17 Surprising Parenting Lessons Courtesy of the 'Brat Pack'

The Breakfast Club
The Kobal Collection

You'll find it pretty hard to TV surf on a lazy Saturday and not come across classic coming-of-age movies -- like Pretty in PinkThe Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and St. Elmo's Fire. These films, and the "Brat Pack" actors who starred in them, are classics that still possess relevant life lessons we can use as parents. No, seriously, here are some takeaways to consider.

  • 1. Realize nothing can truly prepare you for what's to come.

    Remember in Sixteen Candles when Sam thought life couldn't get any worse after her weird AF experience at the dance the night before -- only to get a call from her bestie saying her little bro paid money to get a look at her panties (creepy, we know)?

    Yup, that totally came from left field and was something Sam never expected! And, in many ways, parenting is just like that ... minus the panty thing.

    You can read all the expert parenting books, DVR Baby Story reruns, and prod friends and family with kids until they disown you. Every child is different, and no two situations will be the exact same. Sometimes, you just gotta wing it and hope you survive the outcome.

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  • 2. Love your body -- it's freaking awesome.

    The time has come for us all to step off the scale and away from the mirror. You, Mom, are not only a badass, but a bringer of life. Love yourself -- including your body and all of its amazing abilities.

    So stop focusing on how "perfect" someone else's body looks -- like Sam and her gal pal did in Sixteen Candles -- and start loving your own vessel that's truly a thing of beauty.

  • 3. Saying 'no' can be a *good* thing.

    Guess what, Mama? There will be times when you need to give people a big fat "No" -- including your kids -- and you aren't a meanie for saying it. Seriously ... can you imagine being a "yes" parent 24/7, or not taking any "me time"? Ain't nobody got time for that!

    Leslie (played by Ally Sheedy) took back so much power in St. Elmo's Fire when she decided she was tired of putting up with her then-boyfriend Alec's lies and cheating (to the left, to the left, dude) and made the choice not deal with him or Kevin, who was ready to be her rebound guy. Saying no to both pining men allowed Leslie to find her own voice and focus on herself. 

    So do yourself a favor -- have a few Leslie moments from time to time.

  • 4. Choose a baby name that YOU like.

    Who the heck cares what anyone else thinks about your baby name?! So long as you love how it sounds and/or the significance, rock on. Too many people are swayed by the opinions of others.

    If you love the name Blaine, roll with it.

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  • 5. We're all looking for someone to be a listening ear.

    So, you don't have to pour out your entire life -- and all the random contents inside of your purse -- to people you barely know, like Allison did in The Breakfast Club, but you get the idea.

    People want to feel like their voice matters and tend to open up to those whom they consider to have a listening ear. Hopefully you have someone in your camp you can be vulnerable with and vice versa. Speak up if you feel lost, overwhelmed, or frustrated. You aren't alone, sister!

  • 6. Lighten TF up.

    If the melodramas of our childhood -- known as John Hughes films -- have taught us one thing, it's this: Sh*t always happens, and no one has it all together -- at least not all the time. Keep on doing the best you can. There's no need to beat yourself up over every. little. thing.

  • 7. Go against the grain.

    Andie is her own woman, Steff, and doesn't have to fall over and swoon at the smell of your hairspray! Get over it!

    When it comes to parenting, everyone is an expert who feels they know the best way to raise a child. And while there's certainly nothing wrong with taking advice (as you see fit), don't feel like you have to fall in line with a certain way of thinking 24/7.

    It's okay to go against the grain from time to time.

  • 8. Sometimes, you just gotta shake it off.

    Being a parent is HARD. There are times when you have to laugh to keep from crying and want to punch a wall. As a mom, you need to know it's okay to let out your frustrations.

    Scream into that pillow. Vent to a friend. Write down your troubles.

    Try to find a (healthy) way to release your stress so it doesn't build and build and build.

  • 9. Kids will never want to hear the truth ... but neither did you at that age.

    Remember when you were your kid's age and gave your mom hell? (Yeah, you might want to call her up right now and apologize -- assuming you already haven't.) No matter how much lip your child gives you, try to remember it's a phase. You did the same thing to your parents, and they survived. So will you.

  • 10. Bullying comes in all forms, even from other moms.

    While most of us often associate bullying with school, it sadly doesn't end there. In fact, there are tons of moms who feel the sting of fellow parents who not only shame, but also try to intimidate others to do what they want. It's absolutely horrible and needs to stop.

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  • 11. You don't need to join a #squad to be relevant.

    Ah, if only we had a friend like Duckie from Pretty in Pink to hold us down through thick and thin ...

    You don't need to join a posse of stroller pushers -- or the "cool group" of moms on the playground -- in order to prove your worthiness to be a mother. Obviously, there's nothing wrong with having a group of close friends -- but there's no need to beat yourself up for not being a part of a "mom squad." Just try not to make a fellow mom who isn't a part of one feel bad.

  • 12. Don't be afraid to bring up touchy subjects.

    You know, if Sam would've had the courage to talk to Jake in the beginning of Sixteen Candles, we could've bypassed that whole awkward night and pantyfest to get to eating birthday cake and kissing on the table.

    Speak up!

    It might feel a bit embarrassing to talk to your kids about things like sex and drugs, but no matter how uncomfortable the idea of starting this dialog is, you should at the very least try. If you aren't talking to your kids about touchy subjects, they will likely get advice from someone else. (They might anyways, but hopefully your kiddos feel they can come to you with questions, too.)

  • 13. Letting kids pack their own lunch isn't always a good thing.

    Yeah ... this one can get very nasty very quick. As great as it is for your child to show independence, please make sure you double-check your kid's lunch before he or she leaves the house. The sandwich you thought was in the lunchbox was likely swapped for a smellier, already expired choice.

  • 14. Girls aren't the only ones pressured to have sex.

    For some reason, certain parents feel the need to spend extra time talking to girls about the pressures to have sex, and not boys. Guess what? Boys feel just as much pressure from their peers and could also benefit from additional chats, too.

    So spread the love with that awkward talk you've been dodging.

  • 15. Even 'good' kids try bad things.

    Why yes, that is Brian Johnson, the brain of The Breakfast Club, enjoying some ganga in the school library like it's NBD.

    Hate to break it to ya, but squeaky-clean kids make bad decisions, too. Each and every one of us can think back to a time when we messed up -- and you aren't an evil person for doing something bad. Our kids need to know they're still loved, regardless of any decision they might make. (That, of course, does not excuse punishments.)

  • 16. Older children enjoy celebrating their birthday, too.

    Isn't it funny how we put so much time and effort into a child's birthday when LO is younger, and have a "meh" mentality as the years go on? Even though you likely won't need animal balloons at your teen's shindig, older kids need to feel the bday love, too.

    Your older child will likely remember (and appreciate) the effort you put into his or her birthday more than littles ... even if you don't hear the response you want.

  • 17. Celebrate your victories, no matter the size.

    Listen, motherhood is tough. Sure there are wonderful memories, hugs, kisses, and all that sappy stuff -- but you can't forget about the battles and the scars that also come with the territory. This is one of the many reasons why you should celebrate any and all parenting victories.

    The struggle is too real not to raise your fist like John Bender did after a day of detention in The Breakfast Club.

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