The essence of family and familial relationships is very rightly captured in Modern Family. In the quaint, yet relatable picture portrayed by this ABC show, three families struggle with everyday decisions and problems of parenting. These half-hour shows are filled with hearty laughter and, believe it or a not, a number of valuable lessons about your family and beyond.
Claire Dunphy is a mother of three- Haley, Alex and Luke. Her husband, Phil Dunphy, is a real estate agent. Claire’s father is Jay Pritchett who is married to a young Gloria (his second marriage). Gloria has a son, Manny, form her previous marriage, who is too wise for his age. Jay has a son, Mitchell who lives with his life partner Cam. They have adopted an Asian daughter, Lily.
- Blood is thicker than water
No matter what happens, your relationship between you and your family will always be the strongest bond that you will make in life. Family has a power to pull you to them every time. Even though some families may be complicated or may not work like a perfect family should, but when it comes down to it, you would still want to be associated with them rather than not. The Dunphy and Pritchett families are not perfect. Jay and old-timer is finds it hard to accept his gay son. Gloria cannot get her son to behave like kids his age should. Haley is beyond her mother’s control. Alex feels that she is stuck in a family where she is the only intelligent one and she is not understood by anyone. Phil has not been able to get Jay’s complete acceptance and love yet.
- Be a parent, not a friend
Phil has always been the favourite parent for his three children and he prides himself at this and boasts that he is their friend and that is why they listen. Claire, on the other hand, is tough on her children and gets what she wants by strict disciplinarian measures. Sick of being stuck in the same roles, Phil and Claire decide to switch. Phil decides to stay at home and make Haley and Alex do their chores and homework. He tries his patented method of being a friend which of course fails. At the end, being strict like any other parent gets work out of them. So, no matter how much it eats you up from the inside, you need to be strict with your kids so that they do something with their lives. Being their friend will give them the freedom to over ride you whenever they want and soon enough they will be bunking school or dating the wrong guy and falling into all sorts of trouble.
- Complement your partner in stressful situations
Phil and Claire do this wonderfully well. When their eldest daughter Haley gets arrested for underage drinking and assaulting an officer, Claire is extremely furious. At this point Phil retains his calm and they both set out to fetch Haley from her college. When Haley still shows no remorse for actions and is kicked out of college, Phil’s temper rises. Claire gently steps aside, controls her own frustration and lets Phil take the lead. Such a synchronous relationship works better than both getting furious at the same time. If both of them got serious, there will be no one to act rationally or control one another.
- Don’t force your aspirations on your kids
Parents often do this and end up with children who are deeply resentful of their actions. Allow children to develop their own interests. It is fine if their interests and ambitions are polar opposites of what yours were. If you force them down a path that they do not like, they are going to resist it and spoil their own lives instead. We see this happening in Modern Family, when Phil forces his hopes of becoming a great magician onto his son Luke. Luke who displays a knack for magic and incredible talent too, does not want to become a magician. Phil cannot understand why his son does not want to pursue it even though he is so good at it. After a hurtful face-off, Phil is confronted with the truth and he realizes that he should let his son choose his own field of interest.
- Families work on a delicate balance
Every family is unique and after years of living together they have become so used to each other that sending a member away for some time can shake the hold household. The producers of Modern Family have shown this phenomenon very well. When Haley goes off to college, Alex is left without an elder sister at home. They used to be bitter to each other all the time when they were at home so you would think that Haley’s going to college will be a relief for Alex. But Alex develops a new habit of picking fights with her Mom. Claire finally realizes the cause of this bitterness. Alex is missing Haley. Their fights were a norm for both of them and currently she feels incomplete without that part of her life. Claire finally figures a way out. She lets them chat on video for some time every day so that this delicate balance in her household is maintained.