8 Pieces of Old School Parenting Advice That Wouldn’t Fly Today


Every succeeding generation swears that kids these days have it too easy, but let’s be honest maybe they do, at least in comparison to their parents or grandparents’ generation. Old school parenting ranged from really uptight in some ways and then extremely lackadaisical in others, and some of the wisdom of that day and age seems downright bizarre today.

Here are 8 pieces of advice from old school parents that wouldn’t fly today.

1. Weird Remedies.
Fussy, teething babies didn’t have to fuss for long. Parents simply rubbed whisky on their baby’s gums. It worked like a charm, but giving a baby hard liquor doesn’t exactly sound like a good idea to me, especially considering all it takes is as much as a teaspoon of liquor to intoxicate a baby. For ear infections, parents were told to blow a little cigarette smoke in the child’s ear, and instead of latex or silicone pacifiers, you gave your baby a sock with a little bit of sugar and milk on it. It’s safe to say we’ve come along way.

2. “Don’t come home till sundown!”
Parents safely assumed their kids were just fine even though they didn’t know exactly where they were. It was perfectly acceptable to lock your kids outside and tell them not to come home till sundown. These days we give our kids cell phones and keep track of their every move (sometimes literally with GPS). I wonder whether we live in a different world now, or was it just that parents back then were a little naïve? Either way, I don’t know many people who parent like this today.

3. Spare the rod, spoil the child.
Like it or not, you have to admit that as a society we’ve done a complete 180 when it comes to spankings and paddlings. When my parents were growing up, no one thought that there was anything wrong with spanking. Parents spanked. Teachers spanked. Heck, even the local store clerk was allowed to spank your kid if they were acting up. Children these days will never know the horror of going into the backyard to pick their own switch from a tree branch.

4. “Not in my house!”
Cussing was no joke. If your parents overheard you mumble a bad word, you were in for it. A dirty mouth needed to be washed out with soap, so that you’d think twice before talking that way again.

5. Stop the Southpaws!
As if lefties didn’t have enough working against them, parents and teachers would swat their kids/students’ hands if they tried to write with their left hand. Research has since shown that children that are forced to write with their right hand often struggle with stuttering, reading problems, and other learning disabilities.

6. Safety First? Not so much…
Car seats from the 1960s and ’70s were not designed to keep your child safe so much as they were to keep your child from climbing around the car, but that’s assuming parents even had car seats. Most parents let their kids sit in their lap or allowed them to lie down in the back seat, and no one thought anything about hitching a ride in the back of a pickup.

7. Fight it out.
What’s the best way to deal with a bully? My grandfather told me the best thing to do was get the first punch in. It was thought that children should learn to stand up for themselves and handle their own problems.

8. Cry baby.
Many parents believed it was best to spank your baby before bedtime so the crying would help put them to sleep. Still others insisted that you shouldn’t hold your newborn too much because it would spoil them, and your baby would learn to manipulate you into holding them all the time. You won’t hear this from child development experts these days. On the contrary, they’ll tell you that you can’t hold a newborn too much. Spoil away!

Before you shake your head in disbelief at some of these old school parenting techniques, keep in mind that one day other generations will look back at this current generation of parents and have critiques and criticisms of their own. I think it’s safe to say that most old school parents were doing the best they could, and as my mom is quick to remind me – she (and other kids of that generation) turned out just fine.