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Parents

Netflix’s 'Stranger Things' Made Me Realize I Am An Excellent Parent

Let them play outside and ride their bikes a little. But not into the scary woods at night! There are limits, people!

Fans of the award-winning Netflix series “Stranger Things” are buzzing with excitement over the announcement that Season Two will be out Oct. 27. I’m a fan, and I’m buzzing. Season one was must-see TV in my house. The show is deliciously suspenseful and has vivid, interesting characters and evocative sets. Best of all? It has some of lousiest parents on television.

I don’t mean like Al Bundy lousy. I’m not just talking crass and broke. I mean like, you let your high school-age daughter go with a friend to a pool party ON A SCHOOL NIGHT to a house WHERE THE PARENTS AREN’T HOME and she is the fifth wheel when the others start pairing off for sex. You do this even though you know a kid in town has recently disappeared under suspicious circumstances. Then you don’t even realize that she never came home until you wake up in the morning and discover she’s not there.

Compared to her, I am the best mom ever.

“Stranger Things” takes place in the 1980s, when parents were more “relaxed.” I was a kid in the 1970s, and I only wish my parents were this checked out. I could have had a lot more fun.

Then again, I could have been abducted by a monster.

As a writer and a mom, I am usually railing against helicopter parents who hover and micromanage their children’s lives. I’m always saying we need to give our kids more independence. Let them play outside and ride their bikes a little.

But not into the scary woods at night! There are limits, people!

Here is some of the astonishing parental behavior displayed on the show:

Kids ride their bikes, everywhere, at all times of the day and night. The parents don’t even ask where they are going, when they are going to be back, or do they have a water bottle with them in case they get thirsty. Unreal.

When police show up at the house asking where the kids are, and the parents have to answer that they don’t know, the parents aren’t even embarrassed.

During a shocking dinner sequence, a mother served her family spaghetti with jarred red sauce and what looked like some kind of vegetables from a can. I don’t think I have to tell you what the sodium count of that meal was.

Without spoiling too much, a kid who needs a place to hide out ends up living in one family’s basement. She sleeps in a little fort under a table and the other kids bring her toaster waffles. This goes on for weeks, and the parents never notice. Doesn’t the mom think it’s weird that there’s blankets draped all over a table? Doesn’t she notice all her waffles are disappearing? She has to go to the basement every few days to do laundry, right? Or is she… NOT DOING laundry? I can’t even think about it.

The same mom let her daughter have a boy over to study (I’m so sure!) and let them go upstairs to the daughter’s bedroom with the door closed. Mmmhmm. She did.

Last but not least, that family’s house is decorated with a lot of velour and orangey brown tones. While not dangerous, this is hardly advisable.

This summer my youngest got his driver’s license, and in the fall we have to start looking at colleges. I can’t wait for season two, because I’m going to need a confidence booster.