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Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: The good old days

Posted February 10, 2013

As adults, we like to focus on how different things are these days compared to when we grew up. Kids today have computers, the Internet, cell phones, iPods and social media. We had a television with four channels, a boom box and a shared house phone. But as much as things have changed, teenagers are still teenagers.

I went to the mall with my 13-year-old and her friends on Friday. When we were growing up, our parents dropped us off at the mall and then picked us up several hours later. The world being what it is today, I prefer to go with them, and just stay in the background, on the fringes of their outing. I give them just enough space so that they feel independent, but stay within shouting distance for the most part.

We spent most of our time in a store that gave me serious flashbacks to my closet in the eighties. I half expected to see Madonna walking around in stirrup pants and a neon ripped T-shirt with colorful rubber bracelets lining her arms.

While the store was actually probably more Kardashian than retro, it reminded me of going to the mall with my friends at that age. The girls studied every rack carefully, giggling as they made their way through the store. They held up shirts, dresses, and $3 necklaces on each other in front of the mirrors. Amanda Lamb goes shopping with her daughter's friends

Then, they spent an enormous amount of time in the dressing room trying on armfuls of clothes. In the end, their stashes of babysitting money bought them each a few trinkets — a necklace, some earrings, a headband, because you see it wasn’t really about the getting, it was about the getting together.

We repeated this exercise in a makeup store where they meticulously pored over products, trying samples on each other, and debating what they could get for $5 or less. But again, at the end of the day, they came home with small bags and big smiles.

Even with all of the technology, toys and gadgets that kids have today, there is nothing more important than face-to-face social interaction. Nothing can take the place of shared experiences among friends.

So, while we lament “the good old days” when things were simpler, the simple things still matter. Sleepovers, birthday parties, shopping trips, movie and roller skating outings will never go out of style.

And teenagers will always be teenagers …

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.


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  • Uhavenoclu Feb 11, 2013

    Even before the mall required parental supervision, I also walked around a few feet behind my daughter and her friend. And now, it's not safe for anyone to be alone at the mall.... AH, the good old days is right!

    The sad truth is most if not all of us live our lives by 2 rules..Fear and Superstition...When I was 10 I would go to the mall alone after school or with friends I would walk across town at 4 in the morning for my paper route...people fear they don't look right people fear they will be late for work or bills.
    The mall used to be hang out spot for kids no matter what age,now no one no matter what age is safe.

  • snowl Feb 11, 2013

    Even before the mall required parental supervision, I also walked around a few feet behind my daughter and her friend. And now, it's not safe for anyone to be alone at the mall.... AH, the good old days is right!

  • carelesswhisper Feb 11, 2013

    Great story and so true.

  • Uhavenoclu Feb 11, 2013

    Yep test pattrrn usually tv went off at midnight on some stations.
    Remembrr in school kids cheated by writing the answer on their arm or piece of paper. If you got caught you failed and were sent out of class. Now they encourage you to use a computer or cell phone to get the answers.

  • Terkel Feb 11, 2013

    I remember the test pattern. Now TV's 24/7.

  • Uhavenoclu Feb 11, 2013

    So True.Some even remember 3 channels.Fox came out end of the 70s early 80s. What made the good ole days good,was we used our minds to think of ways to have fun,we were allowed to go outside until it got dark and even later.We made friends that were actually real and you could see them in person.
    We were people not machines.We went to each Job and handed in an application and they saw us and went by how we acted when we came in,how we were dressed and didn't go by what we said on a computer.
    Each Generation complains about the "New" generation and how things were much better before,Rock and roll was frowned apon by the big band generation.People and children of today when they grow up will complain about their children s way of life,some is because it's true,others is because they may be jealous and feel they are getting old and want to be young again,whilke others are in fear for they may not be able to handle the changes.

  • bjgupton Feb 11, 2013

    so true and so thankful that it is....