Game of Thrones is many things but it is not exactly a model for functional, happy family life.
The foul language, illicit sex, drinking, blood and gore don’t add up to family-friendly viewing.
But maybe it is an ideal show for a parent looking for everything not to do.
We often learn the best lessons by NOT following bad examples.
The War Of The Five Kings is basically just one big dysfunctional family conflict, right?
So, with all of the effed-up family dynamics in that show, there have to be some nuggets of parenting wisdom.
So let’s go over the top parenting tips gleaned from GOT:
1Don’t have kids with your sibling
“If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.” — Ramsay
Weird that we even have to go over this but, even if they are super cute, don’t have kids with your brothers or sister.
Incest has quite a few downsides so let’s discuss:
Genetic defects are the big risk, right? Just take a look at Joffrey.
But, the reality is that no one wants a Dad-Uncle or an Aunt-Mom. The social ramifications are pretty intense. Talk about complicated relationships.
2Don’t stifle your children’s dreams
“Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armour, and it can never be used to hurt you.” — Tyrion
Take notes from Arya about allowing kids to be their own people. She was not cut out to be a lady. She was an assassin at heart and she took her own path.
Though this specific situation had to do with gender expectations, remember that we parents set up unfair expectations all of the time – without meaning to – so try to pay attention to what your kid tells you about their dreams.
3Do not take your eyes off of them!
“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.” — Cersei
You can’t let them out of your sight and, if you do, you need to be ready to face some pretty nasty consequences.
Risks of lack of supervision include:
Taking palaces that don’t belong to them
Heads on spikes
Feces being thrown
You know, the typical long Easter weekend.
4Don’t be complacent – revolt is always possible
“Night gathers, and now my watch begins” — Various members of the Night’s Watch
Plan for it. The tiny little savages that live with you are always testing their limits. Keep your subjects in line but also remember you don’t want poo thrown at you. It is a delicate balance.
The older your kids get, the more you need to be prepared for them to try and snatch your crown and steal your throne. Sleep with one eye open!
5Don’t underestimate the little guys
“A very small man can cast a very large shadow.” – Varys
The truth is that the last thing you ever want to do as a parent is to underestimate your kids. They are listening. They hear your conversations and they are soaking all of it up…. They will eventually turn on you. Be ready.
6Don’t turn your back – allies will suddenly turn on you
“Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick; a shadow on the wall.” — Varys
Forget making friends. There is no time for that. This. is. War. If you are not ready for battle, then you are vulnerable to attack. While this sounds like a joke, it is not. Kids will flip on you in a heartbeat.
Parenting is a tough job which requires making tough decisions and doing stuff to embarrass your kids. You will be the “cool mom” one minute and doors will be slamming the next. That’s just the way it goes. Heavy is the crown…
Game of Thrones may well have some really great parenting wisdom buried deep within its twisted plot.
Kids are heathens, much like many of the characters on the show.
But they are also our responsibility so if we want them to grow up with any sense of right and wrong, it is our job to teach it and model it.