Before the age of parenting books, judgemental internet threads and mummy bloggers with millions of Instagram followers, child rearing looked rather different.
And a hilarious throwback photo has revealed just how stark the contrast between then and now can be.
The picture, posted on the Historical Pictures Facebook page, features a little boy blowing out the candles on his birthday cake, surrounded by half empty beer cans and ashtrays overflowing with cigarette butts.
Smoke wafts towards his face from a lit cigarette held by an adult sitting next to him, whose hand is just captured in the snap.
The photo was shared with the caption: ‘The 1980s, when a kid had to blow out his birthday candles over an ashtray and next to an open beer while someone held a lit cigarette 6 inches from their face.’
It has now gone viral, and prompted a stream of comments from people born in the ’80s recalling their own relaxed – and occasionally downright dangerous – childhood experiences.
This Facebook photo showing a boy celebrating his birthday in the 1980s has gone viral. The boy can be seen blowing out the candles on his cake surrounded by cigarettes, alcohol and lighters
It was shared by the Historical Pictures page who pointed out how different the parents were acting compared to modern day parents
The photo has now been liked over 14,000 times, and prompted thousands of comments from users sharing their own tales of growing up as part of the generation that came before so-called ‘snowflakes’.
A lit cigarette dangles in an adult’s hand just a few inches from the little boy’s face in the snap, and no attempt has been made to clear away the ashtray, lighters, or alcohol to make space for his birthday celebration.
It’s all a far cry from modern parenting, with lavish – and certainly smoke-free – birthday parties for little ones now de rigeur, and a baby’s safety paramount at all times.
But despite admitting the little boy’s birthday party looked similar to their own childhood celebrations – and recalling car journeys with no seat-belts or indulging in generous sips of their parents’ booze – Facebook users commenting on the snap hailed it as a picture of ‘the good old days’.
‘It was a better generation than this cotton wool generation,’ one user said.
‘Guess what… we all turned out fine. But kids of today are always sick, have every allergy under the sun and can’t even disappear on their bikes for the whole day.’
Many Facebook users commented that they missed the days when parenting was much more relaxed
One commented: ‘I remember the mid 80s, eating my McDonald’s Happy Meal while other customers respectfully blew smoke away from their Big Mac-date’s face & toward the table my mom and I were sitting at.’
Another posted: ‘Back in the day when ur mom smoked next to ya in the car while ur dad drank a beer driving across the united states ( I’m sure it was still illegal then ) and gave u the occasional sip of it!
‘Or when u got caught smoking u had to smoke a pack in front of it parents lol how did we ever survive [sic].’
Others began sharing stories about their much more carefree childhoods, saying they ‘turned out fine’
‘I have photos of my parents letting me sip their beer and my uncle letting my little brother puff his tobacco pipe. Wouldn’t change a thing!’ a third said.
Another wrote: ‘Don’t forget learning to ride bike with no protective gear and traveling in the back of a pick up truck and no seatbelt while in the car [sic].’
Another said: ‘The last bad ass generation.. Drinking water from the hose, riding bikes without protective gears traveling in the back of pickup trucks ..playing outside whole day until the sun go down.’