66 People Share The Weirdest Things Their Families Do That They Thought Were Normal
Every family is unique. And before we judge anyone for the way they live, we have to remember that other people might be in a totally different situation than us.
With that being said, many of us grow up with, let's call them eccentricities, without even realizing it! A popular Reddit thread by u/i-had-no-good-ideas has users sharing the weirdest thing their family does that they always thought was perfectly fine. From banning birthday parties to raising 36 cats, the entries prove the term "normal" is a rather relative one.
Continue scrolling and check out the most-upvoted ones!
#1At one point in my childhood, we had 36 cats who only came inside to eat and sleep at night. Any time a friend slept over, they were amazed and delighted when a half-dozen or more cats came in to sleep in my room. My dad even thought he was having a heart attack one time, because he woke up feeling intense pressure on his chest — it was actually two dozen cats. I found out later that my neighborhood considered us the weird house because of all the cats I thought were so awesome.
Image credits: PowerSkunk92
#2We had a diarrhea spoon, so we could test its consistency and find out how dehydrated we were — 'Need about 5 ounces there, Hon.'
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#3When we had dinner, if you took a bite that was too hot (temperature wise), the rest of the family would blow in your mouth until it cooled off. To this day my brothers and I wonder why our parents let us do this.
Image credits: ernielover125
#4My grandmother always thought the hand signal for 'I love you' was to stick your middle finger straight up like you're flipping someone the bird. Well, when she would send my dad and his sisters out of the house for the day, she'd innocently flip them the bird while yelling that she loved them. Now, out of tradition, my family always flips each other the bird to say goodbye. We always get strange looks at the airport.
Image credits: Orisno
#5My dad used to whip out his bare ass at everyone. He once put it on the dinner table while I was eating, and my mom spanked it. That's when I realized something was off.
Image credits: RagingFileShut
#6My friends suck the snot and boogers out of their kids' noses with their mouth instead of having them blow into tissues. Then they go spit it out in the trash afterwards. I gagged the first time I witnessed it.
Image credits: spooky_squid75
#7Instead of trick-or-treating on Halloween, my parents made us go around to different doors in our basement and answer Bible questions to receive candy.
Image credits: MinuteMythology
#8Our family had a communal underwear drawer until I was in high school. Apparently not common?
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#9In my family, we finished the chicken to the bone — no meat, no gristle, nothing left. And if you didn't finish it, someone would finish it for you. Well, flash-forward to college when I'm eating chicken in the cafeteria with my housemates. One of them didn't clean their chicken wing, so I casually reached over and took it to finish it off, without interrupting the conversation. After a minute, I realized everyone was staring at me. 'What?' I asked, someone else's chicken bone hanging out of my mouth.
Image credits: KnicholasG
#10We always have our house in the 50- to 60-degree range, even during the Wisconsin winter. Everyone would always comment on how cold it was in our house, but it felt fine to me! Meanwhile, other people's houses — which are normally in the 70-degree range — are way too hot for me.
Image credits: roseeeyore626
#11We have always had cats. We have several “cat songs”. Some are just songs that we have changed the words to include our cats names, but others completely made up on the fly. We can still remember and sing the cat songs of our pets that have long since passed.
We also have a certain way we speak to each others pets that is almost like another language. Made up words, strange accents, weird pronunciation of syllables... the whole shebang. Incomprehensible to others, but makes perfect sense to us.
Image credits: BroffaloSoldier
#12Whenever we got fast food, we would put all of our fries together in a big mound to share — sort of like communal fries. Once I was at a friend's house and they bought us fast food, so I put my fries on a plate and pushed it to the middle of the table. Lots of strange looks.
Image credits: mndaver24
#13We always had a single hardboiled egg on our plate whenever we had spaghetti.
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#14We're not super demonstrative or affectionate, so relationships were interesting early on. Wake up call for me was when my girlfriend got really upset with me because I didn't call her to find out how her doctor's appointment went. I was confused because I figured she'd let me know if anything was wrong and if I hadn't heard anything I'd assume everything was fine. It never registered that perhaps actual human people like to feel cared about sometimes and that - as her boyfriend - it would be appropriate for me to show a little more concern for her. My family is still like this, although I like to think I've grown in that respect - it's something I had to learn how to do though.
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#15Our family had solstice parties. I didn't think it was weird until someone called me a witch.
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#16Let me tell ya bout the Wallbangies.
Thought everyone knew about them like the Easter bunny or tooth fairy. They are a tiny race of native American people. In the mornings you went around collecting belly button lint, and you would put what you find under your pillow when you made your bed. That night while you slept they would come and collect the lint, and eventually one day they would bring you a sweater they knitted from the lint.
I was 20 years old when I learned these itty bitty Indians aren't universally known..
Image credits: waresl22
#17Saying 'I love you'. I'm very greatful to have grown up in a very loving and caring household. My parents and I say 'I love you' or 'love you' to almost everyone. But once I got to middle school (my first REAL group of friends) I realized that many kids did not grow up in a household to told each other that. Many times I saw my friends be uncomfortable when I told them that I loved them. Now I'm much more cautious when I say that. (Only say it to close friends now)
#18Hoarding. But right after I left my family's home I became incredibly irate of any clutter. My home is now always organized and I constantly rid of stuff I don't use. But my housemate has a crap ton of ancient shit he doesn't use and it drives me nuts.
Image credits: snake_pod
#19We had absolutely no censorship growing up. Everything was available to us to watch or listen to or play. My dad taught my sister and me how to sneak into R rates movies by buying a movie for one but going to another.
My parents made themselves available to explain most things, and had an open door policy. My sister and I were shy, though, and rarely asked stuff...except the time my sister asked my mom what 69 was and she answered. My sister learned not to ask.
When people said they couldn't watch or play something it was foreign to me.
My sister and I turned out low key. Didn't have our first relationships until I was 18 and she was 19. Pretty introverted about sexual matters for even longer. Never in trouble and were dedicated to school. In school we never drank or smoked. Both of my parents asked me and my sister of we needed birth control pills when we were 16. We said no followed by eww, Haha.
I think our curiosities were extinguished through my parents open policy, and we never felt the need to rebel.
Image credits: jlynn00
#20Everyone in my family always has baby words. When I was in 1st, I got in trouble for saying “can I go potty” instead of “can I go to the bathroom” since my mom always says potty, and I don’t know what else to call boo boos. I don’t say it to seem cute. I just don’t know what else to say.
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#21Yelling to communicate.
Everyone in my household just yelled and screamed at each other for little or no reason. Not even when they were mad at each other, but even when we were just working around the house or something, people would start yelling at each other like they hated them then after we were all done we just went back to business as usual as if nothing ever happened.
I didn't find out this wasn't exactly normal when I had my first girlfriend. I started yelling and bellowing at her about something, I have no idea what it was even about, and she started crying and said she was afraid I was going to hurt her. I thought this was the craziest thing i'd ever heard. I wasn't going to hit her, I was just yelling. We eventually sort of sat down and talked about it and she made me realize that the primary means of communication i'd been taught and had to use my entire life up to that point wasn't how people were supposed to talk to each other. I also learned that most women tend to cry if you yell at them.
I had done it throughout all my formative years so it's a bit hard to suppress. Sometimes I still find myself raising my voice to people, even my wife, and she'll just put her hand on my shoulder and its sort of our signal to remind me i'm getting carried away.
Weird thing is, i'm not even really angry or anything like that, it just happens automatically. But she knows I don't mean anything by it and helps me to keep it in check. It's not that bad these days, it has gotten better and better over the years being around more sane people that aren't from my family.
Image credits: SFPhlebotomy
#22We always ate pineapple slices on our hamburgers- every time- all of us
It was like putting ketchup on for most people, when I ate burgers at other people’s houses I would be like, where’s the pineapple in the same way people would ask for lettuce or mayo
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#23Growing up my parents would always give each other two cards for birthdays and anniversaries. One would be a comedy card and one is a love card. Thought that was how it just was.
Apparently my family is the only one that does that, but my girlfriend does enjoy the two cards very much.
Image credits: Schmabadoop
#24That my family gets together once a week for dinner. Not just my mom, dad, and brother. I mean 4-5 generations of my family get together every Wednesday night for the last 40 years. We also do every holiday too. It’s almost never called off and we just rotate who cooks each week. It’s about 35 people.
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#25My parents put certain foods (hot dogs, toast, etc) on paper towels instead of plates. Obviously things like pasta or rice would go on plates, but anything that didn't ~require~ a plate went on a paper towel. I grew up thinking this was normal. Until I served a sausage in a bun to a boyfriend on a paper towel and he looked at me like I had three heads.
Turns out my parents just really hate to wash dishes, so they destroy the planet by wasting paper and buying plastic cups instead. Real dishware only comes out on special occasions.
Did I mention they have a dishwasher but hate to use it?
Image credits: CrispyCracklin
#26Open birthday cards together and procede to pass them round in a circle so everyone can read them.
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#27When I was little, my family and I LOVED the first Spongebob Movie. In the movie, they make these silly calls that sound like “LULULULU!” by pursing their lips and wiggling their tongues back and forth. One night, as my dad was tucking me in, he said “Goodnight, I love you! LULULULU!” And I repeated it back.
We still do this, and I’m 23. I think it’s his way of hanging on to his idea of me as a kid.
I draw the line at phone calls, though. I’ve gotten some weird looks from my boyfriend.
Image credits: CanadianIron28
#28Didn't know this was weird until college, but my family would often drink milk with dinner. Like we'd go through about 3-4 gallons of milk a week. I thought that was normal (what else do you do with milk) and apparently everyone thought that was too much milk.
Image credits: ceedubs2
#29My good friend's family used to put on a full Christmas pageant every year — I'm talking costumes, scripts, roles assigned at Thanksgiving, and always a live baby Jesus played by an infant in the family. They've even rented locations to fit everyone! She only found out that it was unusual in college, when we were discussing our plans for Winter Break and she casually mentioned 'the pageant.' Everyone paused and asked what that meant, and she said, 'You know, the family Christmas pageant.' We had to explain that no one else does that, and it was hilarious! She was an angel that year.
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#30We all open our Christmas gifts one at a time, taking turns, while everyone else watches. I've never met another family that does this.
Image credits: SuttonLane
#31We never had birthday parties. Birthdays were observed, but there were never parties. I got toys, some good food, but no one was invited ever.
My father told me it was a family tradition. Many years later, when I realized that absolutely everyone I knew did in fact have birthday parties, I looked into the matter more closely and found that an ancestor had apparently died after his birthday party, and since then all parties were forbidden in the family.
Image credits: RuinEleint
#32Apparently peanut butter and syrup on my pancakes. Everyone looks at me like I'm a freak
#33My mother was the type of religious person that found random things to be satanic. I thought that deviled eggs were called angel eggs until I was 15 whenever I said angel eggs at a family gathering. Most of my family looked at me like I was crazy and my mom kinda laughed at it like it was funny.
#34My parents hated using the microwave. They wouldn’t put pizza, pasta, bread, meat, or anything meant to be baked and crisp in the microwave. It was strictly for steaming vegetables and frozen dinners.
We didn’t eat a lot of foods that kids would eat from the microwave like frozen nuggets, pizza rolls, hot dogs, hot pockets, etc because my mom didn’t want to turn on the oven for “kid food.” When I saw someone microwave a plate of pizza rolls or chicken nuggets my mind was blown, to me it was as weird as boiling them.
This did lead to me teaching my first boyfriend to make quesadillas in a pan. He came from a microwave family and I showed him the light. Also seasoning, you gotta season a quesadilla.
#35We'd go for a walk after every dinner. Rain or shine. Found out years later our neighbors thought we were weird.
#36It took me a long time to figure out my dad is a functioning alcoholic. I remember sitting in French class in 8th grade and talking about food and measurements. My French teacher asked us how much wine our parents drink every night. I confidently put my hand up and said two bottles. He looked at me strangely and said “you mean to glasses!” I insisted on two bottles and thought he was being weird for thinking I’m stupid, while the whole class watched silently. No one butted in to say that their parents drink less or that two bottles might be excessive, and I thought my teacher was just being a dickhead because we didn’t like each other. Well, took me another two years to connect the dots.
#37Working at renaissance faires. My parents have been doing it for decades, so I grew up doing it and thought nothing of it. I always thought it was normal that my family would dress up to interact with other people, also dressed up, wielding swords and the like. You can imagine my surprise when, in elementary school, no one had a goddamn clue what I was taking about when I spoke of my normal weekend activities Blew my eight-year-old mind
#38When my sisters and I were little rice, butter and sugar mixed together was a meal at my grandmother's. She never fed us well.
#39A friend of mine's family eats corn on the cob for dessert.
#40Corn on the cob. We would take them and roll them on a full stick of butter.
First time I did that at a dinner party at a friend's house it was quite embarrassing.
#41Rice with lasagna. In catering class I mentioned about it being a good side with lasagna (which it still is to this day) and everyone including the teacher was like ‘this guy is insane’.
#42Apparently dipping buttered toast in hot chocolate is weird, my family always did it and would eat it for breakfast and stuff but when I told my friends about it they said they have never heard of anyone doing that.
#43My dad used to walk around the house naked in the mornings. I'd just be in the kitchen eating my Fruity Pebbles and minding my own business, and then his Cap'n Crunch Berries would be in my face. I found out it was weird years later, when I saw it on Malcolm in the Middle. And also, when no one else I've ever known has done this.
#44About this time every year when local strawberries come into season, my Grandfather would make homemade strawberry shortcake for dinner. Not those stupid sponge cakes but with real homemade shortcakes. He would serve it with cream and it was a big deal because we ate pretty healthy. It was our way of welcoming Summer. His mother in the early 1900s would make one huge shortcake that would feed her, grandpa, and his 6 brothers and sisters.
In the fall when the local apples come in we would make apple dumplings for dinner because that was my Grandma's family tradition to celebrate the harvest.
I thought it was normal to have dessert twice a year for dinner to celebrate the changing of the seasons.
#45Growing up we would always eat dinner super late. Like 8 or 9 o clock at night. Sometimes even as late as 10. Thought this was normal for the longest time until at some point in middle school I had a discussion with one of my friends about it. He said his family ate around 5 or 6 most times, 7 at the latest. Thought this was odd. It wasn't until my freshman year of high school when I finally realized my mom was an alcoholic, and we were eating super super late every night so my mom could get fucked up before we ate as the food would ruin her drunkeness.
#46We open our presents on Christmas Eve never on Christmas Morning.
#47Until my junior year of high school, I wasn't allowed to use YouTube. My mom thought it was a porn site. That changed after I started getting homework that involved YouTube.
I was never allowed to have a GTA game growing up, but Mortal Kombat and Saint's Row franchises were fine. I did however lose all my games once for shooting a chicken in RE4....
#48My mother baked cakes as a home business for years and had a dedicated room with a second oven in there. We called it “the cake room”. I was probably in my twenties before I was fully aware that other people don’t have cake rooms and that was pretty much just us.
#49People are often horrified by my parent's methods of discipline. When I was little we'd have to kneel on rice if we were too loud on the stairs, or get knuckle punched on the top of our heads if we did something wrong. Also, I now realize how strange it is for your parents to walk around naked. We also couldn't go to their bedroom after they went to bed. My sister broke her arm one morning falling out of the top bunk and my mom made her wait for hours until she would take her to the doctor. I won't go into the paint-stick rule. I didn't realize how messed up this was until I met my girlfriend and told her about it.
#50When I was a kid, my parents made me walk a mile or two or do yard work for punishment. Whenever I tell my friends, they are all baffled.
#51I grew up on cream cheese and jelly sandwiches. I've never met anyone else who ever ate them or even considered it as a sandwich.
#52My dad's meat loaf recipe. He had a plastic bundt cake pan. He would mix mix the meat, bread crumbs, seasonings and such in it, and top it with some spaghetti sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. Once everything was mixed and topped, he would microwave it for 25 minutes and dinner was served.
#53My dad puts ice cream in a cup and pours milk in it and eats it like that. Most people eat it out of a bowl but that seems so weird to me. I can’t eat ice cream without any milk in it
#54I feel like sticking hamburger buns in the freezer and just bread in general is something only my family does.
#55"Your older siblings didn't go there so why should you?" Im not sure whether this will fit into your category of weird thing but this was our family thing. If my older siblings didn't wear a certain thing or didn't buy or basically didn't do a certain thing, it was out of the question for the younger one to even think about doing it.
#56My dad’s side of the family always had this particular smell that I loved! But I never knew what that smell was... I only smelled it around them... It was such a nostalgic smell and I would be excited for family reunions so I could smell it.
Well, years later I discovered that smell was alcohol.
Alcoholism apparently runs in my family.
#57My weird thing is almost never being without socks on. Except when showering, my feet are always covered. On rare occasions I'll sleep without socks on but it's uncommon. I've always been this way, very averse to taking my socks off but never really sure why.
#58In my family, correcting each other's mistakes in everyday conversation is normal, a thing to be grateful to the corrector for. The idea is that it's more important for everyone to be enriched or learning than it is for anyone's pride to be preserved while they're also wrong.
It created in me a love of debate and a willingness to revise my opinions / stances, but it's very frustrating to me now to calculate someone's pride into the equation, lest I be labeled rude or arrogant.
#59This is pretty common for lots of military families in the us, but it weirded me out that a lot of my nonmilitary friends had known people for a long time. They would say stuff about their best friend from kindergarten, and it would just be completely alien to me. I moved around every few years, so I always felt like I had a sorta backdoor. Made a fool of myself? It’s ok, you leave in 4 months.
Now I have a hard time remembering that people want friends to stick around. Or that I can’t just leave if I’m embarrassed or angry.
#60Dunking folded slices toast in a hot mug of tea instead of the more traditional biscuits.
#61we call parmasian cheese (like, that goes on pizza?) “stinky cheese.”
i literally called my dad at 2am during my first week living on my own, because i needed stinky cheese for my pizza but my fiancé had no clue what i was talking about.
#62Putting ice in milk. It's not weird you should all try it
#63My mom makes gravy with every meal. It's a staple in my family. If we want to make something quick to eat, we put gravy over rice, potatoes, veggies, bread, anything we find. It all goes great with gravy! It must be a "my mom" thing because I've gone to dinner with her at friends houses and am used to her turning to me and whispering incredulously "are they not serving gravy with this meal?"
#64My family including extended because I vividly remember my great grandmother did it the most; fed me coffee as a baby (2 years old minimum), I just thought everyone drank coffee as a baby. Then I moved to the states and saw kids drink a coke and go berserk. I never understood what “caffeine” did to kids since I already had a good tolerance to say the least.
#65Growing up, my teachers and friends would tell me I had a 'sing-song' voice and sometimes would make fun of it, but that's how my entire family talks to one another. We have our own little familial variation on the local accent, words adopted from where most of us used to live, words made up as jokes over time, phrases that ended up sticking in our communal lexicon because of longstanding jokes or situations. It was enough that when I was in kindergarten the school insisted that I be put into speech therapy.
I didn't really realize it was weird until I was about 13 and my friends and I were watching Star Trek TNG and one of them pointed at the TV and said 'Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra. That's what you sound like!'