15 Jaw-Dropping Parenting Fails Of The Seventies

Every decade has its highs and lows, and the 1970's is no exception. In those ten years, we had the first cell phones, the first video games and the first Star Wars movie (or the fourth depending on how you want to look at it).

On the flip side, the 1970's also brought us flares, orange and brown floral interior decoration and some highly questionable parent practices that probably seemed like a good idea at the time. However, hindsight is a beautiful thing.

Just as our children will grow to adulthood, have their own kids and look back on how they were raised and say WTF? Here we are going to look back at some of the photographic evidence from the 1970's and wonder aloud how anyone actually survived into adulthood.

So sit back, relax and enjoy parenting from the seventies, but don't be judgemental, your kids and grandkids will be looking back at you in forty years too.


15 Safety First

You have to at least give this guy credit for thinking of his child's safety. Having said that, maybe it was the fact that this baby was too young even to sit up unaided that led to the McGyvered seat on the back of his bike. He doesn't even to have a helmet for his own safety. You might be inclined to say "But the helmet laws were a bit laxer then" but, in fact, because of a government program tying infrastructure funding to helmet laws, many states had stricter helmet legislation in the 1970's than they do today.

Anyway, helmet laws aside, there are no circumstances where this might be construed as a good idea, and I suspect, even in the 1970's this might have raised a few eyebrows.

14 It's Not What You Think


This image did not make the list because there is a naked child in it. If you and your little one are comfortable with nakedness in your own home and garden, then that is your business and nobody else's. It didn't even make the list because of the dads' very specific kind of mustache that you would only find in a very specific kind of industry, or his giant pimp glasses.

Nope, this little gem made the list because dad is so focussed on the little blonde kiddo in front of him he appears to have not noticed the second child dangling from the second floor of their house.

Either that or in the true tradition of 1970's parenting he is acutely aware of his Spiderman-like child and is just letting them get on with it because "If they hurt themselves they won't do it again."

13 Inhale Like This

I believe the phrase is "The family that plays together, stays together" and not "The family that inhales together ends up with dry wrinkly skin and yellow teeth at best and at worst dies a long, painful, preventable death due to lung cancer together."

To be fair, during the 1970's the tobacco industry was pouring multiple millions of dollars into denying the link between smoking and lung cancer. In 1973, for example, the Tobacco Institute measured the impact of its 1972 propaganda film, ‘Smoking and Health: The Need to Know.' This movie was shown across the United States to hundreds of thousands of people and was even played in high schools. The industry found that the film had reduced by 17.8% the number of people agreeing that ‘Cigarette smoking causes lung cancer’ (from 74.9% to 57.1%).

12 We Made Our Own Fun


How many times have you heard older people go on about how they made their own fun? "We didn't have all of these electronics to keep us occupied. We went outside to play, and when we couldn't go outside, we found things to play with around the house and used our imagination."

Well here is an excellent example of what you could have amused yourself with if you had been around in the 1970's. Not only do you get the chance to play "cops and robbers," "army," or "war" (as long as you were a boy of course) but you get to play it with real guns - awesome! Games take on a much greater thrill when you may genuinely get your head blown off or at the very least have the opportunity to suffer a life changing gunshot wound.

11 They Knew How To Party

What a cute little combination. The tiny yellow denim jacket with Mickey Mouse and Daisy Duck(?) over a cookie monster tee-shirt. Apart from the dodgy color combinations, you might see these clothes on a child you know today.

Fortunately, you are less likely to see the said child walking up to the beer keg and being poured a good frothy cup of the liquid nectar by an obliging adult.

Don't get me wrong; I do believe it is important to teach your child about alcohol and its effects on the mind, the body, and on decision making. I even find it acceptable to allow your child a sip of alcohol, so it is not some exciting secret thing that they feel obliged to pursue. It is just that I think their age should at least be in double digits before you start allowing them with booze.

10 But Darrrrling


We have already touched on the fact that many people were still on the fence over whether or not smoking was healthy or harmful. There were, of course, plenty of individuals who smoked and chose not to think of the consequences and many others who just didn't care.

Even if you were aware of the dangers and decided to smoke yourself, it 's hard to understand how you could sit your child on your lap and encourage them to "smoke" and model your behaviors. Talk about glamorizing smoking! This little one probably had their own supply of candy cigarettes with which to pose adorably.

We won't even go into the dangers of passive smoking or the difficulty many people have when trying to give up smoking. By starting 'em young, these parents probably managed to pack in maximum health problems in a minimum time frame for their child if their little one took up smoking like mom.

9 The King For My Prince

Letting your little one drink some beer from a keg at a party is one level of irresponsible, but if you are not content with teaching your child that social binge drinking might be OK, then you can move up to teaching them to drink alone at home.

Don't get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with having a few drinks. However, there is nothing wrong with MMA fighting, but I wouldn't want my toddler to be trying that just yet either. Some of the parents of the 1970's seemed to have lost sight of the fact there is a line between childhood and adulthood. Admittedly this line is pretty blurry and elastic in the middle ground, but I think we can all agree that beer = adult and not beer = child.

I might also have included this photo just because of the psychological trauma the child may have suffered from the excessive amount of mullet in this image.


8 Just Going Out For A Quick Spin


By the time this photograph was taken the swinging sixties were a distant memory in the rearview mirror, but that didn't stop the home amusement park enthusiast from swinging in the back yard.

OK, so maybe it was an entirely different form of swinging, but still, you have to hand it to him, this is certainly creative. Way before baby swings were considered an almost essential item for new parents this forward thinking fella created his own way to mimic the movements felt inside the womb. If the womb in question happened to belong to a pregnant woman trapped on a roundabout for nine months that is.

We should also probably assume that this particular back yard adventure was perfectly OK with the person taking the photo. At least today you would hope they'd drop the camera and rescue the child. Although, having said that, a few moments on the internet would destroy that theory.

7 Bong, Bong, Bong, Booooong

No matter what your stance on the recreational use of certain pharmaceuticals it is hard to imagine any parent thinking that this was an OK thing to do. I know, it could "just" be a tobacco, flavored or otherwise, but honestly, that is unlikely.

The likelihood is that this tween is having her first (hopefully!?) drug use experience in the arms of her loving family. But wait, I hear you say, isn't it better that this happens at home, where she is safe, and people are around if there are any ill effects?

That argument is like saying "It's ok if I let my little one go swimming with sharks as long as I am with them and a medic is on hand to deal with any lost limbs or fatal puncture wounds."

6 Merry Christmas And A Crappy New Year


One of things you learn when you are taking a firearms safety class is "NEVER point any firearm at anyone under any circumstance, even if you believe it to be unloaded." The logic of this is that sometimes there could be one in the chamber, somebody could have handed you a firearm that they think is discharged but is not or any one of a number of other reasons could mean you are unaware that the gun is loaded.

By pointing a firearm at someone you run the risk of the gun going off and that person ending up wounded, or even worse, dead.

Apart from this fundamental piece of gun safety being ignored this parent appears to be sending the message "it's ok to play with guns."

5 Interesting Choice In Decor

Following on from the previous photo, should we assume that perhaps this might not be the most appropriate choice or nursery decor? And we're not talking cot bumpers here.

I'm not saying you shouldn't have firearms and I am not saying that kids should not be exposed to them. If you have a firearm in your home, it is imperative to ensure your children know the correct way to handle a firearm and, paradoxically, never to touch a gun without express permission.

I just think that if you are a firearms enthusiast or a hunter who wants to share your passion with your child perhaps you could buy some wallpaper or paint a mural that reflects what's important to you and take the rifles off the wall above your baby's crib. You know, just sayin'

4 Taking In The Air


Oh, the joys of summer. Throwing the kids and some snacks into the car, taking a ride out to a beautiful spot and enjoying some time in the great outdoors. Alternatively, you could chuck the little ones in the car and drive around the city while you stand on the backseat, your top half through the sunroof and your child safely nestled in the crook of your arm, their bum resting on the car roof.

No more "Are we there yet?" No more fights over who gets to ride shotgun. I wonder if there is a name for this seating position, "Tank Commander" perhaps?

Of course, if you did this today you would also be holding a selfie stick so you could share the fun on all of your social media accounts, so they didn't have it completely nailed back then after all.

3 The MiniVan 1970's Style

Sometimes, so we are told, us parents today don't know how good we've got it. Fancy mini vans with DVD players for each child. Folding seats and storage space for all our fancy strollers, sports equipment, and food shopping. Reversing cameras, GPS, heated seats, not like the old days.

In the 1970's, if it was your turn to take a group of kids to soccer practice you had to strap the"car sofa" on the roof and have them sit up there. None of this molly coddling seat belt or safety seat garbage either. The kids sat up there, and if they didn't learn to hang on then, they were left behind. It made them much more resilient than these namby pamby kids of today. Let them bounce about on the tarmac a bit; it'll do them good.

2 I'm On TV


Another trend I noticed when researching photographs of the 1970's was the odd way in which many people seemed to want to balance their delicate little bundles of joy in precarious places.

This picture is a case in point. There is no sign of a cunningly positioned adult lurking in the background, holding the child in such a way so that you cannot see their hands. There is no hovering person close enough to spring into action at the first sign of the baby on the TV toppling over. There isn't even anyone to help when the baby falls from her perch, taking the vase o flowers with her and simultaneously breaks bones in the fall, cuts herself on the broken vase and electrocutes herself with the water/tv combo.

1 Beer Baby

I'm not entirely sure if this was a photo taken at home, posed for at a studio, or is an official Rolling Rock Beer advert. Extensive internet research turned up precisely nada reliable information on that one.

Knowing how many things were advertised in the 1970's it would not surprise me one little bit to find out that this was an actual advert, although I am having trouble thinking up an appropriate tag line.

Excellent marketing strategy though. It is a well-known fact that consumers have a tendency to stick with brands once they have established a positive relationship with them. If you want beer drinkers who are loyal to your brand you have to get to them before they start drinking someone else's beer. Apparently, this is hooking up with the target market before they have a chance to discover solid food, let alone other beers.


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