Parenting is not for the faint of heart, which is something television script writers know all too well. Here are a few real-life lessons that TV parents taught us about parenting.
It’s the ’80s, and the Goldbergs are a hilarious reminder of how parenting worked before all the how-to information on the internet. Mom rules the roost and Dad nods and smiles. When needed, Dad doles out discipline by yelling at the top of his lungs.
In The Middle, a middle-aged couple parent the oddest children on television. Parents Frankie and Mike demonstrate what it’s like to parent when you are tired, overworked and not as young as you used to be. Their style of parenting is rooted in teamwork — it’s often the parents against the kids in the Heck house. They show us that cranky parenting can be funny and effective.
Modern Family does an excellent job of showcasing how couples parent differently. Cam is forever subjecting daughter Lily to his taste for pageantry, while Mitch has a more reserved approach. Phil is the “good guy” parent, Claire has to be the hard-ass. Gloria spoils her son, Manny, with affection while Jay tries to provide some middle ground.
The Cosby Show
Those of us who grew up with The Cosby Show wanted to be one of the Cosby kids. Yes, the depiction of a doctor dad, lawyer mom and a cool family life weren’t terribly realistic, but it was hilarious. The kids were forever sabotaging Cliff, and Clair was forever going to bat for the kids. Their style of parenting demonstrated that kids are annoying, but enjoyable.
Roseanne did a brilliant job of giving a more realistic picture of what parenting was like. She was a mother with attitude and sass, and her kids were highly dysfunctional. Some criticized Roseanne and Dan for their caustic interaction with their kids, but it made a generation of families feel better about how dysfunctional their own families were.
The Golden Girls
The Golden Girls has gone down in history as one of television’s great comedy classics, but it’s not really remembered for its example of parenting. Sophia showed us that a mother’s work is literally never done and exemplified the somewhat critical — but unconditionally loving — mom. Dorothy gave us a snapshot of what happens when parents and kids reverse roles, and what it feels like to care for an aging parent the way they once cared for you.