There's no denying that things were different in the '90s, or the wild west of parenting, as I like to refer to it. From technology, to fashion, to child rearing, society has come a long way since the decade of jelly sandals and snap bracelets. There's no question that the '90s were a less restricting age to parent children in. Heck, there are plenty of things your parents shouldn't have let you do in the '90s that they didn't even bat an eyelash at. Nowadays, you can't let your kid play outside alone without someone from the neighborhood giving you a call to make sure you know where your child's location. The '90s were a glorious, golden age of childhood. And your parents definitely let you get away with a lot more back then.
These days, being a parent seems to come with a mile-long list of things you should and shouldn't let your children do. Don't let them have an iPad, but let them have a cell phone in case of emergency. Don't let them play with aggressive children, but teach them how to hold their own. Don't let them eat junk food and don't let them treat food as a reward, but treat them to ice cream when they deserve it. The lists contradict themselves, and more often than not, it's just parents who think they've got it all under control, doling out their sage wisdom.
Thank goodness I grew up in the '90s, where life was simpler — albeit a little more questionable. It still makes me warm and fuzzy with nostalgia to remember all the things my parents shouldn't have let me do in the '90s, even if the following things would be frowned upon by today's parenting standards.
1. They Let You Have Co-Ed Sleepovers
Parents trusted children blindly in the '90s so much so that co-ed campouts and sleepovers were fairly normal. Nobody even locked doors or did room checks, they just let you go buck wild. So many uncomfortable games of Truth or Dare haunt my memories.
2. They Let You See R-Rated Movies
I think I was about 11 years old when I saw The Truth About Cats and Dogs. And let me tell you, it opened my eyes big time. You saw tons of movies in the '90s that you probably shouldn't have.
3. They Gave You Your Own Phone Line
Because every child needs their own phone line. Yes, before the age of cell phones there were these tragic things called land lines. And if one person was using the land line, nobody else could make, or receive a call. So, naturally, your parents gave you your own phone line.
4. They Didn't Restrict Your Internet Access
Chat rooms, searches, mild-stalking — you had it all at your fingertips in the '90s and your parents didn't even think to check in on what you were doing.
5. They Ignored Parental Advisory Warnings
Sexually explicit lyrics? Go for it. As long as you were only using those words during the song, you could get away with singing along.
6. They Let You Sit In The Front Seat
No car seat? No problem. Sit in the front seat, even if you can't see over the dashboard. Not sure why this was such a common occurrence at my house. Probably because I kicked the drivers seat until I was let into the front seat. Just a guess.
7. They Let You Ride In The Hatchback
On many a cross-country road trip, my mom would toss me in the hatchback in a sleeping bag and hit the road. Honestly. I'd wake up in the middle of Ohio, rolling around without a seatbelt on. Oh, the '90s.
8. They Let You Stay Up Late For TV
I remember being shocked and appalled by the things I saw on E.R. as a kid. Drug abuse, sex, violence — it had it all. Definitely shouldn't have been watching that.
9. They Let You Make Questionable Fashion Choices
Mom, why did you ever let me wear a short-sleeve pale pink ribbed turtleneck sweater? Better yet, why did you let me wear it for my fifth grade class photo?
10. They Let You Run Wild Until Dark
Before the age of cellphones, childhood was like the wild west. Especially during the summer months. You had breakfast, got kicked out of the house, and were expected to show up by the time the sun went down. What you did in between those hours, and the toys you played with in the '90s? Your parents didn't really care. It was... epic.
11. They Let You Eat All Kinds Of Junk Food
The things I ate in the '90s that had absolutely zero nutritional value include: pretty much everything. Gushers, Lunchables, Dunkaroos, FunDip, Fruit By The Foot — just sugar and garbage, happily entering my body just about every chance it got.
12. They Let You Hit The Mall Alone
I know, the mall is a vaguely safe place to roam as a young adult, but still. Do you know how easy it is for kids to get into trouble at the mall unsupervised? I don't even think they let kids under 17 hang out near the fountain without a parent anymore. My oh my, how the world has changed.
13. They Let You Waste Your Allowance
Seriously. Even though I would've hated my parents briefly for not letting purchase yet another rollable body glitter from Claire's — at this point in my life, I'd really appreciate all the money I wasted on Tiger Beat magazines and butterfly clips back.