Let’s face it: Game of Thrones is probably the last show you’d want your kids to see you watching. There’s truly now shortage of violence and nudity, and it’s tough to find morality in the brutal randomness of George R.R. Martin’s world, but but if you think about it, there’s much wisdom to be found amid the tragedy and twists that have unfolded in Westeros.
Before we head into the highly anticipated seventh season, let’s take a look back on the best parenting lessons we learned from watching this epic show.
1. Do what is right, even if you suffer for it
In the first season, Ned Stark of Winterfell must take the place of Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King who was murdered. Though he had to pluck his children from their hometown into an unknown land filled with danger, he was determined to do what’s right, to protect them, even if it cost him his life.
Though tragic, Ned proved to be the show’s moral compass, inspiring his children to look up to him and try to honor his legacy, even if they wanted to avenge his death first.
2. Teach your kids to love their siblings. The time will come when they’re all they’ve got
In the days that followed Ned Stark’s execution, the Stark children were separated, mourning the loss of their beloved and brave father while trying to survive in the corner of the unforgiving seven kingdoms fate flung them to.
Yara, Theon Greyjoy’s sister, came to Winterfell to bring him back home to the Iron islands. At this point, Theon had been one of the most hated characters, but Yara proved that good siblings love us when we are unloveable.
3. Don’t force your children to be something they’re not
Ned Stark knew his second daughter Arya preferred fighting over needlework so he gave her a sword, which she named ‘Needle.’ He didn’t force traditional gender roles on her. Years after she lost her father, she fought hard to train and avenge him and the others she lost along the way. It wasn’t easy, but having someone believe in her and support her while she was still young gave her the foundation she needed to whether the “winds of winter.”
4. It’s important to show kids you love them equally
Tywin Lannister learned this the hard way: playing favorites won’t win you any points when your kids are grown. His son Tyrion may be one of the best characters, but his dad was too distracted by pride and bitterness to truly see that, despite his physical deformity, his son was someone he could truly be proud of.
5. Don’t spoil your kids. They’ll be better for it.
When Daenerys heard that her “baby” Drogon was killing humans, she didn’t hesitate disciplining Drogon’s siblings by chaining them, to protect the people of Mereen. Even if it hurt her, she knew she needed to give them tough love to teach them to be kind and and compassionate.
Conversely, Cersei, or the character everyone loves to hate loved her children to a fault, that she tolerated bad behavior. Though it proved to be problematic for her, having lost all of her kids heading into season 7, she is still driven by their love for them, even now that (in the meantime) she sits on the Iron Throne.
6. Having pets helps kids be more compassionate
When the series opened, one of the most memorable scenes was when the Stark family found orphaned direwolves, one for each child (including Jon Snow!). Ned entrusted the care of the direwolves to his children, trusting them to care for them, which they did. In turn, each direwolf became their close confidante and protector.
What parenting lessons did you learn from Game of Thrones? Let us know in the comments below…because winter is coming.
READ: 10 Parenting lessons that you’ll learn the hard way
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