Parenthood: Should Sarah Continue Supporting Seth?

If I could give one character on TV a hug, I would hug Sarah Braverman.

The mom of two may not admit that she needs a little positive reassurance, but with the way things are going these days, I think it’s time somebody did. Earlier this season, it seemed like she finally had it all figured out; Sarah had a wonderful man, two stable children, and a promising career, all of which had been giving her trouble in previous times on Parenthood. What was once the frazzled, forever-wandering Braverman had turned into a rather independent, self-assured woman who had found herself in the madness of an extended family.

That is, until her ex-husband Seth rolled up into town, throwing everything all out of whack. Her boyfriend Mark is now having doubts as to his readiness to deal with such deep-seeded issues, her children have their abandonment issues brought to the surface again, and her family are all begging her to finally wipe her hands of Seth, once and for all. But should she?

I personally don’t think Sarah should stop emotionally supporting Seth, for a number of reasons. Most importantly, she has to take into account his sobriety above all else; if she were to pull out of his life now, there’s no telling what Seth would do to himself out of anguish and disappointment, especially considering the fact that Sarah was the reason he went to rehab in the first place. What’s important here is that Seth make it through rehab in one piece and then make the positive life choices necessary to remain sober; to pull the rug out from under him wouldn’t be fair at all, as he seems to be making an honest effort to change himself for good. Granted, Sarah will have to put up very concrete boundaries, and once he gets out on his feet she could pull back, but the slightest change of direction in the wind could send Seth running back to his old vices.

You may chastise the man for his habits and the way he handled his family, but everybody deserves a shot at bettering themselves and as long as he maintains the type of forward momentum he has now, it’s nothing but up from here on out.

If Sarah were to shy away from Seth at this time, it would be another blow to her self-assurance and decision-making process, as she would be kowtowing to what Adam, Zeek, and Mark want instead of listening to her gut and helping the father of her children. The entire run of Parenthood, Sarah Braverman has been looking to find her voice and the confidence that she needs to be able and live life the way she wants, so to finally give in to the hounding would be a step backwards in her emotional development. She has to stick with this decision because if she doesn’t, all the hardheads in her family will see this as proof that they can continue trying to control Sarah’s life if they push enough. Sarah won’t be able to grow if she lets people walk over her again, which is ironic, considering the people currently doing the walking are getting on to her for not being strong enough.

For the sake of the positive movement the character has taken, which has been one of my favorite journeys to follow on TV, Sarah needs to stand her ground.

One good thing that could come out of Sarah’s resilience in sticking by Seth is that it could set a positive example for her children. We’ve seen how (rightfully) hurt both Amber and Drew are at their father, but if they could see their mother, who has arguably been most affected by Seth’s actions, forgive their father, maybe they could find it in their hearts to do the same. As long as Seth continues doing the right thing, this could benefit each member of the family, as Sarah won’t have to worry about her children being unhappy, her children will get the personal relationship with their father that they’ve lacked for years, and their father will have another positive influence on his sobriety. If Sarah were to give up on Seth right now, it would be telling her children that people never change, that forgiveness doesn’t have much worth these days, that you should never try to reach out your hand to other people.

Sarah may get hurt if she continues helping Seth, but she’d be hurting her children (and their worldview) if she doesn’t.

Do I think that Sarah Braverman should be a doormat for Seth to walk all over whenever he so chooses? Absolutely not, which is why I’m so for her emotional support of Seth to continue. If she were to acquiesce to her family members, she would be living for them instead of herself, which is not what she’s worked so hard since the beginning of the series to achieve. I know that her family only wants the best for her, but this is Sarah’s decision to make and if she thinks she can have a positive effect on Seth’s sobriety, I see no reason why she should stop what she’s doing. She does need to continue to remind herself of the boundaries that she can’t cross right now, considering her boyfriend and the negative effect it could have on Seth, but as long as she can keep things platonic and healthy, I think that Sarah Braverman could effectively cast out one of her past demons this season. No holy water necessary.

Parenthood airs Tuesdays at 10:00 on NBC.

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