Parenting lessons we should take from Mad Men

May 15, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. ET

Can you imagine being a parent in the 1960s? While our own parents and grandparents could probably tell us a thing or two about being kids or raising kids in that era, we also have Mad Men to rely upon for retro parenting advice.

Don and Betty Draper

How do you think your kids would feel about saddle shoes?

Children should be seen and not heard...

Mad Men - Draper Family

... Or on second thought, maybe they shouldn't be seen either. There couldn't be a parenting philosophy that is more opposite to the parenting techniques that are popular today, yet Don and Betty make this outdated saying look so good at times!

No matter how inclusive of a parent you are — you want your child to be heard, for their voice to be valued and for them to speak their mind — every one of us has had a moment when you wish that we could just tell them to hush. Channel your inner Mad Men mom on this one — give it a try. The silence will be joyous.

Pack 'em up for summer

Maybe it's an East Coast thing, maybe it's a '60s thing. Wherever it comes from, count us in!

Shipping the kids off to camp for the summer sounds like a fantastic idea! Can you even imagine?

Without kids holding you down during the best season of the year, you could spend all summer perfecting your martini recipe, buttering yourself up with Crisco to get that perfect "just got back from Palm Springs" glow and maybe, just maybe, you could finally get that needlepoint pillow done that you've been working on for at least eight weeks! Take your kids to a nice dinner when you pick them up from camp — surely that will make up for sending them away for a quarter of the year!

Late night snacks are a must

We can't count how many times Don and Betty cured the "I can't sleeps" with some leftovers pulled out of the icebox! From a good old-fashioned peanut butter sandwich on Wonderbread to a late night steak grilled up on the stovetop, throw a robe on over your nighty and meet at the Draper's kitchen table (what used to be their table, pre-Draper divorce, that is). The world's problems can easily be solved over a fourth meal, a cigarette and a short pull of bourbon... and, don't forget to tell your daughter that she's getting fat before tucking her into bed again. Betty wouldn't have it any other way!

Don't write that in the baby book

Betty Draper smoking

If only the moms of Mad Men had written their own 1960s version of What to Expect When You're Expecting! Can you imagine? No need to give up smoking and drinking while pregnant — in fact, don't you dare stop smoking — those cigs are helping you keep your girlish figure under that baby bump! Forget about all of the other good advice that's been discovered in the past 50 years too — just throw it out the car window (where your kids are likely bouncing around in the backseat, sans seatbelts).

When all else fails, "Go watch TV"

If you play any Mad Men drinking games, you should play it parenting style! Start at the beginning and every time you hear Don or Betty say, "Go watch TV," you take a shot. Did you catch a "Go upstairs" instead? Make someone else take a shot! Feeling a bit tipsy after all those drinks? Just jump in your car and drive yourself home — it's no big deal. But, don't forget to put on your gloves before driving — that would be a horrible shame!

Image credit: AMC

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