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The ’90s were awesome, so here’s how to parent like they’re back

Kids is either your worst nightmare or as a teachable moment

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Kids was the controversial 1995 film starring Chloë Sevigny, Rosario Dawson and a bunch of other kids who were actually kids when they were filmed having fake sex, taking drugs and partying the night away on the streets of New York City. Prior to the release of the Larry Clark film, adult actors posed as teens in Beverly Hills, 90210 and sweetly lost their virginity after prom, but Kids tackled topics like AIDS and drug use in a way that was raw and relatable to teens — but downright scary as shit for the adults raising them. Parents fell into one of two camps: There were those who prohibited their kids from watching Kids and considered it exploitative trash, and those who used the film to help teach their teens about the dangers of drugs and unprotected sex.

Let pop culture teach your kids about drugs

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If the ’80s spawned the war on drugs, the ’90s was the decade when pop culture reflected back all that it had absorbed during the Reagan years. You had Jessie Spano hooked on caffeine pills in Saved by the Bell, Rayanne Graff abusing alcohol and drugs in My So-Called Life and teen heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio developing a heroin habit in The Basketball Diaries. The ugly side of addiction was out there on both the big and little screen for children and teens to see, which made it a lot easier for parents to have the big drug talk with their kids.

More: You know that kids’ bedtime chart going viral on Facebook? About that…

Lisa Frank binders will tell you all you need to know about your kid’s secret life

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Sure, your child had a private life outside of the home and shared what little she could with friends while chatting in a low voice on the phone in her bedroom (but she probably didn’t have her own phone number). But if you were a parent intent on snooping in the ’90s, you needn’t yet be concerned that your kid was flashing her body on Snapchat. Almost everything you needed to know came from two sources. If you had a teen, his or her beeper would reveal the numbers of people in her inner circle as well as secret messages like “1-4-3,” which indicated he or she had a love interest. If you had a tween, one glance at her Lisa Frank binder, which she decorated with the names of crushes, song lyrics and her innermost feelings and thoughts about life, kept you clued in.

More: What happens when a modern mom parents like it’s the ’70s for a whole week

Don’t worry about technology

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Despite what some people think, ’90s kids were obsessed with technology — desktop computers were already a thing, as was the internet, though it was still in its infant stages of development. But tech didn’t consume every second of their lives, because it couldn’t. There was only so much a teen could say and plan during that one hour he just so happened to find his friends on AOL Instant Messenger. They’d create awful GeoCities homepages and storm chat rooms to harass anonymous users (sharpening their troll tools). But dial-up internet rendered it impossible to hang out all day on the computer, because parents and the importance of having a free phone line overruled. It was the age of innocence where tech was concerned — and parents weren’t yet worried about cyberbullying or their teen meeting a stranger online.

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Image: Gabriela Arellano/SheKnows

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