With some exceptions, parents are pretty much free to do whatever they please with their children. They can make them follow any rule (as long as it's not dangerous), do certain things, and essentially force them to whatever they want. And while this is good for the most part and helps build character for young children, some parents take it a little too far.
Some people know this all too well, as they recently shared on a Reddit thread asking people to share the worst thing their parents ever made them do. Some of these stories are beyond shocking. All posts have been edited for clarity.
"Well, not me, but my sister. Our parents were getting divorced, and we were over at my dad's place for visitation on Sunday. After we went to church, we went and bought what we thought was a chocolate cake.
Now, my little sister has a severe, life threatening peanut allergy. After a few bites of the cake, she said that her throat was itching/swelling. My brother and I immediately told her to stop eating it, but my dad ACTIVELY ENCOURAGED her to continue eating it. After we had finally convinced her to stop, she should have been taken to the ER immediately.
Instead, he gives her Benadryl, and makes her wait for a good 10-15 minutes. All while she is swelling and itching, and its getting harder to breathe.
He finally takes her to the hospital after she throws up. She almost died and my mom was so mad when she came to the hospital. All I remember about that car ride to the hospital was thinking that my little sister was going to die, and basically watching her suffocate in front of me. He also did something similar to my brother, but it wasn't life threatening."
"My mom made me hang out with her friend's kid that was autistic and just weird. She said that she would babysit him while her friend went to work, but my mom would just make me watch him.
I had to change his diaper and feed him even though he was an extremely picky eater. Oh, I was 10 and he was 14. She would yell at me if he made a mess or had a meltdown, like I could control it.
She was paid $250 a week and I didn't get anything but headaches and bruises."
"My mom was more insecure about me not having friends than I was myself. If I didn't have playdate lined up each weekend, she would force me to call kids in my class who I didn't get along with and almost always they'd say they were busy. Some would even confront me at school on Monday and say 'Why did you call me?'
She was just overly worried about me having friends, I think because when I was first grade I was having trouble making them.
When I went away to college, I kept getting asked, 'Are you making enough friends?' and when I moved out after college it was, 'Are you going out enough? Did you do anything this weekend with friends?'
This worry lasted until I was about 25 when I finally had to say something to her, and she agreed to back up."
"My mother acted out her resentment at my dad's allergies by exposing me to all of his allergens after they split up. When I complained about symptoms similar to what he had been going to an allergist to treat, she bellowed, 'You don't have any allergies!' I couldn't really protest more because she had never taken me to a doctor to get tested.
The separation turned into divorce, I moved in with my dad, finally got medical treatment and (no surprise) needed prescription medication and allergy shots. Then in my late teens, the allergies turned life threatening. I'm stuck for life on a restricted diet because there's no clinical research for treatment of these specific allergies.
I have anaphylactic Allergy Syndrome. It's a rare life threatening manifestation of a type of allergy that's mild in most cases. It's as serious as a peanut allergy except in my case it's caused by a wide variety of fresh fruit.
There's no way to prove direct cause and effect, but allergies are known to worsen with repeated uncontrolled exposures so it's definitely possible that my mom's decisions are why things got this bad. Incidentally she used to slip allergens into my dad's stuff without his knowledge behind his back and I'm 99% sure she did the same to me whenever I visited her even after my dad got me proper medical treatment.
It's an ugly rabbit hole what motivates her to do that, but the bottom line is she can't be trusted. It's one of the reasons I stopped talking to her. If there's a silver lining, it's the experience taught me to stand up for myself whenever ignorant people try to second guess properly trained doctors."
"My parents wanted me to get circumcised when I was 13 and I had no choice.
I went to the doctor for a first appointment. He was like, 'Yeah, you won't be able to pleasure yourself for two weeks or so.'
The whole thing was awkward with my parents asking questions like, 'Will it be better down there?' and so on. Then he took a look at my junk and I saw my father peek from the door.
One week later, I went to the hospital, opened the door, my mom said, 'Hello, we have an appointment for my son with doctor.'
And I was like 'No.'
My mom said, 'Yes, you do.'
I then said, 'Hummmmmmmmm, no I don't.'
And we want back and forth for a good minute.
Long story short, my junk is whole, and my father is still angry 10 years later."
"After my mother remarried, we moved to a new area. I was a very shy child and didn't play outside much so I didn't make many friends.
All of a sudden, my stepdad started saying he had someone he wanted me to meet. He emotionally blackmailed me into meeting up with a girl that lived a mile or so away from home. He told me her dad was dying of cancer and that she needed a friend. When we got there, we were sent outside and told not to come back for several hours.
When we called back at the house for a drink some time later, the door was locked. Even when it started raining, the door was still locked. Eventually, the door was open and I asked the mother if she had gone out. She said no and asked why I thought that. I told her that we had tried the door several times but it was locked and she had also changed her clothes.
I had no idea what had been going on but I realized I was the only clueless one and I did not like that. Something fishy was obviously going on and it made me uncomfortable.
The next time he asked if I wanted to go visit her, I politely said, 'No thanks.' My stepdad tried manipulation and threats whilst squeezing my arm as hard as he could. When I said he was hurting my arm, he squeezed harder and said he wasn't touching me. My mother got between us and he stormed out of the house.
We later found out that my step dad was having an affair with the girl's mom. He had moved us to that area so that it would be more convenient for him. The friendship had all been false, just an excuse for him to visit."
"My mother was nice during my childhood, but became more and more abusive as I grew up. She has a very warped way of seeing the world, that's for sure. Not to mention she's morbidly obese (like, I'm 245 pounds about, but she's in the mid-300s somewhere), but still gets fast food. She hasn't made any effort to lose weight.
Perhaps the worst thing I was forced into was being kicked out in the dead of winter because I didn't clean my room. My mother put all my stuff on the steps. My social worker/BHP had to take me to the local bank. No women's shelters would take me (and we didn't have that many). I scraped up some money for a few nights and days at a nearby cheap hotel and some food at the supermarket to survive on.
It was horrible. I cried myself to sleep the first night, then soon found comfort in living by myself. It felt like I had my own little apartment, just with a bedroom and bathroom.
Then my mother guilt-tripped me into coming back by sending two emails saying how much she loved me, and I ended up falling for it because I had nowhere else to go and the hotel was bleeding my credit card dry. I would have just been an obese girl on the streets. My mother let me stay under two conditions: that I seek therapy for all my 'problems' (which I later found out stemmed from her, as well as undiagnosed depression), and that I get an in-home worker. I got therapy a little while later, but didn't get an in-home worker at all.
It's this and one other incident--where she made me work in blistering cold (even with layers and a coat and my fat, I was frozen to the bone) and wouldn't let me go back inside, not even for a short break--that makes me petrified of being left out in the cold, and being in the cold in general at times."
"My mother sent me to a mental institution when I was 12. I was suicidal because I’d dealt with a lot of childhood trauma, and I had started self harming, had an eating disorder, and was withdrawing from all interaction.
After years of this happening, my mom goes into my room after I leave for school and finds a suicide note along with knives and razors and medication all inside my mattress. Soon after a few calls to the school, I was carried out of my gym class in front of all my 7th grade peers, by two policemen.
I was taken to a general hospital, my ankle was chained to a bed and I had to have someone monitor me while I used the bathroom. After 12 hours of me being in this hospital and having not eaten all day, they placed me in the passenger seat of a van. In the front seat was a large, burly policeman. He said I had to sit up front because they had a 'real crazy' in the back and didn’t want me too close to her. It was an hour and a half long drive to the facility while this woman wailed and howled in the backseat. He’d turn the volume on the radio up and she’d go louder. I was shaking the entire time, from being cold and from fear of what was happening to me because nobody was telling me anything.
I arrived at the facility where my parents signed their parental rights over. I was a ward of the state and until I was deemed 'mentally fit,' I would remain here. They strip-searched me and took away my clothes. They gave me a pack of baby carrots and some sheets for my bed and sent me to sleep, I had to wake up at 6 am and it was 4. After that, I was in there for what felt like months. I can’t exactly remember how long I was in there. I saw mentally disabled people being subdued with medication and nurses and doctors being physically and verbally abusive to the patients. We ate slop and slept on rubber mats. The doctors were phony and every night they’d give us 10mg ambien at 9pm. (This began a long addiction I had with Ambien, as being on it from 12 to 19 had me unable to sleep without it) I left that place with a messed up state of mind and a deep resentment for my parents.
I mean, I was a KID. Since I was pulled out of school, I also was bullied for being 'crazy.' They even made me sit out of the week about Columbine because 'they didn’t want me getting ideas.'"
"When I was in high school, I missed a couple of classes in a row because I was mourning. One of my closest friends had just committed suicide. My parents thought the best way to 'cure' my depression and get me back to going to school and back to 'normal' was to check me into a psych ward. And not just any psych ward, the ward in which my friend had just been released from, two days prior to her suicide. One of the patients was talking about friends she had made in the ward while she was there and brought up the girl who always wore Dr. Pepper branded clothes (shirts, socks, sweatpants, she had it all; she was seriously addicted to the brand) and ended it with a 'I hope she's doing well! She was super nice.' I didn't have the heart to tell her that girl was my friend who had just committed suicide and the reason I was there.
It gets worse.
I was forcefully checked out three days later against doctor's orders (by my parents, of course) when I admitted to my inpatient therapist that I was abused by a family member for as long as I could remember. Naturally, the therapist had told my parents about my claims and called CPS. On the day I was supposed to talk to CPS and tell them my side of the story in full detail, my dad purposely double dosed me with my panic disorder medication (freshly prescribed AND I wasn't panicking, so it made me super dopey and easily influenced) and told me to lie and say I made everything up so I wouldn't 'tear the family apart.'
I still regret it years later, and by far the worst experience I've ever had to go through."
"Growing up, I was forced to live with a number of my mom's boyfriends.
The first one was a cop who, despite us living there, tried to make sure we never actually saw our mom. If we wanted her, we had to talk to him first as she was 'busy.' Don't really remember seeing her much at that time, but I don't know if that's because I was so young. I was like 4 or 5 years old at the time.
Next, there was the guy she married for approximately a decade when I was 9. This guy was mentally unstable. He had a problem in his brain where his anger response wasn't right. He would lose his mind over small stuff like my brother needing new shoes, while he barely cared when their vehicle was destroyed in an accident. He would regularly trash the house when upset, and beat the crap out of our mom, or hit us if he felt bold. He would constantly make lewd comments about me and my sister. He gave his biological kids preferential treatment. He tried to kill my mom over dinner once. He stole and sold my possessions for weed money all the time. The cops never seemed to do much when called. I don't know if my mom lied, or if he got leniency because he was mentally unwell. He threw our dog's puppies once (they were fine thankfully). My mom didn't actually leave him until she found guy #3 and only left him because she found a new dirt bag to cling to.
The third guy was just as mentally unwell, just not as violent (but still violent). He had some kind of paranoid disorder where he thinks the government is watching him because he's some kind of living weapon. He also thinks spirits are after him which my mother enables. He would regularly talk about eating our dogs. He gave a puppy homemade moonshine because he thought it was funny. Tried to assault my sister in her sleep, but thankfully she wasn't really asleep and got away. He had been sending her lewd text messages for weeks which my sister kept to herself because she 'didn't want to cause trouble.' My mom kicked him out for three days because he said he was the devil and was going to kill us. And let him come back because 'he doesn't remember.' This guy would also regularly trash the apartment but it was more random. With guy #2, you knew when it would happen but with this guy it was much less predictable. Mom's engaged to this guy right now sadly.
Finally got out when I moved away for college."
"My mother forced me into two of the worst jobs imaginable for two summers running.
Summer 2017, I was a babysitter for 11 hours every weekday along side my aunt. There were nine children, all family friends' kids, and all between the ages of 8 and 12. They were horrible. Abhorrent. I will never have children. One of them spat on me. One of them shat themselves and hid his soiled underwear behind the bed without telling anyone. My aunt, who's in her 60s, is NOT a good babysitter. Very inconsistent with rules and punishment, and was absolutely horrible about making the kids show respect to me and the house we operated out of.
I was 16 at the time and the kids did NOT see me as authority, so I suffered. To make matters worse, I was only getting paid $200 a month. That's about $0.90 an hour. And I did the majority of the work watching the kids. I was in charge of sitting outside with the kids in the Texas summer heat and I had to play cleanup crew. Also, for whatever reason, my aunt refused to tell the kids' parents about how awful they were. I tried to bring it up and I'd get scolded, because it 'wasn't my place,' but it was only because they weren't as horrible to HER. My mother refused to let me quit, even though I would actually sob before and afterward.
Summer 2018, I was my uncle's assistant. He's a low-rent contractor, who does everything but nothing well. He's an older man in his 60s, and he acts just like it. Entitled, a jerk, mildly racist and generally rude. I have no background in construction and no desire for the job. It paid really well though, it came to about $15 an hour near the end of the summer. But he was a total lunatic the whole time, and I'd cry before having to go to work everyday because he was SO mean to me about not knowing how to do things I'd never been taught how to do. My mom and my aunt wouldn't let him fire me, and I was NOT allowed to quit, so we were stuck together.
I get summer jobs are important, but my mom just won't stop volunteering me for this. Lucky me, I have a real job now, so she doesn't have my free labor anymore."
"My mother tried to imprison me within her presence in order to shelter me from the 'wicked' world out there. She put it in my head again and again and again and again that everything would go bad, that everyone would reject me, that I'd always get hurt - physically and emotionally. No matter what I did. That she was the only safe space. She used me as her emotional punching bag in the same breath.
I ended up nearly completely unable to leave my room for a couple of years, then struggled a few more with the ability to continuously leave and lost the academic success that every single teacher believed I would have. Now I'm back in school and struggle to attend regularly and on time, and my last chance for the next few years to get the degree-level I need to get into the careers that might fit me is in danger."
"I was almost 8 years old and was playing with my little sister. We were playing house. I had short hair which was clipped to the side. I was wearing a red top which had flowers near the neckline. We were playing house and I was pretending to be my sister's mother. It was so fun and we were constantly giggling. Then I wore my mom's favorite locket which was very expensive. And that's where I went wrong, I guess.
After playing, I removed it and placed it back where it was. After mom came home from the office, she wanted to wear that gold locket. She started searching for it because somehow it disappeared from its place. She called us and asked if we touched it. I happily replied that yes, we were playing but I put it back. By this time she was furious and accused me of misplacing the gold locket. I pleaded with her, saying that I haven't misplaced it and had put it back. But she wouldn't listen.
Then she said to me, 'You don't need to come back home from school tomorrow. You should just get down near the lake, jump in and just die.'
I still remember I didn't cry, I didn't say anything. I still remember she wore a dark green dress with khaki color dupatta. I still remember I wore a red top that day. I still remember I tried strangling myself the next day just to see how it feels to die.
That day, an 8-year-old girl grew up. I had no memory of this incident till I turned 16. Then one day it all rushed in. I wondered was I really less important than a piece of jewelry. It's been 13 years since this and some more incidents later, I realized that I may never have that mother daughter bond that I craved.
The saying that some things cannot be taken back is true, so be careful what you say to your children."