TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Parenthood TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Quality drama charts the pros, cons of family togetherness.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 11 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The central message is that compassion within a strong extended family is important -- even if individual members don't always measure up to expectations. Some teens make bad choices but negative behaviors always have consequences. Storylines consistently show family members socializing and communicating with each other. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most characters are flawed in at least some way, but to varying degrees, and their virtues often outweigh their vices; a few characters are meant to be "screw ups."


Some run-of-the-mill arguing, pushing -- and even bleeding -- when kids get into arguments or get injured, etc.


Some adult characters have sex with people outside of a committed relationship, and a few married characters admit to extramarital affairs. Teen characters consider becoming sexually active. No nudity, but some scenes imply sex has just taken place with bare shoulders peeking out of bedclothes, etc. Some lingerie shots.


Some mild swearing like "ass," "hell," "butt," and "motherfreakin'," etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Two teen characters are arrested for smoking marijuana, and a teen smokes cigarettes; another is 19 and in Alcoholics Anonymous; he’s working toward permanent sobriety. When teens drink underage, there are consequences. Adult characters also drink alcohol socially (and sometimes to excess) and, in at least one scene get high by accident.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Parenthood concerns a large extended family -- including grandparents and some young children -- but the focus tends to be on the problems of adult characters in their 30s. Kids are central to the plot, but that doesn't mean it's appropriate for them to watch; it's a better choice for teens and their parents to watch together so that parents can make sure positive messages hit home. Things to look out for include some implied sex and sexual situations; mild swearing (think "ass," "hell," and "motherfrickin'"); and teen characters who experiment with drugs, sex, and other forms of rebellion.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 2 and 11-year-old Written byNickyhi81 August 7, 2019

Real stuff

Love it. Another series that teaches real life struggles and lessons as well as coping with them positively.
Adult Written bycassielassie29 June 10, 2019

Family is important

I thought the show was great! It does include some drug use and has scenes of people having sex.
The show had some great messages though. I felt like parenthood... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byashleyshockley April 13, 2017

Good for teens

This show is a very well written TV show. I've been wanting to watch it since my mom was watching it and I want allowed to. Now that i'm 14 i'm a... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byashleyshockley April 13, 2017

Good for teens

This show is a very well written TV show. I've been wanting to watch it since my mom was watching it and I want allowed to. Now that i'm 14 i'm a... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on the 1989 film of the same name, PARENTHOOD concerns the day-to-day dramas of the sprawling Braverman family, centering on the spawn of patriarch Zeke (Craig T. Nelson) and matriarch Camille (Bonnie Bedelia). Because married oldest son Adam (Peter Krause) seems to have it all together, he often serves as the de facto "Mr. Fix-It" for his three younger siblings: single mom Sarah (Lauren Graham), free-spirited Crosby (Dax Shepard) and workaholic Julia (Erika Christensen). But every now and then, even Adam needs a little parental guidance. In the midst of these thirtysomethings' various dramas are the kids they're raising, including a young boy with Asperger's syndrome and brooding teens.

Is it any good?

This isn't the first time someone tried to make Ron Howard's acclaimed family dramedy into a television series, but this incarnation of the franchise is a series with real staying power. (Another version aired under the same title in 1990 but was promptly canceled due to low ratings, despite the presence of promising young stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Thora Birch.)

Because Howard and longtime producing partner Brian Grazer are at the helm, Parenthood seems to be getting the care and feeding it deserves -- and the cast is peppered with proven performers who can deliver the goods.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Parenthood's portrayal of family life and whether or not it's realistic. Does the show glamorize aspects of family togetherness, etc.? How does this family compare to yours and other families you know?

  • Most of the focus is on adult characters, but kids play a big part in the story, too. Would you consider this series a "family show," or is it better left to moms and dads? Which of the younger characters, if any, do you relate do?

  • What central message is the show sending about parenting in general? Can a person be flawed and still be a good parent? Is there such a thing as an "ideal" family?

  • How do the characters in Parenthood demonstrate compassion and communication? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Character Strengths

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