Mary McCormack’s real-life kids don’t understand her 1970s parenting on ‘The Kids Are Alright’

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ABC/Richard Cartwright(NEW YORK) -- The kids may be alright but the parenting techniques of the 1970s were a bit questionable.

Mary McCormack, who plays no-nonsense Peggy Clearly on the ABC comedy The Kids Are Alright, says even her own children are horrified by the things she has to do on screen while playing a mom of eight boys in 1972.

“I hit one [kid] over the head with a wooden spoon and one of my kids was visiting on set that day and she was literally like, ‘What's happening?’” the real-life mom-of-three laughs. “…And actually she brought a friend from school and the friend was big wide-eyed like, ‘Oh my God, why is your mom hitting kids at her job!’ I was like, ‘In the '70s it was, you know, allowed.’”

While the actress admits not every ‘70s trend needs to make a comeback -- like spanking your kids and not wearing seatbelts -- she does acknowledge that the show represents a simpler time to many people. She understands the nostalgia factor.

“It's fun to walk around set,” she says. “I mean, Mike Cudlitz, who plays my husband, and I walk around set going, ‘Oh my God, I had this!’ ‘Oh my God, Hi-C for dinner!’ You know, like, big Hi-C things. And we recognize everything, so for us it's really fun.”  

In tonight’s episode, Peggy’s son Timmy enters a poetry competition and decides to plagiarize an old poem his mom wrote. At first he’s afraid his mom will find out, but he soon discovers that she plagiarized the poem too.

The Kids Are Alright airs Tuesday nights at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

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