If you managed to emerge from your childhood relatively unscathed, you should probably thank your lucky stars right now – or at least, thank your parents. After all, no matter what minor grievances you had with your old folks, hindsight tells us it could always have been so much worse. Just ask any of the kids on the receiving end of these absolutely insane rules. They waited until they had grown up and then shared their tales of parental woe online, from video games being made verboten to being told not to dance at – erm – a dance.
20. No game over for Mario
I wasn’t allowed to say I ‘died’ on Mario. I ‘lost one of my chances to succeed.’
You can sort of see why an overprotective parent would want to shield their child from the complexities and horrors of death but sometimes it goes too far. As this user of social media would no doubt readily attest. After all, Mario is only a virtual video-game character – what happened to the commenter when, say, their pet or elderly relative passed away? Did their dear old granny just lose one of her chances to succeed?
19. Left in the dark about final family destination
[My siblings and I] weren’t allowed to know where we were going during car rides. If we’d ask, we were told, ‘Business,’ and figure it out we were going to the store, etc, only after we arrived at our destination.
We would really like to believe that this motoring mom and dad were simply fans of cryptic puzzles, not of driving their kids ’round the bend. But somehow, we have the sinking feeling that this bizarre misdirection was more to do with pointing out who was in control. No matter what age the passenger may be, the final destination of a car ride is definitely their “business.”
18. Giving pop culture a pass
No trends, or ‘passing fads.’ Pokémon: banned. Barbies: banned. Beanie Babies: banned. PlayStation/Gameboys? Banned. Anything particularly fashionable, or popular – regardless of actual merit – was met with derision, and we’d be mocked for even suggesting interest.
This blanket ban on trendy toys was especially unfair. Indeed, some of these pop-cultural artifacts do not deserve to be lumped together. Sure, you could argue that Gameboys were a passing fad which has since gone to the grave, but PlayStations and Pokémon are still going strong. Clearly, the parents who passed down the order to pass these items by were not great predictors of future popularity. In fact, maybe that was why this particular mom and dad decided to eschew pop culture altogether – much to the chagrin of their little charges.
17. Strictly no dancing queen
My parents were slack; my best friend’s parents were so strict. She would escape to my house for freedom… Her parents allowed her to go to prom but said she wasn’t allowed to dance. We all went to prom, had fun dancing. Until she saw her parents standing at the back, watching.
The awful sinking feeling in that poor kid’s stomach as she spotted her parents’ disproval at her enjoying herself will probably be one she never forgets. Indeed, just imagine not being allowed to dance – of all things – at your own prom. What else are you supposed to do there? And, really, what sane reason could anyone possibly have for forbidding their daughter to dance?
16. A crazy curfew consequence
For every minute I was late coming in from curfew, I got grounded a week. I once spent ten weeks grounded due to a sobriety check point.
Curfews can make sense in some situations, but only when the restriction is enforced with a reasonable penalty – say, a minute late now equals a minute earlier next time. Unfortunately, that key factor seems to have eluded the parents of this kid in the online contributor’s younger days. Indeed, we are not sure how this mad mom and dad arrived at their crazy calculations, but the math definitely does not add up.
15. Don’t know? Big no-no
I wasn’t allowed to shrug, or say ‘I don’t know.
Perhaps this was just some convoluted way for this respondent’s parents to teach their kid to never admit defeat. We will perhaps never know for sure, but even so it was hardly a great lesson to pass down. After all, is it not so much wiser to admit when you don’t know something and then learn about it? Certainly, to do so is much better for a kid than making excuses, or hazarding a wild guess that might be as wrong as this silly rule.
14. Not allowed to address a hairy problem
I was not allowed to shave my legs or armpits, and I hit puberty at an early age. So I had really hairy armpits and legs and was forced to wear shorts to gym class.
You have got to feel for the poor young woman who shared this hirsute horror story on social media. As if not being allowed to shave was not sadistic enough, she even had to wear shorts to completely compound the hairy problem. And did her mother not go through similar insecurities when she was at school? You really have to wonder what was going through her mind when she dreamt up this crazy dictat.
13. Ban on giving something back
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.
Ah, those infirm and needy senior citizens are so notorious when it comes to stranger danger. Honestly, you could not make it up – not least because extra-curricular activities such as volunteering can be super beneficial to a young person’s college applications. This fact makes a nonsense of these prohibitive parents’ point about their offspring’s studies. Indeed, their edict on not helping the elderly just seems like that age-old problem of over-controlling a kid.
12. Marry in haste, date at leisure
No dating till marriage.
We are simply not sure about how this online example of nonsensically strict parenting would even work. How on Earth can you marry someone without having dated them first? Unless, of course, you are talking about an arranged marriage – which is a whole other can of worms. Indeed, it just seems like this is one unreasonable rule no-one should have to suffer, no matter how tender their years.
11. Wait for lights out to log on
No video games console ever, and no online games on the computer because that’s how you get a virus and make the computer run slow… So I was playing my [multiplayer online role-playing games] when they were sleeping.
Okay, we get it – some parents may not fully appreciate the allure of computer games. Nevertheless, this kid’s online testimony is evidence enough that it is a really bad idea to forbid the admittedly addictive pleasure altogether. After all, the late-night player’s sleeping pattern must have been totally shot by having to go to such extreme lengths for their virtual fix.
10. Getting heavy about guitar music
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.
According to the individual who posted the above, this totally unreasonable rule had its roots in the “Satanic Panic” controversy of the 1980s. This was when heavy metal, in particular, came under close scrutiny for the supposed demonic content being sung. But even if you took the lyrics of those heavily guitar-based songs at face value, it still does not seem like grounds to silence every piece of music featuring a six-stringed instrument. Let alone reach the stage where you defenestrate a radio playing Ozzy Osbourne’s Black Sabbath like a parent possessed.
9. Off-putting behavior over online chat
30 minutes of internet time a day, and 99 percent of the time that was supervised – as in mom looking over my shoulder and commenting on conversations.
There is a lot to be said for the right to privacy, especially when you are not granted that dignity. As anyone who grew up with parents like this social media user’s mom will doubtlessly tell you. Sure, it was probably just that the worried woman did not fully understand the nature of internet communication, and so she was concerned for her kid’s wellbeing. But even this mom would probably now concede that hanging over her offspring’s shoulder while they were chatting with friends online is uncomfortably akin to eavesdropping.
8. Curb your enthusiasm
I wasn’t allowed to cross any streets until middle school. Thus, my best friends were the ones who lived on the same block as me.
Why did the kid cross the road? This poor person probably had to wait years to find out the answer. Yes, we have heard of overprotective parenting, but this is taking the safety-conscious cake. After all, how can your offspring ever learn to make their own way in life if you block their passage? The kind of sheltered upbringing where the simple act of crossing the street is proscribed should be kicked to the curb.
7. Cold-hearted response to hot weather
A friend of mine wasn’t allowed to wear shorts to school unless it was already over 80 degrees when she had to leave. School started at 7:40 a.m. so this almost never happened – even on days when it reached over 90 mid-day. The school didn’t have air conditioning.
Talk about a backfiring ban. After all, this poor kid must have wilted in the sweltering heat – and it no doubt affected her school work. But then again, what sort of unschooled adult is unaware that the temperature only increases as the day goes on? Indeed, it is not hard not to believe that the cold-hearted parent must have known exactly what they were doing.
6. Nil by mouth… or nose
No sneezing or yawning [between] 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
We have absolutely no idea how anyone would ever be able to enforce this rule on their long-suffering offspring. What would you do, watch them like a hawk for four hours every afternoon? And just suppose this social media user had been an insomniac hay-fever victim as a kid – the punishment would have been nothing to sneeze at. Really, some parental rules defy all logic and reason…
5. Forbidden to soak up SpongeBob
My friend grew up banned from Spongebob, of all things. My other friends and I would reference stuff from the show at lunch, and she’d sit there like, ‘What are you all talking about?’
We are struggling to imagine a childhood without SpongeBob Squarepants, let alone fathom the reason why anyone would want to ban their child from watching his deep-sea shenanigans. Sure, some of the kids’ cartoon’s themes can be a little mature, but chances are that if you are too young to be aware of them, you would not understand them anyway.
4. Getting your ten a day
My siblings had to eat ten olives every day at dinner. I am the youngest, so I guess my dad forgot about that rule.
Look, we have got nothing against olives, except to say that perhaps they are a bit of a bitter, grown-up taste. Evidently, this contributor’s dad did not agree. Regardless, if you are forced to eat ten of anything every day, you are going to get sick of the foodstuff pretty soon. The real question is, why was this dad so hellbent on his kids eating the little appetizers in the first place? Surely the man can not have been too committed if he eventually ended up forgetting about the daily ritual – which just makes the arbitrary rule even stranger.
3. Don’t lose your head answering the door
We had to duck when opening the door for strangers just in case they were holding a gun at our head-level.
How many times have you answered the front door, only to find yourself staring down the barrel of a gun? We are going to go out on a limb here and wager that your answer is “zero.” And yet, apparently, this kid and their siblings had to face every knock on the door as if they were living in a war zone. Never mind the fact that, to children, “head level” is a totally ambiguous measurement…
2. Real men don’t stall too long
I couldn’t shower for more than four minutes. My dad would stand outside the door with a timer. He would say, ‘A real man doesn’t need longer then two minutes to shower.’
Sure, you don’t need any longer than two minutes in the shower stall if you care more about saving water and electricity than actually getting clean. But a long, reviving shower is often a joyful highlight of the morning. So to have cold water thrown over that pleasure by an overly money-conscious, micromanaging father sounds frightful.
1. Ten days is untenable
I had to tell them any plans to go somewhere ten days in advance. No ten-day heads up, no going anywhere. Was terrible when I was in high school and so many things with friends were spur of the moment.
Want to know how to make your kid’s time at high school as miserable as possible? Just follow the insane rule dreamt up by this internet user’s parents. They clearly wrote the book on how to ruin a growing child’s leisure time. Indeed, plucking an arbitrary number out of thin air and demanding that many days’ notice for their kid to do anything is a sure-fire way to shut down their offspring’s social life.