For many of us, having strict parents while growing up was a rite of passage. Some rules were reasonable, like not staying up too late on school nights or doing homework before watching TV. But there were also rules that seemed completely unreasonable, like not being allowed to wear a certain color or being grounded for something as simple as forgetting to make your bed. Let’s take a look at some of the most unreasonable rules strict parents have imposed on their children and explore the potential impact they can have on a child’s development.
1. Not Allowed to Play Video Games With Certain Ratings
“My mom was very strict about the ratings of movies and video games. One year for Christmas, a relative gave me a copy of Star Wars: Shadows of the empire for the Nintendo 64. It was a T (for teen) rated game, and I wouldn’t be turning 13 for another 4 weeks. My mom had my dad drive me to Toys’R’Us to return the game.
We walked into the store and over to the games, and he had me pick out an E (for everyone) rated game. We proceeded to check out, and as we went to the car, he handed me not only the new game but the game we were supposed to have returned to buy it as well and told me not to let her catch me playing it,” one person shared.
2. Not Allowed to Say ‘Stupid’
“I had a friend who wasn’t allowed to say the word “stupid,” and tried to report me to the teacher when I said it. Teacher yelled at me and then told me it was okay in private and “not to say it around that one kid.” Nice guy, though, just had a helicopter mom,” one guy remembered.
3. Not Allowed to Use Too Much Shampoo
“My stepmom decided that I was using too much shampoo. She would get a little medicine cup before my shower and pour the designated amount into it. It wasn’t ever enough becuase I had hair down to my butt. I also wasn’t allowed to use conditioner,” one girl recalled.
4. Too Many to Count
“I was/am not allowed to do the following: use the washing machine, wash the dishes, pull the weeds, vacuum outside of my room, I must ask to use the vacuum, I can’t cook a meal, I can’t have the remote, I get instructed on how to use the microwave that I’ve been using for years, and if I ask where we are going I get told ” out” and I have to dress in jeans, a shirt, and running shoes no matter how hot because he doesn’t like shorts. and no jacket, no matter how cold,” one person shared.
5. Not Allowed to Listen to Guitar
“We could not listen to music with guitars in it. I will never forget the day my brother was listening to Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, and my father took the radio and threw it through the window. Spent my childhood listening to Richard Marx and Michael Bolton. Thanks dad,” someone remembered.
6. Not Allowed to Play in the Snow
“We couldn’t go sledding during the winter – or any other season, obviously – because my mom was a neat freak and didn’t want snow slogged into the garage. So, no snow playing of any kind, really. Never built a snowman. Did go sledding when I was an adult. It’s pretty great.
All of the clothes in our closet had to be arranged by color, descending in order by shade. So, for example, midnight blue at one end of the blue section and tarheel blue at the other. There was a system in place for colors, too, so if the yellows were by the purple, for example, there’d be hell to pay.
No shoes on in the house under any circumstances. Was super uncomfortable when my brother’s friend, who had prosthetic legs and always had shoes on, came over and didn’t take his shoes off. Mom got really mad and confronted him.
No Legos or puzzles allowed, as they make messes and look like disorder. I love puzzles as an adult. One of my favorite hobbies,” one person shared.
7. Writing Essays to Be Able to Watch TV Shows
“I had to write essays on tv shows that I wanted to watch in order to have them unblocked by parental controls. I remember writing a riveting piece on the educational and cultural benefits of Disney’s That’s So Raven. Also, I wasn’t allowed to watch PG-13 movies, even after turning 13.
Wasn’t allowed to rest my head on my hand with my elbow on any table while there was also food on that table.
If my parents found out I was going too fast in my car (small town, so other parents would snitch on me pretty regularly for going 10 over), I had to pay my parents “speeding tickets.” Also, they would make me pay for the whole family’s phone bill if I texted a boy. By the time I moved out at 17, I had given them well over a grand in punishment money earned at the Sonic Drive-In,” one individual recalled.
8. ‘Truth Sessions’
“I was from a large family, and discipline was very strict. If one of my siblings or I broke one of the major rules, my parents would hold a ‘Truth Session.’
All the children would be brought to my Dad’s study, where the guilty party would be given an opportunity to confess. If nobody came forward, we would be hit in turn in order of ascending age. The eldest four were hit with a sewer rod while, in deference to their age, the youngest ones would get a whack of a bamboo stick.
A sewer rod is basically a four-foot-long flexible rubber rod, around an inch thick and with a metal cap. It would leave the most remarkable welts. Horrendous things, really.
Anyway, this would continue until someone admitted their ‘guilt.’ At that point, they would receive the blows that everyone else had received to that point.
So that was awful. I fully acknowledge that. I’m under no illusions. However, that wasn’t the actual unreasonableness. No, the unreasonable part was that the person who ’caused’ the Truth Session didn’t always receive the accrued punishment owed for having their siblings beaten. Sometimes they could just be let go making their siblings HATE them for causing pain to them. There’d be no explanation. The study door would be opened, and we’d all be told to leave. That meant you could be rewarded for holding out and avoiding the punishment you’d definitely get if you admitted it at the beginning.
My parents now tell fun stories about how when I was a child, and I’d done something wrong, I’d always begin with, ‘let me tell you my story.’ ‘Haha,’ they chortle at my childish phrasing while I recall the terror that such an approach was meant to stave off,” someone shared.
9. Not Allowed to Volunteer
“There was a lot, but the most ridiculous one to me was they didn’t want me volunteering during high school. I was visiting the elderly, and they said it was too dangerous to be around strangers like that, and the time was taking away from my studies.
Most extracurriculars I wanted to do they had a huge problem with, but it didn’t hit me how absurd it was until it was about senior citizens,” one person remembered.
10. Not Allowed to Cook/Make Certain Foods
“My mom was insanely controlling about food. Weird rules were in place, like “one slice of lunch meat per sandwich.” No one but her was allowed to cook. She’d make one giant batch of spaghetti or something, and we’d have leftovers for days, so she only had to make dinner twice a week. She did not work or anything, just didn’t like cooking every day. Breakfast was cold cereal, and you’d only be allowed a small bowl with just enough milk to moisten it. Occasionally she’d bake something she called Corn Toasties, which was simply cornbread baked in a sheet pan. She’d cut them into squares and fill the freezer with them, and we could have one of those for breakfast as an alternative.
Once when I was fourteen, I bought a pack of hot dogs at the store, snuck them home, and lit the grill. I was almost done cooking them when she came out screaming about fire hazards and swatted the plate out of my hand. She had been making spaghetti; what an ungrateful child I was.
So then she orders a pizza for the rest of my family, wraps individual servings of spaghetti in freezer paper, and puts them away. She tells me that I will be eating nothing else until it’s all gone. Took about two months to choke it all down. Went without eating for a lot of days. I was also grounded for over a year.
But I sure learned a lot about ‘consequences,'” one person recalled.
This article was produced and syndicated by Parent Portfolio.