While it’s true there were a lot of things that scared us as kids, there were also a lot of things we did in the ‘90s that terrified our parents, too. Sometimes they were relatively innocuous (and often involving a mess they just didn’t want to have to clean up); sometimes, though, they were totally legit. Either way, one thing’s for sure: Our own pants weren’t the only ones routinely getting scared off in the ‘90s.
Here’s the thing with being a kid: If you scare your parents, your parents go and scare you right back. Not on purpose, necessarily (although I’m sure they did that sometimes, too) — it’s just that, the immediate reaction to your child doing something that could literally get them killed puts a parent into panic mode like pretty much nothing else. Accordingly, the urgency of their reaction to the situation sometimes comes across as absolutely terrifying to a tiny human being who seriously didn’t know they were doing anything dangerous.
But I mean, hey, at least it taught us a lesson: Don’t do that thing you were just doing or Mom will get REALLY, REALLY MAD AT YOU. Later on, we were able to figure out exactly why we shouldn’t, y’know, cross the street without looking first — but that first lesson always stuck with us like nothing else. Parental ire is one of the freakiest things out there.
Raise your hand if you definitely got in trouble for doing all these things when you were a kid:
1. Using Your Sky Dancer In The House
Not only were we in danger of breaking every tchotchke on every shelf, but moreover, we were also in danger of breaking ourselves by accidentally firing it off into our own faces.
2. Trying To Set Up The Slip ’N Slide Alone
It was never going to end well. Never.
3. Eating Gobstoppers
4. Putting An Unknown Object In Your Mouth In Order To Figure Out What It Was
To be fair, this one probably isn’t limited to the ‘90s; I’m willing to bet that kids, especially small ones, still shove literally everything in their mouths all the time, whether or not it should actually be there. And parents probably still have heart attacks every time it happens: “YOU COULD BE EATING DEADLY GERMS! YOU COULD ACCIDENTALLY SWALLOW AND CHOKE ON IT! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!”
5. Dropping Your Gak On The Couch And Leaving It There
I mean, Gak didn't really stain, but they didn't know that — and the last thing your parents wanted was blue Gak permanently plastered to their lovely Ethan Allen sofa. Especially the one in the living room. You know — that room no one was ever allowed to go in, because it was strictly “for when we have company.”
6. Trying To Parachute Off The Roof Of The Car With An Umbrella
Or was that just me? Anyone else? No? OK, then.
7. Inline Skating
No matter how many pads we wore while doing it, and no matter how sturdy our helmets were, you can be sure that our parental units sat there quietly with their hearts in their mouths every time we strapped those suckers on.
8. Going Sledding In The Backyard
Ditto. Especially if it was with a snow tube. Just think how easily those things toppled.
9. Sitting Quietly In Your Car Seat When The Driver Was Forced To Make A Sudden Stop
Back in the ‘90s, it hadn’t yet been determined that putting the car seat up front was a Really, Really Bad Idea. As such, most of our parents developed this habit of reaching out in front of their front seat-loaded children with their right arms whenever something compelled them to slam on the breaks. Ostensibly this action was likely meant to shield us from impact, although whether or not it would actually have performed that function remains to be seen.
Now that car seats are universally understood to belong in the back seat, I wonder if there’s a modern equivalent?
10. Starting To Cross The Street Before Looking Both Ways
Mom was right about that one. Definitely not something we should have been doing.
Stranger danger. So. Much. Stranger danger.
12. Strapping On Your Moon Shoes
Our poor little weak ankles. And our poor parents’ stress over worrying about our poor little weak ankles.
13. Anything Involving Slap Bracelets
Actually legit: If the strip of metal inside a slap bracelet broke through the vinyl shell… well, let’s just say that wasn’t something you wanted coming in contact with your bare flesh.
14. Checking Out All The Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark Books From The Library
Because your folks thought those illustrations were just as creepy as you did. And also because they knew you’d probably coming running into their room in the middle of the night as a result of a Scary Stories- induced nightmare.
15. Diving Head First Off The Tallest Tower In The Tot Lot
This one scared everyone, from the people watching it to the kids experiencing it. Usually because it happened by accident, and nothing is scarier than being perfectly OK one minute, then finding the heavily-graveled ground rushing up at you inexplicably the next.
Images: Walt Disney; Giphy (13)