The Atlantic

How Big People Shape Little Kids in Big Little Lies

The HBO miniseries is an honest reflection of parents’ psychological impact on their children.
Source: HBO

This post contains some spoilers for the first season of Big Little Lies.

HBO’s recently wrapped miniseries Big Little Lies is a whodunit featuring attractive people grimly swirling wine and glaring at roiling surf from deck parapets. The adjective “soapy” frequently worms its way into reviews that unfairly boil the show down to its least compelling elements. The Wire it is not, but Big Little Lies isn’t unserious just because it portrays denizens of a tax bracket few viewers can sniff.

“Many people dismiss the pain and complex struggles of the upper middle class—as if they bloody well deserve it,” said Suniya Luthar, Ph.D., a fan of the show and a psychology professor at Arizona State University. “But these are real problems.”

In its best moments, Big Little Lies addresses how privileged but troubled parents, lauded but dysfunctional schools, and a community both cozy and corrosive can shape the identities and behavior patterns of young

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