The '80s was a time filled with neon leg warmers, asymmetrical ponytails, and wild makeup. It was also a time that many people look back on and think, "wow, can't believe people survived all of that!" What does that mean? Well, as far as parenting is concerned, the '80s was a completely different time period.
Parents let their children have unbridled freedom to do what they wanted (within reason), kids grew up at a faster clip because they were responsible for themselves, and there were no major concerns when it came to what a child was eating for dinner or doing until dark. Kids would go out with their friends on weekends or spend hours playing video games on Sega as a kid and as a teen. They'd hit the mall or hang out with that one older friend who had a license. It wasn't unusual for both of parents to have jobs, meaning the kids were left home to fend for themselves - usually, this included mac 'n' cheese and whatever sugary drink was readily available. Times were different, that's for sure.
In 2018, everything is different, and whether it's for better or for worse is a personal preference. What can be said is that parenting is not what it used to be and now, rules and restrictions apply where there once were none. Understandably, the world is a different place now and there's much more care taken when raising a child... But why can't parents still learn from the decade of big hair? Here are 20 things that might still have a place in this world, if only for the sake of giving millennial kiddos a taste of what life was like for '80s kids.
20 Being A Bit More Relaxed Isn't A Bad Thing
We're not saying that you should let your child board a bus and go to the mall as soon as they're old enough to hold onto their own bus pass. What we are saying, is that it's okay sometimes to allow your child freedom to decide what they want to do with their free time. Going to a friend's house, heading to a birthday party, going to see a movie with their classmates -- these are all things that kids should have the opportunity to do.
If they want to play a sport after school or join a club, it's okay to let them do so and give them the freedom to take the bus home. If your child has interests and you know they'll be safe at school, a friend's house, or with a family member while doing them, then they should be granted that chance.
19 Fashion Is Subject To Personal Opinion, Let Kids Be Kids
This is something that many parents either struggle with or completely embrace. Kids will go through a phase of self-discovery and part of that is learning about their own personal style. While pyjama day is something we all looked forward to in grade school, your child might decide that plaid pyjama pants pair perfectly with a denim jacket and a green polo. It's okay to let them be kids! That doesn't mean you need to let them go to school dressed that way, but if it's the weekend or a day off, why not let them have a bit of creativity and fun? We're so suppressed by society's rules nowadays that we sometimes forget what it was like to feel a little bit independent, regardless of others' opinions.
18 Music Over Television Can Be A Big Hit Or A One-Hit-Wonder
Satellite television, DVDs, high-quality video games -- They're all inventions from a world post-80s. This technology threw kids into a disadvantage of sorts because all of a sudden, it was more important to sit in front of the TV rather than explore the world around them. In moderation, these innovative ways of passing time can be fun and even educational. Sometimes, though, we forget that back in the day we had a blast with our music players and MTV music videos. Music has a way of bringing people together, making you feel things, and encouraging you to get up and dance. So have a dance party! Learn about your child's music interests or share yours with them.
17 Playing Outside (Safely) Year-Round Is Healthy
We added "safely" to this point because there's a difference between letting your child run around the backyard and letting them take their bikes down to the park alone, three blocks away. While this is totally something we would do back in the day, it's sadly just not that safe to do anymore. However, this doesn't mean that your child needs to be deprived of the Great Outdoors. Playing in the backyard or taking them to the park on weekends is something that can greatly improve their mood and it's completely healthy for them. Even during winter, taking them outside can provide a source of vitamin D that they wouldn't get from staying indoors binge-watching Netflix.
16 Board Game Night Can Be Revived
Some families still firmly believe in a game night while others haven't really given it any thought. Board games were once a staple in the 80s and while we have seen the revival of some for adults, we've forgotten how much fun they can be for kids. This can easily be brought back by choosing a weeknight -- perhaps one that your child gets to stay up a bit later -- and breaking out some classics like Clue or Uno. It doesn't need to be anything fancy but it should be fun. This is a great opportunity to celebrate holidays such as ringing in the new year or doing during your Christmas downtime. It'll give you a chance to bond, have fun, and make some memories.
15 A Little Bit Of Independence Is Okay
If your preteen child gets asked to go to the mall with someone who could potentially be a best friend in the making, it's okay to let them have some independence. If you're concerned, go with them! There's no saying you need to be by their side the entire time, but at least if you or another parent is there with them, you know they'll be close by. The same thing goes for things such as school events or grabbing a bite to eat -- If they never learn to, or become comfortable with, being independent, they'll have a tougher time later on. This is a great chance to teach them how to be safe, be aware, and always go with their gut if they feel that something is wrong.
14 Parenting Didn't Include Weird Food Obsessions
Nowadays, you can't walk into a restaurant without finding something on the menu that's "paleo" or "keto" or "gluten-free". There is nothing wrong with these whatsoever, but that doesn't mean you can't allow your child to have a little freedom when they want to indulge themselves. The reasoning behind why we were so gluttonous in the 80s and got away with it was probably because we were always running around outside. That doesn't mean that your child can't occasionally have popcorn before bed with a movie or splurge and have a Chef Boyardee for lunch, though! All things in moderation, even pop tarts -- You know you're not really supposed to eat both, right?
13 Clubs And Sports Were Totally Optional
Your child doesn't need to be interested in sports to survive middle and high school. It's perfectly okay, and common, for kids to have no interest in them whatsoever. In the 80s, sports teams and clubs were pushed on kids and it was seen as proper social etiquette to be part of something. If your child has other interests such as reading, drawing, or another solo activity, that's okay! What's important is that they're encouraged, supported, and have the opportunity to meet people who might be interested in the same things. Sports and clubs aren't always the answer to everything and shouldn't be pushed on kids who don't want them.
12 A Little White Lie Never Hurt Anyone, Right?
Admit it -- When you were younger, your parents probably told you that the stove was hot 24/7. Maybe they told you that there was a monster living in the basement in order to keep you from venturing down there. When I was a kid, I was such a picky eater that my mom fed me portabello parmesan under the pretense that it was eggplant parm, and my uncle gave me fried calamari and told me it was an onion ring. Regardless of what your parents told you, it worked for the most part, right? Chances are, they did it for your sake to either keep you safe or get you to branch out of your comfort zone. There's no reason this method won't work today, especially for younger kids -- they'll understand when they're older.
11 Grounding Kids Was Legitimate And It Worked
Discipline is a slippery slope nowadays. With all the crazy technology kids have access to and the ways they find around being grounded, the process of "grounding" is somewhat of a lost art. Kudos to the parents who still do it and are successful, but sometimes you just need to put your head down and go all-out. If that means taking away cell phones, computers, video games, tablets, etc., it must be done. After all, we completed school projects and reports with only the use of encyclopedias and books, and we turned out perfectly fine, right?
10 More Independence, Bigger Responsibility
The reason kids grew up so quickly in the 80s was because we did have the independence to figure things out on our own. Our friends were out biggest confidants and we learned how to live life through, well, living it. Of course, things are quite different nowadays, but that doesn't mean your child can't make mistakes. This is how they'll learn and it'll also teach them a sense of responsibility. We're all so quick to shelter kids but much of the time, we're not even sure what we're sheltering them from.
9 Kids Will Be Kids And Yes, They'll Also Probably Get Hurt
This speaks back to the point of allowing your kids to have free range of the outdoors. In typical kid fashion, kids will get hurt. They'll scrape their knees or get a bruise, but the important thing? They'll keep going! When we were younger, if we got hurt, most of the time our parents would ask if we were okay, give us a band-aid and some antiseptic, and send us back out. That's if we even went ahead and told them -- most of the time, they'd see we banged up our knee, ask about it, and we'd say, "oh yeah, that happened with Timmy about two weeks ago. I'm going to play some ball, bye mom!"
8 You Don't Have To Get Your Child A Perm, But Bond With Them
Let's talk about fashion and hair choices. In today's world, it's not unusual to find kids dressing up a little and wearing makeup early on. What we forget is that in the 80s, we were the innovators of youthful makeup looks. For some reason, hot pink lipstick was the perfect accompaniment to bright blue eyeshadow, and we rocked it. From the age of 13 on, we considered ourselves to be runway models whenever we hit the halls at school. If anything, makeup is much tamer now and much more natural. The same goes for hair; what's the harm if your child wants highlights or an undercut? Hair grows back and this is an awesome way to bond and experience something new with them.
7 Discipline Is Important, Even With The Small Things
We're not talking full-out grounding, but we are talking about keeping up with the minor bad behavior every kid will inevitably commit to. Back in the 80s, most of our parents had no patience for any type of smack talk or attitude. We were sent to our rooms or given chores over the weekend. Occasionally, we'd even have our allowance stripped for the week ahead. This type of deprivation as a result of bad behavior isn't something we find too often nowadays, but it really was effective in motivating us to be better people.
6 Show Them A Cassette Tape - They'll Appreciate Modern Technology
I was lucky enough to still be using cassette tapes as a child and it's something that I wish would come back. Cassette tapes were awesome and horrible at the same time because they required a bit of maintenance. You actually needed to work to hear your music, but they were so compact and easy to fit nearly anywhere. There was nothing like reading the liner notes on the tiny brochure that came with most tapes and the feel of one in your pocket was almost comforting. Kids nowadays don't realize how easy they have it, and it's a cool thing to be able to show them something from a different time.
5 Raise Them On Vinyl And Old-School Movies
Even better, show your kids some vinyl. Thankfully, albums are coming back with a vengeance and I'm loving every moment of it. My mom raised me on vinyl and I grew up learning how to (correctly) place a needle rather than how to rip songs to a CD. It gave me an appreciation for music from a different time and helped me to understand how much work goes into creating it. Trust me, throw on an album for your child and watch their eyes widen when they start to appreciate that comforting, scratchy sound.
4 Sleepovers Aren't A Bad Thing - Loosen The Reigns
Many parents surprisingly say "no" to sleepovers because it's much easier to keep an eye on your child when they're nearby. This doesn't mean you need to constantly be the "yes" parent, but allowing your child the luxury of spending a night in someone else's home is a great experience for them. They'll learn manners and how to be kind, and they'll also build lasting friendships and have a solid respect for you. Sleepovers are a great way to break up a weekend or even provide them with a change of pace on a weekday.
3 Simple Can Be Much Better
Overthinking is the enemy of parenting... It's the enemy of everything, really. It's okay to talk to your kids, to make mistakes, and to be unsure. It's also okay to go with your gut and make decisions based on your intuition. three decades ago, parenting wasn't something that was fraught over and thought of with tedious anxiety. It wasn't easy, but it certainly wasn't as complicated as we often force it to be today. New parents would turn to their parents, parenting books, or other moms for support and advice, and that's a great thing to keep in mind.
2 Less Censorship Promoted Honest Talks
Censorship is a sensitive and finicky subject. Many parents support it and many don't but when it comes down to it, it seems to cause more problems than not. This goes all the way back to sheltering kids and putting them into a protective box. You can't protect them from everything this world throws at them and sometimes you'll be faced with uncomfortable talks.
Kids are naturally curious and inquisitive, therefore, the worst thing you can do is avoid their questions and keep them from the truth of things. There's a fine line between censorship and depriving your child of being exposed to reality -- Open communication will help them learn right from wrong and build the trust that you both share. Remember, they look up to you.
1 Get Your Kid A Bike... And Let Them Use It!
What happened to the days when kids went bike riding in droves? It's a lost art nowadays and rather than being viewed as "fun", it's simply just viewed as "exercise". It's time to let your guard down, take a trip to Target, and get your child those wheels they've been eyeing. And while you're at it, make sure you get a bike for yourself, too! Biking is a great way to see your town, allow your child to hang out with their friends down the street, and, yes, get more exercise into your schedule. It's also an awesome way to bond and can really be a blast on a warm spring day... Bring your camera, snacks, and make some memories!