Created By: Austecon on October 20, 2011 Last Edited By: Austecon on December 20, 2011

Unforgiving Offspring

One child hates the parent. Everyone else is totally understanding.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Up for Grabs, Needs a Better Description(?), Rolling Updates, Needs More Examples (especially from media other than live action TV).

The main character in the story is a parent, and they've made some mistake, or have had terrible luck. Maybe they were a Disappeared Dad, or a Missing Mom. Or perhaps they did something that hurt the family, like lose their job, or cheat on the spouse, or got sent to prison. Whatever the mistake, it was in the past. Every party involved has moved on, and now the spouse has forgiven the main character, and their friends and coworkers are generally sympathetic. If it was an accident, everyone recognizes it, and that the main character had no control over the events.

But the Rule of Drama dictates that not quite everybody can be forgiving. So the writers will lump all the blaming and hating into one vessel: the child of the protagonist.

The writer's want the audience to forgive/overlook the character's Dark and Troubled Past, so all the other character's in the story are understanding, forgiving, and sympathetic (generally), but they still want to use the past mistake to create drama and conflict. The end result is one child carrying all the hate for the parent, even when nobody else (especially the other family members) seems to hold ill feelings.

Expect the child to have a Freudian Excuse.

It is not enough for a child to simply hate a parent. They have to be the only one who blames/is angry with the parent (enemies don't count). It does not matter whether or not they have good reason to blame the parent.

When the child is justified, it can become Calling the Old Man Out. If the child starts to actively work against the parent, it becomes Antagonistic Offspring. Compare to Archnemesis Dad, contrast with Resentful Guardian. Can lead to You're Not My Father, Dating What Daddy Hates.


Examples

Film
  • Cheaper by the Dozen: Charlie Baker is angry at his father (Steve Martin) for making the family move to a new home, while none of the other 12 family members act angry or frustrated.
  • Shoot the Moon: The kids all seem to accept their parents' divorce except for the oldest daughter, who remains very angry with the father.

Literature
  • In David Edding's Belgariad series, Polgara is relentlessly critical and disapproving of her father Belgarath (even though at bottom she still sorta kinda loves him); while everyone else (besides his mortal enemies) regards him at worst as a loveable rascal.

Live-Action TV
  • American Horror Story: Vivien, Ben's wife, gives her husband a second chance and takes strides to forgive him for cheating on her, and it's their daughter, Violet, who holds a grudge against him for hurting the family.
  • Angel: In season 4, much of the drama centers around Connor's hate for Angel. The rest of the characters are supportive of Angel, out of friendship.
  • Battlestar Galactica: In the early seasons of the reimagining, Lee Adama has a serious beef with his father, the commander. Bill Adama is universally loved by his crew, minus his son.
  • Dexter: While (virtually) everyone treats Dexter with sympathy and kindness, Astor blames him for her mom's death, even though Cody still loves Dexter, and she is the main reason why they stay at their grandparents' home.
  • Kings: King Silas Benjamin is an incredibly popular ruler, but his treatment of his son causes the prince to conspire against him.
  • Sons of Anarchy: Jax is the only club member ever in serious conflict with his step-father, Clay.
  • Supernatural: In the early seasons, Sam is the only one with anything negative to say about their father (and he does it often). All the characters they meet who know their father are quick to remind them that he means well and loves them, and Dean always defends him.
  • Terra Nova: Josh is seriously angry with his father for getting sent to prison, even though it was for trying to protect his sister. His siblings treat their father like he's the World's Greatest Dad, and Jim's wife is completely understanding.

Theater

Web Comics:

Western Animation
  • Family Guy: Meg Griffin routinely gets angry at Peter for his idiocy, while the rest of the main characters seem okay to put up with it.


Indices: Parental Issues, Blame Tropes
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • October 20, 2011
    Patworx
    Meg Griffin from Family Guy definitely deserves a mention.
  • October 21, 2011
    Arivne
    The name may make people think that it's the child being hated.
  • October 21, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    ^^ Y'know, if there doesn't have to be a good reason, Stewie sort of counts towards Lois, for some reason.

    Also, *cough* her name is Astor.
  • October 22, 2011
    Austecon
    I would say that the Stewie example doesn't work, simply because he's not blaming her for something that others have forgiven or look past. And thanks for the name catch. That was embarrassing.

    And name suggestions are welcome.

  • October 22, 2011
    Zai
  • October 22, 2011
    Lumpenprole
    In David Edding's Belgariad series, Polgara is relentlessly critical and disapproving of her father Belgarath (even though at bottom she still sorta kinda loves him); while everyone else (besides his mortal enemies) regards him at worst as a loveable rascal.
  • October 27, 2011
    Austecon
    One point of concern is how close this is to Calling The Old Man Out. It describes a different idea (child being the only one written to be in conflict with the parent), but many of the examples can be directly copied from the other page. Is This Tropable?
  • October 27, 2011
    Earnest
    This is tropeable since the parent may not be hated for a reason worth being called out on (just plain childish resentment or petulance). For example, this kid is almost always the tough nut to crack for the divorced dad who wants to remarry the mom.
  • October 27, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    I don't think hateful is the right adjective for this. Something with 'grudge' in it would be more appropriate.
  • October 29, 2011
    Austecon
  • October 29, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
  • October 29, 2011
    Grain
    I don't like having the word "token" appended to this title. It doesn't seem like a token characterization to me.
  • October 29, 2011
    Austecon
    I like Unforgiving Offspring as well. One more vote, and I'll update the title.
  • November 7, 2011
    azul120
    • Lelouch towards his father in Code Geass, sort of.
  • November 8, 2011
    Austecon
    I'm not familiar with that work, could you offer some explanatory detail to make an example with?
  • November 8, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
  • November 15, 2011
    AmbarSonofDeshar
    Might create an Antagonistic Offspring if the situation is bad enough.
  • November 15, 2011
    decofloorlamp
    In the movie "Shoot the Moon," the kids all seem to accept their parents' divorce except for the oldest daughter, who remains very angry with the father.
  • December 20, 2011
    Met
    Does it count if the parent died? In the episode of The Twilight Zone "I Sing The Body Electric," written by Ray Bradbury, a family is ready to move on and get a new robot caretaker for the children after their mother dies. All except for one girl who rejects the robot grandmother. It is revealed that the girl is angry with her mother for leaving her.
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