Comments on: Scenes from a more dangerous childhood http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/22/scenes-from-a-more-dangerous-childhood/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sun, 21 Sep 2014 03:32:05 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Cosco booster seat, ca. 1970 : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/22/scenes-from-a-more-dangerous-childhood/comment-page-1/#comment-531496 Thu, 14 Jan 2010 16:19:09 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6986#comment-531496 [...] this place up a bit with a blast from the past, the Cosco kids’ booster seat.  Ever since my post last summer on the lost dangers of mid- to late twentieth century American childhood, I’ve been wanting to show you kids born after 1980 or so what a “booster seat” [...]

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By: Catwoman http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/22/scenes-from-a-more-dangerous-childhood/comment-page-1/#comment-418745 Fri, 28 Aug 2009 04:31:11 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6986#comment-418745 I spent most of the day unsupervised and only returned home when mother rang the cow bell. GOD help me if I didn’t respond to the cow bell it meant dinner was ready and I better appear quickly. Other than the cow bell I could drink soda and smoke and no one knew the difference because my parents and home smelled like smoke and the Viceroy cigaretts were in a cut glass dish on the coffee table (help yourself and your friends). My mother later told me the reason I had to visit the dentist so much is because when I was little they didn’t have diet soda.

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By: Historiann presents an After-School Special: Young Goodman Wood : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/22/scenes-from-a-more-dangerous-childhood/comment-page-1/#comment-415764 Tue, 25 Aug 2009 12:56:19 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6986#comment-415764 [...] (natch!) as though there was an acceptable amount of alcohol for a boy to drink.  Hey–it was the 1970s. It coulda happened that [...]

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/22/scenes-from-a-more-dangerous-childhood/comment-page-1/#comment-413756 Sun, 23 Aug 2009 22:39:11 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6986#comment-413756 Undine–the nicotine should have revved up her metabolism so much that an ice-cream sundae here or there wouldn’t have made that much of a difference, right?

Glad you all like the photo of the smoking child and of advertisements by the shameless sugar-pushers, Coke and 7-Up. I think Kathie is correct about the tighter leash/wild at home dichotomy. Children are raised to be much more presumptuous with adults, but they’re infantilized in some ways by being under constant supervision. The proximity of parents to their children and erasure of many boundaries between children and their elders means greater familiarity and more presumption of (what used to be) adult privileges, like car travel, familiarity with other adults, etc. Children identify with their parents more and rely on them to do more things for them.

This is not to say that our childhoods in the 1960s and 1970s were necessarily superior, although I think that we probably got more exercise being on our bikes and on foot all day long during those long summers. It’s just to highlight the differences today, which those of us who teach undergraduates probably see in our students. I remember the first time a student in an advising session told me, in contradiction to my advice, “Well, my Mom said I should take this class…” This was about 10 years ago, and my immediate thought was, “Why do you think I care about what your mother thinks, but maybe more importantly, why do YOU care what your mother thinks? Aren’t you supposed to be in COLLEGE?”

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By: Paul http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/22/scenes-from-a-more-dangerous-childhood/comment-page-1/#comment-413740 Sun, 23 Aug 2009 22:31:35 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6986#comment-413740 I find this interesting because I feel like I grew up in a transitional period between the era when kids were left more to their own devices for entertainment and few parents thought that constant adult supervision was necessary for children’s safety, and today’s world of more structured and scheduled lives for children, and very protective “helicopter parents”. I was born in ’75, so essentially I only remember much from about 1981 onward (before that the memories are fewer and less clear). I remember spending a lot of time (especially in the summers) doing stuff outside, alone or with various neighborhood friends, pretty much on our own without having adults around very often. On the other hand, I remember my parents (and other kids’ parents) wanting to know if I was going anywhere outside the immediate neighborhood, and having whichever adult was around checking in on us periodically. My mother was a natural worrier, and I’m pretty sure that she often looked out windows when me and my brothers and friends were out in the yard, and often listened carefully when we were in a different room. If something happened like my brothers starting to fight (fairly common), she usually appeared VERY quickly, even if we were outdoors. On the other hand, I walked to bus stops out of sight of my house from age 6 onward without any adult with me, whereas in recent years I notice kids usually being escorted by an adult to bus stops.

We had various sports leagues (soccer, baseball, hockey, etc.) when I was growing up, but neither me nor my brothers (I have no sisters) had much interest or aptitude for sports, so my parents gradually gave up on enrolling us in children’s sports. We all took music lessons with various instruments at various points, but I think that there was still considerably less scheduled activity in our lives on average than with kids of a similar background today.

Regarding cars, my parents were usually pretty strict about seat belts (much more strict than some other kids’ parents, which I never failed to complain about), but I remember when I was 7 or 8 or so that Mom would let me climb into the “back-back” of the station wagon sometimes (probably when she got too sick of me incessantly asking), and sometimes my youngest brother would ride sans seat belt on the “hump” between the two front seats (does this even exist in any vehicles made today)? We had car seats, but I think they were only used for very young kids – you started to ride in the regular seat with a regular seat belt not long after you started walking.

I can actually remember my parents saying when I was a child how much more worried parents were about various types of child safety compared to when they were kids, and wondering if parents were becoming a little overprotective. Today, my father in particular looks at things like parents driving or escorting kids 1/4 mile to bus stops and actually seems slightly disgusted by it.

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By: undine http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/22/scenes-from-a-more-dangerous-childhood/comment-page-1/#comment-413656 Sun, 23 Aug 2009 21:40:57 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6986#comment-413656 Back then: No seat belts. Playing in the woods all day. Bike helmets? What’s a bike helmet?

When my mother was pregnant with me, she smoked constantly (as everyone did back then), but the doctor really lectured her one day . . . for having an ice cream sundae, which might have made her gain too much weight.

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By: Rose http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/22/scenes-from-a-more-dangerous-childhood/comment-page-1/#comment-413595 Sun, 23 Aug 2009 20:29:01 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6986#comment-413595 LOL! Thanks for posting these, Historiann. I think I may show these to the students in my YA Lit class later this week when we talk about the history of childhood!

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By: Lance http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/22/scenes-from-a-more-dangerous-childhood/comment-page-1/#comment-413500 Sun, 23 Aug 2009 18:19:00 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6986#comment-413500 You can get candy cigarettes (and much more) at the nostalgic candy store at the NEW Indianapolis airport. Also, gold dollars, bubble gum cigars, and anything else.

I was entirely unsupervised after the age of five, but I grew up in a very small town. We played on railroad tracks, went cliff jumping into the river, dug up old stuff near the railroad station, and all sorts of other splendors of 1970s freedom. More locally, or on a smaller scale, the difference between a “playpen” (in which I would be deposited for hours outside while my mother drank rum & cokes on the front porch) and a “pack and play” (a sort of aquarium for today’s children) is instructive. Of course, it wasn’t long before I became a drinker and smoker myself, habits aided and abetted by the 12 year old girl who worked at the Quick-Mart across the street when I was growing up, and the gas station attendant down the street who would over-charge my dad’s card by $15 and give me thirteen in cash.

We parent our children against our own grain, I think. I’m shopping for a Volvo as I write this.

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By: Penny http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/22/scenes-from-a-more-dangerous-childhood/comment-page-1/#comment-413496 Sun, 23 Aug 2009 18:15:55 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6986#comment-413496 For folks interested in more about the changing culture of parental supervision, google “free range kids” or check out
http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/

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By: AndrewMc http://www.historiann.com/2009/08/22/scenes-from-a-more-dangerous-childhood/comment-page-1/#comment-413285 Sun, 23 Aug 2009 14:02:18 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=6986#comment-413285 I should also add another oddity [by modern comparisons] to my 1970s childhood.

From time to time, taking a note and money from my parents to a liquor store to buy a bottle of wine for them. At age 10-12.

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