10 Great Parent-Child Relationships in TV Shows That Give Us the Feels

Family relationships can be a complicated topic for us all, it’s always nice to take a break from that narrative and view healthy and wholesome familial relationships unfolding on screen. When speaking of parent-child relationships specifically, some TV shows do a great job of reminding the audience that, despite everything, this bond has the potential to be one of the most important ones anyone can have in their lives.


10 Rebecca and Randall – This Is Us

This Is Us revolves around the lives of the Pearson family members. It spans years into their development, their relationships, and their struggles. Randall is one of the triplets Jack and Rebecca had. He is also the only one that they adopted, since he was left at the fire station the same day Rebecca delivered her triplets, and one of them unfortunately passed away.

This Is Us

This Is Us

Release Date
September 20, 2016

Seasons
4

Rebecca Always Went the Extra Mile for Randall

Adopting and raising a Black child into a white family alongside one’s own children isn’t an easy task. While both parents did a great job in their own ways, it was Rebecca and Randall’s relationship that shined throughout the series. Rebecca always made sure to go the extra mile for Randall, so he never had the feeling of being an outsider, and Randall grew up to be this pillar of strength and reliability for Rebecca when his other two siblings were not.

One moment that sums up their dynamic is when Randall tells Rebecca he is not quite ready to pursue politics given her diagnosis and everything happening with his family. Rebecca tells him he doesn’t have to carry her burdens for her; even if she lets him do it for a while, it’s not his responsibility. She gave him the green light he needed to pursue his dreams while assuring him she loved him anyway.

Stream on Netflix

9 Joyce and Will – Stranger Things

Stranger Things is a fictional TV show, set in Hawkins, Indiana. It starts with the disappearance of a young boy, Will Byers. As his mother tries to find her son with the help of his friends and a police chief, they uncover an alternate dimension and mysteries around it. The first season of the show largely focuses on finding Will and his mother’s struggles to do so.

stranger things

Stranger Things

Release Date
July 15, 2016

Main Genre
Sci-Fi

Seasons
4

There’s Nothing Like a Mother’s Love

The only reason Will makes it out of the Upside Down is because of Joyce’s unwavering persistence in finding her son. Despite everything, she believes her son is out there, and she does the most unimaginable things to find him. Her character is the true portrayal of the extent a mother’s love can reach. Will is also a dutiful son who is careful not to worry his mother about everything she went through during his search.

However, it was nice to see how Joyce’s motherly intuition still works when she tells off the doctors for claiming Will is fine and convinces them to look for a better solution, eventually saving Will’s life once again.

Stream on Netflix

8 Fred and Archie – Riverdale

Based on the Archie Comics, Riverdale is a series that revolves around the lives of teenagers residing in the town of Riverdale. The show begins in the aftermath of a teen boy’s murder and how the group of teenagers becomes entangled in the mystery and secrets of the town.

riverdale

Riverdale

Release Date
January 26, 2017

Cast
Stewart Arnott , Tyrone Benskin , Chris Benson , Matt Cooke , Jayne Eastwood , Jessica Greco , Lynne Griffin , Yanna McIntosh

Seasons
2

A Wholesome Relationship

Other than the fact that Fred and Archie are probably one of the very few functional parent-child relationships in the show, they are also a very wholesome one. They are both always supportive of each other and are known to come through for each other when needed. For instance, when Archie wants to pursue his rock star dreams but holds back due to his father’s love for sports, Fred goes on to build Archie his own music studio to show his support.

Stream on Netflix

7 Kurt and Burt – Glee

Glee is a musical TV show that revolves around a fictional high school music club, New Directions. Kurt is a member of the club and also one of the first openly gay boys in his school. He is an only child to his single dad, Burt.

glee

Glee

Release Date
May 19, 2009

Seasons
6

Burt Accepts Kurt for Who He Is

Navigating the relationship between a gay boy and his father wasn’t exactly an easy one, but Glee does it exceptionally well. While Burt might not always approve of Kurt’s ways, he is always supportive of him and loves him no matter what. When Kurt comes out to his dad in an emotionally heavy scene, Burt simply tells him that he knew all along, and he doesn’t love him any less.

Stream on Disney+

Related: 10 Movie Villains Who Were Actually Loving Parents

6 Jane and Ziggy – Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies follows the lives of women in an upper-class society and their children. As Jane and Ziggy move to the California beach town to discover the truth about Ziggy’s father, a series of events lead to murder, the unveiling of secrets, and much more.

big little lies

Big Little Lies

Release Date
February 1, 2017

Seasons
2

A Shining Light in a Dark Series

Jane is a single mother who is trying to do right by her child. And it’s working, since Ziggy is a sweet, disciplined kid who wants to stay out of trouble for his mother’s sake. But as they move into town and try to adjust, things become difficult, leaving Ziggy and Jane to trust each other and fend for themselves. When Ziggy is wrongfully blamed for bullying at school, he denies it in front of Jane, and she assures him that she trusts him. It is a subtle but very heartfelt moment because it accurately portrays the level of trust and understanding the duo has. As it turns out, Jane was right to trust her son because he wasn’t the bully after all.

Stream on Max

5 Caroline and Liz – The Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries is a supernatural drama series that revolves around the lives of Elena Gilbert, the Salvatore Brothers, and Elena’s best friends, Bonnie and Caroline. Caroline’s character undergoes a lot of variations throughout the entire series. She has her share of complicated relationships and breakups, but through it all, her one constant remains to be her mother; Liz.

Vampire Diaries

Vampire Diaries

Release Date
September 10, 2009

Seasons
8

A Reassuring Mother

Despite Caroline’s initial self-centered personality, she seemed to always have a soft spot for her mother. The sentiment was reciprocated, since her mother always looked out for her and did her best to protect her daughter as a single mother.

The scene that sums up their love is when Liz dies and Caroline gives her one last memory to enjoy; a moment when Caroline fell off the bike and scraped her elbow as a young girl, and Liz is cleaning it up. Young Caroline asks her mother what happens if her mother dies while she’s still there. Liz reassures her by saying it won’t be until Caroline is all grown up and won’t need her anymore. Young Caroline looks up at her mother through her tears and says she will always need her.

Stream on Max

4 Kevin and Jack – This Is Us

Given the show’s beautiful portrayal of its characters and their relationships, it felt unfair to not include one of the most underrated parent-child relationships on the show; Kevin and Jack. While Jack was an amazing father to all three of his children, his relationship with Kevin has something distinctly moving about it.

Like Father, Like Son

Kevin’s childhood is complicated. There are moments when he feels neglected or ignored, but there are also moments that show the audience that his parents, especially Jack, loved him so much. Viewers also get to see that Kevin loves his father equally and looks up to him so much that he gets up early to work out and stays up at night memorizing the playbook just to make his father happy. Jack’s love shines through in the scene when he takes Kevin to the bar during football camp. He then corners his coach in the bathroom and warns him to never call his son stupid. Showing the audience that, despite his desire for his son to excel at football, he just wants him to be happy.

Stream on Netflix

3 Lorelai and Rory – Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls revolves around the lives of Lorelai and Rory, a young mother and her teen daughter. It follows them around in their small town as they navigate their relationship, careers, and romance, together. The entire show is dedicated to the mother-daughter duo and their beautiful dynamic. How they have managed to build a life for themselves with traditions and a mutual love for coffee and pop culture.

Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls

Release Date
October 5, 2000

Seasons
8

Lorelai Is Rory’s Best Friend

The entire show is a reason in itself why this duo is probably one of the most iconic on-screen mother-daughter duos. They love each other, support each other through everything, are there for each other, and aren’t afraid to call out each other for their missteps. In essence, Lorelai is Rory’s best friend, but isn’t afraid to step into her mom shoes when needed. Like when she swallowed her pride to ask her family to pay for Rory’s tuition.

Rory’s love for her mother is no less, and her graduation speech moment just solidifies it. She calls Lorelai her best friend, and someone who always encouraged her to do whatever she wanted and be whoever she wanted. While a lot of parents do it, it’s rare to see it getting acknowledged as Rory did.

Stream on Netflix

Related: 10 Things You May Not Have Known About Batman’s Parents

2 Jay and Claire – Modern Family

Modern Family is a comedic drama series that revolves around three different families. The head of the family is Jay Prichet, who lives with his second wife, Gloria. He has two children from his first marriage, Claire and Mitchell, both of whom live with their own families.

Modern Family

Modern Family

Release Date
September 23, 2009

Seasons
11

Claire and Jay Are Extremely Similar

Jay and Claire are very similar characters; they’re both competitive and ambitious. This made their relationship unique yet interesting in how, despite being headstrong, the two often resorted to being each other’s support when they needed it. One of their best moments was probably when Jay handed over their closet business to Claire and named her CEO. It means so much because all Claire wants is to live up to her father and make him proud. Being titled CEO showed her how much her dad really trusted her, despite not being very vocal about it.

Stream on Hulu

1 Eleven and Hopper – Stranger Things

This list felt a little incomplete without mentioning this unconventional, yet adorable father-daughter situation between Eleven and Hopper in Stranger Things. After Eleven goes missing, Hopper keeps an eye out for her and lures her in with Eggos. When he finds her, he takes her in and does everything to keep her safe. Eventually, when Eleven steps out into the world again, Hopper self-assigns himself to be her father in all the teen-parent ways. From talking to her boyfriend about boundaries to grounding her, he learns it all.

A Different Kind of Family

While their relationship wasn’t bound by blood, it was still one of the strongest on the show. It’s nice to see that Eleven finally has someone who looks out for her, someone that she can trust after everything she has been through. And given Hopper’s tragic story about his daughter Sarah, it’s nice to see him be the dad he never got to be. His letter to Eleven at the end of season three is heartbreakingly beautiful when he calls her his daughter and tells her to keep growing without him holding her back.

Stream on Netflix

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