16 Things You Got Grounded For In The '90s

Some things about growing up are timeless: Make believe, sibling rivalry, Lincoln Logs, a weird fondness for gooey things, adolescent angst, and getting grounded by your parents, for a start. But there were certain things you got grounded for in the ‘90s that would make no sense to kids today. Like that time you pulled out all of the tape from your big sister’s C+C Music Factory cassette, just to see what would happen. (Predictably, “what would happen” turned out to be a giant mess, plus no more “Everybody Dance Now.” It was horrible.) To be fair, there are all sorts of things that the young’uns can get into trouble for these days that would have blown my mind in 1995, like sending inappropriate messages via Snapchat or sneaking out to play “Pokemon Go.” And I’m sure in the future, kids will get in trouble for even more far-fetched things, like going joyriding in the family’s flying car. (I’m hoping.)

Read on for 16 ways you got your butt grounded when you were a kid in the ‘90s. (You’ll note that many of these grounding-worthy infractions have to do with sisters. I have two, and therefore 90 percent of everything I ever got in trouble for had to do with either fighting with them or conspiring with them to break the rules. It was glorious.)

1. Hogging the phone all night long because you MUST talk to your friends.

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Sharing a single phone line among a whole family in the ‘90s was a constant battle between you and your siblings, who had absolutely essential information to impart to your school friends — and no, Dad, it cannot wait until tomorrow — and your parents, who actually might have needed to field calls for work.

2. Hogging the phone line because you’re busy surfing the information superhighway.

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The addition of the Internet to our lives in the mid-90s only made familial battles over the phone even more intense. On some nights, you’re parents would suddenly notice around 9 o’clock that the phone had been weirdly silent all evening, only to realize that you’d been on the Internet reading Star Wars fanfiction for hours, blocking anyone who may have tried to call. They were… not pleased.

3. Sneaking into R-rated movies.

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You just really, really wanted to see Blade. Who said that blood pouring from the sprinkler system during a vampire rave isn’t appropriate for kids under 17? (Oh, right. The MPAA.)

4. “Borrowing” your sister’s Doc Marten’s.

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And by “borrow,” of course I mean “lovingly steal.” Your parents usually tried to stay out of sibling squabbles, but those things were expensive, and so they had to intervene.

5. Singing along loudly to some of the more… explicit lyrics from Jagged Little Pill.

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For a whole generation of adolescents (including yours truly), Alanis Morissette’s 1995 masterpiece was the first CD they bought with a “Parental Advisory” warning. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who got in trouble for belting out the racier lyrics at the top of my lungs.

5. Blowing your “healthy” snack money on Surge and Giant Pixy Sticks.

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It wasn’t the hazard to your health that your parents minded, so much as the fact that all that sugar made you treat their house like a bouncy castle.

6. Calling your sister "a virgin who can’t drive."

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I mean, that is way harsh, Tai.

7. Covering your little sister with zit stickers.

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Zit stickers, of course, came from Girl Talk, a truth-or-dare board game that punished players who didn’t “dare” by forcing them to where stick-on acne. (Yeah, that was a great message for adolescent girls). If you were a girl with siblings, that obviously meant that you would be sticking them on each other. All. The. Time.

8. Doing your own impression of “Sinead O’Rebellion.”

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OK, so maybe you didn’t shave your head à la Robin Tunney (or maybe you did! Go you!), but you did purge your teen angst with minor, often ill-advised, acts of rebellion. Oh well, the grounding was probably good for you — it gave you yet another thing to be angsty about.

9. Doing anything remotely similar to what Kevin McCallister did in Home Alone.

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I know we ‘90s kids all loved that movie when it came out, but I realize when I caught it on TV this past Christmas that it is super violent. If you tried any of Kevin’s tricks IRL, you no doubt got grounded immediately.

10. Refusing to wear your knee and elbow pads while rollerblading. 

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My father was extremely insistent that I wear my giant hot-pink knee and elbow pads when cruising the neighborhood on my rollerblades. I hated them SO MUCH. Who cares about busted, bloody knees and elbows when it comes at the cost of looking completely uncool? Oh, angst.

11. Attempting to follow the teeny-tiny-minidress-with-stockings trend

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The super-short dresses that were popular back in the day did not follow the school dress code.

12. Getting Gak embedded in the carpet.

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That stuff did not come out.

13. Prank calling.

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Is prank calling even still a thing? Unless you have a blocked number, I don’t see how that would work. In the glory days of the '90s, you’d call up a random stranger, ask if his refrigerator is running, hang up giggling. Now, you would promptly receive a call back. Will kids these days ever know the joys of being super annoying on the phone?

14. Hiding Creepy Crawlers in places where your parents would find them and shriek like little children.

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Creepy Crawlers were squishy bugs that you would make using a mold and what was essentially an Easy Bake oven. It was very cool, and you could drive people crazy by hiding your bugs all over the house.

15. Losing a video from the rental store.

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Losing a video from a rental store was a BIG "no" because it meant that somebody had to pay to replace it. 

16. Cashing a blank check for $1 million.

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Or maybe that was something that only happened in the movies. Either way, it’s probably worth a grounding. (Although, to be fair, it’s generally a bad idea to give blank checks to random strangers. The villain of that movie was supposed to be some sort of master criminal, but his decision to give a blank check to a child says otherwise.) 

Images: 20th Century Fox; Giphy (15)

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