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Just For Fun: 21 Things '80s Kids' Did That Would Horrify Us Now

Posted by on Dec. 16, 2013 at 8:54 AM
  • 22 Replies

21 Things '80s Kids' Did That Would Horrify Us Now

by Jenny Isenman 

As a Gen Xer, I recall baby-proofing not being quite what it is today. In fact, we were given these Green Mr Yuk stickers (which were basically like yellow happy face stickers that had just thrown up) to put on anything in our homes that was toxic: chemicals, cleaning supplies etc. I recall showing my mom the stickers and her telling me to go for it (yes, I was to baby-proof my own house). 

So, I searched my house for things that were toxic. I checked cabinets, that I'd never thought to open before, climbed on the sinks to get to all the medicines. It was like anti-baby proofing. I slapped the stickers on all my knew found poisons and added one to the vegetable crisper in the fridge, for good measure.

Now, as a parent myself my own parents like to tell me I'm too overprotective.


"Well, you survived," they say. 

"Yep, but it seems like the odds were against me."

Here are a few things I did growing up that make me wonder how we survived ... 

1.  Thinking the middle seat in the front was the best seat because I could get crushed into the dashboard, I mean, because I got to control the 5 radio stations.

2.  Being totally inaccessible - from after school until dinner. Now, we would call that being lost.

3.  Having an equal intake of air: 50% - Oxygen, 50% - second hand smoke.

4.  Thinking that SPF 4 was responsibly using sun block.

5.  Thinking the haze of Solarcaine I was engulfed in was a healthy way to heal the 2nd degree burns I inevitably got from using SPF 4.

6.  Getting excited when someone had a pick-up truck because that meant the kids got to ride on the flatbed.

7. Sitting on my dad's lap and manning the steering wheel.

8.  Eating salami straight from the log.

9. Playing on a rusted swing set where that one leg always popped out of the ground threatening to propel into space and then came back with a thud.

10. Helmets? No one wore them and if you did, you were super geeky... protecting your nerdy brain and all.

11. Being Latchkey kid by 7 years old. The first couple times I stayed home. I parked a chair right inside the screen door and just sat there staring out, so I could see my mom pull up (also, the world could see I was alone with an open door, brilliant).

12. Fearlessly scaling fences, climbing trees, playing in the woods, and jumping streams without a parent in sight to save us (hell, we used to ride our bikes through a cemetery). 

13. Running into the store to buy an adult cigarettes.

14. Nerf Shmerf - oh, we had them, but cap guns and bb guns were way more likely to shoot your eye out … we preferred them. 

15. Car seats? Bahwawawahaha. My dad drove me around on the back shelf of his convertible in a Moses basket. "Oops, she was here a minute ago, must of hit a bump."

16. And Forget seat belts - I barely sat in the seat at all, lying across the back windshield of my mom's Mercury Marquis or popping up and down from the floor was way more fun.

17. Jumping on beds until they collapsed. I was once under a bed when that happened.

18. Babysitting at 11 -- In my town, once you were able to dial 911, you were considered a candidate for babysitting jobs.

19. Eating unwrapped things people handed you in stores - like pretzel logs from the bank.

20. Being left in the car to wait for my mom do the grocery shopping because I didn't feel like going in.

21. Running around until sundown without a care in the world, a phone in my pocket or shoes on my feet.

Any of those sound familiar?

What things did you do that you would most likely land someone in an ER, jail, therapy, or on the no play-date list - nowadays?

by on Dec. 16, 2013 at 8:54 AM
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by on Dec. 16, 2013 at 9:47 AM
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I remember #1 and the "mom seatbelt" where when she hit the brakes, she put her arm out to stop you from hitting the dash.

#6 we used to go to my uncle's and ride to a farm or wherever riding in the back.

#9, #10,13,16,17,18,19,20, and 21 were all true for me.

#12. Heck I remember my dad was building a barn and we would climb the wall and onto the roof and jump from it onto the sand below. (infront of my parents) how we didn't break our necks, IDK.

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by on Dec. 16, 2013 at 10:42 AM
1 mom liked this

I miss the pick up truck flat bed poor kids are missing out

lol..i agree with 15...

I leave my son home when I go to the store..he is 9..just started leaving him home. I can't trust him in the car.

I didn't wear a helmet hit a stump..i went flying into a tree...landed...shook it off and kept on going. 

I let my kids drive up my parent's drive way..they sit on my lap. 

and there are lots of times when I tell my kids.."just sit back..don't worry about the seat belt"..especially if I am in a yea i know

kids still run around here till sun down..even after during the warmer months.

one thing I did as a child that would be trespassing these days...randomly going to a friend's house at dawn and walking right in. 

I was given sips of alcohol here and there (at my request lol)..absolutely hated the stuff and still do

I shared a room with my brother for the longest time..apparently there is an age limit these days on opposite gender siblings sharing a room (mine still share a room despite that)

by on Dec. 16, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Ahhh the good ole, pre-paranoia days.

Miss them and do remember the green stickers, the sitting on dad's lap and steering, sitting in the back of the truck, etc.

I remember mom hating playpens cuz babies got smothered in the mesh. Now it's almost an essential baby item and called pack n plays instead lol.

by Silver Member on Dec. 16, 2013 at 10:52 AM

I did some of those, but I was born in 83.

by Queen25Princes on Dec. 16, 2013 at 6:09 PM

#10 and # 11

by Mikki on Dec. 16, 2013 at 9:57 PM

Helmets and seatbelts and car seats!

family in the van   Mom of four

by Emerald Member on Dec. 16, 2013 at 10:02 PM
1 mom liked this

 That list pretty much sums up my childhood.  IMO parents today need to loosen up a lot.

We used to love to have our heads sticking out of the sunroof as the car was flying down the interstate.  Good times.  Also riding in the bed of the truck to ensure that the freshly filled keg of beer didn't get bumped around too much.

by on Dec. 16, 2013 at 10:03 PM

 Many of those things I did-and have let my kids do several.  But yeah I agree if you are so worried then you are over protective. 

by on Dec. 16, 2013 at 10:12 PM
My aunt and uncle used to stuff me, my sister and my cousins in the very back of their station wagon. It sucked being the one smushed up against the glass.
by Platinum Member on Dec. 16, 2013 at 10:20 PM

Outside of not wearing a seatbelt in the car (the dinging makes me crazy), I have done all of them and encourage my kids to as well.  No bubble wrapped kids in my house!

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