Thursday, 9 October 2008

It's not faaaaiiiiiiir!

What were you not allowed as a child that had absolutely no rational or logical basis?

You know, the thing that really rankled with you, that awoke your youthful sense of injustice. The thing that every one else on the planet had, or so it seemed. The reason you need therapy today.

I have been musing on this, every time I hear some utterly irrational diktat come out of my mouth at the moment (constantly). I mean, there's something gloriously arbitrary about being a parent, no? Suddenly, I'm called upon to Make the Rules. Er, who put me in charge? I don't do very well at this. I know it should be instinctive, but I seem to have an extremely hazy sense of what is, and is not acceptable. I am, remember, the person whose father had to teach me how to use a knife and fork properly when I was FIFTEEN because he said I ate like a pig. I still basically eat with my fingers and I can't sit properly at a table to save my life. Worse still, I faredodge, and sometimes steal teaspoons. Basically, I have no moral compass. Judge Judy would have had me compulsorily sterilised.

So the CFO makes the rules, and I forget them. "No toys in the kitchen!" shriek the children as I forgetfully wander in there with a Pokémon on my head. Or, suddenly, I will remember that we aren't supposed to eat pudding in front of the tv. "But we did it yesterday!" they wail. "I don't care" I say, conviction sagging with every word. We're not doing it tonight".

The responsibility sometimes terrifies me. It was easier when they were tiny and all I had to do was stop them from biting and grabbing and hitting each other over the head with things like a pair of tiny slapstick performers. Now, it's all about the grey areas. Should I stop Lashes sneaking toys to school in his bag? Should I police his Pokémon swaps to check he hasn't been cheating the other children? If one of them says the classroom assistant is moche (ugly), what do I say? They're not supposed to sneak into our bed either, but what could be more delightful than a small, warm, sheepish person coming to stick their fingers in my eyes at 6am? What am I supposed to do about the fact that the CFO is way stricter than me (BOTH his parents are French school teachers, enough said)? Do I have to enforce his rules even if I don't give a rat's arse about using knives and forks properly or putting shoes away? (I do know the answer to this one is yes, but I find it terribly hard)

Anyway, this is wandering off topic. My real question, survey indeed, is about those bizarre parental decrees. I have started compiling a list, and I want you to add your own. If there was a ridiculous justification proferred, all the better. I want to hear it. I've started with my immediate entourage, but I bet you people have some great ones too.

I remembered that Violet, like me and the Space Cadette, suffered under the parental ban on patent leather shoes. Patent leather! The thin end of the wedge. A mere hop, skip and a jump to teenage pregnancy. But I had forgotten, until Violet reminded me that her banned list also extended to lace up shoes (lace up shoes! this one just kills me, because really, what could be more sensible than lace up shoes?) and suitcases with wheels.

My banned list is fairly short (house of hippies, remember) and was basically limited to anything that reinforced the patriarchy. With some oddballs thrown in:

Hi top trainers. Especially black ones. Nope, this one eludes me completely, but god how I wanted them.

Pixie boots (hello? Essential in 1985??Social death not to have them? )

Lycra cycling shorts (and if you didn't have lycra cycling shorts under your games skirt, you were nothing, I tell you, nothing)

Robinson's Juice boxes with animal stickers on

Shaving my legs

The Space Cadette remembers a few of her own, though again, the house of hippy means they were minimal:

Chocolate advent calendars

Celebrating Father's Day


The I moved on to other people's:

Mars Bars (but not other chocolate bars)

Chewing and bubble gum (I kind of get this one because it really is a bitch to get out of everything)

Jeans (my Phlegmish room mate. Her mother said they were for farmers..)

Club biscuits ( "Penguin biscuits were the only socially acceptable form of chocolatey-biscuit-snack-in-wrapper")

Dash tracksuits

'Fun' wellingtons ("if they weren't from Driffield Farm Shop, they weren't going near our feet" says my contributor)

Perms (my contributor is now thankful for her parents' ban. She's seen the pictures of Violet's perm years)

MBF was basically forbidden everything, but as he says, he was so mired in deference and busy doing his 8am swimming sessions and learning forty three musical instruments, he didn't even know the forbidden things existed.

Come on, I'm madly curious!

UPDATE: Also, I think I will apply the most ridiculous, arbitrary rule in the comments in my household, so dredge deep, these children need boundaries!


Rachel Green said...

I was banned from stickers of any kind, boyfriends (that worked out well) and go-kart racing.

I ban mine from hi top sneakers (they look really, really stupid, an eleven year old looking like a hooker (sensible) and the greenhouse and shed are OUT OF BOUNDS. Chewing gum is banned for everone in my presence (both for the reason you state and that I loathe the constant mouth action)

mountainear said...

When my aunt was at school patent leather shoes were not allowed on the grounds that they would mirror whatever was up the wearer's skirt. (Probably baggy grey school knickers.) They were the sort of thing that made Bad Men Worse.

Moi? I wanted a fringe but they were the devil's work. Common. Oh, and pierced ears - also common.

justme said...

I was not allowed a a pair of leather scholl sandals which I wanted DESPERATELY, on account of I went to a school where you could not wear outdoor shoes indoors, and had to wear either brown daps (plimsoles to you) or brown leather scholls.......What a choice!
And I wasn't allowed to have fencing lessons either....on the grounds that I would soon get bored with it. I might not have done! I might have been a world champion!
Rules that I made for my own child included 'must eat your crusts' (no idea why....just seemed like a good idea at the time) and ' no chewing gum until you are 21!' By which time I hope he will have the sense to see how horrid it is.....

Potty Mummy said...

Dash tracksuits... those were the days. My mother banned me from writing 'Ms' on some luggage labels when I was 14 years old and about to depart for my first solo trip (French exchange, oh the laughs). Why? Because, she said, 'only a certain type of woman calls herself 'ms''. What could she mean? And oh, how I longed to be one...

Lulu LaBonne said...

No washing your hair when you had a period!!

And my stepmother made me wear navy socks to school when white was de riguer, she liked it because she felt it was a 'continental habit'

Daisy said...

I was outraged as the older child that my parents progressively let the rules slide so that while I was brought up on whole grains and raisins and bed at 6pm by the time my brother came along it was all fish fingers and ketchup and staying up to watch 'Allo 'Allo. We were banned from watching Grange Hill (common London children!),and Neighbours until my mum got hooked on Neighbours and then it was compulsory.

katyboo1 said...

I was not allowed white shoes on the grounds that I would ruin them immediately. I had to have brown Jesus sandals instead. I cried for weeks. I was not allowed a Frankie Says t-shirt on the grounds that they were flimsy fashion items that would go out of fashion as quickly as they came in. YES! that was the point!

I was however allowed to drink coffee and take cider to parties from about the age of three!

My kids are not allowed coca cola (because they are hyper enough already), which they lust after frenziedly. Tilly has not been allowed to learn the trumpet on the grounds that I will kill her if I have to hear her practice. Tallulah is not allowed to collect sweet wrappers or gravel until she can put her toys away, so I don't kill myself. Oscar is only allowed to watch Wallace and Gromit once a day in case he turns into Wallace even more. All self defence really.

And they are only allowed to laugh at their trumps in the house. A girl must have standards...

Anonymous said...

I wasn't allowed to take dance lessons. All my friends did it - ballet, jazz, tap... I begged and begged but my mom made me take piano instead.

I remember cornering her one day, saying I would surely die if I wasn't allowed dance lessons, WHY COULDN'T I HAVE DANCE LESSONS?! - she just gave me a look and said, "It'd be a waste of money because you're not exactly graceful, are you?"

! Ouch!

Anonymous said...

We were pretty hard up so most bans were based on inability to pay. The only one I remember resenting was that we weren't allowed to watch kids programmes on ITV - in case we were corrupted by the adverts. I missed out on Thunderbirds etc at the time but can wholly understand the advert thing now. My two can spend hours discussing the adverts ... thank god for pause and fast forward TV, at least I don't have to watch them now.

I think I am pretty tolerant really but I too ban chewing gum and bubble gum - apart from the mess, chewers look bovine.

La Belette Rouge said...

I think that 11 years of psychoanalysis must have worked either that or I am getting dementia. As a person who has spent most of her life recovering from her parents you would think I would have a huge list of "it's not fairs." All I can come up with this a.m. is that my father wouldn't let me have a pet or get my ears pierced. There must be more. Oh, I begged to go to public school and they wouldn't let me. I am really disappointed in my list as it makes my parents appear rational, tolerant and groovy and I assure you that was not the case.

SUEB0B said...

My friend had the ban on black athletic shoes for her boys. Her excuse: "I have to ban them from something stupid so that, when they rebel in their teen years, they will do it by buying black shoes instead of by taking drugs." She may have something there.

Waffle said...

Leatherdyke - stickers is an odd one. Any explanation?

Mountainear - it appears the whole of North Yorkshire banned patent shoes, but I am yet to establish why.

Justme - and now how desirable to the brown Scholls appear? Hmm?

PM - Ms was the only acceptable title in our house. Oh, and "Dr" (PhD not MD - academic misery memoir strikes again)

Lulu - Odd, and slightly medieval. Might your internal organs leach out of your scalp or something? Any explanation proffered?

Daisy - you're my second Grange Hill ban! As an eldest child I totally, totally agree - anything goes for these second children. Pfff.

Katyboo - plenty of grounds for therapy there for both generations. Good good.

Pochyemu - ow! cruel! I hope you made her pay for it with years and years of really bad piano playing.

Alienne - ITV is another common one, it transpires. Not Educational.

Belette - maybe this exercise will make you see your parents in a whole new light! Or, um, not.

Pearl said...

I wasn't actually banned from anything except chewing gum -- my mother said people chewing gum looked like cows. Otherwise, we were expected to behave ourselves or at least have a good story to explain our actions...

Oh, wait. While I played several musical instruments as a child (clarinet, sax, flute, TUBA, oboe, bass guitar) I was not allowed to play the drums, the instrument I really wanted to play. Dad said that girls don't play the drums.

I have not forgiven him.

As well, my son (now 24) was never really banned from anything. He wanted to get a tattoo at 13 ("it'll say "MOM"!!!") but I offered dying his hair blue instead... Told him that eventually EVERYONE would have a tattoo (I encouraged him to picture the Old Age Homes of the future, all those drooping skulls and tribal markings) and that perhaps the best thing to do would be to leave his lovely skin alone until he really had something permanent to say...

In the end, he neither got a tattoo or dyed his hair.


Léonie said...

No more than half an hour of TV a day - and definitely no Grange Hill, which resulted in a fevered desire to go to a school which had blazers in the uniform. Neighbours was permitted as the half hour, but definitely no speaking in Neighbours accents.

No chewing gum and no fizzy drinks, no Ribena (except at Granny's house).

No collecting snails and feeding them Alpen. No ears pierced until fifteen. Oh, yeah, and no Barbies.

Léonie said...

Ooh, I forgot one of the key Not Alloweds of my childhood: No Enid Blyton.

The Spicers said...

As a child I was forbidden to watch any TV show my mom deemed "too stupid", including Punky Brewster, Mr. Belvedere, Diff'rent Strokes, and any soap opera. Also, our only food rule was that you had to choose either maple syrup OR brown sugar to put on pancakes or waffles, but never both. Strict household, it was.
My own parenting rules include no fast food, no video games, no sweatpants, no sneakers that light up, and no cartoon character clothing or backpacks.

Cici said...

I was banned from many things, mostly on the grounds that they were 'so vulgar darling' The thing is I would probably ban my own children from many of the same, were I to have any. On the list were:
chewing gum (vulgar, and you might swallow it or worse, stick it to the furniture)
Barbie/Sindy (bad role model, frivlous fashion doll etc. Oh how I wanted one though. But my mother was immovable, going so far as to bin any I got as presents)
Pierced ears (vulgar)
ankle socks with lace on them (vulgar)
boyfriends until 17 (you'll get pregnant, no daughter of mine, etc etc)
Fast food of any description, (disgusting!) although Pizza Hut was sometimes allowed.

And many more, although those are the ones that stick out.

Anonymous said...

My dad had this phase when I was 16 where he wouldn't let me watch PG-rated movies. G, PG-13, R, NC-17, hell I could rent porn if I wanted to, just as long as it wasn't PG rated! My first reaction was "I can't watch any Disney movies anymore?"

Persephone said...

I'm not sure if this counts, but I was always admonished to watch my drink as I was carrying it in from the kitchen. I never understood this. It sloshed over whether I was watching or not.

My mum refused to buy most toys I saw on television commercials, but someone else usually did, so I didn't feel that hard done by.

I was not allowed to say "damn" or "blast". This lasted until I was 13 and hit junior high. I swear like a sailor now.

My elder daughter thinks I'm very unreasonable for making her save up for her MP3 player, and refusing to get her a mobile unless she can pay the fees herself. Clearly, I'm a monster.

Anonymous said...

I'm on a roll now, having read other people's bans:

No elbows on the table.

No food while watching telly.

NO SWEARING. Not even 'crap', or 'fart', oddly enough - we had to say 'toot' instead.

No light up shoes (bad for the environment!)

As a teen - have breath and pupils checked after going out, looking for evidence of banned substances. As Americans, absolutely NO drinking until you're legal at 21. Obviously no smoking of anything upon pain of death (which is why I turned into a pill popping addict in high school - 'I'll damage my liver another way! THAT'LL TEACH THEM!')

No internet chat rooms.

No tv allowed in bedroom.

No telephone allowed in bedroom...

...I swear, the list goes on. You can imagine why I moved to Europe at 18 and we never spoke until I was 21!

Fat Controller said...

Here's the big one...No television!

From when I was 9 until I left home we didn't have a telly in the house. "Bad influence...", "Golden days of television are over...", "Lowest common denominator...", blah blah blah.

I wasn't allowed 'The Beano', either. It was 'Boys Own Paper' or nothing

justme said...

I am pretty sure the patent shoes ban is down to the Nuns. The reflecting underwear thing. I recall being warned about this at school. In the same lesson that I was told that if I wanted to sit on a boy's knee, I should put a telephone directory there first and sit on top of that. No explanation given!!!!

Anonymous said...

Flip Flops
Chewing Gum
Eating in the street
Wiping my hands on the tea towel
A bra till I was about a 34DD!!!!


Waffle said...

Oh people this is making me quite hysterical.

Vision of Pearl playing tuba = extreme hilarity. Is there a less glamorous instrument? I mean, is there? The harmonium perhaps?

Suebob - I doubt there was anything that machiavellian behind our ban, but smart thinking admittedly...

Léonie! Enid Blyton! Really? I think I might adopt that one... No Ribena in our house either. Nothing but piss poor juice. Gah. Snail feeding was ok though.

Iheart - I like the sound of your mum. That's the kind of rule I can feebly enforce!

Persephone - Being told to watch the drink would undoubtedly make me spill it.

Blue in Bristol - are you in fact one of the Mitford sisters?

Littleanomaly - sounds like years of watching Disney princesses had got to him, no? Did you have happy bonding evenings in front of Apocalypse Now and Last Tango in Paris?

Pochyemu - This is like group therapy, isn't it? Let it all out, that's a good girl. The pupil checking, hee hee. My mother always said I was rather a lovely drunk, very silent and dignified..

FatController - Oh yes, my friend Alice who I went home with every night too. It was nice to be viewed as decadent by someone though.. And are you now madly addicted?

Justme - I LOVE the telephone directory thing. It makes me wish I had girl children so I could instruct them to do this.

Sam - NO BRA??? No bra? Did they just not notice you had a chest?

bonnie-ann black said...

i was also raised by very tolerant and forward thinking parents -- pre-hippies but very progressive -- making it difficult to rebel against much.

the one thing we were all deprived of (8 of us siblings) was comic books. oh, not Ritchie Rich, or Little Lulu, or Classic Comics, of course -- but the forbidden fruit were the lurid, exciting, dramatic ones like "Strange Tales" or "Creeping Stories" -- which i yearned for -- and even Batman, Superman and WonderWoman. it was believed they would corrupt you for real reading.

and i totally sympathize with all your oldest children. as the oldest (the "experimental model" as i always think of myself) i was forbidden from lipstick, stockings and shaving my legs until i was 14, and makeup until i was 16. my younger sisters, of course, seemed to be able to use such things earlier and earlier until my youngest sister (who was born when i was already in my 20s) seemed to be wearing makeup in the cradle! i resented it bitterly. now, of course, i wonder what on earth i made such a fuss about when i hardly ever wear lipstick, hate putting on stockings or pantyhose, and only shave my legs when i have the hopes of some "smasher" actually seeing them (although, sometimes for other weird reasons of my own -- for instance, i felt the need to shave my legs when i went to see "Hamlet" at the RSC, even though i was wearing trousers!).

when raising my nephews i bought them a comic book a week (though, admittedly, not the more lurid or sexist ones), but cannot, for the life of me, think of what other arbitrary and unfair rules i imposed. perhaps i was a benign dictator. i shall have to ask them what seething resentments they might still have about their upbringing. i'm really rather curious now.

Mr Farty said...

Luxury! In the shoebox we lived in, we had to get up two hours before we went to bed, eat a handful of cold gravel - no, wait. Wrong thread.

No. Monty. Python.

And no swearing - you only need to have your mouth washed out once with a bar of soap (does anyone still use bars of soap these days?) to remember if for the rest of your life.

Yes, that had a really positive effect: I hardly ever blooming swear now, except all the flipping time.

True story: Little Miss Farty, aged about three at the time, said of her fifteen-year-old brother: "M just swore, he said fuck!"

*shakes head*

Nikki said...

My mother would not allow my sister and me to date anyone whose vehicle tires were taller than we were. We lived in the country, and there were boys, desirable boys, who drove trucks with simply enormous tires. Alas, they were forbidden. My mom is weird.

Iota said...

I know my parents were not alone in promoting the BBC as morally superior to ITV. They didn't ban ITV, but made sure we knew it was very much second best. It was commercial, you see, rather than supported by the jolly spiffing licence fee.

Waffle said...

Bonnie-Ann - Shakespeare sees your stubble..

Mr Farty - Er, you're barred remember? But also, did you REALLY get your mouth washed out with soap? Like, really? That's just a big fat lie, isn't it?

Nikki - Oh god, I think this might well be my favourite. I am sure this is a good maxim in life generally and will seek to apply it.

Iota - I preferred the adverts to the programmes. I was always a grasping child.

nappy valley girl said...

I wasn't allowed to watch anything on TV that my mum deemed 'American rubbish'. This included Happy Days (the poor Fonz!), Dukes of Hazzard and the Cosby show.

Also remember not being allowed a Tiny Tears doll because it was too expensive, or a Sindy multi-storey dolls house. V disappointing.

And ears pierced was definitely a no-no until I was 16.

kelly said...

Pierced ears.
Hee Haw on TV.
Heels (shoes had to be flat)

And most incomprehensible of all: my brother and I had to go to church and catechism, while my parents stayed home.

Mr Farty said...

It's true, I tell you! Real soap. In mouth. Ugh! Ack!

Waffle said...

NVG - Yes, you suffered a good range of parental dictats; any of your own?

Kelly - presumably they just fancied a quiet hour or two? Sly. I like.

Mr F - Nah. I still don't believe this.

Marie said...

Loving this. My mother wouldn't let me eat gobstoppers or say gobsmacked, so she obviously had some kind of anti-gob fixation.

Waffle said...

Marie - gobstoppers always had a sheen of danger in our house too. You might choke! Instant frisson.

A Confused Take That Fan said...

I was not allowed:
a ra ra skirt (v desirable age 9)
slip on shoes
my little pony (my mum thought it was a ridiculous toy)

Apart from that it all went a bit pear shaped when my mum left and my dad took over. I was drinking Cinzano, smoking silk cut, doobies, sniffing poppers etc by 13!! I turned into a complete stiff by the time I was 18 though, having seen my friends jailed, hair fall out, pregnant...dead...
kind of a rude awakening. Went to art college, moved to London and got a bit more sensible...

Waffle said...

CTTF - what was wrong with Scholls? Aren't they the ultimate sensible shoe? Am I missing something. I was allowed rara skirts, and god, how I loved them. Actually, I wish I could still wear rara skirts every day. Ideally polka dot with a big frouffy tulle underskirt.

A Confused Take That Fan said...

I only wanted Scholls because they went clip clop when you walked. My mum obviously thought not suitable for a seven year old. Bah humbug.
Your idea of a polka dot ra ra skirt with a big frouffy tulle underskirt sounds like my dream ra ra...

Lindsay: said...

I am sad to have come upon this so late but I have to add the singular arbitrary rule I can remember from my childhood which was:

Absolutely NO watching television evangelists (is this an American thing?).

Even though I was forced to go to church against my will every Sunday. And it wasn't one of those creepy hollers of Kentucky snake handling churches, either.

Waffle said...

Lindsay - GREAT rule. Shame about the lack of snake handling in the churches of your childhood though.

zoe said...

Clogs (christ, how I wanted a pair).
Chewing gum/bubble-gum.
Walt Disney (I still haven't seen Bambi).
Pierced ears.
Eating anywhere else other than 'at the table'.

I may remember the rest one day.

Anonymous said...

Remember the game "Mousetrap"? Where you had to make some sort of Rube Goldberg machine to catch a plastic mouse? We were never allowed to have that.

-No toys that make too much noise
-No lawn darts
-No candles (banned when I was 17)
-No Simpsons anything
-No Blackadder or Mr Bean (according to my mother, Rowan Atkinson would kill our IQs) or Monty Python, but Are You Being Served was okay
-Absolutely no playing in the creek, ever. At all.

Waffle said...

Scout - your parnets = mean. You can tell them the internet says so.

Leonie - my stepmother had the Enid Blyton ban too, I have just discovered!

Zoe - I zould be fascinated to hear if there's anything at all you ban.

zoe said...

To be quite honest, I don't think I do ban my kids from anything - they'll only do it/watch it/read it if I do.

I have banned Todd from being anywhere near me and breathing in my air on several occasions though.

Anonymous said...

How did I only just discover this list?
I wasn't allowed to have my ears pierced until I was 13 and then no earrings that fell below they ear lobes. Because only sluts wore them.
No sleepovers at other people's houses, although friends could stay at our house.
No pocket money at all. Ever. None.
No swearing. Inluding fart. Fluff was the acceptable substitute. If I did swear. My punishment was to be made to repeat the offending word over and over in ever increasing volume. Seriously. Until I was screaming whatever the word du jour was so loudly that I practically burst a blood vessel or three.
NO wire hangers!
Actually the list was very long and frightening. I appear to have blocked most of it.

Waffle said...

Dani, Have you considered writing a misery memoir, because oh my god. Harsh.

Anxious said...

Because my elder sister was not allowed to have her ears pierced until she was sixteen, my mum applied the same rule to my other sister and me too. My sister would have exploded with rage otherwise!

My mum, unusually, favoured ITV over BBC - but only because her brother-in-law (whom she disliked) worked at the BBC. We were banned from watching "Allo Allo", on the grounds that my mum thought it was rubbish, and an insult to the French Resistance (she wasn't French or anything). I still impose this ban to this day.

This wasn't exactly a ban, but while I was tottering to school in white stilettos at 13, my mum wished I was wearing sensible, lace-up shoes. However, when I graduated to Doc Martens (the ultimate sensible lace-up?) at 18, she wished I would wear something more feminine...

There was an unspoken rule about swearing - even today, I don't swear in front of my siblings.

We always had the cheaper versions of branded goods - like another commenter, Tiny Tears was too expensive, and our Sindy dolls had to make do with non-Sindy merchandise.

Anonymous said...

Oh I've stumbled upon this late. I'm the oldest experimental child as well and frustratingly watched my younger siblings have all the freedom in the world compared to what I considered my 18 year imprisonment.

1. Somehow I managed to get my ears pierced at age 13, though I was not allowed to wear dangly earrings.

2. No sit-coms or cartoons. But I could watch all the religious movies I wanted. Ha.

3. Was not allowed to attend church sponsored dances until age 16 even though the church said it's fine to start going at age 14.

4. No dating until age 16, and even then my curfew was 9:30pm on the weekends. If I was late at all, they would make my curfew 9pm instead. For school dances I was allowed to stay out until 11, even though all my friends had midnight or later curfews.

5. NO boy girl parties.

6. Was not allowed to go on my senior trip (Trip graduating seniors go on WITH PARENTS).

7. Was begrudgingly allowed to have the occasional sleep over party as long as I invited one of two girls my parents deemed "in need of friends" meaning, they were a bit socially backward.

8. Ban on explaining. Weird, yes. But I could never explain WHY I had done whatever I was in trouble for. I just had to apologize and take the lecture. V. frustrating.

Oh dear, I could go on. Remarkably, my parents and I get along splendidly these days.

Waffle said...

Jessica - your parents thought the CHURCH dance rules weren't strict enough? The 'no explaining' rule? OMFG.

Anx - Allo allo is unbelievably shit isn't it. I impose the same rule with Noddy.

Grit said...

my sandpit. which i still consider rightly mine, even though it was removed from me at the age of 5. it was a punishment because i brought sand into the house. when i screamed and bit the walls at the removal of this treasure space i was told i was too old for it anyway. i bloody well wasn't and as soon as i had kids the first thing they acquired was a sandpit.

god i needed that therapy.

and my mother considered chewing gum one small step away from prostitution.

apart from that my mother was remarkably easy going.

Waffle said...

Grit - OMFG. Are you telling me you NEVER got it back? Cruel!

Titian red said...

No heels - aaarghhh, no wonder I left home as soon as I was 18.
No pierced ears
EVERYTHING on the plate always to be eaten. (eat your heart out Spring and Port Wine)

But everyone else did - you just don't understand ......!

peevish said...

1. I was absolutely forbidden to smoke my parents' weed. Had to get my own.

2. I had to be home before 2am or after 3 am, because the bars closed at 2 and they didn't want me on the road with all the drunk drivers.

3. When my boyfriend sneaked out of my bedroom window, he was not allowed to leave until he had replaced the window screen.

Yes, I had fun, but I kind of needed actual PARENTS.

Racu said...

Coming waaay late to this...but chiming in anyway. I'm old enough that most bans were imposed by school so parents didn't have to LOL. The biggest one I can remember is that I had to call my mother Mother. Could not use Mom, Mommy, Ma...etc. Now I call her everything from Mama to Mum. Some of the things like no make-up, heels, etc until a certain age, I understood and wish to hell parents would enforce today. It makes me sick seeing the way little girls walk around looking like hootchie mamas before they even have boobs!

Racu said...

Oh...and Leatherdykeuk..the sticker thing...I worked with a guy once who didn't allow his young daughters to have stickers because he was afraid they'd get hold of ones that had LSD or cyanide or some such shit laced in them, so he just wouldn't let them do stickers at all.


Waffle said...

I love the endless amusement of this. It will never get old for me.

Titian Red - and are you scarred? I bet you are.

Peevish - I bet it has made you wonderfully sensible though. Are you? And what do you ban?

Racu - It's a bit eery, no? "Mother". Hmm. I now wish I had girls so I could tell them they looked like 'hootchie mamas'. Great phrase!

Anonymous said...

Ooh - I'm a bit late to this too, but I can so relate. No patent shoes, or any shoes that were at all attractive. No deviation from the standard school uniform. No top of the pops. No radio 1. No Grange Hill. No MacDonalds, or any junk food of that ilk.

Honestly, I had no street cred whatsoever.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

This is sooo interesting: I had what I like to think was a typically Northern upbringing in the late sixties and through the seventies... I was not allowed a Raleigh Chopper, though my (male) cousin had one, so I rode his! I was given a ladies' shopper-style bike instead, talk about street-cred, I've never shed the nerdy monicker...

My mum wanted me to get my ears pierced by her hairdresser when I was 13, and I'll admit I was terrified; I was not permitted to travel on the bus to the nearest city to gigs, nor ever to get the 'last bus home'; My dad never wanted me to dye my (blonde) hair, and when I was 28 and went a little redhead, they were shocked...; I wanted to travel to York with my friend when we were 17 for a weekend, but it never came off - Now I find myself telling my almost 17 year old that he is not driving down to London in the summer to meet a girl he has been speaking to over the Internet for three years!

I did not allow him caffeinated drinks when he was little (meanwhile my (late) mother slipped him coke and biscuits dunked in sweet tea!); I never asked him what he wanted to eat, I just gave him what we had on hand, and he's never been a fussy eater. My nephews on the other hand were given choices from before they could speak and have been faddy and irritating throughout - but here I digress...

Like I say, I feel in some respects now I'm over the cusp of 40 that I haven't quite lived, as I didn't rebel, and met my husband at 19; I've always been sort of good, and feel like I've missed out on some aspects of yoof as a result, is that the case?!

Vic said...

No singing at the dinner table. Which tells me that I must have been fairly regularly bursting out into a musical review over the Hamburger Helper, although I don't remember it.

I was also not allowed to get my ears pierced until I "got a bone through my nose". My dad felt pierced ears were "barbaric" (although he had the biggest tattoo I had ever seen at the time...)

Waffle said...

Rachie - there there. You're scarred, I can tell. Do you have lots of patent shoes now?

Woman - god, don't ask me. I met the CFO aged 19 too. Wasted youth conspicuously absent. However, I can reassure you that you missed nothing by not getting to York for the weekend. It is not a teen friendly destination, take it from one who knows.

Vic - ah, the magnificent double standards of the parent. I love the idea of you belting out show tunes at dinner time.

Anonymous said...

When Grandma stayed over I could not talk until the Lawrence Welk show was over. That, or the Pope. I was given a dollar.
No ban on much. This was the seventies. Made adolescence something of a challenge. Got into plenty of trouble. They laughed.

Sass said...

This post just keeps on going.

We were only allowed to watch BBC. ITV - Tiswas, Magpie - were verboten.

Anything the BBC did was considered 'a good idea'. Including being terrified by Doctor Who and Grange Hill - Mum would disparage any mother who didn't let their kids watch it.

I'm infected by this and seem to think anything other than CBeebies and a Bagpuss video will scar Peaches for life.

Anonymous said...

I was not allowed:
Monopoly (had "Class Struggle" instead)
Enid Blyton (racist, not sure why)
Oddly enough had copy of Little Black Sambo, though which I LOVED
Shop bought biscuits
White bread
Patent leather shoes
Nail polish
Convenience food
Chewing gum
Plastic toys
Any warfare toy unless made of wood and specifically for playing 'freedom fighters', then it's okay.
A Dog
A sibling
Room to breathe.
After all that, they split up when I was 10 and mum formed deep and lasting relationship with Pinot Grigio and Dad became worshiper at capitalist shrine and had second family with completely opposing set of rules.
Any wonder I'm such a weirdo?

Waffle said...

Mothership - the 'freedom fighter' exception had me rolling on the floor. But NO shop bought biscuits? Really? We were allowed dark chocolate digestives. nothing else.

Sass-E - ah yes, the old ITV ban. A classic.

Anon - damn, that sounds a little too much fun. Jealous.

Metropolitan Mum said...

A bra when I desperately needed one (flat chested with 13).
Pierced ears.
A pierced belly button.
Trainers in winter. My mum made me wear fur lined boots in winter that made me look like I was part of the Russian Red Armee.
I could rant on forever. It so was not faaaiiiiiiiir!!!

Sinda said...

We couldn't watch Mr. Rogers. My mom thought he was a perv.

Curse words were ok as long as we didn't call each other names

No tucking your shirts into your pantyhose!

It's really hard to think what we couldn't do, growing up, my parents were hippies too...

snorestore said...

I and my sisters were banned from watching ITV. Our first TV didn't receive it, and when our new one did, the ITV button was removed so we couldn't switch over. I believe my mother thought it was common. We also weren't allowed icecream from icecream vans (also "common" but I think the imagined risk of salmonella also played a part). And finally, we were not allowed fireworks on Bonfire Night. There was some scary public info film about firework injuries shown on TV one year and after that we were never allowed them again. We were promised a trip to the pantomime instead. That promise lasted for one pantomime and was never referred to again. Parents. Grim.

Mutter said...

I read this and didn't remember much in the way of rules but have been thinking about it since and have jogged some long suppressed childhood memories:
We were not allowed to walk around in socks or bare feet but had to wear shoes or slippers in the house. I have raised my own kids as barefoot injuns.
We were only allowed to watch TV once homework was completed right into our late teens. I must have been slow at homework. Result = a girl who had no idea of current affairs because I never finished before the 9 o'clock news.
My father would determine whose party I was allowed to go to. I remember being distraught when he didn't allow me to go to the 16th birthday party of a friend whose parents owned a well-known wine bar. I discovered years later that as the village GP my Dad was handing out the pill to half my friends or their elder sisters and took a dim view of the morals of certain families. They in turn thought he was a wonderful doctor. I just thought he was unfair.

Penni Russon said...

1. No Beatrix Potter (rabbits are vermin). I was permitted Little Grey Rabbit though.
2. No chewing gum (I pass this on to my own children) - chewing gum is common.
3. No wearing socks outside without shoes. Okay, so this is probably quite reasonable, but I always thought this was totally unfair, especially considering the extent to which it freaked my mother out. I allow my children to go outside in their socks whenever they want.
4. My mum said I couldn't get my ears pierced until I paid for it myself. At the age of 9 I was in a play for which I was paid the princely sum of $30, more than enough to get those rose-quartz studs shot into my lobes. Hurrah! I recently discovered after about 10 years of not wearing earrings that my holes are still good. Earrings are my new lipstick, when I want to feel a little fancy.

My parents didn't make many rules though. i was an eighties latchkey kid. I could do anything as long as i was home by dark.

suzanneingalicia said...

My parents - although very old, my father was born in 1913 & was 50 when I was born - allowed practically everything as long as I could offer a convincing explanation as to why ('everybody else has it' not acceptable) BUT
- no pierced ears (common)
- under no circumstances was I allowed ever to hitchhike (v. sensible frm. today's point of view, but at the time no explanation ws offered), my parents preferred to give me enough money for taxi in case I missed last bus home
- never more than one pair of jeans in my wardrobe (tho lots of other trousers) so had to wear them until they fell apart before I cd get a new pair - ??
- and, inexplicable until today, no ankle-length skirts or dresses, EVER! (nope, not even nightdresses & not even when dressing up for carnival) which was the only thing I ever wanted up to the age of 18 when I was allowed to buy my own clothes & had finally stopped wanting to look like a lady from the 1880ies.

Salome said...

I was also banned from patent leather 'because it scuffs easily'; spaghetti hoops (but baked beans were allowed! why? it is the same sugary sauce!); australian soaps; shower gel (I suspect because it might come in fun colours); and saturday morning children's television. In a work of genius, we were actually told that Saturday morning children's TV did not exist ('they have saturdays off') and that there was therefore no point in turning on the television. This ruse worked for a surprisingly long time.

Also Capri Sun. But I can see why.

Agerm said...

A bit late to find this but, bizarrly, saying Sorry! If we didn't say sorry we were asked 'aren't you going to say sorry?' and if we did say sorry we were told 'don't say sorry, don't do it). This has always seemed a no win situation to me.

Also if we were sent home from school for snow or no heating or such things we were not allowed to leave the house and play out until the end of school time - as if it was our fault. My sister once took her children into school late as it had snowed enough to make snow angels and she felt that was important. My parents rules are directly responsible for my niece and nephews lack of education.

As a stepmother of two wonderful teenage girls I am manically defensive of the eldest ones rights with regard to the slippage of parenting as you move down the children. I get so annoyed when younger stepdaughter is allowed to do things older stepdaughter wasn't at the same age. My sister, as the youngest, considers this slippage to be the normal scheme of things.

Ellie said...

We had no TV.
Dinner at the table at 6. No reading at the table. Eat all the disgusting fish before you can get up.
No salt in any of the cooking. At all. No onions.
No candy, except for sugar-free "Sorbees" from the co-op, and Carob drops. Also no good cereal: puffed rice, "oatios" and puffed wheat. Mmm.
No pierced ears (I did it myself with a needle and an apple on their anniversary, ha ha).
No soda. I could have coffee though.
No Metallica t-shirts (I made my own, oh God).

Eevf said...

commercial tv (but in belgium, that wasn't missing much in those days)

a pottery wheel - trauma of my childhood

those coloured panties that came in eggs

choco / nutella hardly believable, but true

soda pops but i didn't like them any way

LuceKD said...

Forbidden by my mother: Eyebrow plucking, chewing gum, heeled shoes with no tights and eating in the street. Any one of these thing meant I was a TART.
Forbidden by my father: Disobedience. Thank the Lord he never told me either to do or not do anything. Apart from have good table manners.

But I was the youngest of four. They'd given up by then.

the polish chick said...

i never had a barbie. granted, they were hard to come by in communist poland, but not downright impossible. i think my parents just thought it was a ridiculous amount of money to pay for a piece of craptastic plastic.

i blame my lack of barbie in my formative years on whatever plagues me now: insecurity, distorted body image (i know that doesn't make sense but it's my comment, so there) drinking too much, talking too much, insomnia, gastrointestinal upset, warts...the list does go on but i shan't.

Robynn said...

Many, many things were banned by my crazed mother, but the least logical was: any food other than applesauce when sick. As in, if I was poorly, nothing but stewed apples could pass my lips. Ever. I also wasn't allowed to DO anything (read, f'rinstance), I just had to lie there Being Sick. This may have been a strategy to get me to admit I wasn't really all that poorly and may as well be in school. It didn't work, obv, I just cheated and lied.

Ivywindow said...

The banneds at various stages over my formative years were; Eastenders, Barbies, Blyton (although, oddly, I was allowed to play or read both, just not own, so I suspect that was a wasting money issues rather than one of principles), RaRa skirts, make up until I was 13 and pierced ears until I was 15. Although that was the year it all went to pot, as I dyed my hair that year too, and started smoking in my short-lived career as a wannabe gothette, oh, and fake IDs or borrowing other people's birth certificates to "prove" that I was 18 so I could go clubbing.

Fiona said...

Banned outright:
Eastenders, pierced ears before the age of 12 (after that I went mad and got 3, causing my big cousin to "out" me at a Christmas dinner table (my Dad had somehow not noticed, imagine!), brown shoes specifically for Brownies (Brown Owl kicked me out for that, which in my parents' view just confirmed that it was a fascist organisation), chewing gum in the bath or bed due to choking risk (fair enough I suppose), Star Wars (?), long hair before I was able to wash dry and comb it myself (too much of a tomboy, would have probably strangled myself anyway), pretty dresses/girly stuff (should have had a boy I reckon.. or maybe my mum just knew that with my looks/gait there was no point! )

Disapproved of:
Other soap operas, Grange Hill or any other programme encouraging/condoning disrespect of teachers, perms (sadly this meant I went ahead and got one...), caravans, HP sauce, smoking (but my mum still smoked Gauloise now and again)

Fiona said...

Oh yes and "high heels with trousers" ... this was tarty apparently.

I suspect this was down to the 80s being the drainpipe era, because I cannot see the issue with bootleg trouser suits and heels (ie uniform of female bankers/accountants/lawyers in the City, as far as I can see). Maybe it's ok with a Pink shirt and cufflinks.

Kath said...

Very late to this party, but I'm only 18 now, so I have to chime in;

Patent shoes were banned everywhere EXCEPT for my Nana's house, because she insisted my female cousins and I wore them. Mum always insisted it was because I'd scuff them, and consequently look like someone off the street.

Saying "can". This was from my Grandad, if I said something like "Can I have a drink?" I'd get a stern look and "Well you can, but whether you may is an entirely different matter".

Chewing gum, because "If you swallow it, it might get stuck in your throat and you'll choke"

Fizzy drinks, "You're hyper enough already"

Blue Peter, my mother absolutely detests it to this day.

Sweeteners in coffee/tea were, and still are banned in my house because they contain chlorine.

Speaking in a language my mum didn't know. (This came in when I started learning French in high school).

Margarine, because "It's only two bonds away from plastic!"

And for years, the Simpsons was banned, because my mum heard someone at Church talking about South Park, and got the two confused in her head.

The final ban is swearing at people. I've always been allowed to swear, as long as it was only at objects, like if I dropped something I could say "fuck", but not tell someone to F off. And only as long as I didn't do it in front of my Nana.

lisa said...

Makeup, ear piercing, hair coloring, shaving, dating...all the usual things that tell parents their daughter is becoming a woman instead of a kid. My dad said no pierced ears until I was 16, when I'd be old enough to make an informed decision of my own and not just be doing it because everyone else was. At first I thought it was cruel, but now I can appreciate it. By the time I was 16, I didn't even care anymore. I finally got them done at 20, just so I could wear some graduation-gift pearl earrings for my wedding, then 6 months later I let the holes close up and haven't worn earrings in the 12 years since. (I did get my nose pierced, however!)

My brother wasn't allowed to shave his head when he wanted to tame his thick hair, because shaved heads = skinhead = gangs and racism and etc. He and my cousin did it anyway one day while home alone. I came home to find them halfway through with my aunt's electric clippers completely burned out from the effort. The desperate looks on their faces moved me to find some scissors and finish the job the old-fashioned way. That's love.

Oh yeah, and watching Smurfs, because Gargamel used magic and Azriel was a biblical name for the devil.

Lisa-Marie said...

Watching any TV with noises instead of words. Going to school with my hair down(oh how I wanted to, but I went to a council estate school, I can see my mum's point).I wanted the 'Kelly' flick(from Saved By The Bell) but hairspray was not allowed. Pierced ears till I was 12. Dyed hair till I was 16(again, I thank her for it now, as I have nice hair and it wouldn't have been), short skirts(good girls wear knee length skirts).

Ashleigh said...

No telephone in bedroom
no internet chatrooms
No playing outside "Only the rough children are allowed to play out in the street, we don't want you to get mixed up with them" or "too dangerous"
No Chuckle Brothers or Bodger and Badger "an insult to my intelligence"
Being sent parcels by my mother
No contract mobile until I was 16 (although it was originally until I'd be paying for it myself)

I was allowed patent leather shoes though. I remember being really proud of them because my sister wasn't. (I could keep my shoes smart, whilst hers "would be scuffed to pieces in 5 minutes") They were my school shoes. I REALLY hope they didn't reflect my underwear...

Ashleigh said...

Oh and a pottery wheel!

Hypatia said...

My mum banned the current series of Grange Hill, and only let us watch the "vintage" 80s episodes.

Alice said...

Banned in my childhood: Doctor Who, Panini sticker collecting, Tolkien, Play Do, apple juice and Wagner

Millennium Housewife said...

Peanuts (until we were seven our throats wouldn't be wide enough to choke them up. We were allowed grapes instead.)


Murder (??)

Haloween celebrations (because 'that's the way you enter the occult')

To leave the shopping mall (because abductions occur outside shopping malls not inside) this was until I was 18, and only then because I went to university and they had no choice

Train riding at the time a football match might have been letting out its murderous rapist supporters

Slip on shoes (a quicker way to getting naked with a boy)

Hanging around (slovenly)

Therapy (in case we told)

Anonymous said...

things that were banned outright:
-doc martens (except eventually the very youngest sister)
-Grease (the film)
-chewing gum
-mixed sleepovers (i get this now, but was so outraged at the time)
-leaving the house without a vest and rollneck in winter (both came off and went into the schoolbag as soon as i got to school-too uncool)
-saying sorry when you got in trouble 'its too late for being sorry!'

things that weren't banned so much as frowned upon and therefore avoided out of fear of unknown consequences:
-primping (fashionable clothes, nail polish, make up, tweazing, shaving...)

aah, this is very soothing.

Rhia said...

Most of the rules I can understand, my mum was almost all the time completely reasonable:
No chewing gum or bubble gum
No eating in the street (its common)
No pierced ears til 13. (Thats not strictly true. that was the rule for my older sister. When I went along to the hairdressers to "watch" her get her ears pierced, Mum said ."While we are here do u want your ears pierced too Rhia, it will save us coming back!" I was 9. I wimped out though til was 12.
No swearing
No making yourself a drink of squash. You had to ask mum or dad. What?
No glugging said squash (that was the only dad rule I can remember!!)
My particular favourite rule. One square of toilet paper for smalls, 2 for big. wtf? Thats not adequate!

Amy said...

I was not allowed to have an Easy-Bake Oven. Therefore, my children shall not have one either.

One of our house rules today is: No Crying in the Kitchen. It's sensible, as I think the CFO's no toys in the kitchen was.

Anonymous said...

We had no Sindy (appalling role model) and request for Action Man (neat attempt huh?)... Turned down on grounds he was anatomically incomplete and Later Life would give us a fright. Luckily it didn't.

Emily Wilson said...

Trick or treating (an American excuse for BEGGING FOR SWEETS), pierced ears before I was 13, chewing gum (common) eating in the street (ditto), food from vending machines, advent calendars without pictures of the nativity on (and Jesus ones NEVER have chocolate in...) I've always thought my mum was pretty liberal, but now it's here in a damning list I may revise that opinion!

Elspeth said...

Ok, so I couldn't resist this post. This might be a long one. Some I understand, some I still don't.

Playing in the street (garden only).

TV channels with adverts.


Walking to/from school.

Eating anywhere other than the kitchen.

Mousetrap and Kerplunk.

Having a computer or TV in the bedroom.

Light up shoes. (I was v.upset about this)

Waking mum up on a sunday morning (the only time I could watch whatever TV I wanted).

Going into the "front room" (the fancy livingroom for grownups).

The following foodstuffs were also banned, except at Granny's house where there were no rules:

Fizzy juice (apart from pink lemonade and peach flavoured sparkling water even though we had a soda stream)

Sugary/chocolatey cereals. It was all bran or rice crispies and that was that.

Chewing gum.

Smarties and anything even similar to smarties. E-numbers are to blame for this - my mum had a list of e-numbers to be avoided pinned to the back door.

Infact, all sweeties apart fom the odd chocolate biscuit were banned in our house. Crisps were ok though, for some reason.

My parents separated when I was 10 so a lot of those rules were phased out from then on.

Krankyk said...

- No new coats that fit, they had to be bought a size or two too large so I could grow into them. This was very hard on me when I started to care about how I looked, around the age of twelve.
- No rice based cereals as they had no nutritional value, according to my father.
- No tv during the day. My brother & I would keep one ear tuned to the gravel driveway so we could rush to turn off the forbidden tv when the parents came home.

The Reluctant Launderer said...

Well. I am WAAAAAY late to this, but couldn't resist. My mother was really quite mental while we were growing up. We were not allowed to do ANYTHING. Ireland in the 70s / 80s wasn't exactly riddled with fun as it was, but even by the poor standards of the day, we had bleak bleak lives. (We also had the patent shoes rule, the telephone book rule, and, completing the catholic trinity, no swimming near boys. (All of the above could result in pregnancy). I - the third of four - abided by all the MAD rules and as a result had a v dull and friendless childhood. Noone else paid her any attention - a fact I've only recently discovered. In fact my younger sister was taking acid and sneaking out of her bedroom window aged 14. She's now in a mental institution, mind you (ok, she's not. but she ought to be).

Baby Gifts said...

I was banned from high heels - not stillettos (I was only 5), but any shoe with a heel higher than .5cm. Also Sindy's. That way lead to dressing inappropriately and teenage pregnancy.

Muse said...

Plastic 'jelly shoes'. The kind in brightly coloured shiny translucent plastic that every child wore at the seaside in the 60's and 70's except me. Because 'no child of mine is wearing those evacuee shoes'.
(yes, they were the forbear of crocs, yes I very badly neeeeded to have them so don't judge.)
No you can't watch The Sound of Music, it's on every bloody year. (I am now 47, I still have never seen it).

Kimberly said...

Super late, but I feel much better that I wasn't the only child ever to be banned from sleepovers. Mom liked us all to be under the same roof every night.

MTV, because it was a bad influence. I came home from school before she came home from work, so I watched it anyway.

Nude hosiery until I turned 13.

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