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Television and Family Morals

Updated on August 27, 2010

Father Knows Best

When you watch some sitcom families, are you disappointed in your own?

Growing up, my mother would tell people, “Well, I got the order right, but they are all wrong.” She was referring to her dream of having her family be just as the family portrayed on the ‘Father Knows Best’ show. My father, siblings and I knew that her perception on this “family” was beyond grasp, but I know she felt disappointment.

As for myself? Yes, I do feel some disappointment when I watch a unrealistically happy mother and father and their children who are ideal in every way. Just because it is so very important to me that my children have family values and I raise them in a way that gives them self-worth and self-acceptance. However, I feel shows like ’Roseanne’ changed the way traditional families were viewed. Both parents had to work, the children were less than perfect and they lived at poverty level.

Dysfunctional Sitcom Families

I remember watching ’One Day at a Time', when I was young. That sitcom and family structure made me realize that families are not as perfect as they may want them to seem. Because of shows like Roseanne and One Day at a Time, it is not taboo to be a single mother, have disobeying children and not be 'perfect' as the sitcoms once tried to portray the ideal family. The the non-traditional family is much more accepted. I am not married, mother of two, work two jobs and attend school. What is funny is no one blinks an eye anymore.

Good? I don’t know. I strongly believe that the way media and sitcoms have changed; our morals have changed with them. Never in my life would I think drugs, sex and violence would be so readily available for our viewing, but they are. Test it, watch one program on Prime-time Television and tell me there is no violence, sexual suggestions or crude language. If you are lucky, you will only have to experience one. But that is unlikely.  

Have Times Changed?

It seems that a lot of people refer to the good ole days. But it seems that quite possibly the good ole days were less than good. Did you know that there were more teen pregnancies in the 1950’s than today? They were “excused” or “covered” by shotgun weddings. Also,incest, abuse and gay bashing wasn’t heard of in the 1970’s and today you cannot turn on the news without hearing about it.

Society kept families in loveless marriages bonded by the children that created this vow. Abuse and rape kept quiet because it wasn’t acceptable to tell your dirty secrets. I feel that the way society and our population view and live their relationships are changing, but it is hard to say if for the better.

Marriage used to be forever. Vows in front of God meant something. They were to be respected and honored. I feel that marriage is to easy to get out of and people jump into it far to quickly, they jump out just as quick. Again, I feel that this is due to our upbringing and overall morals. My grandmother was shamed for divorcing, my mother was praised. What does that say about our generations and how the way marriage is viewed has changed.

Natural or Myth

I do not feel that marriage and family is the natural thing to do. I feel this would be very dysfunctional to anyone forced to do it as being what is expected of them. There are many women who are better off NOT having children. It is the most unnatural thing they could do! Susan Smith who killed her boys, was it natural for her to watch them drown? Was that part of her motherly instinct?

As for a self sufficient family? I have never met one. My mother borrowed money from hers and I borrow from mine. What is the one thing newlyweds want for a gift? MONEY. No excuse, but my generation keeps up with the Jones’s which also causes me to be in debt with them. The myth of self sufficiency can be dysfunctional due to under realization of your means. Anything that causes a negative becomes dysfunction therefore I feel all the myths are within this realm.

Todays Family

Todays sitcom family is anything from married with 2.5 children and the white picket fence to single and struggling with numerous arguments among them. Whichever they are, they will and do influence the morals and actions of the families today.   

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