Examples of bad parenting can be found everywhere — most notably, on our favorite television shows. From acting irresponsibly to being downright negligent, here are five parenting mistakes made by fictional moms and dads. TV writers, take note!
Parenting mistake: Crib danger
With a meth-dealing father and an eternally stressed mother, baby Holly White didn’t exactly have a stable home life on Breaking Bad. Yet the one place she was truly in danger was her crib. That’s because Holly’s bed was outfitted with bumpers and she slept in a loose swaddle — both of which pose serious suffocation risks and can lead to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). For example, in this scene from season five, the masked intruder is the least of Holly’s worries.
Parenting mistake: Lack of discipline
In season four of The Cosby Show, Theo and his best friend Cockroach come home late after a school cross-country meet, explaining to parents Cliff and Clair that the team stopped at a restaurant to eat. Clair, an attorney, suspects the boys are lying and stages a mock court trial during which she interrogates them about their whereabouts. When the truth comes out — that the friends were late because they were reprimanded by their coach for bullying an overweight cashier — Clair gives a lecture on lying. Curiously, the feminist mother ignores the fact that her son publicly shamed a woman for her body size. To his credit, Theo volunteers to apologize to the cashier, but Clair missed a major opportunity to teach her son to respect women.
Parenting mistake: Infant neglect
In The Walking Dead’s post-apocalyptic world where people wield machine guns and run from blood-thirsty zombies, baby Judith, the daughter of single father Rick Grimes, gets a raw deal. Born in a prison cell, Judith spends little-to-no time bonding with Rick, who is too busy killing ‘Walkers.’ Sure, Judith is cared for by the rest of the group but babies need secure parental bonds for healthy emotional development. Judith’s lack of nutrition is also a concern — since no one is lactating and there’s no running water to mix baby formula, how does this baby eat?
Parenting mistake: Dangerous driving
On Homeland, Claire Danes’ character Carrie Mathison takes her baby Frannie for a drive to her late father Brody’s house. Carrie straps her daughter into a carseat and carries her to the car, where she positions the infant seat in the front passenger row. Not only should car seats be placed in the middle of the back seat, according to guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics, they must be securely fitted.
Parenting mistake: Letting marital issues affect your kids
In season one of Beverly Hills, 90210, Cindy Walsh becomes smitten with her old high school boyfriend Glen and even kisses him behind husband Jim’s back. Cindy’s brazen flirtation is so obvious to her teenage children Brenda and Brandon, who become worried that their family unit is in danger. The siblings are then tasked with rekindling their parents’ flailing marriage. Ultimately, Jim and Cindy resolve their problems but the emotional damage to their children was done.