Whether they intended to or not, the writers of Friends certainly created many moments for new and experienced parents to learn from. Although the show spent more time on relationships, work endeavors, and what it means to be a good friend, there were a splattering of parenting lessons throughout the show's ten-year run. This list will delve into the many parenting lessons we learn, for better or worse, from the parents on the show. Therefore, we'll mostly be focusing on Rachel Green, Ross Gellar, and their parents who tend to make some pretty odd decisions regarding how they parent their children.
But we'd just be acting silly if we didn't include some of the parenting lessons we've learned from Friends that have absolutely nothing to do with babies at all. These moments show our favorite characters parenting their friends as if they were their kids. And they do this in some pretty unhealthy ways that would cause any good mom to make a face.
But let's face it, at one stage or another, each of these beloved characters has acted as immature as a child and as controlling as a parent. Regardless of the angle, there will be something on this list that moms and moms-to-be will learn from. Additionally, it'll be hard for even the most casual Friends fan to forget these classic moments. Without further ado, here are 20 things they did on Friends that a good mom would never do.
20 Taking A Child Far Away From Their Other Parent
We have to begin with one of the most downright silly and thoughtless choices that Rachel made in the entire series. Of course, the decision to move to Paris with Emma for a new job was a dramatic storyline to conclude the series, it didn't really make Rachel look like the best parent. After all, she was actively taking Ross' daughter away from her. Rachel didn't need to be with Ross in order to raise her daughter, but whisking her off across the planet isn't a very nice thing to do to her dad. Not to mention, Emma would likely not thrive as well if her father wasn't around to help bring her up in some way. A good mom would never do this to her child, or her baby-daddy unless it was a very serious situation which this wasn't.
19 Picking A Child's Personality
It was sort of an ironic storyline to have Ross be unhappy with Ben's personality given that everyone around him would have preferred if he wasn't such a science nerd. Nonetheless, Ross attempted to switch the toys that his first son, Ben (AKA the Sprouse twins), was playing with. His baby-mamma, Carol, and her wife, Susan, were more than happy that baby Ben was playing with a Barbie doll. But Ross didn't like this at all. Instead, he tried to get him to play with a G.I. Joe action figure. A good mom, or dad for that matter, would never do this. They would let their child play with any toy that he or she wanted to play with as long as it was appropriate for their age.
18 Leaving A Baby On A Bus
One of the earliest examples of bad parenting in Friends came from two characters who weren't parents at the time. Instead, Joey and Chandler were babysitters for Ross' son, Ben. In this episode, Joey and Chandler were taking Ben on an outing and ended up leaving him on a public bus. This is because the pair of bachelors were too caught up by a conversation with a pair of women, causing them to lose track of the little baby. Although they carried around every piece of baby supplies they could possibly need, the pair lost track of the most important part of the whole package. Any good mom would never let this happen. Their first priority is their child.
17 Forcing A Kid To Ride A Bike
Pheobe is child-like in almost every way, this is especially odd since she really didn't have a childhood at all. It was taken from her by some pretty unfortunate circumstances. She, therefore, didn't get to learn to ride a bike as most kids do. This is what caused Ross to step in and buy her a bike for her to ride. Ross, being the parent he is, decided to step in as the father-figure for Pheobe and teach her how to ride a bike. But Pheobe really was unsure of the whole process. In fact, she kind of didn't want to. But Ross decided to push his agenda and get his way. This did end up in Pheobe learning how to ride, sort of. But it's not a very nice thing for a parent to do. Although kids need to learn certain things, a good mom wouldn't commandeer a learning activity like this the way Ross did.
16 Favor One Child Over The Other
When it comes to bad parenting that's simultaneously hilarious, Ross and Monica's parents pretty much take the cake. One of the most unfortunate things they did as parents was favor one child over another. Although both the Gellar parents did this, Ross and Monica's mom was by far the most active participant. She constantly judged her daughter's actions and would never let up on saying things that could harm her. On the other hand, Ross could do no wrong in her books. This added a lot of comedy to the show, but it's something that a good mom would never do. Although each child is different, one should never be favored over another. This only leads to problems later on.
15 Not Choose The Best Nanny For The Job
Ross had some notable issues with typical gender roles when it came to finding Emma's nanny. Although Ross clearly wanted the best person he and Rachel could find for their daughter, he wouldn't let that person be a man. The fact that Freddie Prince Jr.'s nanny character was a guy really pushed Ross the wrong way. Rachel, on the other hand, was totally fine with him being her daughter's nanny (ehem... ehem... manny). A good parent wouldn't let their perception of gender norms get in the way of the best candidate. When a mom knows and trusts someone to take care of her child, she should always choose that person regardless of what gender they are.
14 Leaving A Newborn On A Changing Table
Rachel really felt tested when she had her baby shower. This is because she was faced with the fact that she really wasn't ready to have her daughter. Everyone else in the room seemed to know the basics of raising children and dealing with babies while she remained blissfully unaware. Among the many things she didn't know, Rachel found out that a mom should never leave her baby on the changing table unattended for any reason. This is unbelievably important as a baby just isn't secure up there. Every item a mom needs to change a diaper should be on hand for her. That goes for Diaper Genies as well. Luckily for Rachel, she was surrounded by people who could teach her a thing or two.
13 Keeping Things All Bottled Up
The atmosphere that Ross and Monica's parents created was one of fabrications. A lot of this ties back to the fact that the Gellar parents favored Ross over Monica. This probably caused Monica to bottle up some of the bad things in her life, including the boo-boos she'd made in order to not face the particularly mean-spirited music from her parents, particularly her mother. But Ross also had it tough as well. The fact that his parents saw him as an angel made it more challenging for him to mess up. When he did, he had to keep it from them in order to not fall from grace. Of course, all of these truths came flooding out in a hilarious Thanksgiving episode. A good parent would foster an open environment where both kids weren't treated better or not as good as the other.
12 Using A Child For Their Connection
One of the most hilarious episodes of Friends was when Pheobe decided to use Ross' son for the connections he had. If you remember, Pheobe really wanted to go see Sting perform live. When she found out that Ben has school-mates with Sting's son, she did her best to weasel her way in to get free tickets. But, of course, Ben had issues with Sting's son which made Phoebe pretend to be his mother and attempt to get tickets from Sting's real-life wife, Trudie. Although Pheobe wasn't actually Ben's mom, a good mom would never use their child for any connections they may have, especially when it comes to their friendships.
11 Stunt A Kid's Creativity
Once again, Pheobe is the prime example of a child. For this entry, we'll be discussing the time she got to play with the dollhouse that was given to Monica from her aunt. Toys like this weren't something that she got to have as a kid. So, when she got to play with one, she really went all out and let her creativity run free. Unfortunately for Pheobe, Monica had a very specific way she wanted Phoebe to play with the dollhouse. This pushed Pheobe to create her own dollhouse where she could twist all the rules and put dinosaurs in the bathtub, add a bubble-maker, and basically make it Pee-Wee's Playhouse. A good mom would always allow their child's creativity to be explored. After all, creativity is the closest thing to divinity that we have.
10 Tardiness Cannot Be The Norm
One of the most important lessons a mom can teach her children is to not be late. This is especially vital when it comes to maintaining friendships. For example, an entire episode of Friends was devoted to Ross waiting for everyone to finish getting ready so they could go to a very important work function of his. Almost all of the characters took their time. They clearly weren't taught the value of being on time, especially when it comes to supporting their friends. And yet, Ross was made out to be the bad guy in the scenario because he was getting stressed out. Then, there's another episode where everyone, except for Joey, was late for Pheobe's birthday dinner. With the number of times tardiness has been depicted on the show, we just couldn't keep it from this list. Every good mom teaches their kids to be on time.
9 Not Sharing The Joy Of A Sonogram
In the second episode of the First Season of Friends, Ross' baby-mama, Carol, and her wife, Susan, were particularly bad to him on the day of Ben's birth. Although Ross was included at the hospital to celebrate the birth of his first-born child, he was treated like a second class citizen. Not only was he barely allowed to look at the sonogram, but he was spoken to as if he was merely the donor. No matter of what the relationship is, no good mother should ever allow themselves, or their new partner, to push the father of the baby away from a day that's equally about him as well.
8 Battle About Naming
Picking a child's name is definitely something that can cause conflict. After all, chances are high that both parents won't agree on a name. This is precisely what happened between Ross and Rachel. However, Rachel really commandeered this argument as she was very particular about what she would end up calling her daughter. But a good mom wouldn't be so particular about this issue. After all, it's something that's joyous and should be done in unison. Instead, the quarrel between the two got pretty full-on. Eventually, they settled on taking Monica's baby name, Emma, which is also something that a good mom wouldn't do.
7 Eating Off The Floor
We have to include one of the funniest and most memorable episodes from Friends, the one with the amazing cheesecake from Mama's little bakery. If you can't recall, Chandler ends up taking a couple of cheesecakes from his neighbor and can't stop eating them. Eventually, he has Rachel as his accomplice and Joey joins in on the fun at the very end as well. Although neither Chandler or Rachel really takes the parenting position in this episode, there is a very important message that all moms and dads should take from it. Eating off the floor is an absolute no-no. Good moms know just how much bacteria and other icky things dwell on the floor. It's not somewhere any child (or adult) should put their faces.
6 Rumors And Mean-Spirited Clubs
In the episode that guest-starred Jennifer Aniston's then partner, Brad Pitt, we learn that he and Ross started a club that was responsible for spreading misinformation about Rachel. Although Rachel was particularly mean to Brad Pitt's character in high-school, it doesn't excuse the formation of a club that ended up acting the same way to her. All of the activities of the club happened under the noses of Ross' parents, as well as Monica, who were all none-the-wiser. Although a parent can't, and shouldn't, be around to monitor all of their child's actions, they should be instilling the right values in them. Clearly, Ross' parents didn't teach their son that it's not good to pick on someone, even if they're picking on you.
5 Care More About The Perfect Cake Than The First Birthday
Rachel was far too concerned about having the perfect cake for her daughter's first birthday than actually spending time celebrating it. Obviously, a child's first birthday is far more important to the parents than it is to the child. After all, the baby won't even remember it. But it should be about being with the child and enjoying things with him or her. Instead, Rachel took Ross on a tour around New York in order to replace a particularly funny cake. Because of this, she ended up missing the majority of her daughter's birthday party. Any good mom would let something like this go and even laugh it off. This would allow them to enjoy the birthday as a family.
4 Take A Toy Away From A Kid For No Reason
The whole thing with Joey's stuffed animal, Hugsy, could be discussed from two angles. On one hand, Rachel should never have taken someone else's toy in order to appease her child. This is just something that a good mother would never do, regardless of how upset the kid is. It doesn't instill the right values in the child and is actually just plain wrong. But on the other hand, Joey really shouldn't have done the same to Emma. After Emma was accustomed to Hugsy, he shouldn't have gone to the extents that he did in order to take back the toy. As hilarious as this episode was, it shows two acts that a good mom would never, ever do.
3 Not Putting Aside Conflict For A Child
Do you remember the episode where Monica, Chandler, and Joey had to put on two different parties for Rachel's birthday at the same time to appease her parents? If you can't recall, Rachel's very particular parents were going their separate ways and just couldn't stand one another. Although the act of creating two different birthday parties was something that the main characters decided to do, it was because of the tone that Rachel's parents set. A good mom and dad would never let their personal animosities get in the way of their child's special day. Even if they didn't want anything to do with one another, they should be able to be in the same room and let their child have a good time. Sometimes parents must embrace those awkward moments for the benefit of their kid.
2 Be Shy About Breastfeeding
Carol made the right decision as a mom when she chose to breastfeed baby Ben in front of everyone. She wasn't shy about a very natural and normal thing that mothers have to do on a daily basis. Ross, being the supportive father as he was, also knew that this was a good thing to do. But Joey and Chandler decided to act like some mothers do and judge this act. Clearly, Joey and Chandler's moms didn't do their jobs and teach their sons that this is a normal and important act that shouldn't be treated so poorly. Good moms instill this value in their children, especially their sons. They also empower moms like Carol to feed their babies when they need to.
1 Holding A Learner Back From Their Potential
Both Joey and Pheobe were usually relegated to the child-like figure within the dynamic of their friend group. This is because both were a lot more whimsical, immature, and slightly ignorant; at least in comparison to Ross, Monica, and Chandler. But in one episode, Pheobe took the parenting role to Joey when she tried to teach him how to play the guitar. However, Pheobe did what any good mom wouldn't do and tried to hold Joey back from excelling. This is because she had a very specific way of teaching and didn't want Joey to learn any other way. The problem is, Joey was able to expand his mind from learning multiple lessons. At the end of the day, Pheobe did what any good mom wouldn't do, she let her ego get in the way of the advancement of a young mind.