8 weird rules your parents imposed that made you a better person

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Every parent has their unique approach to parenting, and many of us grew up with rules that we found inexplicable or just downright weird. 

But looking back, it’s astonishing to realize how these peculiar rules have shaped us into more responsible, considerate, and self-reliant individuals. 

Since becoming an adult and seeing how other people were raised, I’ve thanked my parents numerous times for the life lessons they taught me as a kid. 

So, while some of those rules weren’t fun at the time, I think we can agree; they were put in place for a reason!

Here are 8 weird rules your parents imposed that made you a better person:

1) The snack ban before dinner

Did you also have to face the dreaded “no snacks before dinner” rule? 

At the time, it kinda felt like torture. What was one biscuit really going to do to our appetites anyway?

But in hindsight, this rule taught you a couple of big life skills: self-discipline and delayed gratification. 

Here’s the thing:

Having to wait for dinner made you appreciate the meal more, and it gave you a little taste (pun intended) of why patience can be a virtue. 

Now, you might even apply the same principle in other areas—like saving money or working towards a long-term goal.

2) The mandatory bed-making in the morning 

Why make the bed when you’re going to ruin your masterpiece by sleeping in it again? I never understood the point of this growing up.

But let’s dive deeper here. 

Making your bed was your parents’ sneaky way of introducing you to the concept of responsibility and routine

You see, it’s a small task, but accomplishing it sets the tone for the rest of the day. 

Ever noticed how one small win in the morning can snowball into a productive day? 

Yeah, your parents were onto something.

3) Earn your TV time 

So, your buddies had unlimited access to cartoons, and you had to earn your 30 minutes of screen glory.

Seemed unfair, right?

But there was a method to the madness. 

You see, your folks were steering you towards a life less sedentary and more imaginative. With limited TV time, you had to find other ways to keep entertained. 

Maybe you ended up discovering a love for painting, a knack for soccer, or a passion for reading. 

I know I spent hours playing out on the street until it got dark. We made potions out of flowers and rode our scooters and bikes around. 

Either way, you learned how to manage your leisure time wisely, and that’s a skill you still use today.

4) Picking up after yourself

This one was non-negotiable, remember?

Whether you were at home, at a friend’s place, or at a community park, you had to pick up after yourself. 

At the time, it probably felt like an annoying chore. But this rule was shaping you into a considerate human being

Now, you’re the kind of person who leaves a place better than you found it. 

From cleaning up your mess in a shared kitchen or being conscious of your impact on public spaces, you’re just more pleasant to be around.

On the flip side, I often wonder about people I see litter in the streets…perhaps their parents weren’t so strict about this rule and it shows. 

5) Zip it during the grown-up talk

As frustrating and belittling as it felt, this rule wasn’t just about keeping you quiet. 

It was teaching you to be an observer and a listener. 

By not dominating the conversation, you learned how to tune into subtleties and understand social dynamics.

I vividly recall my mom chatting on the phone with her sisters, and me pestering her about something (probably for ice cream). She’d shoo me away and I’d sit and pout. 

But I waited. And waited. Until she finally finished and listened to me. 

If you went through the same, it’s likely that now:

  • You don’t interrupt others
  • You allow people to finish their conversations before butting in
  • And most importantly, you learned how to be patient. 

The truth is, this skill probably makes you a fantastic friend and a valuable team member who can read the room and respond accordingly.

6) Bedtime isn’t up for debate (even in summer) 

As an adult, do you find yourself in a good bedtime routine? Do you sleep at the same time consistently, and pity those around you who seem to suffer each bedtime? 

If so, it’s likely your parents did you a favor by being so strict about your sleep schedule. 

Even on those long sunny days when all you wanted to do was stay out playing until 10 p.m., they weren’t budging. 

Why?

Well, consistency is key for good sleep hygiene, and getting enough rest is crucial for physical and mental well-being. 

And your parents knew this. 

You probably got a leg up on understanding the value of a good night’s sleep long before your peers did, and your mood and performance have likely benefited as a result.

7) Clean your plate, no exceptions 

Oh, the dread of looking at a vegetable you couldn’t stand (to be more specific, broccoli)!  

It might’ve felt like punishment, but the “clean your plate” rule was about more than just eating your greens.

This lesson was two-fold: it taught you not to waste food, reminding you that not everyone has the luxury of choice when it comes to meals. 

I’m pretty sure that like me, if you tried to leave food on your plate, you’d be reminded that starving children around the world have nothing so we shouldn’t waste. 

I used to roll my eyes, but now, I totally get what my parents were trying to instill in me.

But that’s not all…

It also helped you learn to appreciate the effort that goes into preparing food. 

Now, you might find yourself more grateful for what’s on your plate and more mindful of waste, which is something the planet and your wallet both appreciate.

8) Family time isn’t optional, it’s essential 

Forced family outings, Sunday dinners, visits to the relatives you hardly knew—all seemed like something you could do without. 

My parents used to cart us off to the north of England every school holiday to visit relatives. Trust me, the five-hour journey was never pleasant and we complained the entire way. 

But the enforced family time isn’t just about making your folks or grandparents happy. 

It instilled in you the value of keeping family connections alive and well, even when it’s not convenient. 

The truth is, the bonds you maintain are not just obligatory ties; they are a support network, a tie to your roots, and a source of unconditional love and trust.

Looking back now, I’m so grateful my parents made that effort. 

I’m still close with some of my cousins, and I got a chance to be a part of a wider network of family…I guess the five-hour drives were worth it after all. 

Kiran Athar

Kiran is a freelance writer with a degree in multimedia journalism. She enjoys exploring spirituality, psychology, and love in her writing. As she continues blazing ahead on her journey of self-discovery, she hopes to help her readers do the same. She thrives on building a sense of community and bridging the gaps between people. You can reach out to Kiran on Twitter: @KiranAthar1

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