Of all the popular '90s shows, 7th Heaven was often one of the most cringe-worthy. Despite the sanctimony and self-righteousness of Reverend Camden and his wife, Annie, the show was wildly popular, even among younger viewers. Everyone loved the 7th Heaven characters. The problem is that, although the show presented itself as morally infallible, there were actually a lot of questionable parenting decisions. Bad TV parents who deserve to have their kids taken away are nothing new but the kids on this relatively Christian show had direly problematic parents, and no one noticed.
Even some of the best episodes of 7th Heaven contain examples of objectively bad parenting. Here is a myriad of instances in which the Camdens should be criticized for their parenting technique instead of blindly celebrated for it.
Eric's Not Overly Concerned By Apparent Inter-Familial Relations
In this supposedly whimsical scene, Mary has convinced her older brother to give her a kissing lesson. Father Eric walks in, sees them, and does indeed look a little disconcerted but when Matt says, "It's not what it looks like," Dad simply responds, "That's a relief." Then he walks away. It looks like his two oldest children are about to kiss each other, Eric Camden is allowed to freak out. Instead, he reserves his freakouts for more minor offenses.
Simon Commits Manslaughter And Is Rewarded With A Little Vacation
The eighth season opened with a bang after Simon kills a kid while driving. The Camdens decide to take a vacation to the beach house in the hopes that he'll get over his crime. Annie pleads with him on the beach to enjoy himself. She says, "It's the last day of vacation."
The whole family works to take his mind off of the accident, which includes the parents' decision to impose zero consequences on their son. He committed vehicular manslaughter and though it was an accident, maybe they should've taken his keys for a while or something.
Eric Needs To Know When To Walk Away, Like During His Daughter's Sensual Dance Routine, For Instance
In this scene, which is supposed to be funny, Eric walks in on his high school daughter practicing grown-up dance moves. Instead of being comical, it ends up being one of the most uncomfortable scenes in television history. The reverend watches her for about 15 seconds and walks away. Now he's clearly disturbed by what he's seeing but that doesn't change the fact that it takes him entirely too long to walk away. Given the disturbing news of Stephen Collins's sexual misconduct with underage girls that has since come to light, this scene becomes even more upsetting.
Reverend Eric Gives Parenting Advice About Gang Activity, A Subject He Knows Nothing About
There's an episode in the second season titled "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," which is an oddly lighthearted choice considering that the subject of the storyline is gang activity. Reverend Camden is called in to help his friends when they discover that their daughter's in a gang. When confronted, the girl says it's not a big deal so the parents turn to Eric. He rambles about a "place" they can send her in Colorado. His immediate response is to send her away without knowing anything about the girl's situation.
He should've pumped his breaks, learned more, spoke with police, and figured out something more proactive then a mysterious dumping ground in Colorado.