Parents' Guide to

Family Ties

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Classic 1980s sitcom's messages still ring true today.

Family Ties Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 10 parent reviews

age 15+

Good, but not as kid-friendly as I remembered

Surprised at the not-subtle sex content in the second episode! I loved this show as a kid, but maybe I was already a teenager when I watched it. I recently borrowed it from the library thinking it would be appropriate for my three elementary school kids. They love watching The Middle and I remembered it to be similarly appealing. Some of the political references go over their heads anyway, but I was really surprised that in the second episode of the first season 17-year old Alex goes out with a college senior and loses his virginity to her! Luckily the words "sex" and "virginity" weren't spoken, and because my kids don't know about all these things it also kind of went over their heads, but I had to have annoyingly loud side-conversations to keep them from hearing all of the words and wondering what was happening. Ultimately they didn't like the show much anyway. Maybe I'll pull it out again in about 10 years, when we can have mature conversations about this kind of thing!
age 9+

This is a great show with very little language or sex

I don't know why people are saying there is so much sex and swearing. The reality is there isn't allot of sex and over 3 seasons, there were only 2 h words.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (10 ):
Kids say (12 ):

This iconic series set trends of its own, finding heartfelt entertainment in the ups and downs of one of TV's most believable TV families. During its seven-year run in the '80s, Family Ties did a lot more than just making it cool to don a calculator watch and tie like Alex. The Keatons were symbols of a new kind of American household, where both parents were successful professionals and shared domestic duties. Despite the Keatons' vastly different views -- which often led to some heated discussions -- the result was a heartwarming family atmosphere where everyone had a voice and loved ones always pulled together in the end.

In addition to common teen woes like dating and applying to college, the series also tackled serious topics like racial tension, alcoholism, drug addiction, and teen pregnancy, so some of the content may be on the mature side for young kids. But through every trial, Steven and Elyse remained positive role models who offered messages of tolerance, respect, and self-awareness -- making this series still an excellent choice for families. If you can look past the shoulder pads and big hair, you'll find timeless stories and positive lessons that resonate today with the same force as they did in the '80s.

TV Details

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