Childhood and Parenthood Realities That Used to be Socially Acceptable

As time goes on, the social norms shift and mutate to best fit the opinions of the era. Everyone has stories, either their own or their parents, of some fantastical event from their childhood which today would be followed closely by an inspection by child services. Just how crazy did it use to be? We’ve got a few examples of jaw dropping instances… and some of these are only from a generation ago!


  1. Apartment Cribs. We’re going to start off with the most appalling one. Check out these contraptions shown below. The idea was that if you lived in an apartment, your kid could still get some fresh air. The only negative possible outcome would be it breaking. We don’t even want to think about that. But seriously, how was this ever allowed to be sold?

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  1. Relaxed views on cigarettes: My own grandfather mentions all the time how he was smoking at 4 and drinking at 7. He is well-known to stretch the truth by a lot, and to see what he can get over our heads, but in this case it was not unusual! Kids would often be sent into corner stores with some change to pick up a pack of cigarettes for their parents. A cursory wave of the parent to the cashier from the idling car was more than enough in way of consent. Going back even further, the smoking being done by the child was found fairly often in certain areas of towns.

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  1. Prank calling people’s houses as a staple after-school activity. Impossible ever since caller ID became a thing, but nothing beat the rush of dialing a number, pulling a classic like “Is your refrigerator running?”, delivering that perfect punchline, slamming down the phone on the receiver (yes young ones, it didn’t use to be a button!) and bursting into hysterics with your best friends. Nowadays you would receive a prompt return call and likely a reprimanding from the chump on the other end… the only question you can ask is; did they catch it?

phone call rotary phone organic baby clothes

  1. Ride in the back of a station wagon backward with no seatbelt. Were there even car seats back then?  We’re getting well down the list now, some of the younger parents must be wondering if there were even laws back then. There were! Just not the strict ones you know now, they were eventually developed in the interest of safety… weird. It’s true! Letting your kids play in the back seat of the station wagon on long road trips was so common it wasn’t even questioned.

station wagon organic baby clothes

  1. Washing your kid’s mouth out with soap after cursing. Any fans of A Christmas Story know this one all too well! Even as a millenial, I will admit I’ve suffered this fate before. Though maybe now it will make a comeback since so many soaps are organic? That’s to the discretion of a parent though. At least it’s not as daunting as the unnaturally red bar of soap poor Ralphie had to endure!

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  1. Having too much energy on the way home from school and getting kicked out of the car a couple of blocks away to burn some energy. This is one of the more recent ones as well, and to specify; more often than not, the parent would drive alongside the kid. Sometimes a little jog is the perfect medicine for a hyperactive kid, might as well head for the same destination! 

walking home from school organic baby clothes

  1. Force kids to do chores on the farm before breakfast… or sunlight. This is a little bit more specific to rural families, but any of them reading this know it all too well! I can remember being stubborn to do my super easy chores midday, let alone 4 am? Collecting eggs and milking cows? The absolute iron will of those children is astounding. To be quite honest, this probably still happens, and good on those kids!

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  1. Letting your kids play red rover. Ahh red rover… the barbaric playground gauntlet of arms and jeers. For the younger crowd who didn’t get to experience this because it was deemed “unsafe” and “an unnecessary game” (yes those are sarcastic air quotes); red rover is when you arrange your friends in two lines, interlocking arms, then beckoning an opposing player to your side by shouting “red rover, red rover, we call (insert victim name here) over!”. The chosen player would then have to run full speed at the other line and try to break a linkage of arms. If they succeeded, they returned to their original side with a bonus person. If they didn’t they had to join that side. The game ended when one side had no more people… or someone got hurt. Ah the 90’s, am I right?

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Are there any more examples that you experienced during your childhood? We’d love to hear some stories! Send us a message on Facebook!


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