23 Shocking Things That Were Totally Normal When Our Parents Were Kids

Somet things may never change, but some have become truly shocking or taboo in the space of a generation or two. The older generations of Reddit have compiled a thorough list of the things which shock us now, but which were more than acceptable when they were growing up.

1. captshady

When I was a kid, it was common for friends at 6 years old, walk to the store to buy cigarettes for their parents. When I was in High School, a few teachers (mostly coaches) banged students, we had a smoking area for students, and we had “Slave Day” where students would put themselves up for auction to be a slave for a day to another student or faculty member. One black student was bought by a teacher, and had to put her clothes on backwards, and wear a sign that read, “I love my master!”

2. chatgarou

Riding in the back of a pickup, staying by myself when I was about 8, getting my first pocket knife at 5, spending all day running around in the woods by myself.

3. tick_tock_clock

Getting to the airport fifteen minutes before your flight; no security lines or strange restrictions on what you could bring.

4. pistolwhippersnapper

Also, your SO could come to the gate and hang out with you until you got on the plane.

5. schmidtopolis

I remember some kid telling me my mom was calling me. I had never met this kid, but I was older than him, and he knew me through the old neighbourhood ‘politics’.
Gotta love how communities should work.

6. narcoleptic_racer

In my childhood neighborhood, there was this very loud woman who would call her kid like every other mom. But since she was so loud, even when talking normally, she would drown every other parent. So other moms just said ‘whenever you hear call Tom, you too need to come back’.
Last i remember she would just scream ‘DINNER!!’ a few times, serving as the LAN NTP server to sync every family’s meal time.

7. System6

I wish more people felt comfortable [reprimanding children that weren’t theirs].

I broke out an old man’s window with a baseball when I was 11 after he told me I needed to play somewhere else. I had a “Who gives a shit attitude” because I knew my dad would know it was an accident and fix it.

The man was about 80 and explained how it was his bedroom and it was cold at night now. He also explained how it scared his wife terribly who had a heart condition.

It made me realize it was more important that “It’s no big deal”. I think that was a point when I noticed that actions that cause damages, even ones that can be easily fixed have extensive other consequences.

May the Greens both rest in peace. Great people.

8. tuna_sammich

Playing “doctor.”

9. iaccidentallytheworld

We played “smear the queer.” Big group of kids get in a circle and throw a ball in the air. Whoever catches the ball is the queer and gets tackled by everyone else. When the queer is tackled, he has to throw the ball in the air, and the game continues.

10. crimsonhunter

There were no seatbelts in the backseat. Sometimes kids would lay up in the back window on car rides. We were allowed to play out in the woods and in the neighborhood all day until dark. Our parents gave us alcohol at their parties, and at our parties, when we were age 12 and over. Our parents didn’t hassle the teachers or blame them for not teaching us properly.

11. Rushaz

Oh, another one: Being able to run around on the playground with your ‘pretend gun’ (aka your thumb/finger) and ‘shoot’ your fellow classmates. this ‘zero tolerance’ bullshit is just that: bullshit.

12. Deletetables

Elementary school kids would wait at the bus stop with no parents there to supervise.

13. B2Dirty

I did an archery demonstration in seventh grade. Bow, arrow, and target were brought to school. Never got in trouble, received an A.

14. Kuzcotopia

When I had a toothache as a kid, my dad would have me rub whiskey on my gums.

15. marinastar87

This will instantly piss everyone off: Wearing a shirt with a transformer on it. I was an assistant teacher and had to give a kid detention because the robot’s arm also functioned as a gun in the movie (which you really wouldn’t think about, because it’s a stupid robot.)

16. [deleted]

Our HS had a shooting club. We all brought our rifles and shotguns to school. If we didn’t leave them in our cars, we left them in the teachers room or Principals office. Over lunch we’d run to the hardware store and buy ammo, keep the boxes in our lockers.

17. phineasgage1848

My father called them “Road Beers.”

The cooler he kept on the front seat of the station wagon full of cold ones to drink as we sat in July 4th traffic every summer without A/C.

18. [deleted]


19. leftofleftists

I received a .22 caliber rifle when I was 10. No one ever questioned selling me ammunition or seeing me walking along a road, blazing away at everything in sight.
When I was 7, my mother gave me a note to buy a carton of cigarettes for her. No one ever asked for the note. They just sold me the cigarettes. I bought cigarettes for her until I turned 18. I still had the note in my wallet.

20. Yarr_Matey

I am sure this wont be seen by many, but I can recall something from my teenage years. I was a very smart ass, and cocky 15 year old. So one day I was mouthing off to my mom, and old dad over heard. Well, he interjected with a quick, “shut the hell up”. I kept it up and my dad grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the room. I made the fatal mistake of swinging a fist at my dad. He quickly weaved out of the way and kicked my feet from under me and I landed on my back. With the wind knocked out of me and fighting back a few tears, he imparted some wisdom on me: “Listen son, I dont care how big you get… you’ll never be able to kick my ass. And dont cry, faggot.”

21. Willie_Main

Smoking around kids. All my aunts, uncles and grandparents smoked like chimneys around us.

Building fires in the back yard. My parents gave me a pile of wood, some lighter fluid and matches and let me build fires for roasting marshmallows all the time. This would typically happen on weekends over the summer when my parents threw huge parties and everyone got hammered.

Walking through my less than savory neighborhood to buy doughnuts and a paper for my dad on Sunday mornings. This was after my parents got a divorce and my dad moved into a really shitty neighborhood.

Rough housing with neighborhood dogs.

22. CaptainChronocide

I grew up in a homogeneous, isolated enclave of the Appalachian foothills. I never heard either parent use the N-word or homophobic epithets but I can say (as a white, middle-class kid), it was commonplace for my friends and I to call each other ‘Fag’ and ‘N-word’ ALL of the time. All of my coaches in high school would throw those words around and I did not begin to see how egregious these things were until I moved away to college. =/ I know you were probably looking for a more general social more but this was my specific experience growing up. Sad times in Appalachia, man…

23. quelindo

Calling it “sitting indian style”. I imagine some people still call it that, honestly. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – jdhancock

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