45 People Share The Things They Did Growing Up That Were Actually Pretty Weird

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A frame of reference is vital for anyone trying to understand really anything. After all, the things we see growing up seem normal until we get a little bit more information about the world. While it’s not that uncommon to find out weird things about other people, the real shock is to learn that your habits are, in fact, very strange. 

Someone asked “What’s something your family raised you doing that you later learned was really weird?” and netizens spilled their strange habits. So get comfortable as you read through, upvote your favorites, and be sure to share your own experiences in the comments below. 

45 People Share The Things They Did Growing Up That Were Actually Pretty Weird When I became an adult I was shocked to find out that other families did things with their kids. My Mom was a shopper, my Dad golfed and played cards at the club. We NEVER had any family activities like hiking, camping, bowling or anything in the 60’s and 70’s. When I had things my parents could have come to watch, they never did. My daughter was a good tennis player and I spent every afternoon and all weekends with her playing. She did get a full ride tennis scholarship in Hawaii for college.

I don’t think I had one real conversation with my Dad. When he was dying, I asked him if he could tell me he was proud of me. He said “I’ll think about it”. That s**t effs you up for life.

Glittering_Sky8421 , Vika Glitter/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

The truth, at the end of the day, is that people can be downright weird. What seems cool and impressive to one is just dumb for someone else. However, as is often the case, people don’t really know what is weird or not in a vacuum. After all, your frame of reference is defined by what you are used to. A child doesn’t exactly have the most expansive worldview.

The result is that people might not know what is weird until much later in life. However, at the end of the day, context is important. While some of these examples are downright horrible, there is nothing wrong with some idiosyncrasies. Mushrooms sprouting from your carpets are bad, while weird habits like clapping at a show are almost cute. 

45 People Share The Things They Did Growing Up That Were Actually Pretty Weird In high school my dad had a rule “if you’ve done it, I’ve done it. And if you and your friends are going to do it, do it in the house and have them stay the night.” Coupled with “if you EVER need a ride you can call me to pick you up.”

He was talking about d***s and drinking. He wasn’t encouraging it, but allowing a safe space.

This was one of the better things in my childhood.

Connect_Border_4196 , Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

45 People Share The Things They Did Growing Up That Were Actually Pretty Weird Not cleaning.

My mom didn’t know how to clean and so couldn’t really teach us either. We had this fungus growing out of the carpet at one house that looked like cooked lasagna noodles. We would just kick it out of the way when it sprouted up or my mom would buy a new rug and put it on top of the old rug. Especially if the old rug was stuck to the floor from filth or something. I didn’t think anything of it and would have friends over who probably talked all kinds of s**t about me afterwards. But they kept coming over anyways so I guess they weren’t that turned off.

GlizzyMcGuire__ , Matt Seppings/Flickr (not the actual photo) Report

45 People Share The Things They Did Growing Up That Were Actually Pretty Weird Whistling for each other. My mom didn’t like yelling up the stairs. Apparently an easier solution for walking up them and addressing whomever she needed was to stand at the bottom and give a couple of sharp whistles. We would approach the top of the stairs, and from the bottom she’d tell us what she needed.

Time for dinner? Whistle.

I want you to come downstairs? Whistle.

When I whistled for my at the time husband, he got irritated and said he wasn’t a dog. I thought about it and I was like… huh. I guess you’re right.

I now feel like whistling is disrespectful, and I’d never do it. At the same time, I have no problem that this is how our house went. It was more peaceful than shouting, and less work than walking. Just one of those weird family quirks, I guess!

BeatrixPlz , Luis Quintero/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

45 People Share The Things They Did Growing Up That Were Actually Pretty Weird We were not allowed to have a drink with our meals. It could be the driest food ever or you could be thirsty as all hell, nope, no water, finish the meal first.

Bathing/showering only on Saturday evenings. I must have smelled so bad back then , especially since my dad smoked in the house. It was to save money on the water bill. But a pack of cigarettes a day was in the budget.

ariellann , ume-y/Flickr (not the actual photo) Report

45 People Share The Things They Did Growing Up That Were Actually Pretty Weird Catholic mother, muslim dad; neither really practicing. We celebrated Christmas though, and on Christmas Eve night instead of doing the “normal” Christmas stuff like cookies, milk, etc. my dad would loudly pretend to violently chase Santa out of the house by yelling and cussing him out and throwing his shoe at him, which we would later find in places like the fireplace.

Tracer_Bullet_38 , Chris F/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

45 People Share The Things They Did Growing Up That Were Actually Pretty Weird Using a ship’s bell to call for dinner. My parents got tired of yelling for us so they mounted a ship’s bell to the hallway wall. They would ring it for dinner and any other occasion when they needed our attention.

Like Pavlov’s dog I get hungry whenever I hear a ship’s bell ring.

staubtanz , Gary Todd/Flickr (not the actual photo) Report

45 People Share The Things They Did Growing Up That Were Actually Pretty Weird Not flushing the toilet at night.

Our toilet used to be fed by a rainwater reservoir that was stored in a cupboard up high in my parents room. 

When you flushed it used to drip for a while and would disturb them (can’t blame them).

I just got used to doing it and when I moved in with my girlfriend she was disgusted that things were left until the morning (can’t blame her either).

toon_84 , dirtyboxface/Flickr (not the actual photo) Report

45 People Share The Things They Did Growing Up That Were Actually Pretty Weird Having your teen partners just.. move in.

My brothers both had their girlfriends move in with us when they were 14 and 15, due to their home life being rough. When I was 14 my boyfriend of 3 months got kicked out, so he moved in with us no questions asked, for 2 years. Several of our friends also just moved in with us. 🤷‍♀️.

Velmabutgoth , cottonbro studio/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

45 People Share The Things They Did Growing Up That Were Actually Pretty Weird Not cleaning our bathtubs. In the 18 years I spent living with my parents, I probably cleaned my bathtub 3 times. We just considered it normal for it to be moldy and dirty. At least that’s how I saw it, because my parents just never talked about it. When I was a teenager, my mom started giving me tasks to do around the house. I would sweep and mop the floors, I would clean the surfaces, I would clean the toilets and sinks… But the bathtubs were never mentioned. They were just never in my radar as something I needed to clean, and my parents never said otherwise. It was when I moved out and lived with roommates, and eventually romantic partners, that I realized this wasn’t normal. Now I gag when I visit my parents and I have to take a shower in those disgusting bathtubs.

ImInJeopardy , Jo Naylor/Flickr (not the actual photo) Report

45 People Share The Things They Did Growing Up That Were Actually Pretty Weird Changing clothes in the living room & terrace. bcs parents say “it’s dirty if you are still wearing outside clothes while going in your bedroom”

i just noticed this is weird when I was older and friends came by, and they were surprised when my dad casually stripped to his underwear on our terrace.

parents are still doing it but not when a total stranger is around now (i talked about how it’s weird). but they do it when they already know someone close enough. and I had to warn my bf about it before he came around. he’s now getting used to it.

stubbycacti , Eelke/Flickr (not the actual photo) Report

45 People Share The Things They Did Growing Up That Were Actually Pretty Weird In the summer, my dad used to get us up (myself and 3 siblings) at 9am, give us breakfast and then boot us out of the house and lock the back/front doors from the inside. We weren’t allowed back inside until the streetlights came on (unless it was ONLY : using the washroom or getting a drink).

Our ages were 10, 9, 7 and 4 the first time he did it because he told me “you’re old enough to look after them on your own now” and “your not sitting around the house on your fat a**es all day”.

My step-mom never questioned it because she figured that he was just getting us to play outside for a few hours. Once my second youngest sister (the 7 year old) got heat stroke and my dad was PISSED that he had to drive us all to the hospital and “waste time”

Realized when I was 14-15 that he just wanted us out of the house so he could drink and watch NHL. We never really questioned why he was kicking us out because the other kids that lived on the street were also outside around the same time as us. Once we were invited into my brothers friends house to play his Wii and we were like “???????? Youre allowed to go inside and play the Wii????????????? wtf????”

Edit — for those mentioning the Wii :: this was around 2006

Edit 2 — for those concerned with how we ate, yes we did eat during the day :: My dad sometimes would put fruit or something out on the back deck table, but usually we’d get food from friends parents, we’d find cash lying around and save up enough to get candy from the Dollar Store, there was a farm near the house and we’d eat the chives that grew naturally on the side of the property/steal crab apples (tiny green apples that are super sour) from their trees.

AkKik-Maujaq , Tatiana Syrikova/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

45 People Share The Things They Did Growing Up That Were Actually Pretty Weird Upon arriving home in the evenings from somewhere, my parents would have one of us kids wait in the car while the other went inside, got their shotgun, and went through every room in the house and backyard to make sure we were okay to enter. I was unaware that my mom was being followed around by a very dangerous man, and I was checking to make sure he wasn’t waiting inside the house. I’m not sure why, but it seemed like a good idea to be safe. I assumed they were looking for bears.

Sort-Difficult , Anton Imbro/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

45 People Share The Things They Did Growing Up That Were Actually Pretty Weird If I had friends over my mom wouldn’t allow me to offer them anything to eat, nor anything to drink except bottled water. They also weren’t allowed to use the upstairs washroom, they had to use the tiny one in the basement. They also weren’t allowed to sit on any of the couches and half the time not even on the chairs.

Fairly certain my mom was trying to make visits by friends as unwelcoming as possible so they wouldn’t visit, and ditch me as a friend. She thought that all that mattered was studying and getting good grades, and she was more than willing to sacrifice my social life/happiness to ensure that I got good grades.

yeetgodmcnechass , RDNE Stock project RDNE Stock project/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

45 People Share The Things They Did Growing Up That Were Actually Pretty Weird Whenever it was one of our birthdays, my father made us keep a pen and pad next to the phone to list everyone who called and when. He’d then keep a “blacklist” of everyone who didn’t call, or didn’t call in a timely fashion (for example, the closer you were related, the earlier in the day you should call under his rules). I didn’t realise this was messed up until I was an adult and had a lot of therapy.

thatwasdramatic , Alex Ermolin/Flickr (not the actual photo) Report

My Taiwanese born dad called tortillas burrito skins. I still call them that when I’m tired.

Tcloud Report

Leaving a shot of old grandad for Santa. He gets tired of milk and it helps him feel warm.

CatRiot2020 Report

Calling the remote a ‘channel changer’ … turns out that’s not what they’re called to normal people

Edit: I’m realizing this was more normal than I thought! I’m from New England (US).

eab1006 Report

My parents are really germophobic and my dad think he has to ‘kill the bacteria’ on the bread when he buys it fresh, so he puts it in the oven to toast and almost f*****g burns it. He thinks that whoever did the bread sneezed or acccidentaly spit on it.

In my country we eat bread almost everyday, I thought everybody did this, this is insane.

pasta_e_polemiche Report

My family puts butter on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So butter and then peanut butter on top of that. No one else I know does this.

erichthonius11 Report

Not me but a friend from years ago, their family never said ‘I love you’ to one another. We were in our late teens/early twenties, they mentioned they’d only heard it a handful of times. My family says it liberally. I remember hugging them before they moved out of state, saying I love you and pull away to see them crying.

fortuitous_music Report

Apparently other people’s moms didn’t just give their kids five bucks for lunch and then sleep all day.

TheThalmorEmbassy Report

My mom had us help her completely rearrange the rooms (including ours) every few months (at least twice a year). I find a set up I like and don’t change things (except to accommodate life changes or new items).

tmccrn Report

A nice one between all the sad ones:

Apparently, people think getting your kids salamanders as pets is weird. But I disagree, they are super cute, I’ve had salamanders from 8 up until 18. It taught me that animals other than mammals were awesome too.

Pauline___ Report

My grandma used to give me math quizzes when I visited because she didn’t believe I was smart enough to get the grades I was getting. I thought it was totally normal for a while to quiz people so that they could prove “x” skill. Glad I realized that was bs before I hit adulthood.

MachampIsHot Report

The first thing that comes to mind is putting tuna in Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese, some people think it’s weird and gross, but I love it.

RocMills Report

When sick my mom would not only coat my chest with Vicks, but would also use q-tips to get it in my nose and make me eat a spoonful of it. I thought it was normal until my wife told me otherwise.

Just to point out my parents are from an older generation and we were very rural.

silentsnak3 Report


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