As Mad Men‘s tumultuous 7 season run comes to an end, the slithery booze hounds of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (or whatever it winds up being called) haven’t just devolved — their broods have grown from small children to nearly-grown people-ish things. The fact that any of these kids survived the 60s is amazing, considering just how uniformly bad the parenting has been throughout the show. Here are 9 times a Mad Men character pulled a parenting move that would get them committed today, plus a humble suggestion on how you might handle the same situation differently.
Betty Catches Sally Smoking
Parenting Move: She locks her in a closet.
What You Should Do Instead: First, if you’re going to be a tobacco chimney like Betty, maybe try not to do it in front of your kids. Second, if you ever find your pre-teen huffing one of Great Aunt Esther’s Virginia Slims, just point out that Great Aunt Esther making it to 70 isn’t so awesome when she looks like she’s 97.
Pete Campbell’s Kid Doesn’t Get Accepted To Prep School
Parenting Move: He pops the guy with a skinny-armed right hook.
What You Should Do Instead: Calmly tell the headmaster of the school you’re secretly relieved you don’t have to pay for that he’ll be sorry someday when your kid becomes a moderately successful middle manager with a family of his own and an off-season vacation timeshare in Boca Raton.
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Sally Uses A Plastic Dry Cleaning Bag As An Astronaut Costume
Parenting Move: Betty freaks out because Sally dumped the fresh dry cleaning on the floor.
What You Should Do Instead: Considering that suffocation-by-dry-cleaning-bag is at the top of the Stupid Ways For Your Kid To Suffocate pyramid, maybe start buying wrinkle-free clothes so you can stop wasting money on a wrinkle-removing options that come complete with their own death trap. Or, you know, put the dry cleaning in your closet.
Roger’s Daughter Tries To Get Him To Pay Attention To Her
Parenting Move: He’s too busy having affairs, to he tries so buy her affection instead.
What You Should Do Instead: Create a loving home that involves both parents being present and engaged with the kids. Bribery should only be used when trying to save face in a nice restaurant as your 4-year-old is veering toward a “But broccoli is stupid!” meltdown.
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Sally Develops A Crush On Her Neighbor, Glen
Parenting Move: Betty pseudo-seduces him.
What You Should Do Instead: Avoid letting your kids get involved with any friend named Glen. Glen’s are almost always up to no good.
Sally Walks In On Don Cheating On her Stepmother With The Mother Of Her Crush
Parenting Move: He tries to talk to her before even dismounting, let alone pulling his pants up.
What You Should Do Instead: Don’t cheat on your secretary-turned-nanny-turned-second-wife with the hot-but-damaged neighbor you keep bumping into in the elevator.
Sally Gives Herself A DIY Haircut
Parenting Move: Betty slaps her silly.
What You Should Do Instead: Hide all scissors in your home so, if your kid is compelled to give themselves a hair cut they’ll be forced to use a dull butter knife and ultimately give up. Also, don’t slap them.
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A Teenage Sally Starts Sort Of Smoking For Real
Parenting Move: Betty decides, if Sally’s going to smoke, they may as well do it together and lights up a pair of heaters.
What You Should Do Instead: If you discover that your kids are smoking, don’t attempt to curb their behavior by offering to smoke with them. It’s been clinically proven to not reduce smoking.
While At A Sleepover, Sally Gets Caught Masturbating
Parenting Move: Betty threatens to cut off her fingers.
What You Should Do Instead: Tell them it’s perfectly normal, but they’re not allowed to do it at other people’s houses and they should wash their hands really, really well before dinner.
Don Has To Build A Backyard Playhouse For The Kids
Parenting Move: He gets hammered while doing it.
What You Should Do Instead: Actually, nothing. This is exactly how to cope with the hell of assembling a complex children’s toy.