10 Questionable Parenting Choices In Mad Men

Mad Men was a catchy enough title but Mad Parents could have worked too if the hit AMC series wasn’t primarily about advertising executives. Not only did most of the characters not know how to maintain steady relationships but they also didn’t know how to be the perfect role models for their own children.

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A number of the parenting decisions were so baffling that concerned viewers felt like calling Child Protection Services. Some of the adult characters were treated unfairly by their elderly parents too. But all the drama added to the show’s spice. Here are some of the crazy parenting choices in Mad Men.

10 Sally’s Parents Let Her Access Alcohol And Cigarettes

Don allowed Sally to mix his cocktails when she was just a little girl. This was careless of him because letting a young child touch alcohol frequently would lead to experimentation.

Betty was careless with her cigarettes too, never bothering to hide them. As expected, Sally found them lying around and began smoking them. The lack of strictness led to Sally becoming a spoiled child. When she became grown, she lamented once that her mother didn’t have rules for her and that’s why she turned out bad. Interestingly, she didn’t blame her father at all.

9 Don’s Stepmother Kept Reminding Him That His Biological Mother Was A Prostitute

man in front of black board

In Season 1’s “The Hobo Code,” it was revealed that Don had the toughest childhood. He was born to an unnamed prostitute who passed away during childbirth. He was thus forced to live with his alcoholic and irresponsible father, Archie Whitman, and evil step-mother, Abigail.

When his father died after being kicked by a horse, Abigail married another man, had another son and began mistreating Don. She would frequently remind him that he was a “whore’s son.”

8 Joan Refused Roger’s Offer To Support Kevin

Roger and Joan kissing in Mad Men

Roger was the real definition of a Jody (a slang term for a man who sleeps with a soldier’s wife while he is at war). While Greg was out on the battlefield, Roger had an affair with Joan and as a result, Kevin was born.

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Joan was eventually served with divorce papers at work, something which infuriated her. But her marriage with Greg was never going to work. They disliked each other too much. Still, Roger was ‘man enough’ to offer to support Joan and the child. She refused, despite the fact that this meant Kevin would go to the best schools and get the best jobs in the future, thanks to Roger’s influence.

7 Roger Kept Pushing Margaret Too Hard

Roger Sterling with his daughter Margaret

Roger always felt that Margaret was unambitious. He could understand the fact that she had only dated two men in her life yet he always got romantic partners so easily.

He also didn’t like her career paths but didn’t do anything to help her either. Despite the fact that he hated how she acted, Roger was an enabler to Margaret. He even smoked marijuana with her on a few occasions. Not to forget the fact that he eventually disowned her. He was far from the best TV dad.

6 Margaret Ran Away To Join A Commune

Margaret meets Don

Shortly after her marriage to Brooks, Margaret gave birth to a baby named Ellery. Sadly, Brooks was charged with an undisclosed crime and got locked up. This devastated Margaret who couldn’t handle being a parent on her own. She thus ran away to be part of a commune.

She never considered that there would be no one to take care of her son. She couldn’t stay with her son at the commune either because it wasn’t a conducive place. An angry Roger went to the commune and dragged her out, reminding her that she had a child who depended on her. She still refused to leave, forcing Roger and his wife to take care of the child.

5 Tom Interfered In Trudy’s Marriage

Trudy's father Tom

Tom was part of the reason why Trudy and Pete’s marriage was always problematic. The Vicks Chemical honcho took advantage of his status as a key client for Sterling Cooper to control his daughter Trudy’s marriage to Pete Campbell. He bought the couple an apartment and forced Pete to agree to have a child or else he’d pull business from Sterling Cooper.

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Tom was later angered when he met Pete at a brothel and sought to punish him. This is despite the fact that he was cheating too. His daughter’s marriage continued to crumble, thanks to his inability to let her handle it on her own.

4 Marie Was Jealous Of The Attention Megan Was Getting

roger and marie on mad men

When Marie was introduced in the series, it was revealed that she didn’t like her husband Emile. Reason? Emile showed too much attention to Megan and as a result, she liked him more.

It is unusual for a mother to compete with her daughter for the father’s affection. This shouldn’t have bothered her at all. Keeping up with her selfishness, Marie eventually cheated on Emile with Roger. Emile suspected it for a while and when he finally found evidence, he divorced her.

3 Arnie Didn’t Keep Track Of His Son’s Life

Mitchell meets Don

As the King Of Affairs, Don also slept with Sylvia, the wife of his friend Arnie. As a cardiac surgeon, Arnie was too busy for his wife or child. This led to a vacuum that the opportunistic Don stepped in to fill.

During a drinking session with Don, Arnie confessed that he wasn’t even aware that his son Mitchell left college and joined the army. Mitchell didn’t want to be drafted to go to war so Don pulled some strings and had him enlisted in the National Guard. This impressed Arnie’s wife Sylvia who slept with Don as a form of gratitude.

2 Peggy Decided Not To Be A Part Of Her Baby’s Life

Peggy gives birth

Immediately after Peggy got a promotion, she began experiencing abdominal pains. After a visit to the doctor, she learned that she was pregnant with Pete’s baby.

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Peggy gave birth and when the nurses offered her the baby to breastfeed, she refused and looked away. As soon as she was ready to go, she returned to work, not giving much attention to her baby. This resulted in her mother and sister turning away from her more.

1 Robert Was Violent Towards His Son

Lane Pryce’s father Robert was quite brutal. He enjoyed dominating a grown Lyn using violence in order to make him sort his personal issues. As expected, Lane developed a disliking for him.

At a nightclub, Robert refused Lane’s offer to select a drink for him. When Lane tried to introduce him to some of his friends, he refused to mingle with them, insisting he had to leave. And when Lane walked through a restaurant door before him, he hit him with his cane on the head until he fell to the floor. He even stepped on Lane’s hand and wouldn’t lift his foot until Lane called him “sir.”

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Updated: January 8, 2021 — 1:00 am

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