The Cosby Show and Parenting

   Growing up I loved to watch reruns of the Cosby Show: it was funny, they were a black family, the parents were very affectionate, the kids were happy, and they were safe and wholesome. It was a break from Xena Warrior Princess (one of my favorite shows of all time), and Lizzie McGuire (another one of my favorite shows of all time), because the family was a black family who were doing well financially and emotionally. Unlike, the reality of the black families that I knew in my early adolescent years, the father, Cliff, was not in and out of jail, there was no Maury Show, style drama, and the parents were well educated and respected professionals who stressed the importance of education to their children. At the time it made sense to think that the fictional family was perfect.

     Now in my college years I still the see the family as a good example of a black family in some ways, but of course it has its faults and in some situations of the show the scenarios were unrealistic. However, the parenting style of Cliff and Claire, are very notable. In fact, I earned my very first “A” on a psychology research paper, for writing about their parenting style, which is called “authoritative” in psychological terms. Authoritative parenting is a style that is high in attentiveness, affection, and love for the children are well as being fair in discipline, and having high expectations. Both Claire and Cliff, are portrayed as very affectionate to their children and they discipline them when it is needed.  Unlike some other shows of black families, for example the Bernie Mac Show, Cliff and Claire do not carry around screaming at the children, do not threaten them with physical harm, and lavish them all with equal affection as well as having high expectations for their educational and moral success. I really appreciate how the Cosby Show, portrays a black family in a positive and non-aggressive light. 


1 Comment

  1. Families dynamics are very unique. I think it is interesting that you brought what you learned in psychology into the conversation because it supports your argument. I never knew that “authoritative” is a style of parenting. This is something I see in a a lot of parenting but in my family, I would have to say that I see less of “authoritative” Maybe, perhaps its a cultural thing? I’m not sure but it was nice to read and learn something new. Thanks for sharing.

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