarily my grandma’s crazy, but now my mom throws a crap fit with stomping and screaming every time my dad, who has prostate issues, goes to a public bathroom because it makes her mad. I don’t even think she knows why to be honest.
I used to be mortified at the ages at which I had public accidents, but the truth is my family was abusive and freaking crazy, and it wasn’t my fault. As a kid, I just thought I should be better and do better. I felt like it was my fault. Now I just get angry at the idiot adults that enforced this (including my teachers!). I believe my teachers were told that I had a bowel disease and that my peeing and pooping had to be tracked. How did nobody ask for a doctor’s note?
I ‘ruined’ our Disney trip because of how many times we had to go back to the hotel (not on site) when I was six. 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 at home without getting into trouble.
My grandma also taught me that if I took a bath I would get pregnant from my dad’s fluids in the tub from him touching himself. SERIOUSLY. I was 12 when my period started and every time it was late (till I learned better from school), I seriously thought I was pregnant with my dad’s child and that my family would punish me for being an easy girl, would never believe me that I was innocent, and I would have to give birth having never fooled around which would hurt even more. When I found out the truth I just hated them more.
Finally, I got to use public restrooms without punishment when I freaking went to college (no, I’m not kidding, but I got pretty good at hiding restroom use in high school because the high school refused to report it to my parents). WHY did none of these teachers spot the abuse?”