Parents' Guide to

Growing Pains

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

'80s favorite offers laughs and life lessons.

Growing Pains Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 7+

Hope from a sitcom

This show is one of the best sitcoms in the 80s it had a lot of common sense knowledge that they did when they sat down with her kids on the show and gave them the facts of life and things that go on in the world the father and the son were able to show love to one another and the family was positive and very influential. I give this a 100% positivity level type show
age 10+

Artistic quality not too memorable, but good morals.

While the subject matter makes this show inappropriate for younger children, it's a fine choice for older children, as even the episodes that deal with such things as drug use- as well as the other episodes in the series- are done tastefully and take what most parents (and other adults) would consider to be the moral high ground. Life lessons are taught and taught well. The parents always have plenty of time for their children. Carol, the middle child, is a bit of a goody two-shoes, but not excessively so. Younger son Ben, and especially older son Mike, are troublemakers, but not excessively so, and by episode's end they always see the error of their ways. Mike also changed- for the better- when he met Kate, whom he eventually married, showing young viewers that people sometimes do change when they meet the right man or woman. The only word of caution that I'd have is regarding Mike. That caution is that, even though he is a below average student, he does well in school when he really tries, and ends up going to college. In and of itself that is a good thing, but it could be a letdown for kids who just don't do well in school no matter how hard they try. On tv everyone who tries hard and really studies does well in school. In real life that's generally true, but for some students it isn't. In other words, in real life there are some kids who just don't do well in school no matter how hard they try. On tv you'd be hard-pressed to find such a kid. That could be a big disappointment for such children, especially if they don't know of any other kids in real life who just don't do well in school no matter how hard they try.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (3 ):

Though Growing Pains is a typical sitcom in many ways -- most obviously in the ability to solve problems in less than 30 minutes -- its comedy roots didn't stop it from addressing some emotional issues that are still relevant today, including bigotry, sexism, women balancing careers and family, loved ones' death, and teen drug and alcohol use. Through it all, strong messages about responsibility, self-respect, accepting others, and making good decisions come through thanks to the strong parental role models who invite communication and open relationships with their kids. While very young viewers won't be able to grasp the storylines, this is a great series to share with older kids, tweens, and young teens, who may end up liking it so much -- despite the cheesy '80s clothes and hair -- that they won't realize the life lessons they're picking up along the way.

TV Details

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