Parenthood – TV and Real Life

I am a big fan of Parenthood. It is one of those rare gems that is well-written, well-acted, and realistic. If you haven’t seen the show, it stars Craig T. Nelson (who I loved in ‘Coach’) and Bonnie Bedelia (who I remember as Holly McClane from Die Hard) as the parents of their four children all of whom have children of their own. The story is (mostly) all about their interactions with each other and how their relationships are affected by outside forces in the different family members’ lives. Every now and again, there’s an episode that’s ho-hum, but for the most part, every episode is engaging and I frequently find myself thinking “How would I deal with that?”

Most recently, the big issue (in my mind, anyway) has been the 16 year old daughter dating and having sex. At first, the parents wonder if the deed is going to be done, then they think they hear it over the phone (yes, that was cheesy), then the mom just confronts the daughter and asks. The daughter initially denies it, but then comes clean to the mom who then tells the dad. He tries to accept it and not say anything to her, but comes off like he’s mad or judging her. At a subsequent chat with his sister, whose daughter is out of control, the sister tells him that when the kids act like they don’t need you, that they think they’re grown up, that they’ve got everything under control, that that is the time when they need you most and to be there, to fight for them. Dad then shows up for the end of her soccer practice, she goes over and he bandages up her cut elbow and tells her as he finishes putting the bandage on he “just doesn’t ever want to see her get hurt.” Fantastic!

My daughter just turned ten this Monday. While I can hope and pray with all my heart that she waits for marriage before she has sex, I know that’s got to be some astronomical odds these days. My better, more realistic hope is that when she does, she is safe about it, and that she does it because she’s ready and wants to do it –her idea, and not because some ass pressured her into it. Even then, I have no idea how I’ll handle it when I find out… and parents always find out… it’s just a matter of time. I hope by then, and hopefully it’s a long then, her mother and I will have instilled the strength to make her own choices and not let peer pressure influence her.

Her sister is just a year and a half behind her.

I am so not looking forward to the next decade. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. Maybe the “I hate you” and “You’ve ruined my life” moments will be few and far between. I hope so.

The one thing I know for sure… no one has all the right answers all the time when it comes to raising kids. All I can do is love them, be there for them, and make sure they know I love them, and that I’ll always be there when they need me… whether they realize they need me or not.

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2 Responses

  1. I loved this post….welcome to the “real” parenthood. In real life you don’t get to see what is going on behind the action like you do on TV. Good luck!

    • I think there may be many times where I’ll find out what happened and then wish I’d not… those The Matrix “Ignorance is Bliss” moments. 🙂

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