There are some things that movies from the 1990s got terribly wrong, but at least they're good for a laugh in retrospect. For instance, according to the world of Demolition Man, by 1996, the vast majority of citizens in California were living in a dystopian wasteland ruled by gangs and the worst criminals were sent to a cryogenic prison. Clearly you can chuckle about historical inaccuracies, yet the number of things '90s movies got so wrong about raising kids is fairly ridiculous.
Of course in another couple of decades, I'm sure people will look back on the beginning of the 21st century and scoff, but that's just how the cruel mistress of time works. Everyone is an expert in retrospect and how to raise a child will forever be hotly debated by all.
Your particular parenting style has probably received its fair share of scrutiny, but just think about how intense the magnifying glass can be on the stereotypes of parenthood created by films. In a way, the '90s were a simpler time on the parenting front. People weren't really all that worried about if their kids ate organic or not and social networking sites hadn't taken over yet. So check out these things movies from the '90s totally got wrong about raising kids.
1. Forgetting Your Child Isn't Funny
Oh, the McCallister family. They're a large group of people getting ready for the vacation of a lifetime and they only forgot one minor detail: their son. In Home Alone, when you forget your child while you and the rest of your family are going on an international flight, it's an opportunity for humorous hijinks. In real life, I'm pretty sure the Department of Child Services would be called and criminals wouldn't be easily stumped by a minor.
2. Violating Custody Agreements Is A Big Deal
In the classic film, Mrs. Doubtfire, the lovable Robin Williams finds a way to skirt around the judge's ruling that granted his wife full custody of their children. Dressing up as Mrs. Doubtfire, he gains free access to his former home and family under the guise of being their nanny. I'm pretty sure the courts wouldn't take too kindly to this ruse in real life and the kids would probably need therapy after such a confusing and deceitful ordeal.
3. Labs Aren't Suitable Vacation Spots
Who wouldn't want to have an eccentric, fun millionaire as a grandfather? The grandchildren of John Hammond probably thought they were in for the adventure of a lifetime when he invited them to the lab-meets-experiment better known as Jurassic Park. As the audience learned, human children and violent dinosaurs don't and shouldn't mix.
4. Verifying Your Sitter's Credentials Is Vital
You remember that time it was totally chill to run off to Australia with your boyfriend for two months and leave your five children with a sitter whose background, qualifications, and health you failed to check? Well, in Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead, this is premise isn't at all weird, yet I'm fairly confident you'd be questioned as a parent if your kids stuffed a dead body in a trunk and stole a car while you were overseas living it up.
5. Verifying Your Photographer's Credentials
In A Baby's Day Out, a wealthy family is so super focused on getting their baby's portrait taken for the newspaper that they fail to notice the photographers are actually kidnappers. Only in films is it hilarious for an infant to crawl through traffic, explore a construction site, and wander out a window. Lesson learned? Don't entrust your children to anyone you haven't vetted yet.
6. Don't Split The Difference With Your Kids
You know how it's normal to get divorced and then you and your ex split up your twins and take one each? And remember how it's believable that you wouldn't notice you got a different daughter back after her time away at summer camp? I mean, being laid back is one thing, but the parenting style exhibited in The Parent Trap seems casual to a fault.
7. Labs & Kids Don't Mix
If you didn't learn your lesson from Jurassic Park, perhaps Honey, I Shrunk The Kids will really drive the point home that you should really keep kids out of scientifically risky areas. Also, try not to let your excitement over your experiment working overshadow your concern for your child's safety.
8. Don't Ignore Your Kid's Concerns
Sure, teenagers can be really intense and moody and sometimes they hang out with the wrong crowd or you suspect alcohol was involved. But the next time your kid tries to tell you that his school is being taken over by aliens, you better listen or else you'll face the same fate as the dismissive parents in The Faculty. So if your child is freaking out about extraterrestrials, to quote the brilliant Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, "I'm not saying it's aliens, but it's aliens."
9. Creepy Schools Aren't The Answer
Perhaps one of the worst instances of parenting from a 1990's film is seen in Matilda. Rather than embracing their daughter's intellect, thirst for knowledge, and unique gifts, they neglect, berate, and send her off to a school with an equally awful tyrant of a principal. Raising kids can be confusing and difficult, but punishing them for being different is clearly not the solution.