Childhood was a horse of a different color in the '90s. If you ever have any doubts about that, just ask a kid of the '90s what life was like before the Internet arrived, and get ready for tales about being forced to stay outside until supper time, building forts in trees of questionable sturdiness, and the magic you could work with Gak. Parenting was more relaxed in the '90s, and yet there were ways your parents totally ruined your life in the '90s. Yes, parents of the '90s found ways to be way harsh on their kids. Like not forking over hundreds of dollars on tickets to see the Spice Girls, making everyone keep their beepers off the dinner table, and not letting you wear spaghetti strap tank tops in public without a cardigan.
As a child of the '90s, you had things pretty good. Even though your mom didn't appreciate the lyrical stylings of New Kids On The Block, she still loved you. And even though your dad wouldn't let you date until you were 16, you found ways around that, didn't you? Whether you experienced the entirety of the decade or just caught the tail end, you'll appreciate these very, very, '90s things your parents did that completely ruined your life.
1. They Made You Do Your Homework First
Every single day. If you didn't do your homework? You didn't watch TV. You also didn't get to play outside with your friends, talk on the phone, or read your latest issue of TigerBeat.
2. They Wouldn't Let You Have A Sleepover
The absolute worst thing your parents could do was say no to having a sleepover. And usually it was for no good reason. There was always a well crafted excuse, and you always tried to wrangle your way out of it. What if you missed something at the sleepover!? You couldn't miss it! Sleepovers were life in the '90s. All the best gossip and all the best bonding happened at these sacred gatherings.
3. They Wouldn't Let You Wear Spaghetti Straps
Spaghetti straps were so in during the '90s and, naturally, your mom and dad wouldn't have it. If you weren't wearing a cardigan over that tank top, you weren't leaving the house. You know what, why don't you put a cardigan over that tank top even while you're in the house. Just to be safe. Because spaghetti straps are a gateway trend. Even Sabrina had to wear something over hers.
4. They Wouldn't Let You Watch Saturday Morning Cartoons
Oh, you got up early to watch Saturday morning cartoons this weekend? That's nice, now go outside and play, because there's no way you're getting near the television this weekend. Brutal, mom. So, so, brutal.
5. They Didn't Send You To Summer Camp
Let me tell you, if there was anything better than summer camp? The '90s didn't know it. Complete with a hit television show on the Disney Channel, Bug Juice, summer camp was where the cool kids went to spend their summers. They had summer camp friends, and summer camp stories, and all you had was a summer baby sitting job and a trip to the beach that one time. Brutal.
6. They Refused To Buy You Beanie Babies As Soon As They Came Out
Somehow you just couldn't instill the urgency of needing that new special edition Beanie Baby to your parents. Little did they know that Princess Diana bear would've been an investment that could've sent you to college for four years. Joke's on you, Dad.
7. They Didn't Consider Cookie Crisp A Nutritious Breakfast
Nope, it was Cheerios or Raisin Bran for you. Or worse — oatmeal. Didn't your parents understand that sugar in the morning was the perfect way to prepare you for the rest of your day?
8. They Wouldn't Buy You Skechers
Parents just didn't understand why you needed light up sneakers that cost $100. Instead, you cut out the ads from magazines and plastered them all over your walls.
9. They Wouldn't Buy You Tommy Hilfiger Overalls
Tommy Hilfiger overalls were everything in the '90s. Because they weren't just overalls, no. They were a dark denim, branded with that beautiful Tommy logo, with elastic navy blue straps that read "Hilfiger" in red embroidery. Ugh. I wanted a pair so badly, but settled for my lowly Levi's version instead.
10. They Wouldn't Feed Your Tamagotchi For You
How am I supposed to keep my Tamagotchi alive if I'm not allowed to have it at school and you won't even feed it for me, mother. So many Tamagotchis died in vain for this very reason.
11. They Wouldn't Get You A Beeper (Or A Cell Phone)
When cell phones came on the market, it was a big deal. Before, all the cool kids had beepers. Now? They had flip-phones. Portable phones the size of a small animal that made them available at all times. Why did you need a cell phone? In case of emergency. And mostly to look cool.
12. They Read Your Diary
If you didn't have a diary with a lock, you were screwed. If you had a diary with a lock, chances are pretty good that your mom knew exactly where you hid the key and read it while you were at school anyway. So much for trust, mom and dad.
13. They Wouldn't Buy You The Good Snacks
Lunchables. Gushers. Fruit By The Foot. How about some baby carrots and a box of raisins? Well, now I'll be an outcast in the cafeteria, but yeah mom those sound delicious.
14. They Wouldn't Buy You Lunchables
If you had Lunchables at your lunch table, you were considered lucky. Don't ask me why, but apparently in the '90s, over-processed meats, cheeses, and cardboard-y mini pizzas were considered the king of the cafeteria. And your mom just couldn't get behind that. No Lunchables for you!
15. They Insisted On Chaperoning Your Boy-Girl Gathering
Because no child can be trusted around a member of the opposite sex, thereby ruining any chance you had to look cool, be cool, or play it cool.
16. They Threw Away Your Pogs
The entire collection you spent so long carefully crafting, in the garbage. Parents just don't understand.
17. They Made You Work For Your Allowance
I don't know what it was like at your house, but at my house? You didn't just get an allowance. You had to work for it. Yard work, chores, babysitting, you name it, you had to do it in order to get that weekly ka-ching in your pocket.
18. They Threw All Of Your Butterfly Clips Away After Stepping On One
Did they not understand how important it was to have the correct color ratio of butterfly clips for the dance on Saturday night? No, they didn't. So they threw them all away in a fit of rage usually reserved for your little brother's Legos. How rude!
19. They Refused To Let You Listen To New Kids On The Block In The Car
You had a crisp cassette tape that you couldn't wait to blast in your mom's Ford Taurus on the way to school, but she wasn't interested in listening to Jordan and Joey croon. She didn't think they had "The Right Stuff," even though you knew they did.