People Are Sharing The Strangest House Rules They Had To Follow When They Were Kids

Recently, a Reddit user who goes by the handle “ctsom” took to the internet to ask people, “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?”

Well, the internet was quick to respond with stories of weird rules and strange traditions. In fact, the post got over a thousand responses. We’ve compiled some of the best ones on this list. Keep reading to find out what really happens behind closed doors.

No Closed Doors

“My door could only be closed if I was changing clothes.

closed door
maria lupan / Unsplash
maria lupan / Unsplash

If my parents suspected that I was hiding anything, they could (and did) go through anything to make sure. Dresser and desk drawers, bags, closet, car, whatever they felt was necessary. Even my mail was fair game. As a result, I got really good at hiding things.” —u/DonNatalie

A Family Meeting

“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.

family dinner
Zach Reiner / Unsplash
Zach Reiner / Unsplash

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.” —u/Illarie

Only Four Rules

“I had SUPER laid back parents but there were a few certain things that they were randomly crazy strict about.

chewing gum girl
Claudia Bachinger / Unsplash
Claudia Bachinger / Unsplash

No gum. No play doh. No cereal with sugar as one of the top 3 ingredients. No 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.” —u/SiFiWiRi

So Long, Skateboarding

“If I got hurt doing a certain activity I wasn’t allowed to do that activity again.

skateboarding kid
Isaiah Bekkers / Unsplash
Isaiah Bekkers / Unsplash

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.” —u./_njhiker

Ask First

“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).

glass of water
Manu Schwendener / Unsplash
Manu Schwendener / Unsplash

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.” —u/bigmacnpoet

No Lone Showers

“I wasn’t allowed to take a shower if I was home alone.

shower tiled
Andrea Davis / Unsplash
Andrea Davis / Unsplash

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.” —u/gothchrysallis

Brush Away The Sugar Bugs

“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.

holding toothbrush
Marcos Ramirez / Unsplash
Marcos Ramirez / Unsplash

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.” —u/batman1227

Be Your Own Babysitter

“My mum used to pay me to be my own babysitter between the ages of 10-14 or so.

ten dollars
Ryan Quintal / Unsplash
Ryan Quintal / Unsplash

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.” —u/anxiousjellybean

Wash The Dishes

“I had to wash the dishes every night, even if I wasn’t home for the meal. There were times I’d get home from an away basketball game (I was on the team) after 10pm and the dishes had sat since they finished eating around 6:30pm.

washing dishes
Catt Liu / Unsplash
Catt Liu / Unsplash

My older brother’s nightly chore? Take out the garbage.” —u/MyBroPoohBear

Take The Weekend Off

“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.

calendar  and highlighter
Estee Janssens / Unsplash
Estee Janssens / Unsplash

One day my teacher said “see ya Monday” and I knew.” —u/missdontcare

Food Rules

“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.

kitchen with fridge
Obi Onyeador / Unsplash
Obi Onyeador / Unsplash

I went to friends’ houses and they just ate whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.” —u/badhairguy

The Food Blanket

“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.

picnic blanket
Jennie Clavel / Unsplash
Jennie Clavel / Unsplash

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.” —u/llamallama_duck

Stay Out Of The Dining Room

“We weren’t allowed to walk in our dining room unless we were using the room for a special occasion.

dining room
Spacejoy / Unsplash
Spacejoy / Unsplash

The carpet always had that “just vacuumed” look so it was a dead giveaway if anyone walked across it.” —u/secretagentsquirrel1

Put On Clean Pants

“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).

folding clothes
Sarah Brown / Unsplash
Sarah Brown / Unsplash

If you took your shoes off while you were out you had to change your socks as well.” —u/ineffectivelyperfect

Be Sick In The Corner

“When I was sick I couldn’t be in my bed because it would make it dirty.

woman lying on floor
James Forbes / Unsplash
James Forbes / Unsplash

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.” —u/Zenosparadox1

No Talking At The Table

“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.

dinner table
Matheus Frade / Unsplash
Matheus Frade / Unsplash

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.” —u/Morb2

Finish Your Plate

“Not being allowed to leave the table until your meal was finished.

plate of food
Melissa Walker Horn / Unsplash
Melissa Walker Horn / Unsplash

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.” —u/MollyWhingo

PJ Time

“Not so much a rule as a tradition:

man in pjs
Eugenivy Now / Unsplash
Eugenivy Now / Unsplash

When dad got home from work, he would immediately change into pj’s, and that was our time to do the same if desired. Watching tv shows where someone would drop in by surprise, and the parents would just welcome them in, seemed like some Hollywood BS to me, like the mother who never left the kitchen.” —u/lostonpolk

The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

“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.

sliced bread
Jude Infantini / Unsplash
Jude Infantini / Unsplash

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.”—u/hclorin

No Stealing Seats

“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.

tv seats
Lukas Bato / Unsplash
Lukas Bato / Unsplash

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.” —u/waltbosz