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Do as I Say, Not as I Did: 12 Illustrations of Our Childhoods vs. Our Kids’

By Meredith Carroll |

Crappy pictures

Like this would fly today (not)

A few days ago my sister and I were laughing as we remembered how we used to have a real workbench in our playroom when we were kids. No, it was a real workbench, stocked with saws, hammers, nails and wood. Not the plastic stuff. The real stuff. Not only did we saw real things, we also dissected batteries with hammers (you know, by smashing them as hard as we could until the battery acid sputtered and oozed out).

We were laughing because we managed to avoid death (although not destruction). And we laughed because in a million, zillion years, we would never allow our kids to do the same thing.

In fact, so much of what we did as kids would never, ever fly today. Writer and illustrator Amber Dusick of Parenting. Illustrated with Crappy Pictures, has summed up then vs. now pretty succinctly in 12 images of what we did as kids that our kids will never do. For better or worse.

Take a look and laugh (but don’t show your kids so they never catch on to what they’re missing):

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Side-splitting but spot-on

No seat belts

Not only did we not wear seat belts, but raise your hand if you, too, ever got to ride backwards and unbuckled in a station wagon?

All images courtesy of Parenting. Illustrated with Crappy Pictures

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About Meredith Carroll


Meredith Carroll

Meredith C. Carroll is an award-winning columnist and writer based in Aspen, Colorado. She can be found regularly on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post. From 2005-2012 her other column, "Meredith Pro Tem" ran in several newspapers, as well as occasionally on The Huffington Post since 2009. Read more about her (or don’t, whatever) at her website. Read bio and latest posts → Read Meredith's latest posts →

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6 thoughts on “Do as I Say, Not as I Did: 12 Illustrations of Our Childhoods vs. Our Kids’

  1. Brandi says:

    I will teach my child to jump off the swings. Or more likely my husband will beat me to it. LOL We tend to parent more on the “free” range” side of things & encourage our children to be self succifent. And as long as they have helmets on, pulling the wagon with only a jump roap & bike it perfectly acceptable behavior in my book.

  2. Skelly says:

    Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m Canadian, but do people seriously make their kids wear helmets to sled? I have literally not once ever seen that, and I live in a city where you occasionally see kids on or around Parliament sledding (without freaking helmets!). I’m a pretty free-range parent (so far, she’s only two so the hurdles haven’t been too hard to jump yet) and I think a big part of it is due to the fact that my husband and I are in our 20s. Being a small child in the early 90′s didn’t come with all the perks of the decades before-hand. I actually remember it being a little bit worse than it is now, especially during the Jean-Benet disappearance. I have a sister 13 years my senior who just LOVED making me jealous about her preschool years in the seventies, before mom got paranoid :p

  3. Richan says:

    my son definatly does not sled with a helmet lol. He’s 3 and he plays in the front yard by himself while I do dishes and watch him out the window. He’s definatly going to go play in the woods by himself when he’s older. I can’t wait to teach him to jump off swings and I sincerely hope that when he’s 12 he’s out in the dark playing spotlight with his friends just like I was 10 years ago. I want my son to enjoy life :)

  4. G says:

    I would let my kids do all of these except bump the other kid on the see-saw. That’s just mean.

  5. Lisa S. says:

    My daughter jumps off the swings all the time. My heart skips a beat when I see her do it, but I don’t discourage her. I also occasionally don’t know where my 7 and 5 year olds when they’re outside. They sled down a hill at their grandparents’ house without helmets, but it’s about a 15-foot hill and they don’t build up too much speed. :)

  6. Meghan says:

    funny I remember wandering my neighbourhood on our bikes as a kid but I’m terrified to let my daughter wander off when she’s older (she’s only 2 yet). And I live on an ARMY base! LOL

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