13 things you did in the ’90s that your parents hated

All children drive their parents crazy at some point, but there was definitely a ’90s specific brand of parental torture that those of us remember with fondness. Us older Millennials who grew up pre-internet had to find all manner of ways to amuse ourselves while our parents were busy watching the OJ Simpson trial.

The ’90s were a fascinating, relatively idyllic time to be a child. We were coming down from the aesthetic excesses of the ’80s, embracing a sort of shiny minimalism juxtaposed with the arrival of grunge (best shown by our beloved Gwyneth and Winona), and our lives reflected this in every way — from the toys we played with to the shows we watched.

And all these things were fodder in the cannon of driving our parents insane. Whether it was our music choices, constantly begging to go online, or leaving a minefield of Polly Pockets on the ground for them to step on, there was plenty to slowly deteriorate their patience.

In honor of their endless understanding and love for us, here are 13 things we did in the ’90s that our parents hated.

1Sing the Lamb Chop “Song that Doesn’t End” theme on a loop


This masterpiece of a children’s show was on PBS from 1991-1997, meaning we had almost a full decade to use it as aural torture against anyone who crossed our paths, especially our parents.

2Leave Gak all over the house

Sure, DIY slime is all the rage now, but back in the ’90s we’d all have to beg our parents to order Gak off the Nickelodeon commercials. It had an uncanny way of getting stuck in the carpet and ruining any cloth surface it came into contact with, much to the chagrin of mothers the world over.

3Hoard The Baby-Sitter’s Club Books


Did anyone else’s mom call these “junk books” and limit them to two a month at the library? Just us? Nothing could keep us away from this epic series that played such a huge part in our young literary lives.

4Litter the house with necklace beads

There was no better way to pass the time than making necklaces with beads. But inevitably there would be a spill and the tiny crystals would scatter, making them impossible to find — until your dad stepped on one, of course.

5Throw Sticky Hands at every glass surface in the house


As if dirty children’s hands aren’t bad enough, we had to spend our days playing target practice with the stickiest, fuzziest, squishiest, rubbery toy hands around. They left a slimy trail of goop on every window that passed us by.

6Lose all the white balls in Hungry Hungry Hippos


This addictive and sometimes aggressive game was the source of many sibling fights in households across the nation, but the worst was watching your supply of white balls dwindle down until it became impossible to play. You’d have to beg your parents for a new set or try to use marbles as substitutes, but either way, they’d be annoyed when you played.

7Getting a sugar high from drinking too many Squeezits


If you spent summers chugging Squeezits by the pool, then you’re familiar with the intensely crazed behavior that followed. The inevitable tornado of childish energy was enough to drive our parents absolutely batty.

8Tie up the phone line while logging onto AOL

Our first introduction to the world wide web came in the form of dial-up internet and heavily supervised IM conversations with strangers we hoped weren’t old men lurking in tween chat rooms. This meant our parents couldn’t make or receive any phone calls for the entire duration of our web surfing. Annoying!

9Leave our Furbies on at night so they’d make creepy noises

It’s hard to understand a world in which someone would decide this is a good idea for a toy, but not only did they exist, but we were all dying to have our own, much to the bane of our parents’ existence.

10Play with Nerf Guns in the house

You could never let your guard down when you had one of these in your house, and even our parents were at risk of being unexpectedly hit. And heaven help you if you accidentally broke a lamp or glass. You were seriously busted.

11Leave Legos on the floor

There was nothing more heartbreaking than having to dismantle our Lego creations before going to bed at night, but if our parents accidentally stepped on them, there would be hell to pay.

12Fight with our siblings over the Game Boy

Car and plane rides were only made bearable when it was your turn with your favorite portable video games, and inevitably the quarrels over them, combined with going stir crazy, made everyone lose their minds.

13Not rewind VHS tapes after watching a movie

Watching movies was way more labor intensive than it is now, and there was nothing more irritating than popping in your favorite movie only to have it be at the very end. And if it happened to be our parents’ favorite movie, we’d hear about it.

We imagine that today’s kids have a whole host of new ways to drive their parents up the wall, but we will always look back fondly on our intensely ’90s-specific parental annoyances. Bless our moms and dads for getting through them for us.

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