My girls are 8, 7, and 4, and the Brady family recently entered
their life. A few weeks back they watched their first Brady Bunch
episode and they have been hooked ever since.
And it makes me so happy.
The girls usually watch a show together at night, but it's been
an ongoing challenge to find something that is age appropriate and
also relevant and interesting.
The Brady Bunch does not appear to be relevant because of
course, it's outdated (the hairdos, the clothes, and the crazy
puns), but to the girls, the issues are real and dramatic.
Dramatic, as in age appropriate drama (Marcia gets braces! Peter
is trying to find his own personality! Bobby wants to grow!).
Young children don't need the drama of people killing each
other, swearing at each other, or having sex with each other.
Their young brains don't know how to process this kind of
information - they aren't emotionally mature enough to consistently
know the difference between fantasy and reality.
So it's refreshing to watch the girls get nervous and worried
when Kitty Karry-All is missing - it's awesome, age appropriate
And it's great that they get to watch the Brady family solve a
problem (do we use the female doctor or the male doctor?) because
this family listens to each other and they talk it out.
They share their feelings, sometimes even argue, but in that
magical 30 minutes, they always seem to find a great solution (hey,
let's use both of them!).
Sharing feelings and talking things through…how novel!
It's a scripted show so of course, Carol and Mike always have
the perfect thing to say (even though I don't agree with Carol
advising Marcia to drop out of the student council race so Greg
could win….even if Greg did decide to fire his campaign
manager because he suggested starting a rumor about Marcia and that
creep Felix Brown).
But it's not so much about what Carol and Mike "say"; it's that
they deal with things together, they trust each other, they
demonstrate teamwork, and they insist on the family treating each
other with respect.
Watching this show again has shined a light on the things that
have gotten lost - a time when life wasn't so fast paced, when
parents were available to their kids, when kids were busy sewing in
their rooms and starting a singing group rather than texting and
watching you tube videos.
Don't get me wrong, I love my phone and you tube videos - I'm
not interested in going back to 1970's technology. But I wish
there was more awareness around how to use our technology in a
balanced and healthy way.
Instead, we use our technology in place of truly "being" with
For the Brady family, entertainment was about communication,
collaboration, and connection, like having a family sack race or
playing ball (outside of course, because mom always said, well, you
know what she said).
And the kids listened to their parents because they were fair,
kind, and not total idiots (unlike the parents portrayed on most
Yes, Mike and Carol were cheesy, and sometimes a little too
worried (Cindy only had the sniffles), but they actually loved each
other and demonstrated to their children what it means to be in a
loving and committed relationship.
I have to admit that it was a little difficult explaining to the
girls why Alice lived in the house, and they quickly lost interest
as I tried to explain that Alice maintained a sense of continuity
for the boys after their mother died, and breaking that bond wasn't
a good idea (my girls usually stop listening when my therapist hat
My Brady observations are obviously based in nostalgia and
appreciation for simpler days, but to me, the lessons from the show
stand the test of time.
Maybe the reason we all loved the Brady family and why they are
still around today is because they demonstrated something real and
something that is always possible.
A foundation based on connection, communication, and love where
family is first (and remember, the Brady family was a step
family…very modern for that time), and dealing with any issue that
threaten these important bonds is top priority.
It is just a television show, and the reality of our day to day
experiences may not allow us to look or act as put together as the
Brady family, but I still believe we can pull from their
And if you are lucky enough to have the right cable channel or
the DVD set, so can your children.
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.
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