6 Dumb Household Rules You Hated Growing Up, but Now Totally Understand

updated May 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

When you’re young, it’s your job to not worry and to push limits. It’s all about you, you, you. It’s up to your parents to firmly establish boundaries and rules. And while you live under their roof, it’s either their way or the highway. Sound familiar? Here are six seemingly arbitrary household rules that drove you nuts at the time, but make so much more sense today.

1. Making Your Bed

Then: Why bother? I’m just going to use it again tonight!

Now: Making your bed every morning correlates with better productivity. It has also been suggested that making your bed boosts happiness.

→ 8 Tricks to Make Making The Bed a Habit

2. Not Wearing Shoes in the House

Then: But I’m going back outside in 10 minutes!

Now: Once you think of the dirt that gets tracked in with every footfall, you also think of all the time you spend vacuuming the floor. Multiply that by all your family members’ shoes, and slippers or bare feet sound like a much better idea.

→ Zero Tolerance: Do You Have a Strict “Shoes Off” House?

3. No Television After 10pm

Then: But Mom!?! Fantasy Island is on!

Now: Today, it’s not just TV but phones, iPads, video games and computers. Taking time to detox from tech, especially right before bed, reduces anxiety and helps you sleep better.

→ Can’t Sleep? Blame Your Gadgets!

4. Turning Off Lights

Then: What’s the big deal?

Now: It’s the little things that add up, and turning off lights when you don’t need them is the first baby step to saving money and energy. It’s a new world of consumption, we have a new mindset about wasting energy.

5. No Elbows on the Table

Then: But it’s more comfortable to sit that way!

Now: Originally, elbows off the table prevented diners from hogging space and minimized the effects of bad hygiene (think stinky medieval times, before regular bathing was a thing). Now, it’s all about sight lines and letting people on either side of you talk without have to lean way, way back in their chairs. Plus, many still think it’s rude, so why offend your fellow guests at a fancy party?

6. Hanging Up Your Jacket

Then: Sorry, I forgot!

Now: A day’s worth of jackets on the backs of chairs, and shoes on the floor, accumulate quickly, which can rapidly turn to a house disaster zone. And, if the mess and clutter don’t stay in check, you can’t focus on the million other things you have to do. Today it makes sense to take a second to hang up your outerwear, and ask others to do the same.

Did your family have any rules you hated, but understand now?

Re-edited from a post originally published 6.17.2014-nt