By EM RUSCIANO
This week I signed my eldest daughter up to a mobile phone plan.
She will be catching public transport on her own and I, of course, need to be able to speak to her at all times when she is away from my side. She asked me what my parents did when I was a kid, in the days before mobile phones. I reflected, remembered, and then lied to her saying that I had to find a pay phone and call them when I was safe.
The truth is the 80s was the last decade you were able to be (by today’s standards) a shit parent and get away with it!
The 80s was the decade where parenting standards slipped a whole bunch. Women were going to work, Dads didn’t quite realise that, kids benefited from the distinct lack of supervision and took full advantage of it.
I remember roaming the streets with my wicked awesome bike gang for hours at a time. The only thing I had to protect me was my stack hat with giant drawn on eyes to scare away the aggressive magpies that lived in my area. I wouldn’t speak to my parents for the entire day!
I vividly recall being on a bean bag in the back of a car that didn’t have a back seat and my sister being in a moses basket in the boot. All the windows were up and I’m pretty sure someone was smoking.
We had a rusty swing set that was definitely tetanus ridden, the front legs would launch off the ground as you swung higher and higher. Not only was that encouraged by my Dad, we started timing our airtime and keeping a record of it. We regularly flipped the entire set.
If you knew how to dial 000 you were old enough to babysit. I am three years older than my sister, by grade five I was walking her home, putting some Kraft singles on a Salada and smashing out some super Mario while my parents were still at work.
On more than one occasion I drove on my father’s lap to the shops, not just up the driveway but the whole way to the Diamond creek Tucker Bag!
SPF2 was considered over the top and “because I said so” was a valid and accepted reason for any question asked.
What happened to us you guys?!
How did we end up in a place where these kind of rules are up at a playground:
I’m not shitting you, this sign is up at my brother-in-law’s local park. The over policing here is mind blowing, I feel like we will have a whole generation of anxious, nervous kids by the time we are done with them. Imagine pointing out all the things that could go wrong before you let them have any fun. That sign is BA-NAY-NAY.
I kinda miss 80s parenting.
What decade did you grow up in? How was the parenting different then to how it is now?