MomsOnMonday: Prep for Parenting Your Modern Family

Posted on February 16th, 2015, 0 Comments

Modern Family: Season 6, Episode 14, Twisted Sister

Phil Falls for Juliana, Then Ditches Her for Claire

The Framework
For tonight’s Valentine’s Day episode, the kids are absent – except for Manny who is witness to the outrageous fighting between Gloria and her visiting sister Sonia over Jay.
Gloria: How dare you try to steal the life I stole from you!

With the kids out of the picture, Sonia and other guest stars liven things up. And the best of the guests is Juliana – played by Claire.

The day starts out with Claire as her typical self.
Claire: Honey, did you remember to give Alex and Luke their lunch money?
Phil: Ma’am, yes, ma’am.
Claire: What about the electrician? Did you give him a check?
Phil: He’s an electrician – he’ll charge us.
Claire (sighing): I’m going to be late for work.
Phil: Yes, I paid him. (Then moving in to kiss Claire), Happy Valentine’s Day, by the way.
Claire: Mmm. No. Gross and sweaty from running.

That evening there’s more typical Claire.
Phil (answering cell phone as he sits alone at a hotel bar): Hey, where are you? I’ve been trying you for 15 minutes.
Claire: I know. We ran late, and then the car wouldn’t start. They said they’re on their way. But who knows. I’m all greasy. Oh, honey, I don’t think I’m gonna make it. Don’t be mad.
Phil: I am mad. You were supposed to be here. This is the one night we set aside for us.
Claire: I know, and I feel terrible. But listen, finish your drink then come on home. Maybe we’ll have a romantic Easter.

But then, as Phil signals for his check, Claire’s alluring Juliana arrives.
Juliana: I understand that your wife has had some car trouble. I wonder how that could have happened (saying this as she puts a sparkplug on the table).
Phil: I must say, Juliana, you’re the last person I expected to see here tonight.
Juliana: Well, with any luck, you’ll be the last person I do see tonight.

And with that Phil and Juliana head for the hotel’s glass elevator, making out as they make their way up to the rooftop where they skinny-dip in the pool while downing champagne straight from the bottle.

Flipping the Frame: My Notes
Claire’s method for spicing things up in her marriage and the way Phil falls for her Juliana persona is laugh-out-loud funny. Claire’s commitment is also an inspiration to all of us exhausted moms – even if it is just for a night.

Parents are warned before their first child is born that having a new baby in the house will likely turn everything upside down – including the romance in their marriages. A similar forewarning should probably be given to parents of teens.

Even the sturdiest relationships can sometimes be undermined by the relentless stress of the adolescent years. After all, there is nothing romantic about anxiously waiting for a teen, who has broken curfew, to get home. And truth be told, most of us moms have spent at least a few Saturday nights like that. In fact, those of us with more difficult teens determined to do things their way, can become so worried and wrapped-up in our teen’s problems – their grades, their friends we don’t approve of, or their rule breaking and risk taking – that we abandon our role as partner to be the watchful, wary parent. Others of us can become so absorbed with our teens’ activities and achievements that we sacrifice our relationship with our spouse to become our teen’s fulltime support team and audience.

But if we let our concern or support for our teen deplete our relationship with our spouse, the whole family loses. We lose the bond with our partner – along with the support and battery-charging that bond brings. And our teen loses the model of a vibrant adult relationship.

Phil: By some cosmic miracle, there’s a woman in the house I still find as sexy and exciting as the first day I met her … I should probably let her know that more often than I do.

Phil is right. Letting Claire know how attractive he finds her and how much he loves her strengthens their relationship. And it strengthens the entire family.

In fact, kids get much of their security from the way their parents treat each other. So the health of the parent team must come first. Strengthening your parent team almost always results in a safer, calmer teen. Even when there have been difficulties, even when there’s been a breaking of that relationship, it’s important that parents remain respectful toward each other. Because like Manny tonight, our teens are carefully watching, evaluating, remembering, and responding to how we interact as a couple.

What’s a Mom to Do
Find time to just hangout with your spouse. Let your kids observe the two of you enjoying conversations that aren’t about them. And let them see you heading out for a fun time together that isn’t focused on their activities.

Kids flourish when the parent bond is strong.

Exhausted as she is, Claire is determined to liven things up as Juliana. But as much as I liked Juliana, my favorite part of tonight’s episode came when Phil ditches her for his wife, sweeping Claire off the porch and into his arms.

Your Parenting Experiences
What is something you could do on a regular basis to show your spouse how much you love them? It might be something as simple as making their favorite dinner, or letting them pick the movie you’re going to go see together, or buying flowers for their bedside table…

Sources and Resources: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families by Steven R. Covey; Raising Teens Without Ruining Your Marriage by Suzanne Phillips, Psy. D.; Yes, Your Teen is Crazy by Michael J. Bradley, Ed. D.

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