One of my favorite television shows is Scandal. Although the popular drama is known for it’s high paced action, there are many lessons to be learned about parenting (mainly, what NOT to do, lol)
1. Never Put Down the Other Parent
Olivia’s father never shared with her the devious things her mother did, and he could have. One Sunday during their family dinners when she was an adult he could have told her all about her mother in order to get her to draw closer to him and sympathize with why he sent her to boarding school. There was one scene where he did let a little clue out, and said: “Its funny you think you are great because of your mother instead of in spite of her.” But he kept it at that and didn’t go into details as to shame the mother for having a fake marriage and being a terrorist. It wasn’t until Maya Pope, broke out of prison that Olivia found out who her mother really was. At that time she was allowed to come to her own conclusion about her mother’s morals and character.
Whether we are married or single, we may have issues with our child’s other parent. Do not allow any negative feelings about the other parent to overflow to your children. Allow your children to come to their own conclusions about both of their parents without any negative influence from you. Do not force them to take sides, even if you think you are right. They will thank you for it later.
When Maya Pope joined Olivia and her father for dinner, they both drew knives on each other. The look on Olivia’s face was devastating. Every child wants their parents to get along, what does it do to someone to see their parents want to murder each other?
The average family may not be ready to pull out the knives on each other but sometimes our words can act as weapons. When parents argue it is best to keep your children from seeing it. Kim, wrote an excellent article about this topic back in March, check it out.
3. Style and Fashion
Sometimes in the business of motherhood, moms forget to keep up with their style. I know for me, I shop so much more for my girls than I do for myself. Looking at how Olivia has definitely inherited her stylish coats, and general sense of fashion from her mother makes me think twice. I think it’s time for mama to go shopping!
4. These Three Words
Remember that scene when Olivia was a little girl and her mom said “I love you” as she was leaving? Olivia replied, “I know.” Liv always remains a little bit emotionally reserved, with family and friends. Teach you children to say those three words, and embrace love.
5. Child’s Choice vs. Following
I remember when I first saw the scene when “Hell and High-water” aka Papa Pope told Olivia to get on that plane.
When she walked away, my immediate response was, Papa Pope ain’t that tough if Olivia walked away from him. I thought, he lost. However as we learned in the last few minutes of season 3, Papa Pope got exactly everything he wanted, including Olivia getting on the plane. But, this time it was Olivia that was requesting the plane. Now I am not saying that getting on the plane is the right thing for Olivia to do, we wont have a show without her running OPA (Olivia Pope and Associates). Yet, what I did get from this story line is that, sometimes your children may walk away from you when you are trying to direct them. That is not necessarily a parenting fail. Sometimes it is better to set things up in their lives so that they choose the right thing rather than blindly follow a parents directions. Yes there are times where we want them to follow our directions, just because. There are many times when because I said so is valid. But for many of life’s circumstances, children have to choose to do right on their own.
In Jill Scott’s song, Petition, she mentions something that many parents feel, “ I want my child to be smarter than me.” Papa Pope, although absent from Olivia’s life, made sure she went to the best schools, and had the best opportunities that he could provide for her. Always have high expectations for your children and provide the best opportunities for them to thrive in.
We always want to let our children know that even the sky is not the limit. Yet there are some harsh realities that we have to let them be aware of. The “twice as good” speech Papa Pope gave to Olivia is all too familiar in the Black community.
8. Scheduled Consistency
In an attempt to get closer to his daughter, Papa Pope kept one day a week to connect with Olivia. This was his way of trying to rekindle their relationship. Sunday dinners helped Olivia form a relationship with her father. Whether your are apart or close with your children, children benefit from routines. Consistency is good, and it was something they could come back to even after they stopped for a while.
Teach your children that their future isn’t just about a career, we must always enjoy life. When Mama Pope was talking with Olivia about how she imagined Olivia’s life to be full of laughter, that set in for Liv. Although Mama Pope spent many years in prison away from her daughter, her mother could see in just a few minutes that she was a very successful unhappy woman.
Mama Pope knew exactly what she was doing to Liv when she called her the “help.” Her parents are master manipulators. Yet, what I take from this scene is, even when your children may think they hate you, or be utterly angry or mad at you, what you say to them can still have a profound impact. Always choose your words wisely. Even at the end of the episode Olivia is asking Cyrus, are we the help? That comment sunk in very deep for Liv.
How awkward was the family dinner at Fitzgerald home? When Fitz asked his daughter about the play she was in but called it the wrong name, his daughter gave him the coldest look. His children were not feeling his fake attempt to know about their lives. Children are not dumb. Know what is going on in their lives and not on a superficial level.
12. Teach Your Children to Say NO to Strangers
I remember screaming NOOOOOOO at the screen when I saw Charlie and Quinn kidnapping that poor little boy in the episode titled “Ride Sally Ride.” Why was it that easy? I kept thinking, why didn’t the kid run? This made me think. I need to make sure I instill very strongly in my children a protocol for what to do in the event a stranger wants to pick them up from school.
Mommies, do you watch Scandal? Would you add any lessons to the list? Are there any other shows that you watch and see parenting applications? Please share
Angele is a wife to a wonderful creative husband, mother to two beautiful intelligent daughters and a lover of art, education and laughter. She is the creator and author of ABC remix.