My friends and I have this fun game we like to play. It's called, "Let's sit around and reminisce about growing up in the '90s and how it's kind of amazing we're even still alive." It's super fun. Basically, it all centers around the things your parents let you do in the '90s that you still can't believe they were OK with. I mean, give it some thought: It's mind-boggling to consider how much we got away with back then that would never fly today.
As the parent of two young children, I often think about how different parenting must have been back in the '90s than it is now. There are some things that were totally standard when my mom was raising me that I can't actually imagine allowing my children to do. But hey, when in Rome, right? My mom was just going with the flow of the times; who can blame her? Besides, the fact that we were able to do some of the things we did back then (that in hindsight, we probably shouldn't have) made for one heck of a fun childhood.
So let's take a look back at some of the things many of us are still kind of amazed our parents let us do back in the '90s. We seem to have made it out OK on the other end, at least — right? ...Right?
1. Roam the Neighborhood Alone
Didn't your parents ever watch Unsolved Mysteries? Sheesh. Despite the potential for catastrophic disaster that somehow never transpired, it was admittedly pretty idyllic having free reign of the neighborhood.
2. Go Sans Seatbelt in the Car
My mom drove an old station wagon with fold out seats in the very back and nary a seatbelt in sight. Clearly, this was prior to the "click it or ticket" campaign.
3. Watch Late Night Shows
It was impossible not to feel special when your parents let you stay up late and watch Arsenio Hall or Jay Leno, but come to think of it, it was totally inappropriate.
4. Stay Home Alone
Not only did our parents leave us to our own devices for date nights in the '90s, but there was also essentially no way to reach them unless we called them at the restaurant.
5. Skip the Sunblock
I rarely remember wearing sunscreen as a child, but I do remember sunburns. Parents have come a long way since the days of just letting a kid loose to get baked by UV rays.
6. Play with Obviously Questionable Toys
Water rockets, spinners, those dolls that kept trying to eat everyone's fingers... so many of the toys we played with in the '90s were mildly dangerous at best.
7. Chill in the Car on Grocery Shopping Day
This is, like, illegal now, right?
8. Live Off of Fruit Snacks and Juice Boxe
In the days before high fructose corn syrup was the devil, our parents didn't hesitate to stock the pantry with snacks heavy on the ol' HFCS. And we were there for it, y'all.
9. Wear JNCOs
If you didn't go through a JNCOs phase in the '90s, well, you probably have far fewer embarrassing pics from the past than I do. Honestly, I'm still shocked I ever convinced my mom to buy these gargantuan jeans for me.
10. Watch Cartoons Like 'Ren & Stimpy'
If you go back and watch half the cartoons we lived for back in the day, you'll seriously wonder (a) what were your parents thinking and (b) who comes up with this stuff?!