27 Boomer Norms That The Younger Generations Will Never Understand

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Some generations will never understand each other. Boomers couldn’t be more different than millennials and Gen-Zers, but it’s interesting to see how life was through the eyes of someone who’s lived it. Here are some classic boomer norms that simultaneously blow the minds of the younger generation and make boomers yearn for the good old days.

1. Communication

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The way we talk to our kids matters, but you’ll find that many members of the Boomer generation believe that the younger generations do not communicate in a “good” way. Rather, they overcommunicate without saying much of anything.

2. Rolodex, Yellow Pages…

People wasting time on phonePeople wasting time on phone
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How the heck did Boomers find the phone number of people to call? With the yellow book that was thrown in their driveway or from shuffling through their Rolodex, of course. Younger generations could never.

3. Playing in the Streets

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Long before television and social media dominated children’s attention worldwide, it was commonplace for kids to play in the streets after school. Boomers can attest that the only reasons they’d ever go inside were if it was time to eat or if it got too dark out!

4. A Baby’s Car Seat Went up the Front

an adorable orange cat who lying alone on passenger seat without carrier inside the car when travel with owner on summer
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When car seats for babies and young children first entered the market, manufacturers recommended the seats be placed in the passenger seat facing away from the road. In addition, manufacturers cited the importance of the parent being close to the child while driving. That’s a stark contrast to today when safety regulations require car seats to be placed in the backseat of vehicles.

5. Unsafe Children’s Toys

Los Angeles, California, United States - 08-24-2021: A view of a collection of Beanie Babies stuffed animal toys.Los Angeles, California, United States - 08-24-2021: A view of a collection of Beanie Babies stuffed animal toys.
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Back then, children’s toys bore no resemblance to today’s toys. They were crude, made of cheap plastics or wood, and often dangerous. It’s crazy to think that BB gun companies exclusively catered to small children back in the day!

6. Completely Separate Toys for Boys and Girls

Mother with child streaming online video of unboxing toys. Influencer occupation, mommy blogMother with child streaming online video of unboxing toys. Influencer occupation, mommy blog
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Gender roles were in full effect in the boomer generation, and as a result, children’s toys were gender-specific as well. It was pretty simple: Toys for boys were often dark colored, while girls’ toys incorporated brighter colors. For many boomers, their gender decided whether they played with action figures or Barbie dolls.

7. Hitchhiking

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Unlike today, encountering a hitchhiker and giving them a lift to their destination was commonplace – nothing that raised any eyebrows. But, of course, “Never pick up a hitchhiker” is one of the first things parents tell their teenagers when they start learning to drive in today’s culture.

8. Boys Didn’t Cry

Man crying happy tears, smilingMan crying happy tears, smiling
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If there’s anything classic films have taught a generation, it’s that boys don’t cry. Generation Z is the antithesis of the boomer generation in this respect, as seemingly every TikTok video posted by youngsters these days features a tearful kid hoping his tears will propel them to fame.

9. The Drinking Age Was 18 in Some States

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Shockingly enough, until the mid-80s, the minimum drinking age in many states was only 18. As a result, it was common to see kegs of beer at places like high school graduation parties – at least, according to all of my uncles! I’m sure Generation Z would love it if the minimum drinking age was lowered from the current age of 21.

10. Unsafe Vehicles

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Cars and trucks being exceedingly safe on public roads is a relatively recent phenomenon. For example, it wasn’t until 1968 that the United States government mandated that all new vehicles were required to have seat belts for front passengers.

11. Dangerous Toys

Sky dancer toys
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Interestingly enough, children’s toys were bizarrely unregulated, leading to some toys having reputations for being flat-out dangerous. Parents didn’t bat an eye when their child’s chemistry set literally blew up or when sharp plastic parts would accidentally cut their child’s skin. It was indeed a different era.

12. Lead Paint Was Everywhere

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Even boomers agree: Lead paint is better off left in the past. Typical household paint frequently contains high amounts of lead, leading to health complications later in life. Fortunately, today’s household paint contains no lead, saving modern-day families a small fortune in medical bills.

13. Dangerous Cribs

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It was only a handful of decades ago when cribs were nothing more than glorified wooden cages that babies slept in, with openings between slats so wide a child could easily fall through. But, thanks to much-needed advances in child safety, the modern crib is a safe sanctuary for any newborn.

14. Gasoline Shortages

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Every boomer has a story of waiting in hours-long lines at the gas station due to gasoline shortages. I distinctly remember my father explaining that it wasn’t unusual for gas to be dispensed on certain days based on the letter or number your license plate started with. Such scenarios seem unfathomable in the present day.

15. Taking Showers via Fire Hydrants

Summer Waves Water Park Jekyll Island, GeorgiaSummer Waves Water Park Jekyll Island, Georgia
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Ah, the good old days: Thanks to a well-placed fire hydrant, you could cool yourself off in a city street on sweltering days. This practice is frowned upon by local officials today, but back then, it was common during the dog days of summer. All the neighborhood kids would join in on the fun!

16. Tying up the Phone Line

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Since each home only had one dedicated telephone line, many boomers had to deal with physically sharing phone privileges. If you wanted to call a friend and a family member was already on the phone, you were out of luck. I’m sure at least half of all family arguments began over who was hogging the phone.

17. Using a Typewriter

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People today are spoiled by computers and modern word-processing apps because using a typewriter is a lesson in determination! There was no room for error – if you happened to mistype, the only way to correct your mistake is to use liquid paper and wait for it to dry before beginning to type again.

18. Drinking While Driving

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To be clear, driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol has always been illegal under U.S. law. But as many boomers will attest, driving with an open container of alcohol – literally drinking and driving – was legal back in the day! It sounds crazy, but it’s true – as long as you weren’t drunk, you could legally drive a vehicle.

19. Walking to School

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Due to the rapid expansion of American suburbia, walking to school was an everyday occurrence for boomers growing up. It wasn’t uncommon for kids to walk miles to school alone back then. However, it was in the 80s that public school buses became commonplace in neighborhoods, finally giving children respite in the process.

20. Spanking Was Normal


Countless boomers remember being strictly disciplined by their parents as children, a practice still occurring in some regions of the United States. At the time, spanking your child was the best use of negative reinforcement as a parenting strategy.

21. Riding a Bicycle Without a Helmet

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It wasn’t until the 90s that most states recommended people wear helmets when riding bicycles, so it’s safe to say plenty of boomers risked serious injury whenever they went for a ride! One of the most significant differences between the boomer generation and kids of today is the increased emphasis on personal safety.

22. Dangerous Playgrounds

Sassafras All Children's Playground
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From stainless steel slides that would get so hot in the summer that it would burn kids’ legs in the summertime to old, rickety slides and merry-go-rounds that were recipes for disaster, playgrounds were dangerous! Fortunately, playgrounds today are much safer but no less fun than they were for boomers growing up.

23. Sunscreen Was Deemed Unnecessary

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As any doctor will tell you, there needed to be more sunscreen use among boomers. As a result, many older Americans suffer from skin-related diseases due to excessive sun exposure at an early age. So if there’s one lesson boomers taught, it’s the importance of sunscreen!

24. Rear-Facing Seats in the Back of Cars

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At this point, it’s clear the boomer generation skipped over a lot of essential safety measures in various aspects of life. For example, do you even consider yourself a boomer if you didn’t ride in fold-down seats in the trunk area of the family station wagon while facing out the rear window?

25. Lack of Childproofing in the Home

Adorable little girls traveling by an airplane. Children sitting by aircraft window and using a digital tablet during the flight. Traveling abroad with kids.Adorable little girls traveling by an airplane. Children sitting by aircraft window and using a digital tablet during the flight. Traveling abroad with kids.
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If you’re expecting a child in 2023, you’ve almost certainly been advised to childproof your home. Unfortunately, childproofing is a modern-day luxury that was not a “thing” for boomers – and as a result, young kids were essentially living, breathing time bombs back in the day. From pointy kitchen counter corners to unlocked cabinets, there was plenty of childproofing that sadly did not get done.

26. Clipping Baseball Cards Into Bike Spokes

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If you wanted your bicycle to make the coolest sound ever, all it took was fastening a baseball card into the spoke of your bike wheel. With one ingenious life hack, boomers transformed their bicycles into seriously intimidating-sounding methods of transportation.

27. Everyone Chewed Bubblegum

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Every boomer can verify that everyone chewed bubblegum for some reason. The old-school treat serves as a reminder of simpler times. While millennials and Gen-Zers are currently preoccupied with the latest fads of the 21st century, boomers can always look back to simpler times filled with copious amounts of bubblegum.

Source link by Chris Phelan

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