People Break Down Which Things From Their Childhood They Thought Were Totally Normal Until They Grew Up
When I was growing up, I had a classmate who used to joke about his mother hitting him with the broom when he was particularly naughty. We had a good laugh at it at first until we realized... Wait a minute –– that's not normal. And it wasn't. Most of us grew up in homes with parents who didn't lash out at us, so something was definitely wrong there. But when you're younger, it can be hard to express when something feels off, especially when you lack any other basis for comparison.
After Redditor stupidrobots asked the online community, "What about your childhood did you think was normal until you grew up and realized it wasn't?" people shared their stories.
"I know when we eventually settled somewhere..."
I was a military brat, who grew up with other military brats. And because of dad's role, we moved around a lot.
Apparently, changing home/school/country every 1-2 years isn't normal.
I know when we eventually settled somewhere for me to finish high school, I was shocked to learn that there were kids at my high school who had been to kindergarten together. Like, they'd known each other for 15 years. It blew my mind.
"Coming home every day..."
Coming home every day from school to freshly baked cakes, cookies etc. I honestly thought everyone's mum did this. My mum just really enjoys baking, and is very good at it. She would seriously time it so that her freshly baked goodies were still warm but ready to eat when my siblings and I got home from school.
"An acquaitance of mine..."
An acquaintance of mine had really messed up parents growing up, and they never let him do anything. He was never allowed to hang out with me or our friends, and wasn't even allowed to go down to the fish and chip shop unsupervised. Even when he turned 18 (legal drinking age in the UK), he still wasn't allowed to drink alcohol. His mum told him that if he was caught even drinking a drop of it, there would be some severe punishment awaiting him.
Unfortunately, his guy genuinely believed the way his parents brought him up was completely normal. It didn't help that his parents kept him isolated from other people as much as possible, which most likely didn't help. What really disturbed me and still does to this day, after his parents found out about his poor GCSE results, he was locked in his room for a week and was not allowed to go out unless it was for the toilet or for dinner. I told him that's straight-up abuse. His response? "They don't hit me, so its not abuse. They just have my best interests at heart." He was baffled to hear that most parents did not do that.
Last I heard of him, he's beginning to stand up to them and has now even got his driving licence. However, the damage has been done already. This guy is 22 and acts at least 10 years younger, and has trouble holding down a job for longer than a few months. He's never spent one night away from his parents/grandparents in his life ever, and is likely to be very dependent on his parents. Let's just say, his parents have done him a massive disservice.
"The one thing I wish I could do..."
My parents were always there for me. There was no such thing as I was ever "on my own" until 18 when I left home and joined the military. I always thought parents were your support system and pushed you to do and be your very best. As I was getting older 17/18 I was surprised to see how many of my friends couldn't turn to their parents for anything. Looking back, I didn't realize how lucky I was to have parents that worked hard to make sure we had anything we wanted even whether or not we could afford it, which normally we could.
Thanks, mom and dad, for everything.
The one thing I wish I could do is to go back and help those who weren't as fortunate. But it's never too late to build a strong community around you and change what you can.
"My parents are old school Catholics..."
Having parents who hate each other. I genuinely had no idea there were couples who were happily married until I was in high school.
My parents are old-school Catholics who never thought divorce was an option. I have never seen my parents kiss or hug. I don't even remember a time when they shared a bedroom.
My four siblings and I struggle with relationships. I wish my parents had divorced and at least one of them had found a healthy, loving relationship.
"When I grew up..."
Emotional manipulation/abuse. I never considered it that I just thought its parenting. When I grew up and understood emotions better I realized that my parents were constantly emotionally manipulative towards me to force their opinions on me.
"My grandfather was a tinkerer..."
Hoarding. My grandfather was a tinkerer that grew up in a poor household. He saved everything. My dad adopted the behavior. He tried to be like his dad, but he was nothing like him. He didn't repair and invent things. He just broke things and kept on collecting things.Soon, my mom adopted the behavior. She would go to flea markets/yard sales and just buy up crap that would get thrown onto a pile. She only bought what she thought was "worth money."
I never realized how bad it was until I looked at an old photo of myself (probably about three) standing in what I thought was a storage room or maybe a flea market. Nope, it was our hallway. Boxes and items stacked from floor to ceiling. I sobbed. I didn't remember it being so bad when I was young, but it was awful. I wasn't allowed to have friends over. My parents were so extreme that they'd tell me to go clean my room, and then go through the trash bag to see if I threw out anything "valuable." I'd end up with 3/4ths of the trash back in my room, and getting screeched at for throwing away money.
Once I was an adult, I started throwing out anything and everything I could. Parents gone for the day? Throw out crap they don't even remember owning! After my mom passed, I went through a lot of the stuff she collected for value and learned that most of it wasn't even worth the amount she paid for them. All but one item was less than $1. I'm constantly purging stuff out of my house. I don't want a repeat of my childhood.
"That I didn't have to..."
That I don't have to spend the whole of a party or gathering serving people/cleaning up after them just because I'm a girl. This was expected of me every time. I was confused as hell at the first non-family party I went to, and this was as an adult.
Having to pay for basically my own life starting at freshman year of high school (year one).
I went around thinking that everyone paid their own phone bill, buying their own clothes, finding a way to school, etc.
But really I came to the realization that it seemed like my family didn't like me. No one else had to do it in my family and it's not like my family is poor. I've been the most successful in my family yet I've gotten to the point where I don't care.
Now I'm 18 years old about to graduate high school busting my butt to get money to pay for college. I'm literally getting 3-4 hours of sleep trying to keep good grades and working.
"For me, I appreciate it..."
I grew up in what my friends refer to as "a naked house". Nudity is no big deal to me. My mum was pretty much naked most of the time. We'd use the toilet with the door open and we wouldn't lock the bathroom door while bathing in case someone needed to use the toilet. Getting changed in front of my brothers or parents is totally normal to me. I didn't realize that was strange until it became a running joke with my friends that they've seen my mum naked more than their own.
For me, I appreciate it because I'm confident in my skin as I've never been told it's something that should be hidden/ashamed of and it also made for a more open relationship with my parents. We'd comfortably talk about body issues and that made puberty an easier experience compared to a lot of my friends' descriptions of theirs. One friend thought she was dying when she got her first period because her mum had never discussed it with her! That's what's weird to me. I can't imagine not being able to discuss a body issue with my parents.