15 Things Boomers Were Allowed to Do As Kids That They Would Not Allow Their Kids to Do


As society changes and evolves, so do our attitudes towards parenting. What was once considered acceptable or even normal for children to do is often viewed with alarm or disbelief by today’s parents. From playing unsupervised outside for hours on end to riding in a car without a seatbelt, there are many things that people were allowed to do as kids that are now considered dangerous or irresponsible.

1. Minor Flying Solo

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“My parents put me on an airplane from Peru to USA to visit my grandmother whom I had never met for a month. I was 7 years old at the time and spoke very little English. Back then (1964) kids traveled alone without an airline stewardess to watch them or deliver them to their families.

It was a 12 hour flight on a propeller plane! When I got to Miami, I started crying because I was confused and an airline worker picked me up and sat me on the counter of the immigration officer to get my passport stamped. They located my grandmother and she gave me a hug so I went with her even though I had no idea if she was really my grandmother or not. When my kids were 7 years old, I kept thinking…how in the world did my mom think this was a good idea?” one person recalled.

2. Child Smoking

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“My parents bought me a pack of cigarettes every other day, when I was 13 (Am 26 now). They had to last 2 days, but I couldn’t smoke inside the house. My older brother got an ashtray in his room the same day he told them he smoked. He was 11. I thought it was so unfair, when I started myself.

When I have kids, I’ll never allow them to smoke. It’s a waste of money and good health,” one person swore.

3. Not Brushing Teeth

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“Not brush their teeth. My mom never taught me how when I was little. “Her baby teeth are just going to fall out anyway! I’ll teach her when she’s older!” Single mom with three jobs, five kids, blasting through abusive relationship to abusive relationship.. Yeah. She never got around to it,” one person shared.

4. Reckless Riding

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“When I was 14, I got a motocross bike for my birthday. I would ride it from our house in town, using alleys and trails where I could, out to my buddy’s house in the country where we would then ride wherever we liked, way too fast, with no helmet. Often these rides included carrying guns so we could shoot stuff.

Sorry, son. Those were the good old days,” one person shared.

5. Crossing Gate Felony

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“We’d hang out by the busiest railroad crossing in town and if you take a pair of jumper cables and connect the two rails together it activates the crossing gates (usually it’s the train’s wheels and axles that short it out). At rush hour, we had so much fun watching all that traffic grind to a stop while there was no train to be seen. Then release it and let the gates go up and as soon as one car makes it through, drop them down again.

I highly doubt my parents would have approved of that, but then again, we were 10-year-olds miles away from home and completely unsupervised, which today would be considered child neglect,” one guy reminisced.

6. Skipping Class (With Permission)

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“My parents let me skip as many classes as I wanted in high school. It was technically under the guise of only being allowed to do so if my grades were good, but they never exactly checked on it (they had a lot of trust/thought I was a genius).

It took me a long time to be able discipline myself into actually studying/going to to class. I fumbled through university as a result, having had no proper routines in place. I know it was ultimately up to me, but I didn’t have the foundation to be disciplined early on,” one person recalled.

7. Brewing Beer

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“Brew my own beer when I was 15. They were far too lax about letting me drink. My mother really wanted me to be popular and social. I’m 44 now and 2 years sober,” one guy proudly shared.

8. Not Celebrating Successes

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“Become comfortable with mediocrity. If I failed in school, I was punished. If I succeeded and did well, I was given the same response as if I just skated by. The best rewards come from internalized rewards, but I never learned that success should be rewarded, so I never developed the ability to recognize my own achievements,” one person shared.

9. Treating Children Unequally

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“My parents let my brother get away with so much that he just plays computer games all day screaming, drinks nothing but soda and has one fruit or vegetable on a good week. With me they could not care less about my education but I have to eat healthy and have to keep quiet.

My kids will be going outside and will be eating their greens (if they don’t like something there is always something else). I will also treat every child equally,” one woman shared.

10. Creating Incompetence

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“Honestly, my mom was way too lax on me. I never had any real chores or consequences if I didn’t do the few I had occasionally. I find self discipline very hard and I feel it would probably be easier if I’d had that. I’m obviously not going to give my possible future kids enough chores to drown in, but they’ll probably be expected to help with the dishes and with cooking sometimes, idk,” one woman recalled.

11. Riding in The Back of a Pickup Truck

ouple lying in the back of a trunk of a truck
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Boomers fondly remember the thrill of riding in the open bed of a pickup truck during their childhood. However, due to safety concerns and legal restrictions, boomer parents today would not allow their kids to engage in this risky activity.

12. Riding Bicycles without Helmets

scared parent mother child scooter, bike
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While cycling remains a classic part of childhood, baby boomers often pedaled without wearing helmets, unlike today’s safety-conscious approach. The shift in awareness has led to the encouragement of wearing helmets for bicycle rides. Many boomer parents today parents prioritize safety and insist on helmet use for their kids.

13. Handling Fireworks

boy holding a firework sparkler
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Boomers may have nostalgic memories of handling fireworks during celebrations, but stricter safety regulations now discourage children from engaging in such activities. Even without these laws, many boomer parents, armed with an understanding of the dangers, would not allow their kids to handle fireworks.

14. Hitchhiking

woman hitch hiking
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Hitchhiking was a common mode of transportation for the boomer generation, but today it is largely discouraged and illegal in many places due to safety concerns. Many boomer parents, aware of these risks, would not allow their kids to engage in hitchhiking.

15. Sunbathing Without Sunscreen

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Boomers often spent hours sunbathing without sunscreen, unaware of the risks of skin cancer. With current knowledge emphasizing sun protection, health professionals advise to always wear sunscreen during prolonged sun exposure. Armed with this awareness, many boomer parents today would not allow their kids to sunbathe without proper sun protection.

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