People Share The Weirdest Rules Their Family Had Growing Up

October 12, 2023 | Henry Lamont

People Share The Weirdest Rules Their Family Had Growing Up

Keep your shoes off the table, get your homework done before bed, be nice to your siblings. These are pretty standard rules for pretty standard kids in pretty standard households to abide by. In some ways, these are the lucky ones. These Redditors, on the other hand, have shared the most unusual decrees and directives they were forced to adhere to under their parents' rule, and they truly cover the whole entire spectrum of weird; ranging from frankly hilarious to flat-out insane, from harmless to borderline abusive. Growing up can be a confusing time, and baffling rules like these don’t always help.

1. The Sound of Absolute Silence

I wasn't allowed to make noise. If I spoke above a mumble I was being surly. If I was playing it could not be audible outside of my shut bedroom door. If I was cleaning, which I usually was, then I couldn't make noise while doing it. The consequences varied; usually being screamed at, having something thrown just past my head, or having something I valued taken away.

My brother did not have the same restrictions. He's always been an avid musician. Played video games at full volume. Cracked jokes and was generally encouraged to speak up. The only time he had the same rules was when our mother was on the phone, which was pretty often. I don't resent him for being treated better and he frequently advocated for me.

Now I have some interesting quirks. I can wash dishes in complete silence. I still leave drawers and cabinet doors slightly ajar. I sneak up on people at work by accident. If people are watching TV with me I have to remember to turn up the volume for them. There are days when I can't handle the sound of turning on the shower or running the vacuum cleaner.

I have a decimeter app on my phone and frequently check to see how much noise I'm making. I even sneeze silently. But I blast the radio in my car and through my headphones.

Yes, I'm in therapy.


2. Play Ball!

At my friend's house they had a "no pizza-balling" rule. There were three teenage brothers and when they ordered pizzas (at least a couple larges), tempers flared quickly when people would try to grab as many slices as they could. The first rule in place was that you couldn't have more than one slice at a time, and you could grab another once you had the last bite in your mouth.

But one of the brothers quickly figured it out that if you ball up a slice he could fit it in his mouth and grab another one. Hence, no pizza-balling.

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3. Odd One Out

My dad made up a rule to stop my big brother from asking about getting a dog every ten seconds. We had neighbors on both sides who had dogs, so the rule was that only every other house could have a dog. My brother believed it for a loooooong time.

Dumb Things Believed As A Child FactsShutterstock

4. Table Manner Madness

We had silverware with roses on it. Our thumbs had to be on the rose when we used the utensils or we'd have to "practice" after dinner. Utensils couldn't make any noise against your teeth or you'd have to practice after dinner. My house was a real ball of laughs growing up.

Weirdest Rule FactsPxHere

5. Be Careful What You Whistle For

Not allowed to whistle at night. Was told that you'd hear one back from someone who isn't there. Clarification: My mother is Native American, so we have a few superstitions like that. House isn't haunted. Parents aren't schizo. Just mild superstition.

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6. Obey or Pay

Parents had a plaque of the Alcatraz  regulations above the pantry. “You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter and medical attention. Anything else that you get is a privilege.” you too mom. This wasn’t used as a joke. They stood by these rules and actually ignored the medical attention most of the time.

So I almost lost my life multiple times in my life for not receiving medical care.

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7. Living Statues

That if someone knocked on the door, we were not allowed to move or speak until Mom decided that yes, we were home and would accept company over. Didn't realize how weird that was until my friend came over and seemed surprised when someone knocked on the door, and I covered her mouth and pulled her away from the curtains.

My mom refuses to answer the door for unannounced visitors and to this day will still pretend no one is home if she doesn't feel like socializing. It's even worse when they call her cell phone and hear it ringing from within the home despite every television being on mute and every light in the house being turned off.

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8. Whatever Works

If my mum heard us making degrading comments about women, she would make us read out loud from Mills & Boon romance novels. "You want to talk dirty? I'll make you talk dirty!" It was so embarrassing, but it was really effective.

Weirdest Rule FactsShutterstock

9. Just Good Parenting

Never tell other kids my parents' income range and be sensitive to poorer kids. When I was younger I never understood why, but I followed what they said. I'm glad I did. Many people my age used to discriminate or make fun of poor kids. I never cared so I hung out with a range of poor to upper-middle class. It also helps that my high school has kids from poor neighborhoods to rich neighborhoods.

I also never told others our income in case mine was higher. I know feeling poorer feels real bad, especially to kids. I also lied about only getting a few gifts on Christmas rather than the spoiled kid I really was. I actually think my parents taught me a valuable lesson.

Weirdest Rule FactsShutterstock

10. The Room That Fun Forgot

I wasn't allowed anything remotely entertaining—TV, mobile, or toys—in my bedroom until I was 16, and that only changed because I bought my own entertainment and convinced my mum that because I bought it and was old enough it shouldn't be a rule anymore. All I had in my bedroom were books and my bed, really bland room.

When I was a young child my toys were in the spare room next to my room, my own playroom. I soon outgrew toys and spent most of the sunlight out with friends. When I was 15, the Xbox 360 was released and they got one from their parents and preferred to play Xbox than come outside. I got lonely quick. I didn't get one and even if I did I wouldn't be able to use it much because my dad would always watch TV, and I wasn't allowed my own TV. So I got a job as a pizza delivery boy, saved the money, and bought my own Xbox 360 and TV.

I was adamant that I was old enough to have own TV and whatever in my room, even girls. Bought the Xbox 360 and TV, took them home set them up in my room and started playing, around two hours later, mum comes in to tell me dinner is ready, then she spots my TV and goes crazy. So I stood up and I told her, I worked my butt off to buy this stuff, I earned the money doing a job and that if I'm old enough to work, I am old enough to have a TV or whatever in my room.

She walked off, probably to tell my dad, then one hour later came back with my dinner on a tray and said I was right, I have grown up and that she was proud of me for getting a job and earning money for myself, I can have whatever in my room. JUST DON'T STAY UP ALL NIGHT PLAYING GAMES!

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11. The Uncovered Truth

Our weirdest rule was the "Underwear At the Table Rule." Me and my three sisters were big fans of being uncovered when we were younger, so from ages 3-8 whenever we'd come home from preschool or school, everything would just come straight off regardless of who was home. So my mother instituted the Underwear at the Table Rule, stating that during dinner everyone needs to be wearing underwear at the very least, otherwise no dinner.

This worked for a while and was later complemented by the rule stating that if you have chest hair, you have to wear a shirt (that one applied more to my dad than to us).

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12. Get In and Stay In

Once you get home from school, you don't go out. It was like that until I moved out the summer after high school ended. My mom just never allowed it or did it herself, once she got home from work she wouldn't go out to buy anything, ever, no matter how much one of us needed it (new calculator, lined paper, etc). She'd go buy it before coming home after work the next day.

We'd buy ALL our food on Saturday, hundreds of dollars of it, and wouldn't buy a thing during the week. We never had friends outside of school because of that. I still have a really hard time with the dynamic of simply meeting people outside of work/school where we all have to be.

Weirdest Rule FactsShutterstock

13. Pointlessly Precocious

We weren't allowed to hang posters on the wall, even with the nice poster tac stuff that doesn't leave any marks. My parents were obsessed with preserving the "resale value" of the house. I had the girl room and my brother had the boy room. My room was painted pink (a color I never liked as a kid, even when I was very young) and my brother's was baseball themed.

Brother could have framed baseball posters if my mom approved them. I was only allowed Monet's Water Lilies (also framed) because it was the only art my mom liked that went with the pink color theme. They've lived in that house for almost 30 years and have no intention of ever moving.

Weirdest Rule FactsShutterstock

14. Look, Don’t Touch

When my brother was born, I wasn't allowed to touch him or be too close to him for several months because my mom thought I would hurt him. I was six when he was born, but my mom shut myself and my cat in my room for most of the day to keep us isolated. It freaks you out as a kid. You start wondering if you're dangerous or a bad person.

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15. Who’s Complaining?

My mom didn't let me do laundry until I was 18. I have no idea why to this day. I had seen it done enough times to know how to do it when I was finally allowed to, but, she banned me from doing it. Obviously, this was the only rule I accepted without argument.

Weirdest Rule FactsShutterstock

16. Share the Love

The weirdest was this: When I was 11 (this was 1990), I was BIG into New Kids on the Block. HUGE. For some reason, those giant buttons were also popular—I'm talking the ones that were 6" in diameter and had an easel so you could stand it up on your desk. Anyway, Mom and I were out shopping one day and one of the stores at the mall had them. I really, really wanted the one with Joey McIntyre, because he was my favorite. Mom would only buy the one with all five guys on it for me, though. Her reasoning: If she bought me the one with just Joey, it wouldn't be fair to the other four guys.

That was 26 years ago, and she still stands by her reasoning. And yes, I let her buy it for me.

Raised a Monster FactsPixabay

17. Oh Brother

In the car, my brother will always sit at the back right and I have to sit at the back left. We're not allowed to swap seats. We used to fight over who gets to sit where. Once my brother made me sit on the sunny side but promised we would swap on the way back. Guess what? On the way back we were going in the opposite direction so I was still on the sunny side. That was the day the rule was born.

We're both in our 20s now and still uphold this rule.

Weirdest Rule FactsShutterstock

18. Dining for None

We were not allowed to walk through our dining room. Nothing made my mom angrier than having footprints through her OCD vacuum lines in the carpet. It was easier to cut through the dining room from the hallway to get to kitchen. Sometimes after mom was asleep, my brothers and I would sneak through. The older we got, she seemed to get crazier about it.

I remember all three of us being grounded for a week for one of us walking through, since she couldn't tell who was the guilty one. It's so strange because other than this rule, and not being allowed to sit on our beds, she was lenient otherwise.

Weirdest Rule FactsShutterstock

19. Dietary Madness

My mom was super, SUPER into nutrition. Like to a scary and not scientifically-accurate degree. I was not allowed to eat sugar—EVER. I mean I did not taste white sugar until I was 11-ish and caught on that I could just sneak it other places and she'd never know. I never had candy or chocolate of any kind until then (She sometimes baked sweet things, but it was rare, and she only sweetened them with apple juice). I get that sugar isn't good for you, but jeez.

I could not have honey either, because she believed I was allergic because my "hearing got worse" if I ate honey. Not sure how she came to that conclusion, because I never saw an allergist. I suspect I was just a normal kid—even now, if I'm focused hard on something I'm doing, I won't hear you talk to me! She also never took me to the doctor for any reason. I was not vaccinated until I was 18 and went on my own to do it.

I was not allowed to eat the same type of grain on more than one day a week. She had a list on the fridge like "Sunday - Wheat, Monday - Oats, Tuesday - Spelt, Wednesday - Kamut, Thursday - Rice," and I can't even remember the rest. Quinoa and teff were probably on there. Anyway, this was because she believed eating the same type of grain multiple days in a row would cause you to become allergic to it.

Her definition of "allergy" was vague and conflated sensitivities with allergies. She never saw a professional other than a legitimately-quack "nutritionist" who once made her believe she had cancer but NEVER SENT HER TO AN ONCOLOGIST. She did not actually have cancer, as far as I know. She was pretty obsessed with allergies, and she controlled everything I ate very carefully so as to avoid "giving" me more allergies. There were lists other than the grain ones—we also alternated soy, almond, and rice milks. Again, to avoid "creating allergies."

As far as I know, I only ever had one actual possible food-related...thing, and I outgrew it, so I don't even know what it was: until I was around 13, if I consumed anything containing the slightest bit of milk protein, I'd throw up violently not long after. I wish people had taken it more seriously whenever I told them about it, because people thought I meant "lactose intolerant" and tried to give me things without lactose but which contained casein. Or they were attempting to be "nice" because they were aware my mom strictly regulated my diet. But my god, if a child tells you "I am allergic to milk," how about err on the side of caution because you don't know what's going on??

I do not know why she got the idea that I'm allergy-prone, because I wasn't and still am not! She made up a medical condition for me and made me eat as if I really had it, but never got me checked by a doctor to be sure. Umm, what else...oh, I wasn't allowed to eat potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, or peppers, because they're part of the nightshade family and nightshade is poisonous and so eating those foods would eventually cause toxins to build up in my body and cause me to lose my life. I don't even know where to begin with that one.

Within the last five years, she has completely abandoned this behavior.. She eats whatever, whenever. She still eats a lot of whole grains and fresh produce—great!—but she also eats potatoes (etc.) and even sugar sometimes. She still talks about her constantly-rotating cabinet of "allergies," but not as often. She thinks the stomach ache she gets from milk is an "allergy." And I'm like no, mom, switch to Lactaid?

She also gets a yearly physical from an actual doctor. And she seems much happier overall.

Weirdest Rule FactsShutterstock

20. Seems Reasonable

It wasn't the rule itself that was ridiculous, it was the fact that it was the only rule. Don't set the house on fire. That was it. I could do whatever I desired as long as the house wasn't a pile of ashes when my parents got home.

Small kid is seating on the chair and looking at camera.100 files ,Pexels

21. Not the Happiest Place on Earth

For me, it was that Disney films were almost completely banned (I was allowed to watch Mickey Mouse). My mum felt that they were too "saccharin" and that I should not be lied to about the future. We actually all sat down as a family when I was about five to watch Mulan, then read the poem while my mum explained the differences. Jokes on her though, I watched Pocahontas at a sleepover.

Although this does mean that I have not seen The Lion King, Cinderella, etc.

Shirley Temple FactsShutterstock

22. Slipping Standards

I had a 10 PM bedtime from age 16 until I moved out. I turned 18 in July and moved out in August. The only exception was if I had work. I got grounded for a week because I was up reading. Five years later my then 13-year-old sister came home falling down intoxicated around midnight. My mom was mad but my dad just laughed. No punishment.

Being the oldest sucked sometimes.

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23. Gotta be Quick on the Draw

To have control over the television you had to say, "Powerpuff Girls, Dragon Ball Z, Ed, Edd, 'n' Eddy,” and a bunch of other Cartoon Network shows that were on television at the time. If you said this before everyone else, you got to decide what we watched on the TV.

Weirdest Rule FactsShutterstock

24. That Rug Really Tied the Room Together

My dad's big rule was "don't bleed on the rug." It was obviously just a way to de-escalate the bangs and bumps of kids horsing around...he would hear a smash from the other room, then silence, then call out "just don't bleed on the rug!" One time my brother cut himself—he was pretty young, maybe seven or eight—and my dad came in with wide eyes and said: "YOU BLED ON THE RUG!"

Bleeding brother didn't get the dad joke and thought his life was completely over. Started crying hysterically. De-escalation backfired after years of buildup.

Weirdest Rule FactsShutterstock

25. And I Didn’t Live to Tell the Tale

Not my parent, but my friend's father had a ton of rules about not doing dangerous stuff. That's not all that unusual, but I always liked the way he justified them. He always said that he once lost his life doing XY. Not almost lost his life. No, he in all seriousness told us he once perished. Well, many times actually, because there were a lot of rules.

Example: "Don't swim under the steps that lead into the swimming pool when diving, I once lost my life doing that!"

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26. Grub’s Up

My parents never took me out to dinner ever. Not exaggerating at all. In my 18 years living with them, we did not eat out even once. The habit was to have three meals at home. Even when I was older (in high school) and deliberately went out with friends, they still compelled me to eat three meals every day at home. When I got home there was my share on the table and I had to finish all of it no matter what.

That meant I had to hold back when I went out with friends, the reason was always "I cannot skip dinner, sorry, you guys go on without me." As a teenager that was a very lame thing to say, or so I thought.

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27. Poverty’s Scars

My father told me that if I went to a friend's house and my friend's parents offered me anything to eat, I was supposed to refuse. I took this rule very seriously. I remember once a friend's mother offered me a slice of cantaloupe, and when I refused, she tried really hard to coax me to eat it. It got so embarrassing so fast.

My father grew up in poverty on a farm in the south, and he lived through the depression. He always had enough to eat, but there were some kids in the neighborhood who didn't. These kids were always hungry, and would try to scrounge food from neighbors. Neighbors would feed them, but they hated having to do it, and they blamed the kids' parents.

So the parents of the hungry kids had a bad reputation; the neighbors assumed they were (and maybe they actually were) alcoholics, or just generally lazy good-for-nothings. So my father's fear was: if I accepted any food from anybody, or if I appeared to be hungry at all, people would think I wasn't getting enough food at home, and therefore my father was a bad provider.

My father, by the way, had lots of paranoid ideas.

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28. Too Many Cooks, Apparently

I wasn't allowed to go near the kitchen. In my country, it's common for middle-class families to have maids doing house chores, and my parents said I shouldn't bother the maids doing the job. Also, the kitchen is full of dangerous things. So, I grew up not knowing how to cook anything. Every time I went near the kitchen my mother would kind of mean laugh at me, saying I can't cook so I shouldn't bother messing in the kitchen.

She can't cook herself (having maids her whole life), so that might be insecurity projection or something I don't know. Or maybe she thought if she can't cook and her daughter can, it'll expose her as a bad mother or something. The woman has a lot of that kind of insecurity, there's a lot to unpack there...once I moved out, one of the first things I did was start teaching myself how to cook.

I love cooking now.

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29. Bun Swapping

My dad had diverticulosis (pockets in the intestine) and couldn't eat sesame seeds (among other things). When we would eat fast food sandwiches, everyone had to give their bottom buns to Dad, in exchange for his top buns. So all my life I grew up eating burgers with two top, seeded buns. This was never explained, and it was from before I born, so it was literally when I was in college that I realized that it wasn't normal.

I thought it was just a trademarked Dad-Privilege to have two bottom buns.

Weirdest Rule FactsPexels

30. The Two-Day Rule

We couldn't eat ice cream two days in a row. My dad's reasoning for it makes sense. There may be a risk of heart disease in the family, so limiting ice cream means limiting the intake of saturated fat. However, the executing of the rule is questionable? Why two days? Why be so rigid and inflexible? Does having this rule mean the kids look forward to their ice cream days, overall increasing intake?

I'm the youngest and we're all adults now. The rule came up in discussion and my brother came up with a hypothetical, "What if I, eat it two days in a row, but then I don't eat it again for the next three days?" and my dad admitted that would have been a reasonable exception, but he would not have allowed it back then.

I still follow the rule. It's not like I eat ice cream every other day like clockwork; it's a rare treat. I just still avoid two days in a row, but I sometimes make my brother's exception. Another anecdote: My sophomore year of college, a frozen yogurt station was installed in the dining hall. I texted my dad to ask if the rule applies to frozen yogurt.

It does.

Weirdest Rule FactsLibreShot

31. Got a Light?

No lights. My mother suffered from migraines and couldn't tolerate light so the house was shrouded in darkness. We used candles and kerosene lanterns. Now I literally turn on every single light in my house every morning just to get my day started. I still crave light after all this time. It hurts me not to have it.

white light switchCastorly Stock, Pexels

32. Grit Your Teeth

My dad was a periodontist. He had me lay on the bathroom counter every night while he did a dental exam and brushed my teeth for me...until I was 12...and any friends who stayed over had to be subjected to the same treatment. Full on dental inspections every night. Gotta say though, I’m 30 and have never had a single dental problem.

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33. Dad’s House Dad’s Rules

No TV. This was the 80s. We finally got a terrible, tiny, black and white TV when I was maybe 12. The only thing I could watch without ruthless mocking was the original Star Trek if there happened to be reruns. I can recite them by heart to this day. I was sooooo pop culture illiterate, it was unreal. I had no idea what Saturday Night Live was, or MTV or anything.

In retrospect, I think my dad just hated everything and especially loud noises. I did learn to love reading though. Oh, and also dinner was between 10 PM to midnight. I was a night owl also, from babyhood, so this wasn't the worst thing for me but I do remember being woken up to come eat many times. My father just preferred it that way so that's how it was.

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34. All That for Next to Nothing

We all had to meticulously record in a ledger every penny spent on our family cars: gas, oil changes (which we did ourselves), alignments, etc. Each ledger was kept in the glove box. Each entry had to include the date, the mileage, price per gallon (gas) or price per quart (oil) or some other description of what was being purchased, total cost, and a few other things I’m sure I’ve forgotten.

This was super embarrassing if I had to get gas with high school or college friends in my car. I was teased about it. However, I always assumed my Dad had some impressive spreadsheet with which he was tracking...something. Years later, after I bought my own car, I asked my Dad what he did with all of that data, he said, “Not much, really. Occasionally, I’d look to see what kind of gas mileage the cars were getting.”

Weirdest Rule FactsFlickr,

35. Gotta Play the Game

My adopted grandma (AKA my mom's best elderly friend from community aqua aerobics) would watch my brother and I when my parents were away. Her one household rule was the time you woke her up in the mornings, was the equivalent to your bedtime in the PM. So let grandma sleep till 10, you could stay up till 10. Wake her up at 5, you're in bed by 5.

If you worked the system well, this was fantastic.

Weirdest Rule FactsShutterstock

36. Only God-Approved Rockin’

Was not allowed to listen to any music that was not Christian. Period. Bands I liked before this rule that they were previously okay with? Banned. Anything not already on the list of approved bands, such as Jars of Clay, had to be thoroughly vetted. Otherwise, they would break the CD in front of you, even if it was borrowed from a friend. Genre didn't matter, as long as they were Christian, which meant bands like Underoath and MxPx were cool.

There were plenty of others, but this is the one that still gets to me over ten years later.

Weirdest Rule FactsShutterstock

37. Do It for Oprah

We had to be quiet when we drove through Chicago because "Oprah was filming there." I'm guessing it was because I was being too noisy or my parents were trying to concentrate on the directions, but I can't believe I bought into that for years.

Weirdest Rule FactsFlickr

38. Preparation for Incarceration

My mum advised me not to sweeten my tea with sugar, explaining that in places of incarceration, this luxury isn't permitted. This way, she reasoned, adapting to such environments would be even more difficult. 1) Thanks for having so much faith in me, mum. 2)I'm pretty sure you are permitted to have sugar for your tea while incarcerated.

Weirdest Rule FactsPexels

39. Pavlov’s Dad

Wasn't me but my neighbor. When my dad would come home from work my friend would have to go home. His parents told him that because that meant it was dinnertime and therefore he should come home. Him being a child, didn't grasp that portion of the rule, he only understood come home when my dad gets home. This translated into my friend being terrified of my father.

If he saw my dad turning into the driveway, he would drop whatever we were doing and sprint home. If my dad would make it home and get out of the car, he would cry and run home. Somehow in his head, my father was bad. It took some time before my friend was comfortable around my father.

Weirdest Rule FactsShutterstock

40. There's Grounded, and Then There's Grounded

Grounded at my house meant something different than what other people’s grounded meant. When I got grounded I could do absolutely nothing. Wake up, sit at the kitchen table, read a pre-chosen book all day that I had no interest in, go to bed. I was once grounded for six months because of a D. I was also made to do an insane amount of yard work. Every weekend was yard work from morning until night, then back to forced reading until bed.

My brother once got grounded and he had to write out the whole bible. He left the house before he ever finished. Also, I once got grounded because my stepmom thought I was worshipping Satan after she found my Diablo II video game strategy guide. I then had to throw away all of my CDs and the book and game.

Weirdest Rule FactsShutterstock

41. Sock It To Ya

A "sock tax." In retrospect, smart. I hated it at the time. So, I left my dirty socks around the house. I don't know why I would be taking socks off all over the place, I was merely a child. I guess I was sloppy and it just happened and the socks had to be off right then and there. Parents got fed up with this. And so, to get my dirty socks back, I had to pay a quarter per sock.

Doesn't seem like a big deal at first, but it adds up when you're nine years old. Had to literally nickel and dime my way through a few pairs because I was running out of socks, I was kind of a sock deserting addict I guess. Finally got in the habit of picking up my socks for a while and things seemed fine. Then I hit a heavy relapse.

Parents gave me a big box of my dirty socks for Christmas that year and a few pairs of new ones. Got better after that. Typing this is making me smile, I really love my mom and dad.

Shutterstock-253531276 socks in a boxShutterstock

42. Do NOT Go In There

If you were to visit my childhood home, you'd walk through the front door to find the kitchen on your right, the living room straight ahead, and a carpeted hallway just beyond that. If you were to then follow that carpeted hallway, you'd pass the family room, my father's office, the laundry room, and the bedroom shared by my brother and me, with my parents' room seeming to complete the tour.

There would be another door in that hallway, though. A closed door. A forbidden door.

My parents were somewhat strict while I was growing up—mostly out of necessity, given that I was an incredibly troublesome child—but almost all of their various rules made sense (even back then, I could see the merits in not playing with knives, for example). The only exception had to do with that aforementioned door, which I had been expressly barred from even approaching, let alone actually opening.

Friends who visited me would occasionally ask what was on the other side, and I'd make up wild tales of prisoners, long-lost relatives, and even magical portals to distant lands...but the truth of the matter was that I didn't know. Now, sure, I had vague suspicions about what that off-limits room contained, and I'd even managed to catch a few glimpses from time to time, but it wasn't until one afternoon when I was about five years old that I finally discovered the terrible secret.

On that fateful day, I hatched (what I thought was) a truly diabolical plan: I waited for my mother to distract herself with some chore or another, sent my younger brother off to play "Hide and Seek" with himself, then tripped outside the forbidden door and caught myself on its handle. Having thus "accidentally" opened the door, I peered inside.

I couldn't believe what I saw. That evening at dinner, I recounted my adventure to my parents. "Did you know," I said to them, trying to keep my tone casual, "that there's an empty bedroom in this house?" My father glanced over at my mother with a barely concealed grin. "Really?" he asked. "Where is that?" "It's behind the..." I said, catching myself too late. "...It's behind the off-limits door."

"Did you open the off-limits door?!" my father gasped. "Yes." "Even though we told you not to?!" I folded my arms in the way that I'd seen my mother do it. "Well, you never told me why it was off-limits!" My father pretended to consider this. "You know what this means, don't you?" "N... no?" I answered, suddenly feeling very nervous.

"This means you can have a room of your very own if you want!" At the time, I mistakenly assumed that because I'd discovered the empty bedroom, I was therefore allowed to occupy it. It took far, far longer than it should have—until I was practically an adolescent, in fact—for me to realize the truth of the matter...

By that point, my parents had probably started wishing that they'd never encouraged me to rebel.

Question Reality FactsPixabay

43. What a Load of Poop

I wasn't permitted to utter the term denoting flatulence. Instead of using the term related to passing gas, my parents wanted to substitute it with "poop". One day in second grade I had one of those horrible, once a month, disgusting smelling farts, and I told my friend "I just pooped!" A girl who was also sitting at our table heard me and raised her hand in front of the entire class to tell the teacher I had just pooped my pants.

The walk of shame to the nurse was not fun after having to explain myself to my teacher and the entire class.

Weirdest Rule FactsShutterstock

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Nothing stays hidden forever—and these dark family secrets are proof that when the truth comes out, it can range from devastating to utterly chilling.
April 8, 2020 Samantha Henman

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Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.

Madame de Pompadour Facts

Entrancing Facts About Madame de Pompadour, France's Most Powerful Mistress

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
December 7, 2018 Kyle Climans

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I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.

These People Got Genius Revenges

When someone really pushes our buttons, we'd like to think that we'd hold our head high and turn the other cheek, but revenge is so, so sweet.
April 22, 2020 Scott Mazza

Featured Article

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.

Catherine of Aragon Facts

Tragic Facts About Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s First Wife

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but very few people know her even darker history.
June 7, 2018 Christine Tran

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