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Parenting has always been a combination of gut feelings, traditions, and making things up as you go along. While today’s parents have many tools and resources to help them, parents in the past often used some pretty unusual—and sometimes surprising—methods.
Castor Oil for Constipation
A spoonful of this thick, unpleasant-tasting oil was once a common remedy for constipation. Many kids dreaded the taste, but parents believed in its effectiveness.
Tying a String to a Loose Tooth
Some parents would tie a string to the tooth and the other end to a doorknob to expedite the process of a wiggly tooth falling out. A quick door slam, and out came the tooth!
Using Butter on Burns
A minor burn from the stove or sun? Some parents would slather butter on it, thinking it would soothe the burn. Today, we know that cool water and proper burn creams are the way to go.
Honey for Soothing Coughs
Before the overwhelming amount of over-the-counter cough syrups, a spoonful of honey was the go-to remedy for a persistent cough. Its natural properties were believed to soothe the throat and reduce coughing.
Using Whiskey for Teething
Back in the day, some parents swore by rubbing a little whiskey on a baby’s gums to soothe teething pain. Today, with all the teething toys and gels available, this method seems not just old-fashioned but downright odd!
Soap in the Mouth for Bad Language
Remember being threatened with a bar of soap if you dared utter a bad word? While it was a popular deterrent for foul language, today’s parents might opt for a time-out instead.
Letting Kids Roam Free
“Be back by dark!” was the only rule many kids had. The freedom to roam the neighborhood or woods unsupervised contrasts today’s more protective parenting style.
Using Cloth Diapers and Safety Pins
Before the convenience of disposable diapers, parents had to navigate the tricky world of cloth diapers and safety pins. One wrong move, and ouch!
Cod Liver Oil for Everything
Got a cold? Stomachache? Just feeling down? Cod liver oil was the go-to remedy for a variety of ailments, much to the dismay of many a child’s taste buds.
While harnesses for kids are still in use today, the old-school versions often looked more like actual leashes, making for quite the sight in public places.
Smoking Around Kids
It’s hard to believe now, but there was a time when smoking was commonplace around children, whether at home, in cars, or even at the doctor’s office.
Before the era of SPF, sunburns were treated with a range of home remedies, from vinegar to yogurt. The efficacy of these treatments? Debatable at best.
“Because I Said So”
This universal parental phrase was the ultimate conversation-ender. No explanations, no debates—just because.
No Seatbelts, No Problem
It’s shocking to think about now, but there was a time when kids roamed free in cars, sans seatbelts. The back of a station wagon was prime real estate for a road trip!
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Michelle Harler is the founder of Guide2Free, a website dedicated to finding and sharing freebies, product testing opportunities, and other ways to save money. With over a decade of experience in the industry, her expertise in finding quality offers makes Guide2Free an invaluable resource for anyone looking to try new products and save money.