All families operate differently, and sometimes one person's normal is another person's strange or different.

But there's a line. Not every home environment is a safe one or a valid one for kids to grow up in. Kids are fragile, and very sensitive to negative stimulus.

If you've ever seen one of these environments, chances are you know exactly which one made you feel the most uneasy.

u/ohsopoor asked:

(Serious) As a kid, what was the creepiest, most WTF thing you ever noticed about another kid's family?

Here were some of those answers.

No Furniture, No Problem!

Sophomore year of high school, I was invited to one kids apartment to work on a school project. His house had no furniture - just a single mattress, and was a complete mess. Giant stack of dirty dishes, etc.

While I was there, the guy nonchalantly mentioned his only parent, his mother, had left to visit family in Korea 2 years earlier and he'd lived by himself since then. She just sent him money each month for food, and paid the bills remotely.

Considering he must have been ~15 years old, I was kind of thinking wtf. But it seemed like he was doing fine so I just moved on.


TW: Abuse

I went home with a friend one day after school and she explained that her dad liked it quiet in the house. Okay.

So we get there and the house is SILENT. I have to explain, she had NINE brothers and sisters. And in this tiny, three bedroom house, with TEN KIDS, it was completely quiet. Their dad is in the recliner, one of only two chairs in the house, and he's just chilling, smoking a cigarette.

We were in there to get a game and play it outside. Two of her brothers started jostling each other and bumped into a cabinet. Their dad looked at them and held up his cigarette and they RAN out of the house. We followed right after them.

Shannon always wore long sleeves. That didn't really raise a lot of flags - there were plenty of Mennonite families around. But one day her sleeve slipped up and I saw a lot of small, round scars on her arm. It was a long time before I realized they were scars from cigarette burns. And that she had hundreds of them.


Panic Room

One of my good friends in elementary school-- first through fifth grade-- had a deadbolt on the inside of her bedroom door. She also had a phone in her closet that she wasn't allowed to use. It was a second line and had a different phone number than the main house phone.

The Bible on her book shelf was full of money, $20s and $50s tucked between the pages. I didn't realize what this all meant until I was much, much older.

Her father was very abusive towards her mother. Not the kids, though. Just the mom. My friend's room was the "safe" room. Mom would lock herself and the kids in there when he got in one of his moods. The phone was to call for help. The money was in case they needed to run.


Some of these situations are so incredibly strange, dangerous, or outright cringey.


When I was very young, a friend once mentioned she slept with the family dogs. Big deal, right? Our dog slept in my room, too. Then I went over to her house for a sleepover.

We slept in the living room that night, but when she went to change into her nightie, I found out she slept in the basement, on a sleeping bag between two of the four kennels housing the family's 10 dogs. All of her possessions were in cardboard boxes.

There were three bedrooms in that house--one for her parents, one for her sibling who had moved out a few years ago, and one stacked floor to ceiling with the products for her mom's various pyramid schemes.

No one seemed to think this was at all odd. My friend matter-of-factly said it was her choice to move into the basement so she had 'space'. She didn't tell me to keep it secret or say anything that made me think it was wrong, so although I felt weird about it, I just kind of dropped it.

We faded in and out of contact all through school, and the last I heard, she moved in with her boyfriend when she was sixteen, but remained on good terms with her parents. So I guess the weirdest/creepiest part of this story is that no one involved seemed to think anything was wrong with the situation.


Wealthy Yet Still Very VERY Weird

I was staying over at a friends house during the summer, we were like 11 or 12 and he told me he was going to shower, I told him cool I'd stay and play playstation no biggie. A little while later I hear multiple people laughing coming from the bathroom down the hall, later on both his parents and him come out all in towels.

I was confused but asked him afterwards what the laughing was about and he said his dad accidentally peed on his leg in the shower, so this dude just took a shower with his whole family and his dad peed on him.

It was definitely a wtf moment, also they weren't poor or anything to warrant sharing showers, they lived in an absolutely massive home that had like 6 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, an inground pool, the works.


The Chokey

The nail room.

Small cupboard under the stairs that had nails stuck to every surface. Like, the pointed end pointing into the room. Even the inside of the door was the same.

It reminded me of an iron maiden torture device but not as tight fitting.

Family were completely normal. My friend is completely normal. No weirdness or anything. He doesn't know why they had the nail room either. Just always remembers it being there.


Like, normal is subjective, but, come on.

Not A Fake Name

At a Girl Guide event, I met a new girl and introduced myself. Later after we'd done some things, she told me her real name was a different one. I was like oh, okay.

She asked me what mine was and I said I had told her my real name. She absolutely insisted that I was hiding something and there was some reason I wouldn't tell her my real name, not that I had, like most children, not given a fake name?

So odd. We were maybe 8 or 9 years old


All Eyes On Us

The lady next door used to babysit us while my mother worked. She had children the same age as us (9 and 10 years old) and an older son that was 14 years old.

She had a rule in her house that we cannot close the door even if you are using the restroom or changing your clothes.

I just hated when I had to use the bathroom. I tried my best to hold it until I got home. When I could not hold it anymore, her creepy a** son when following me to the restroom and just watch.

I would tell the mother how uncomfortable I was and she said that the rules are rules and must leave the door open. I told my mother and that was the end of her babysitting us.


No Name

My mom and grandmother told me about a family that lived in the town where she lived. This was back in the 1930's and 1940's. The husband didn't work but the wife did (during this time period, this was unusual). The father would whistle commands to his wife and children.

Never called them by name but used whistle commands. If they didn't respond fast enough, they would be punished. Must have been a nightmare for this family to live with this guy. My mom told me that this guy gave her the creeps. People strongly suspected that bad things were going on in that household which weren't visible (for example wife and kids didn't appear to be physically abused but that doesn't mean that they weren't).

Every time my mom would see the Sound of Music where Captain Van Trapp used a whistle to whistle commands to his children, it would remind my mom of this guy.


"Addiction" To The Tune Of "Tradition"

It was my best friend in primary school.

He lived with his grandmother and father in a small public housing unit.

We were 8 years old and I was having a sleep over, I had just gotten a Gameboy colour so we organised a night to play it together.

His grandmother dropped a bottle of wine in the lounge, it hit a table and smashed. Instead of cleaning the wine, the nice woman in her 70's dropped to her knees, trying to slurp up the wine from her carpet and crying loudly.

Later that night we saw his dad taking his "medication" (which I now realise was using IV drugs, presumably opiates) and then "falling asleep" in the room he shared with my friend.

We slept on the floor in the lounge because his dad was sprawled out on my friends bed.

My friend didn't bother to explain any of the behaviour I witnessed, he didn't even flinch. I presume it's because it had been normalised for him.


Gary Pratt/Flickr

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