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July 11, 2014

What does ‘The Americans’ tell us about parenting

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canada goose coats Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings, left, Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings and Holly Taylor as Paige Jennings in “The Americans.” (Patrick Harbron/FX) canada goose coats

canada goose uk black friday There’s a scene about halfway through canada goose womens outlet the final season of “The Americans,” FX’s drama about married with kids Soviet superspies living undercover as an American family during the Reagan years, that I can’t canada goose outlet jackets stop thinking about. citizen who has recently been recruited into the spy fold. canada goose uk black friday

canada goose factory sale He tries to talk to Paige about how canada goose outlet uk fake her sparring skills she recently drew attention to herself during a bar fight may make her feel powerful, but it’s clear he wants to warn her about getting overconfident. Like most parents, he gets the brush off. Then: canada goose outlet michigan canada goose factory sale

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canada goose clearance “Oh, there aren’t really pads in the real world,” Philip (played by Matthew Rhys) says acidly, and it’s not clear what he’s more frustrated about the fact that she doesn’t respect his decades of experience as a secret agent, or the fact that, like any kid, she seems to think she knows more than her dad. canada goose clearance

Canada Goose Parka So she comes at him, and he puts her in a chokehold, again and again. When he’s made his point, he picks up his coat and says “not bad” quietly as he walks out the door. Canada Goose Parka

cheap canada goose uk The scene is almost physically uncomfortable to watch, taking a parenting dynamic that would be a cliche in another TV show and turning it on its head. Philip wants to show his canada goose victoria parka outlet daughter that her fighting skills while impressive in dealing with handsy guys at the pool hall are no match for a trained operative. It’s painful and humiliating for her, but is it a necessary humiliation? After all, he wants her to stay alive. cheap canada goose uk

buy canada goose jacket And here we get to the heart of “The Americans,” a spy show that feels more like a sleeper drama about the most searing agonies of parenting, canada goose parka outlet uk marriage and family identity. buy canada goose jacket

Canada Goose Outlet Through all of its six seasons examining the life of Soviet canada goose outlet hong kong agents Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings, “The Americans” has asked what it means to live and raise your kids in a culture you’ve been brought up since birth to despise. But more than that, ithas become an extended metaphor for the struggle all parents face to pass their values onto their kids. Canada Goose Outlet

Canada canada goose outlet new york Goose sale While never lighthearted, there was something sly and fun canada goose canada goose outlet uk site about the show’s early seasons, canada goose outlet in toronto a mashup of spy tradecraft and 1980s culture that led to an endless parade of feathered wigs, high waisted jeans, and acid washed denim as Elizabeth and Philip went undercover. Their kids were younger; it was easier to convince them that when Mom and Dad rushed out in the middle of the night, it really was because a client got stranded in Houston. (The couple run a travel agency as a cover.) Canada Goose sale

canada goose store Paige, once closer to her dad, is canada goose outlet uk now, as a college student, firmly in her mother’s camp. At the end of last season Philip stepped away canada goose outlet black friday sale from spying, hollowed canada goose vest outlet out by the double life, but Elizabeth is still active. She’s the true believer, not him, and better able to compartmentalize the canada goose outlet paypal brutality of their work. Now she’s recruited Paige over Philip’s objections. canada goose store

Canada Goose Online Then there’s Henry, the younger son and the only one not clued into the canada goose outlet ottawa family business. On a visit home from boarding school he sees his mom smoking. “You’re an adult; I don’t have to hide from you what I am anymore,” she tells him. It’s a moment that could be funny (she’s a spy after all), canada goose outlet online uk but instead it is devastating. As children grow up, they’re supposed to start seeing their parents as people, with their own inner lives. Canada Goose Online

uk canada goose While Philip and Elizabeth agree that Henry is better off in the dark, they’re divided over whether it was the right decision to tell Paige the truth. And because Paige’s work puts her in canada goose outlet los angeles danger, it raises the stakes on another well worn parenting plotline when couples disagree over how to raise their kids. uk canada goose

canada goose coats on sale Adding to that problem is that it’s not clear how much Elizabeth realizes shehas treated her daughter as an intelligence asset, not as her child. canada goose coats on sale

Canada Goose Jackets Rightly sensing that Paige longs to feel close to her, Elizabeth exploits it, using the revelation canada goose outlet ontario that she’s canada goose outlet website legit a spy to bring her daughter closer. She also effortlessly manipulates Paige’s religious faith and desire to do good “I want to make a difference,” Paige tells her knowing that she will spy canada goose outlet washington dc for the canada goose outlet uk sale Soviets if she believes it’s the right thing to do. Canada Goose Jackets

cheap Canada Goose By the final season, Elizabeth has convinced her daughter that everything she learned about America is a lie. It can be hard to watch. As a parent, it’s also riveting. cheap Canada Goose

Canada Goose online That’s because the parent child bond is canada goose jacket uk one of the things that actually makes parenting work. With my canada goose outlet store uk own small children, I try to do right by them, and they, at least occasionally, canada goose jacket outlet want my positive affirmation aligning those desires is one of the main ways we stagger into agreement on expectations and behavior. Canada Goose online

canada goose black friday sale But there has to be good faith on both sides. You can’t dangle your love as something to be bestowed or taken away. You certainly can’t use the knowledge you have of your child, as their mother (and as an intelligence operative), to make them over in your own image. What’s perhaps most tragic is that even as Elizabeth destroys Paige, she believes she is finally getting the chance to teach her daughter her values. canada goose black friday sale

buy canada goose canada goose premium outlet jacket cheap I’m going to go out on a limb here and say there aren’t many parents who have to navigate raising kids as undercover agents. But the questions the show raises when, if ever, do you need to teach your children cruel lessons about the world? When does leveraging your bond with your child become a betrayal? linger long after the spy missions. buy canada goose jacket cheap

uk canada goose outlet And then, “The Americans” has something to add to the work life balance conversation. While the show takes place in the 1980s, it might as well be a billboard for the overworked, harassed parents of today. uk canada goose outlet

canada goose uk outlet I remember yelling at the TV, “Wait, they work at the travel agency FOR REAL!” when I realized that the Jennings’ cover was so deep they were expected to run an actual business on top of their spy missions. They also don’t seem to employ a housekeeper, probably because they’re afraid she’ll discover their secret compartments in the laundry room. She’s working on a memoir about becoming a mother without your mom. canada goose uk outlet

canadian goose jacket FollowOn Parenting on Facebookfor more essays, news and updates, and join ourdiscussion group hereto talk about parenting and balancing a career. You cansign up herefor our weekly newsletter canadian goose jacket.

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