If you grew up in the 90s or 00s, you had it good. It was a simpler time when the concept of helicopter parenting made about as much sense as the jokes on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show (because, yeah, of course your parents let you stay up late to watch TV). Since we’re suckers for nostalgia, we asked our millennial staff members and social media followers about the things their boomer parents used to do that simply would not fly today. And honestly? It’s kind of incredible that we made it out alive. Read the list below and remember the good times.
1. Ride in the car without a car seat...or a seatbelt. Remember sitting in the ‘back back’ of the station wagon, facing backwards towards the car behind you at age 6? Fun…but also really dangerous.
2. Roam around the neighborhood all day long by ourselves. Hey, as long as we were home for dinner, our parents didn’t care what we were doing.
3. Leave us in the car to go into the grocery store. Pretty sure that would get you arrested now.
4. Use technology without any supervision. Chat roulette, anyone?
5. And use the AIM away message function to tell everyone exactly where we were. Looking for an unaccompanied minor? Find me at: (“~*~at AMC movies at the Tallahassee mall for Spider-Man~*~)
6. Watch true crime shows when our age was still in single digits. And let’s not forget about those late-night talk shows and R rated movies. (What do you mean, Pretty Woman isn’t a kids’ movie?)
7. Stay up as late as we wanted to every night. Bedtime? What bedtime?
8. Eat sugary cereal and drink soda every day. Ah, the good old days before we cared about things like GMOs and high fructose corn syrup. (And our teeth, apparently.)
9. Stay home alone for hours when we were 8 years old. There wasn’t even a way to reach our parents in case of an emergency.
10. Get pulled on a sled behind a car/lawnmower/other inappropriate vehicle. What a time to be alive!
11. Babysit a newborn when we were 10 years old. Parents now: “We’ll need to see a CPR certification, your driver’s license and at least two references.” Our parents: “Oh, you’re Nancy’s boy—come on in, the baby’s in the back!”
12. Play with seriously risky toys. Like Slip 'n Slides, slap bracelets and water rockets, just to name a few.
13. Walk to a friend’s house alone…at age 6. “Sure, you can take the bus by yourself to the mall. Just be home before dinner, OK?”
14. Eat unwrapped foods from just about anywhere and drink lemonade from the street corner. Whether it was your neighbor down the street handing out cookies, the free peanuts at the bank or the kids next door selling lemonade—it was all fair game to put into your mouth.