30 Things We Did As Kids That Parents Nowadays Would Never Allow

Published 1 month ago

Most of us had adventurous childhoods that were spent without considering the dangers we put ourselves in. From pretending to be Tarzan to racing on bicycles without helmets, we’ve all done things that make for amazing memories but could have potentially ended in a bad situation. 

Recently, Redditor ‘ChillwithRon’ started a thread online asking fellow community members to share stories of things they used to do that would make parents nowadays sick with worry. As usual, folks didn’t disappoint in spilling all the tea about their reckless childhood antics. Scroll to check out the best anecdotes found on the thread, shared in the gallery below. 

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#1 Unsupervised play deep in the woods. It was glorious.

Image source: Utterlybored, Sebastian Unrau

#2 Walked to the store by myself at 9 years old to get some items for my mom. My friends and I made an Evil Knievel kind of ramp over a creek that ran in the back of our houses. We then tried jumping it on our bikes. No helmets of course. I was maybe 11 or 12.

Image source: Ineffable7980x, Anete Lusina

#3 When I was in HS, I was really into high heels but had a long walk home. Random guys would stop and ask if I wanted a ride home. I’d jump right in with a smile. Nothing ever happened, but I would NeVER do that now or let my kids!!

Image source: WittyButter217, why kei

#4 I used to babysit, at the age of 13-17, for families I didn’t know before that night. Yes, they were recommended by other parents, but quite often the first time I met the parents would be when they came to my house to pick me up.

Image source: HootieRocker59, charlesdeluvio

The dad – a 30something man previously unknown to me – would then drive me to their house, where I would meet the kids, and the parents would go out on their date or whatever. Then, at 11 or 12 at night, they would come home. The dad, quite likely already drunk, would then pay me and drive me home along narrow country roads.

#5 We used to go up in the hayloft of a neighbors barn and grab a rope and swing across the whole barn and fly thru the air into the hay pile on the other side. : 0.

Image source: Dangerous_Pattern_92, Pixabay

#6 I fell out of a tall tree and broke my leg and crawled home. Just a block fortunately. But I was embarrassed that I fell (I was way too high up and a branch gave way) so I crawled in my room and lay on the floor and didn’t tell anyone. My younger sister was the only one home and she wasn’t paying attention (we were 9 and 5 and used to get left home alone all the time). Hours later my mom came home and I didn’t tell her and she only figured it out because I wouldn’t get up to get into bed. She was so pissed she made me wait till the next day to see a doctor rather than spend the night at the ER. I slept most of that afternoon and might have had a concussion too. Never got checked for anything but the leg.

Do kids still get to climb trees? I did it obsessively and was mostly very careful and good at it. I don’t know what possessed me to be an idiot that day. The temptation to see further I guess.

Image source: Reneeisme

#7 Anyone remember the scalding hot metal playgrounds in the summer, as kids?

Image source: ChillwithRon, Loegunn Lai

#8 I grew up in a small town in Indiana. My sisters were 7 and 10 years older than me, and mom’s rule was they couldn’t leave me alone at home, so I tagged along with them and their boyfriends all the time.

Indiana is littered with abandoned quarries, and they’re the best swimming holes you can find.

10 to 100 acres big, 200 to 500 feet deep, or more. They’d fill with rainwater over the years, and with no current, they would just warm in the summer sun to about 85 degrees or more.

However. Below 15′ or so, the water was about 58 degrees year-round.

While the boyfriends were 17-21 or so, I was 10/11.

And when the boys climbed up the walls and jumped into the water, I would follow.

You kept your shoes on, and dropped feet-first into the warm water, but you would zip down to 30′ or more instantly. The cold shock would zip up your body and take your breath away, then it’s time to struggle back to the surface. Sometimes, you’d run out of air about 2 or 3 feet down, and it’s the most terrible feeling to expend your last bit of energy to cover that distance to sweet, sweet air.

I went back to visit many years later and found that we were routinely jumping from 60 and 70 feet to the water.

That was 50 years ago, and I can see it and smell it like it was yesterday. Plunging past the thermocline into freezing water in the summer is something that never leaves you.

And I’m pretty sure it was never Mom Approved^(TM).

Image source: 500SL

#9 I used to run around corn fields as a kid playing chicken with combines. 95% sure they couldn’t even see me. I should be dead, honestly.

Image source: MyBatmanUnderoos, Julia Koblitz

#10 Sat in my dad’s lap while he drove. From ages 2-6 would regularly sit on the arm rest between the seats in the front seat of the car (so I could see where we were going, obviously). Would push the lighter in (to heat it) in the car so mom could smoke while we drove around (pretty sure all the windows were up, too).

Image source: joeyrunsfast, Danique Godwin

#11 I remember trips to the amusement part – Cedar Point in Ohio – that was about an hour drive. The three of us boys would all clamber into the back of the station wagon and rough house away during the drive. Pushing shoving, rolling around in cargo area while dad smoked and mom yelled at us to simmer down .

No seat belts, second had smoke wafting back, windows open. Ah the joys of being a young child in the 60’s! And here I am, as are my brothers, alive and well in our 60’s!

Image source: kyricus

#12 This was not a regular occurrence for me, but when I visited a family in rural Tennessee a group of kids got together after dark, formed two groups, and shot bottle rockets across the field at each other as long as they lasted.

Image source: myogawa

#13 Played with my friends on construction sites after the workers were gone. From about age 8-10, they built a bunch of new homes in my neighborhood. We had so much fun playing in peoples houses when they were just wooden frames!

Image source: Chanandler_Bong_01, Brett Jordan

#14 Being left home alone & entertaining myself.

Image source: romeo343, Brina Blum

#15 My sister and I *regularly* crawled through the storm drain tunnel in our town (we had to hunch over a bit, but it was pretty big). At the halfway point there was a road with a bus stop overhead and a drainage hole. We’d stand under it and use vulgar language at people waiting for the bus. Then we’d continue to the end of the tunnel where we’d sit and smoke a cigarettes. ??‍♀️ (thank god neither of us got addicted, bit by a rat, or arrested).

Image source: Outrageous-Divide472, Scott Rodgerson

#16 We lived on a lake with channels that went on for miles through woods. I used to get on my bike and spend the day catching frogs, crawdads, turtles and snakes. Sometimes I would build a small fire and eat the crawdads and frogs. One time I found a poor snake who had a fishing hook and line caught in its mouth. I took it home and was using my dad’s pliers to get the hook out. He came up and snatched that snake up so fast and tossed him into the woods. I was like, “Im trying to save him!” He said “Thants a gaddam cotton mouth! You could have died!” Lol I was grounded for 2 weeks and had to read a book on snakes. Heh.

Image source: Intelligent_Put_3594

#17 There was a swimming hole near our Alabama home in a creek. In order to use the hole, you had to throw a couple of large rocks into it. This caused the water moccasins to run out of the water and into the woods. We would then swim here. Crazy, I know.

Image source: 99titan

#18 Besides the things you mentioned, I also built model rockets. Also, tricks off the high dive at the local swimming pool. These days public pools don’t even have diving boards, let alone high dives.

Image source: porkchop_d_clown, Brian Matangelo

#19 Riding in the bed of a pickup truck.

Image source: Infamous-Depth5982, Moth_Mentality

#20 Delivering newspapers and collecting the money.

11-15 year olds waking up at 430-5am daily. Sitting on a corner (by themselves sometimes) and riding a bike around the neighborhood trying to throw news papers onto peoples porches.

Then every two weeks, going to every house to collect the money. Sometimes carrying around 50-100 dollars around in a pouch. To top it off, it was considered ok to be welcomed into the houses during winter when collecting the money. We definitely had encounters with what we considered ‘weird’ people. Now they’d be considered creepy af.

Image source: who-hash

#21 I lived on Guam about ten years after WWII and in certain areas ammunition had been unceremoniously dumped, other places where it had been left by the soldiers in the heat of battle.

Anyway we used to go looking for the ammunition, and then, here comes the fun part, when we found it, we disarmed it, cleared it up and added them to my collection.

I knew how to completely unload Japanese and American frag grenades, knee mortars, and shells below 40mm.

Every few weeks or months you would hear about kids trying to disarm bombs killing themselves. Never touched one.

I was eleven.

Image source: fgsgeneg

#22 My sister and I rode for hours home from vacation one time. We were sitting on lawn chairs in the back of our Dad’s truck….

Image source: FireRescue3

#23 Oh God. Don’t come for me. I know I’d never be able to run for public office because of this.

I played a character in a play who was supposed to be black. I am not black. So… Yeah.

At the time my black friends loved it, we all thought it was hilarious, they and took me under their wing to teach me things. It was a different world.

Image source: xpursuedbyabear

#24 Yippoing Grew up in northwestern Pennsylvania, on the shores of Lake Erie. Think “lake effect” snow. At least 100 inches a season. We would go out at night and wait for a car to come by, run to the back and grab the bumper and get pulled as far as we could without falling off. Our parents had no idea, my mom blanched visibly when we told her about it just several years ago, and we had done this about 35 years ago. My stupid cousin lost my best mittens this way ?.

Image source: Effective-Manager-29

#25 Going to the public pool all day with a couple of my friends, minus any adults. We’d either ride our bikes or one of the moms would drop us off there at opening time and then pick us up late that afternoon at a pre-arranged time.

We all somehow survived it.

Image source: DeeDee719

#26 Babysitting younger kids at the age of 10. I guess I was responsible enough with my siblings that even neighbors would ask to hire me. Plus I’m male. Unheard of, especially nowadays.

Image source: Slacker-Steve, Lina Kivaka

#27 Grew up in a hollow We spent one early spring cutting down trees with axes and buck saws and dragged them down to the creek We spent late Spring building a dam in the creek at the base of a small waterfall to make a swimming hole We spent the Summer at our swimming hole. Built a club house, made a rope swing and a fire pit. Would camp out there. Swim all night. Cook hot dogs on the fire We were around 11 years old.

Image source: KapowBlamBoom

#28 I rode in railroad boxcars. From my northern New Jersey town’s railyard up into New York and back again. Running and jumping in was crazy stupid.

Image source: anon, AGuyFromMaryland

#29 We made homemade fireworks..

Image source: Dry_Enthusiasm_267, Philip Myrtorp

#30 Running after the “smoke truck” that sprayed insecticide in our neighbourhood.

Image source: slowpoke257, Viktor Talashuk

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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Tags

childhood, childhood antics, children, dangerous childhood, kids, memories, parenting, reckless childhood
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