Still remember the Camdens in 7th Heaven, the Sheffields in The Nanny, the Matthews in Boy Meets World, and the Tanners in Full House? We thought so. They may have had corny opening sequences (at least, that’s what you say now), but you have to admit that they (and many other ‘90s shows) certainly kept a lot of families, including your own, entertained.
But other than the running gags, perhaps we liked these shows because they were actually relatable. We wouldn’t be surprised if your parents mentally took down notes, too! In fact, here are just some of the lessons you could learn from these ‘90s shows.
1. There is more than one way to make a point.
Corporal punishment might have been the law back in the day, but The Nanny showed that there are different ways to make sure a message hits home. When Brighton, Maxwell Sheffield’s only son, was caught smoking in school, Fran and Mr. Sheffield had to make sure that he wouldn’t do it again. Their solution: take him to Grandma Yetta. Seeing Fran’s smoking grandmother in such an unappealing state and then being ushered off to see Ethel, a poor old lady whose smoking habit has turned her into “phlegm in a hairnet” was more than enough to put Brighton off the habit for good.
2. The middle child syndrome is real.
You may love all your kids equally, but they won’t always see it that way. Your middle child, in particular, could feel a bit neglected. It's called the middle child syndrome, and it's real. Case in point: Boy Meets World. When Cory felt that his parents were paying more attention to his older brother and younger sister, he comes to the conclusion that he is nothing but a second-rate member of the family. His parents Amy and Alan Matthews immediately fix the situation by going out of their way to watch a basketball game he was only benching in—a grand gesture that made Cory realize that he's just as loved.
3. Sometimes, the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.
When Mary Camden started spiraling downward, Anne and Eric did the only thing they thought would keep their daughter from hitting rock bottom. They sent her off to live with her grandparents in Buffalo, which Mary naturally didn’t take too well. But Anne, who normally plays good cop, is as cold as steel when she tells Mary all the things that she would have to do to get her act back together. Eric is just as devastated, but sometimes, parents have to risk their children’s wrath to do what’s best for them. As Anne says at the end of the scene, “It’s better to have an angry kid than a dead kid.”
4. Puberty and insecurity almost always go hand-in-hand.
There will come a time when your kids will start feeling insecure about the way they look. Some of them, like DJ in Full House, might even develop an eating disorder. There are several ways to tackle this kind of situation, but poking fun at your children because of their weight or constantly berating them for not working out isn't one of them. Instead, have a heart-to-heart talk with your kids. Make them understand that we all come in different shapes and sizes and at the end of the day, our perception of ourselves is more important than other people's opinions.
(Opener by Daniel Go via Flickr Creative Commons 1. Screencap from The Nanny courtesy of TriStar Television 2. Screencap from Boy Meets World courtesy of ABC 3. Screencap from 7th Heaven courtesy of The WB Television Network 4. Screencap from Full House courtesy of Warner Bros. Television)