All I Need to Know About Parenting I Learned From 'The Brady Bunch'

by Nicole Johnson
Originally Published: 

Now, as a parent re-watching the Bradys with my children, I wish to be a bit more “Brady” in my own parenting. Here are a few takeaways from my recent time watching one of sitcom television’s golden families.

Problem Resolution (Employ One of the Following)

Call a family meeting: preferably held in a wood-paneled den, and make sure all are in attendance.

The Turn the Table Technique: This method allows for the family to show the misbehaved child what the others feel and see by having all the other kids behave in exactly the same way (aka The Taste of Your Own Medicine Technique). In the 1980s, another popular sitcom family would embrace this same tactic. Cosby family, we’re on to you.

Profanity (and Other Vulgar Words)

Cussing is never OK. Even seemingly harmless words like “stinker” begin to sound like expletives if said in just the right tone. If such bombs are dropped, immediately roll eyes, tilt head, lean against counter or nearest immovable object, and reprimand offending child by saying something like, “Oh, insert child’s name here.”

The Speech (Not Just an Effective Communication Tool for Politicians)

If the problem-solving techniques in step one don’t work, it may be necessary to break out the big guns—the long-winded, semi-nonsensical, somewhat coherent but bound-to-go-off-topic monologue, to be delivered by the head of the household (the father—while the mother looks on and nods periodically while appearing overly interested). These sorts of speeches go something like, “Bobby, if you judge a quitter who never wins, then you will never quit judging and really will never win.” Just remember: Make it epic!

A Little Lovin’ Never Hurt Anybody (Yes, the Brady Mama and Papa Were Affectionate)

Mike and Carol like to have alone time, but grab it where and when they can: in the kitchen while pouring the morning coffee, in the home office at lunch while “discussing the kids,” and at bedtime during some late night “reading.” Do like the Bradys and keep the home fires burning. A little name-calling doesn’t hurt either, “Mister Brady.” Mrs. Brady, you dirty girl!

Stay on Top of the Latest Hairstyles (and Change Them Often)

You might think this would apply to moms only, but you’d be wrong. Take a tip from the Brady girls, who—whether they’re going perm or flip, parted down the middle, or pigtails—always know that a family that looks good, looks great.

Make the Most of Your Space (Even if You Have What Seems to Be an Enormous Home)

If you’ve ever watched the Bradys, I think you’ll agree that not only was Mike a fab architect, but they knew how to utilize space well before it became trendy. Six kids shared two bedrooms and one bath. Think bunk beds and cute twins. Out of all the Bradys’ parenting wins, I marvel most at this one. The kids always get along, even in small, enclosed sleeping quarters—minus the occasional quibble over the bathroom. The Bradys never really fight.

Thank you Brady family for teaching me some new techniques—a few more tricks to add to my repertoire. Obviously, you’ve done a great job and raised some really groovy kids! An obstetrician, a racecar-driver-turned-businessman and an architect, just to name a few. Carol, Mike, I bow to you. Well done, Bradys, well done! Now go grab a cup of coffee and ask Alice to cook up some breakfast.

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