How to Talk to Your Son About Alan Thicke

The outrage over Miley Cyrus’s felony twerking of Canadian pop star Robin Thicke has eclipsed a potentially more combustible topic: How are parents to talk to their sons about Robin’s father, 1980s sitcom star Alan Thicke?

Despite the uproar over the Thicke/Cyrus performance on the MTV Video Music Awards, the program did not expose young boys to anything they do not see on a daily basis as they masturbate to ads for American Apparel and Axe Body Spray. Indeed, Junior is likely to see more twerking in his eighth grade home room than Cyrus’s coltish legs could endure in a lifetime.

Far more puzzling to American youths raised on TV shows like Family Guy and Jersey Shore is the affable, self-deprecating family man portrayed by Alan Thicke in Growing Pains, a quintessentially American sitcom that ran from 1985 to 1992.

The sitcom, and Thicke’s portrayal of stay-at-home psychiatrist Jason Seaver, force impressionable boys to ponder questions their young minds are not prepared to understand. For instance:  What kind of dad goes along with calling his son's friend "Boner"? Why would a middle-class American family adopt Leonardo DiCaprio? Who are those people laughing in the background?

Slowly acclimate your son to Alan Thicke and Canadian culture in general. Start him off with a single episode of Growing Pains, giving him a comforting hug if necessary during the show’s saccharine theme song. Offer him a can of “pop” after school. Playfully call him a hoser when he fails to clean his room. Start calling one of his friends Boner.

Remember, you won’t always be there to protect your son from Alan Thicke. When you’re asleep and your son is alone is his darkened bedroom scouring the Web for Thicke-related material, he may happen upon bizarre and puzzling information. He may find out that Thicke wrote the theme songs for both Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life. He may discover that Thicke penned books such as How to Raise Kids Who Won’t Hate You and How Men Have Babies: The Pregnant Father's Survival Guide. When your son asks you, “Why?” remember that sometimes the best answer is, “I don’t know, son. I don’t know.”

Once you have survived the Alan Thicke crisis, you can focus on the next difficult discussion: How to talk to your daughter about Billy Ray Cyrus.