One of my (and my 13-year-old daughter’s) favorite shows is ‘Parenthood,’ which airs Tuesday at 10 p.m. on NBC. It just seems like a true-to-life show, in that many of the stories and characters seem real – more real, in fact, than some reality shows that feature parents, kids and families.
A current storyline has 16-year-old Haddie (played by the most excellent Sarah Ramos) falling for Alex (Michael B. Jordan), a 19-year-old black guy who works at the soup kitchen where Haddie volunteers.
Alex is a stand-up guy for a lot of reasons. For one thing, he’s a recovering alcoholic who’s doing well in Alcoholics Anonymous. He also emancipated himself out of a bad childhood and has been living on his own since he was 16.
But most of all, Alex is straightforward and honest, both with himself and others. So when Haddie’s parents, Adam and Kristina, told her she couldn’t see him anymore, Alex went to Adam’s office and said he didn’t know she’d been sneaking around behind their backs. If he had, he never would have pursued the relationship.
As a mom of two teenagers, I’ve been thinking about how I would have handled this. Yes, I get that Alex has some heavy issues to deal with and that connecting with Haddie might be a little overwhelming for her.
On the other hand, Haddie is a really thoughtful, intelligent girl who knows the difference between right and wrong. If I was her mom, I think I would have recognized this and told her to go ahead with the relationship, but to proceed with caution. Because, as this week’s episode revealed, if you tell a 16-year-old that she can’t do something, she’ll want to do it even more. Especially if it involves a boy.
And look, Alex isn’t a “bad boy.” He’s a good, upstanding citizen who’s putting himself out there to help the community and people in need. Now that I think about it, that’s exactly the kind of person parents should want their kids to get involved with. Right?
What do you think? Did Adam and Kristina make the wrong decision in telling Haddie she couldn’t see Alex? As a parent, what would you do in that situation?