Timeouts and groundings are for amateurs–these kids went through some very weird and sometimes harrowing punishments. We’re talking forced diary-readings, severe dress codes, Fruit-Loop-sorting/counting, being banned from using public restrooms–and many more.
Here are 42 insane punishments that people’s parents unleashed on them when they were younger.
42. Bottom Burp!
My dad once heard my sister say “fart” and he got really angry because it was not “ladylike,” so he prohibited us using it.
Instead of saying “fart,” we were to say “noise that came from behind” or “bottom burp” which made it even funnier to me.
41. Undo And Redo
Growing up, if I didn’t clean up right, they would undo whatever work I had done. For example: My dad asked me to clean the kitchen once and I forgot to wipe off one of the countertops. He walked in there to “inspect it” and he noticed so he took the trashcan (that had just been used to clean up from dinner the night before and clean out the fridge) and slung it all over the cabinets, countertops, and floor.
He also took all the dishes out of the almost full dishwasher and told me to clean it up and when I did the dishes I wasn’t allowed to use the dishwasher, I had to wash them all by hand. He would do it with my room too – take the dresser drawers out and dump them, take the rod out of my closet and dump it, then pull the blankets and sheets off my bed. He’s really scary when he’s mad and it’s even worse when he’s wasted on top of it.
40. Another Fart Restriction
I wasn’t allowed to say “fart” because it’s a “swear word.” If I needed to talk about farts, I had to call them “fluffs.” My best friend and I would kill ourselves over how silly this was.
I’m 26 now and as much as my parents are proud of me for my life accomplishments so far, I know they’re not proud of me for having a VERY extensive, dirty vocabulary. It feels good to prove to them I can talk like a degenerate and be successful.
39. Not 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 other diseases from them. 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.
My grandma also told me that if I took a bath I would get pregnant from my dad’s fluids in the tub from him touching himself. Like 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, 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).
38. It’s Like Digging Your Own Grave
When I was like eight, my parents made me dig a four-foot wide, four-foot long and four-foot deep hole in the backyard and then just fill it back in because I lied.
To be honest, I was very scared and nervous at that time when they told me to dig a hole that I could easily fit in — but very relieved when they told me to fill it back in.
37. The Water Perfectionist
I didn’t realize how controlling my dad was until I left. Here are a few stories: we were not allowed to eat anything before church service (he said that we had to listen with open ears and an empty stomach to really understand the service) and we always had to finish all of the food that was on our plate no matter what (he would leave me sitting at the table for hours until I was done). And if I had to stay home from school sick, he would take the house phones, the batteries from the TV remotes, and the power cord from the computer to leave me completely bored.
Oh and he expected me to have dinner ready for the whole family by the time he got home. He’s also a big water drinker and would always demand a cup of water. It would have to be the perfect ice-to-water ration or else he would hurl it at the floor, make me clean it up and try again. The “do you pay for water” line never gets old.
36. The Ultimate Guilt Trip
While fighting over a beanbag chair, my brother pushed me and I fell on the fireplace. Busted the back of my head open. My father swooped me up and rushed me to get stitches. I was five, and my brother was 10.
It wasn’t until many years later that I found out how my mother dealt with my brother after my father and I left. As the door closed behind my father, carrying me out the front door, my mother looked at my brother and said, “Well, you killed your sister.”
35. Sort, Count, Add
My dad got really pissed once and dumped out a box of Fruit Loops cereal. He then made me sort them by color, count each, add them together, then vacuum up the crumbs after I put them back in the box.
Another time was when I was 15, I got my entire bedroom taken away for five months because I missed the bus. The only thing I had in my room was a mattress and a pillow, no sheet or anything–just a pillow.
34. But… I’m A Man
My dad made me go out in a dress one time. I am a guy. I was staying with him for a week and skipped school one day. He came home to get something and found me watching TV and I said I was sick and couldn’t go. He goes back to work. The problem was, this was a Friday and there was a party. My dad and my stepmom come home and start making dinner. I get better and afterward say I’m going out. Obviously, this was met with skepticism. My friends showed up in the midst of this. I argue my position passionately.
At a certain point, my friends were dying laughing, and my dad switched from trying to get me to admit I lied, to just seeing how far I’d go to prove I hadn’t. He even got my friends to tell him where we were going and just kept saying he couldn’t believe how “improbable” the whole thing was. He even told me I could go if I just admitted I lied about being sick. But, I was dug in. I told him he could pick what I wore in order to prove I wasn’t lying (my dad has notoriously terrible taste and this was way before “norm-core”). My dad picked a dress made from the back pockets of jeans. Like an entire dress made of denim back pockets. It was freaking absurd and extremely uncomfortable. A massive jean dress made of exclusively seams. It didn’t breathe, it barely moved, it chaffed. I didn’t give a damn about wearing a dress, but this was torture. Yeah, so I wore that to a party.
33. Dress Code And All
Where to start? We have our own dress code: no form-fitting pants/tops (no jeans unless they were from the men’s section or four sizes too big); the pants had to be full-length, no exceptions; tops were to cover the top half of my thigh because if my butt was showing then I was too easy; tops were to have a crew neckline and sleeves were to be down to my elbow; no makeup until I was 16 when I started sneaking some into my room for “natural” looks.
We aren’t also allowed to wear heels because all heels are for “dancers.” And we also aren’t allowed to have guy friends because all guy friends want to get into your pants. All girlfriends had to be pre-approved and “good influences.” No going out during the week, no sleep-overs, no parties (duh). For a while, I wasn’t allowed my phone in the bathroom with me, still not totally sure why. No social media. As for more serious stuff, I wasn’t able to seek mental health help because “Why waste time talking to a stranger for an hour?”
32. No Music Allowed
No music allowed when cleaning the house, because it would “distract” us. And if we want to play a song, it should be about Christianity, because listening to non-Christian music was punishable by being grounded for weeks.
Also, we’re not allowed to do anything with friends on a Sunday because it was “family day” (even though we never did anything as a family and just stayed shut in our rooms).
31. Pokemon Promotes Evolution
There were a lot of TV shows I wasn’t allowed to watch. Mainly things like Pokemon because it obviously promotes evolution. The big one though is I wasn’t allowed to get my driver’s license. I had to learn how to operate a car and drive in case of emergencies but was not allowed to get my license.
There were extreme amounts of whining when I needed to be picked up late due to my after school activities or be dropped off at a Saturday competition. Then I was the ungrateful one if I complained about them yelling at me for having to go to an event, for a school activity they signed me up for that I didn’t want to do in the first place.
30. No Harm, Just Watery
My mother’s go-to punishment, which I’m sure I will carry on when I become a parent, was cold water in the face. Just enough to shock you. I have vivid memories of each time she came at me with a cup of water (and I got it the most out of my siblings).
Once, my youngest brother was throwing a tantrum in the kitchen while she was washing dishes. She just turned around and shot him with the sprayer. Definitely not the craziest I’ve seen, but also more creative than time outs or spanking. Very effective as well.
29. Just Stare At It
I could put the ketchup on the table but was only allowed to look at it. My mistake? Asking my foodie dad if I could have ketchup on my steak; I was seven and that’s how I’d always had it when my mom cooked it.
Not to be outdone, my mother grounded me from reading because I kept staying up late past my bedtime reading books.
28. Oh, Hi Dear!
There were tons of them – but the worst was a period of about a year when we had to address our parents as Mother Dear and Father Dear and our siblings as Brother Dear and Sister Dear.
My father was a sick jerk who just came up with that one day and STRICTLY enforced it until he went on his next deployment. Luckily, he forgot about it by the next time we saw him.
27. Clean Before You Go
I was technically allowed to go out, but my mom always imposed some sort of qualifier, like mow the lawn and then you can go, clean your room and then you can go. For a while, I tried to always have the lawn mowed and my room clean, to sort of get ahead of her so I could say yes to spontaneous plans, but she would always come up with something that I needed to do (in some cases come home and do) before I could do something with friends, so I always had to decline in favor of coming home to wash one dish or something similar.
Eventually, in like my senior year of high school, I got my parents to come to negotiations for a curfew. I explained that people don’t make concrete plans for later anymore, and frequently when I’m asking for permission to do something, the plans are about to happen right now. That coming home to do whatever character-building busy work was always going to make me miss out. I pitched the idea of having to be home at a certain time, and texting my parents to tell them where I was, but not having to ask specific permission to do every little thing as long as a set-in-stone list of chores were done. Incredulously, in a tone implying that I was being unreasonable: “Oh, so you just want BLANKET permission to do WHATEVER you want ALL DAY, is that it?” So every night I snuck out.
26. Can I Go To The Toilet?
There were five very horrible rules set by my father. We had to get weighed before meals to decide if we were allowed to eat, and everything had to be ironed — like everything — including underwear (I never iron anything anymore). We were only allowed to read 20 to 30 pages per day, including textbooks. Obviously, this made high school a little difficult. But the worst rule was — us women (my mom and I) were not allowed to change the TV channel. Plus, you had to ask permission to use the toilet.
25. Banned From Using Drinking Glasses
My mother was pretty narcissistic and selfish growing up, so we had some pretty odd rules we had to follow. One of them was that the house had to be spotless 100% of the time. If there was even a crumb left on the counter, she would flip out on us for HOURS. She has a hard time letting the little things go. She would wake me up at 5 am and yell at me if I didn’t get up right away. Then right when I got home from school, she would find something I did wrong in the morning and yell at me for it. Then I would continue to “mess up” in some way until I went to bed then the cycle would continue the next day.
A weird punishment I had was if I didn’t wash a glass after I used it (I was 10 or 11 at the time), she banned me from using glasses to drink out of. So, I had to either cup my hand under the faucet to get a drink or drink out of the garden hose outside. Looking back, my mom most likely has some sort of disorder as a result of trauma from her own childhood. She lies a lot, everything has to be perfect, uses me as a scapegoat, is manipulative (mostly gaslighting as well as making me believe I’m at fault for most things). I’m just glad she lives halfway across the country now.
24. No Naps? What?!
I wasn’t allowed to be in my room for an extended period of time except to go to bed at night. Also, no naps. My laptop was required to stay in the living room at all times. When I started commuting to college because dorms were expensive, I was required to report to my father and stepmother’s room every day as soon as I came home, and they would yell at me if I didn’t come up without being told every day. Texts must be responded to immediately. My father threatened to report me as a missing person because he called me while I was on a shift that ended at 3 AM and didn’t text him back until the next morning.
One time, my stepmother asked for the full name, race, and history of a coworker whose house I was going to to play D&D. It was only a one-off event, but still super weird. I’m sure there are more that I can’t think of right now, but I’ve had no contact with them for going on eight months now and so it’s been a while since I interacted with their craziness.
23. What Grandma Says, Goes
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 control and this was one of the few arenas where she could exercise it.
22. Not Allowed To Be Angry
So 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 of the emotional autonomy and “willfulness” 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.
21. Don’t Be A Scaredy Cat!
I was terrified of the dark growing up, so my parents took away my lights as punishment. I lived in a basement room, and the only windows I had were small ones near the ceiling, and those were covered with bushes. I spent many a dark night in isolation, terrified out of my wits, hiding under blankets weeping and shaking. Thus, I started cutting around age 11. Like, my brain couldn’t handle it, and I got no sympathy from my peers. Everyone was like, “Fraidy cat, scared of the dark!”
When CPS finally got involved when I was 15, this was brought up, and dad laughed like they were claiming child abuse because I wasn’t allowed to have cake for breakfast or something minor. He didn’t know why cutting was a bad thing, because he considered that a joke: “He’s just doing that for attention. It’s convenient: Self-punishment built right in. He’s so stupid and you’re all just falling for it.” Yeah, he had no clue. I got over my fear of the dark, eventually, and even prefer it to sleep better as an adult, but my childhood still gives me PTSD flashbacks.
20. Like An Animal
I was a loud eater, and one day I was grunting while eating. I was probably five or six or so, and I don’t remember what we were eating, but my dad got so mad at the sounds I was making that he cut my food up, put it in a bowl on the floor and said if I wanted to sound like an animal while eating, I could eat off the floor like an animal.
And so I did; I ate out of the bowl without utensils or using my hands, like an animal, because the alternative was not getting any dinner and getting my behind beat with a belt.
19. A Completely Controlling Father
My dad has a severe untreated anxiety disorder as well as OCD. He doesn’t believe in psychologists, psychiatrists, medication, etc. so it just runs rampant. Growing up, he made lots of arbitrary crazy rules every day. I have no idea why, but my mom agrees with him and would go along with them, and still does to this day. I’m fairly certain I’ve shared some of them on here but here are some of the highlights again: I’d have to wash my hands 100+ times a day. I had bad eczema so this made my hands constantly crack and bleed and people at school called me alligator hands. My friends weren’t allowed over because they were “dirty” and would “touch things.” I also wasn’t allowed to have birthday parties or any social gatherings for that matter. I wasn’t allowed to use the brakes on my new electric scooter, which I saved up and bought myself, because it might “dent the wheel” and break it. Friends weren’t allowed to touch my stuff at school because they’d “get the oil from their hands on it.” I would get yelled at for accidentally making crumbs, spilling something, etc. but wasn’t allowed to clean it because they had to be the ones to do it. Then I would get yelled at because they always had to be the ones to clean it.
He would dictate the way I did everything: the way I pressed on the soap dispenser, the way I poured milk, the way I put on shoes, the way I tapped my toothbrush off after brushing my teeth. He even commented on how I wiped my butt WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER. The list is endless because it was a new/different rule every day. He still does it to this day, but as an adult, I can understand why he thinks the way he does, and I have autonomy over my life now.
18. Treated Like A Convict
This started in about the third or fourth grade and continued until I moved out at 18. During the months of the school year (usually stretched to ten months out of the regular year, to be fair), my room consisted of: a bed, a bookshelf (empty), a closet (with clothes), a desk (bolted to the wall so that it could not be moved, back to the door at all times), and textbooks. Anything that might’ve been remotely entertaining, distracting, or engaging was removed. Books? Gone. Computer keyboard? Adios, locked up, had to ask permission to get it back to type up homework on the rare occasion they allowed that. Even random toys, when I was a kid – gone. Most of that stuff I genuinely gave up on when I was in middle school and only got back when I moved out. Moreover, music with lyrics: banned. TV and movies: banned except for extremely special circumstances (Friday night with parents if they deemed I warranted it, I could watch about two hours of TV, if they picked the show.) Door lock: removed.
At any point, my room would be prison-tossed to see if I was hiding contraband or stuff from school I should be showing them (usually low-grade assignments.) At any point, I could be subjected to a pat-down, my bookbag dumped on the ground and the contents kicked about until they found anything to get mad about. I’d then have to clean up the mess of that or the tossed room, or often both. Privacy was a privilege, and one I didn’t have during those months. There was a lot more, but those are the high points.
17. Take It Or Leave It
When I was 16 years old, I asked my dad if I could go to a coffee shop with some friends and that I was done with all my homework and promised to be back by bedtime. He said, “No. You already went out once this week.”
That was actually the last straw because he made that rule up on the spot and doubtlessly had every intention of enforcing it. I snuck out my window and left home. He found me a couple of days later and it turned out, after talking to his cop buddies, that he couldn’t have them arrest me unless I was found breaking laws. I agreed to talk to him and my stepmother, whereupon they told me I could either live by their rules or not live there again. That was a no-brainer. I packed a couple of bags of my favorite clothes and got the heck out.
16. Everything Is NOT Allowed
I wasn’t allowed to “grow up.” My parents forced me to bathe in front of them for years so they could keep an eye on my body and when I started developing, I wasn’t allowed near my younger siblings because I was “tainted.” I wasn’t allowed any friends because “Friends will use you; you only need your family.” Well, that’s kind of hard when I wasn’t allowed to be around my family. I wasn’t allowed an education because it’s a sin. I wasn’t allowed to talk or even look up from the floor. I wasn’t allowed outside. I wasn’t allowed to have a “crush” (this included fictional characters).
I wasn’t also allowed to wear a bra, but I was reminded how much I was a Jezebel for having a developed chest. I wasn’t allowed to have new clothes. I could only wear my younger sister’s (by two years) old clothes and if I couldn’t fit them, I was put on a diet. I wasn’t allowed to sleep on a bed, because my parents thought I would get fantasies. I wasn’t allowed to use the bathroom; I was allowed outside once or twice a day to go behind a tree. I wasn’t allowed to look at my younger siblings, and if I did my parents accused me of violating them. (We are one year apart. It started when I was six years old and my parents thought since my younger siblings were always “touching” each other that I was the one that gave them that idea.) I wasn’t allowed to sleep until all of the daily chores were done (the list would grow as the night went on). I wasn’t allowed to eat unless it was leftovers. I grew up in a “Christian” household in Montana. I ran away when I was 17. I’m married now and even though we’re struggling, I’m a lot happier.
15. You Can Talk, But In Hebrew
I grew up bilingual in English and Hebrew. My parents aren’t religiously Jewish and my mom is only part ethnically Jewish, but they both studied Hebrew in college and wanted me to grow up bilingual. It makes you smarter, apparently. Anyways, when I was 10, I swore for the first time out of anger in front of my parents. This wasn’t just normal swearing either; this was really, really bad. I had heard those words at school a few months before. They then calmly decided that for a week (this was during summer vacation so I didn’t have to go to school), I would have to speak in nothing but Hebrew. It didn’t matter where we went. We went to the pharmacy, the grocery store, and other places we normally went during that week. To a cashier, to other kids at the playground, to my parents, and literally everyone else I could only speak Hebrew.
It was honestly torturous. No one knew what I was saying. I wasn’t allowed to write anything down either. I tried my best to gesture about what I was trying to say but that confused people even more. Other kids wouldn’t play with me because they thought I was insane. I was so embarrassed and adults would just give my parents sad, sympathetic looks like “You poor people. Your daughter is crazy” or even asking if I was adopted and then asking how I was adjusting to the States. Needless to say, I never swore in front of my parents again.
14. Body Odor Is Waving At You!
My parents wouldn’t let me use deodorant because it was considered a perfume, and using perfumes was considered “vain.”
But the most messed up rule was “Be home before sunset.” The worst part? The sun sets really early in my country and if it was an overcast day, I could not tell. Every minute I was late was a day I was grounded.
13. Forced To Eat Cereal And Drink Sour Milk
I didn’t like to eat in the mornings when I was young (8-9 years old) because I had a nervous stomach before school. My dad was going into work late and insisted that I eat the Apple Jacks cereal in front of me. He was getting very angry and saying things like, “You waste food – you gotta grow up and quit being nervous” because that helped a lot. I told him that the Apple jacks tasted funny. They really tasted weird and then I saw the small white things floating in the milk and suggested the milk was sour.
Obviously, he called nonsense – got so mad at my “lie” that he made me eat all of it and drink the milk. Then I went to school and threw it up and got to go home. He wasn’t good for a long, long time. By the time he stopped drinking and using substances all the time, he missed so much “how to be a dad” steps that it didn’t get much better. I will say this: he did his best, and even though his best wasn’t good enough it still was his best.
12. Perfect Smile No More
My parents decided not to let me get braces. I was with a friend who got caught stealing, and after denying any involvement for hours, my parents refused to believe me and threatened to hurt my friend (even went to her house).
I eventually lied and said I was involved and they canceled my braces. I still have crooked teeth to this day, and my parents think I’m a petty thief.
11. “They’re For Naughty Girls”
My mom won’t let me use tampons because “They’re for naughty girls” 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 naughty girls.” 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. (I was a C cup by 6th grade.)
For the record, I was about 10-11 years old when I started needing a bra and sanitary products and the naughty comments were really inappropriate and weird.
10. Household Commandments Turned 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. The same went 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 the senior year of high school, bedtime was 9:30 pm Sunday to Thursday, strictly enforced. Three hours of TV a week until 8th grade. My 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. Also, we weren’t allowed to say “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.
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 disappear. She then screamed at me and kicked me out for two nights as punishment for writing such horrible things.
9. No Dinner Conversations
It was my dad’s rule not to 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 of that size three meals a day was likely very time-consuming and with this being a farm there was work to do, so the faster the members 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 loosened up when he was over 50 and two out of the three of us kids were over 20. Now, meal times for my family are hugely social. We laugh, joke, and just talk, and we even have the occasional food fight with one another!
8. The Evil Step Mom
My stepmother tried to boot myself (a 14-year-old female) and my brother (a 12-year-old male) out because she didn’t want us living with her. My dad realized that if that happened, he would end up dealing with child services, etc., so he “compromised.” As a female, I was allowed to still live in the house but had to remain in my bedroom unless I was 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 be given 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 of the house 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 ax.
7. The Unstoppable Questions
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 crap things like play dolls. No thanks.
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, and what their driving record was like. It was humiliating.
6. Say No To Social Life
I was 20 years old, in college, still living with my parents and I still had a 10 pm curfew on the weekends. I ended up getting kicked out of the house for disobeying it too much.
I also never developed a social life because I didn’t go to a single party that wasn’t chaperoned by a parent until I was 20. In my unprofessional opinion, I believe that because of this I have some pretty severe social development issues that have hindered me my entire life.
I had to charge my phone in the kitchen after I went to bed. They said it was to keep me from staying up late, but they were secretly reading through my texts. How did I found out? Certain texts to my high school boyfriend had been locked so that they wouldn’t delete automatically (I knew I hadn’t done it myself). I was always really careful about deleting things that could get me in trouble, but I would forget every now and then.
One day, I was scrolling through older texts and I found a few that had been saved. There was also one time when I had said, “orly?” in a text and my stepdad thought it was short for “orally.” My mom busted into my room the next morning while I was getting ready for school and yelled at me for doing oral.
4. Grounded For 365 Days
I was 14 years old and a friend used me as an alibi for when she got hammered, without me knowing. This ended up not saving her ass, but handing me mine. Instead of saying “Were you with her when she was drinking?” they took the tack of “You were there too, so you must have been drinking” — which is wrong, I wasn’t there; she just wanted to alibi herself out of trouble.
My parents refused to listen to me and grounded me for a year. I did the year (what option did I have?) and after that, refused to tell them anything ever again. I had told the truth and they didn’t believe me. I never recovered from the damage that did, and to this day I tell them next to nothing. I’m 46 years old.
3. You’re Your Own Worst Enemy
The weirdest punishment my mother came up with was making me write a two-page essay about why I had broken a rule, then write it again and again until she got home from work. The weirdest punishment my father came up with was making me put away all my stuff instead of going to see a movie. But that wasn’t crap. I was a weird kid with a guilt complex deep as a trench. I’d punish myself sometimes for random things that my parents didn’t feel really called for punishment. Sometimes it was simple crap like standing in a corner unprompted. One time, I coated my tongue in pepper because I gave my mother trouble eating dinner.
But the grand prize winner was probably when, at the age of seven, I made myself watch the movie Alien alone in the dark. I don’t even remember what I’d done to conclude I needed this, but I felt that the only answer was to scare the heck out of myself.
2. The “No One Can Stop Me” Moment
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.
1. No Room For Mushrooms
My mom had a period when she met a new guy and married him and wanted to “toughen up” her spoiled children. I lived with my dad but was visiting for the summer. I was 14 and I have always, always hated mushrooms. My mom has always resented this, as we were poor and mushrooms were a good way to fill out stews, pasta sauces, etc. and everybody else loved them. She forced me to “taste it” every single time, convinced I was just being fussy, making me detest them even more – even today, 25 years later, I can still puke instantly if I taste the texture of mushrooms. So she makes fried vegetables for breakfast. About half of it is mushrooms, the cheap, nasty canned version. I say I don’t want it. She goes on a rant about how spoiled I am and tells me there will be no other food.
For context, I have always loved food and eating and was an extremely hungry growing teenager at this time. I say fine. She then serves me the same portion of vegetable/mushroom mix for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for three days straight and I refuse to eat each time. I was really hungry that summer.