Created By: SakurazakiSetsuna on August 1, 2011 Last Edited By: Arivne on October 31, 2015

Paradox Parentage

Through Time Travel, Magic or other means, a child looks the same age or older than their parent(s).

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Splitting this off from Absurdly Youthful Mother (see TRS Thread here)

The description of that trope does not mention this, but examples of this keep getting added, muddling the purpose of the Trope.

Going ahead and putting in the relevant examples from Absurdly Youthful Mother. Will need a better description as well. We will most likely put the image currently on that page on this new one, and find a new image for Absurdly Youthful Mother.


It can be firmly stated that most people are younger than their parents. Duh. In the land of fiction, though, it can get a bit more complicated. For example, you might be a time traveler and go back in time and meet your mother at a time when she was younger than you are now. Or you aren't a time traveler, but your mother is immortal and at least looks younger than you do. It can even be done via magic or just plain old Phlebotinum.

The main point to remember is that suddenly your parents look the same as you or younger, which is going to be a little awkward at family gatherings or when introducing your boyfriend to your dad.


Anime and Manga
  • Tenchi Muyo! has several of these, perhaps most notably Washu being Ryoko's mother, despite the fact that Washu actually looks younger than Ryoko. In actuality, while Ryoko is merely a child at 7,000 or so, Washu is, depending on who you ask, either 20,000 or older than the universe. She cheats via magical scientific age modification.
  • RahXephon has Quon, Ayato's "mom", who has been kept in stasis. Making her the same age as he is, and about alf the age of his twin brother Itsuki (Ayato too was kept in a kind of stasis)
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's has Hayate and the Wolkenritter, Hayate acts as a mother figure at age nine, while the Wolkenritter are likely centuries old. Their "official" ages in A's, most likely determined by physical appearance, are 8 for Vita, 19 for Signum and 22 for Shamal. Zafira seems to pose as the family dog.
  • In Dragonball GT, Goku is de-aged to childhood as the result of the Dragonballs, making him approximately the same age as his granddaughter, 13-year-old Pan.
  • Moka's mother in Rosario + Vampire is well over 200, but looked like she was in her early twenties. Justified, since her species are said to be immortal. Her daughter really is 17, though.
  • Chao Lingshen in Mahou Sensei Negima! is Negi's descendant. The problem? She's about fifteen and he's ten. She says it works out because she's a time traveling Martian!

Comic Books
  • In one Sandman volume it's remarked that Orpheus' mother doesn't seem old enough to be his mother. This is understandable, since she is Calliope, an immortal Muse from Greek Mythology. Less understandable is that despite being the child of Dream of the Endless and Calliope, Orpheus seems to be aging normally for a human...
  • X-Men. Cable is about twice the age of both his genetic parents, Scott Summers and Jean Grey. Additionally, his mother was a clone of Jean, who was only a couple of years old when he was born (it's complicated).

Fan Fiction
  • The Neon Genesis Evangelion web comic Fan Fic Aki-chan's Life (a slice of life/ illustrated epilogue to another, very well written, fanfic called The Second Try) has a somewhat... complicated example. Aki the daughter of Asuka and Shinji, conceived after the events of the third impact was born when her parents were about 16 or so. Pretty young to begin with. Four years pass, then everyone was swept back in time and her parents returned to the age they were in the anime (14) while she remained unchanged (she's a very precocious 4). They still remain loving, mature parents, but the awkwardness of the whole situation is... well you get the idea.
  • The Return, Sunshine comes across as one of these to Muggles due to the complicated nature of Succubae relationships (in purely chronological terms she could actually be younger than 2 of her kids).

Literature
  • The Doctor Who Expanded Universe Eighth Doctor Adventures novels: the Eighth Doctor at one point mentions being a grandfather — he appears to be in his mid-thirties at the time. His companion Fitz is a bit confused. He later adopts a young girl named Miranda, who ages rather normally, so he looks about forty (and claims to be thirty-six) when she's sixteen, which other characters see as slightly unusual. But after she leaves to have her own life and they're later reunited, several decades have passed since the last time they met, so she actually looks older than he does.

Live-Action TV
  • The main character of New Amsterdam is 400 years old but looks 35 (the age at which he became immortal via magical means); he sometimes seeks advice from one of his still-living sons, who is a naturally-aging 65-year-old.
  • Takeru Sato, the lead actor of Kamen Rider Den-O, left the franchise after the TV series; so for future movies and spin-offs, they de-aged Ryotaro into an 11 or 12-year-old boy, making him younger than his grandson Kotaro who is around 18.
  • In Rentaghost, ghosts manifest as they age they were when they died. So Hubert Davenport's mother, who died in her twenties, looks much younger than her son, who died when he was much older (his late fifties or early sixties).
  • Doctor Who
    • In the Tenth Doctor episode "The Doctor's Daughter", the Doctor becomes a Truly Single Parent against his will, resulting in a young woman who, being Younger than She Looks, appears about ten years younger than he does. Whereas he, of course, looks nearly ten centuries younger than he is.
    • Mind you, when the Doctor's granddaughter was a regular, the Doc looked old enough to be her grandfather. Of course, ever-more-youthful regenerations bring this trope into play.
    • It's now been revealed that River Song is Amy's daughter. Amy's in her early 20's while River is much older in all of their encounters.
  • In Torchwood, it is revealed that Jack has a daughter and a grandson. She mentions being upset that she looks older than him. (Actually, the actress playing her was born in 1968, while John Barrowman, who plays Jack, was born in 1967, but, still.)
  • Angel. Angel is, at first glance, an Absurdly Youthful Father to Connor, who appears to be eighteen while Angel appears to be in his late twenties. However, Connor was only born recently, and received a Plot-Relevant Age-Up. Also, Angel is actually over 240, and only appears to be in his twenties because he's a vampire.

Theater
  • In Iolanthe, the hero Strephon is half-fairy. Fairies are unaging and Strephon has a hard time explaining to his beloved Phyllis that these nubile women he is seen embracing are, in fact, his mother and his aunts, all of whom look younger than him.
    I wouldn't say a word that could be reckoned as injurious,
    But to find a mother younger than her son is very curious;
    And that's the kind of mother that is usually spurious.

Video Games

Visual Novels
  • In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, it's revealed in the TIPS/ Rei OVA that Hanyuu, who looks about anywhere from 8-12, in fact had a daughter way back when. However, Hanyuu is an immortal Physical God, so that probably explains things. She still looks extremely young, so it might be a combination of this, and "Pregnancy at a young age is implied or stated" above.
  • Tsugumi in Ever17 doesn't look much older than her sixteen-year-old children, as she stopped aging at seventeen. You's mother is a more conventional really-young-looking parent... because her "daughter" is really a clone of herself that she had made when she was diagnosed with a terminal illness in her teens.

Web Comics
  • You might not suspect it, but Drowtales' Queen Diva is a great-great-great (times x) grandma and well over 1000 years old by the time the story starts. Additionally, her Fusion Dance, Ragini/Liriel, makes her look about 12 once she fully manifests.
  • In Sailor Sun, 20 year old Bay Smith alternatively plays mother to two versions of her daughter Brady Honey Smith that were snatched from alternate futures: 18 year old Honey and kindergartner/preschooler Brady.
  • In Homestuck, in every session of Sburb, it is predestined that the players will all really be paradox clones created by one of the players during that session. While this process isn't explicitly shown in the Trolls' session (though the end result is), in the kids' session, we see that John first created Nanna Egbert, Grandpa Harley, Bro Strider, and Mom Lalonde and then created the children themselves by combining this quartet pairwise, thereby making them essentially just a few minutes younger than their biological parents, whom in most cases were also their acting parents due to having been sent to different points in time. John, however, is quite a bit older than his "father", who is actually his half-brother. On top of that, if you consider creating the paradox clones to be a form of parenthood, this means that John is, at age 13, either a father of eight or a father of four and a grandfather of four, or both, depending on your perspective as to whether the second generation should be considered children as well or grandchildren. In short: Stable Time Loops and genetics should never mix.
  • Nina and Layla's mom in Eerie Cuties does not look like could have had 13 children. Justified in that she's a vampire. (Vampires can reproduce in this verse the same as humans.)

Community Feedback Replies: 44
  • August 1, 2011
    BioTube
    So this would be Kid From The Future's supertrope?
  • August 1, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    IMO the name makes it sound more like it's an enigma how the parents conceived them, or he was born in a way that is paradoxical (such as, born of a person and a rock), rather than something to do with a characters apparent age relative to their parents.
  • August 1, 2011
    SakurazakiSetsuna
    Name is up for grabs, this was the first thing I came up with. Also needs better description.

    And yes, Kid From The Future would be a subtrope of this.
  • August 2, 2011
    Koveras
    All You Zombies. I'd love to elaborate that any attempt would be a massive spoiler.
  • August 2, 2011
    SakurazakiSetsuna
    Not looking for examples specifically, need a better description and (maybe) a better title.
  • August 2, 2011
    PaulA
  • August 2, 2011
    SakurazakiSetsuna
    Nice to see people listening to me. *sigh*
  • August 3, 2011
    PaulA
    ^ You didn't say not to give examples.
  • August 3, 2011
    SakurazakiSetsuna
    Well no, but thats really not what we're here for. We have tons of examples, and more can be added later. I'm just really terrible at writing descriptions, so I thought perhaps some of you who are here in YKTTW would like to assist with that aspect.
  • August 3, 2011
    PaulA
    ^ I would like to, but I'm terrible at writing descriptions too.
  • August 3, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Sorry, here's another example:
    • In the Star Trek Deep Space Nine episode "The Visitor" an accident leaves Captain Sisko in a temporal displacement; at first they think he's died, but then he reappears later, and disappears & reappears again and again throught his son Jake's life. No time passes for Captain Sisko. In the last scene before the Reset Button is pressed Captain Sisko (forty in his personal time) meets up with his son who is now an octogenarian.
  • October 28, 2013
    Discar
    Bump. This seems to have been forgotten.
  • October 28, 2013
    MonaNaito
    Do more distant relatives than parents also count? Great-great-uncles, etc.?
  • October 28, 2013
    DAN004
    So Absurdly Youthful Mother is for "natural" examples, isn't it?

    I'm suggesting Supernaturally Youthful Parent.
  • October 29, 2013
    Arivne
    Live Action TV
    • Classic The Twilight Zone episode "Queen of the Nile". A middle-aged actress named Pamela Morris lives with an old woman she claims is her mother. It's later discovered that the old woman is in fact her daughter, and Pamela Morris is actually thousands of years old - she maintains her youth by draining the Life Energy of young men.
  • October 29, 2013
    Paycheckgurl
    In The Sims 3, if you "Try for baby" while in a time machine, a Kid From The Future may show that is the same age or older than your character claiming to have somehow been lost in time.
  • October 29, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In Time Enough For Love Lazarus Long (over 2,000 years old) goes back in time to when he was six and hooks up with his mother.
  • October 30, 2013
    samitv
    Dunno if this counts buttttt

    • Once Upon A Time has Snow White and Prince Charming give birth to a baby girl which they send through a portal to the real world nearly as soon as she's born. Their daughter Emma meets them (in the real world) when she's twenty-eight. She has no reason to suspect that they're her parents at the time, because not only have they been wolloped by Laser Guided Amnesia, they've also been stuck in a town where time doesn't move forward for the last twenty-eight years. Here's a family shot. Once they do figure it out, they hang lampshades on the fact that they look the same age every once in a while.
  • October 31, 2013
    Hodor
    ^That definitely counts. Was the first thing I thought of.

    Another sort of example:

  • October 31, 2013
    MercenX
    • Does Benjamin Button count? Title character's condition makes him look decades older than his biological and adoptive parents until those decades have actually passed, by which time, he looks younger... until he dies as an infant.
  • November 6, 2013
    Bibliophile
  • November 7, 2013
    KarjamP
    Just going to tell you this:

    the markup for strike-though has been disabled on the main articles for a while now, so the Tenchi Muyo example has to be rewritten to accommodate that.

    Note that I've said "on the main articles". It's not disabled here (apparently), Ask The Troper and on forum posts, and perhaps even more non-article-based stuff that uses the wiki's markup.
  • September 14, 2015
    StrixObscuro
    Live Action TV
    • In Forever, Henry Morgan stopped aging back when slavery was still legal in the United States, but his adopted son Abe, born in the thirties, has aged normally, resulting in Abe looking far older than Henry despite actually being younger than him.
  • September 14, 2015
    IniuriaTalis
    Video game example:

    • In Lost Odyssey, half of the protagonists are thousand-years old immortals whose children age normally. Kain and Sarah's daughter appears to be about the same age as her parents, but much comedy is derived from Cool Old Guy Sed's relationship with his seemingly mid-twenties mother Seth.
  • September 15, 2015
    Chabal2
    Dragon Quest V: Since the player character and his wife are turned into stone statues for nearly a decade just after their children are born, this trope comes into play. It doesn't help that they were late teenagers (at best) during conception.
  • September 15, 2015
    gallium
    How is the example I'm about to list not here already?

    Film

    • Interstellar ends with Cooper, having done a lot of travel through warped space, finally coming back and reuniting with his daughter Murph, now an old lady.
  • September 15, 2015
    randomsurfer
    Does This Count It's not father-son.
    • Futurama: Phillip Fry was about 30 years old when he became a Human Popsicle for 1000 years, so he still looks like a young man. In the year 3000 he unites with his great-great-great-great grandnephew Prof. Farnsworth, who is 160 and looks it.
  • September 16, 2015
    dalek955
    • In The Salvation War, anyone who dies old will appear to be middle-aged in the afterlife, so it's not uncommon for deceased parents to look like they might be the siblings or even the children of a visiting (living) son or daughter.
  • September 17, 2015
    samitv
    ^^^ I really thought Interstellar was THE classic example too. But maybe cause it's new it hasn't been seen by as many people as the others?

    Going with the whole "your mother is immortal and at least looks younger than you do"
    • In The Hobbit movies, Lee Pace (born 1979) plays the father of Orlando Bloom (born 1977), the casting could have been deliberate due to the fact that elves are not subject to disease or physical aging.
  • September 17, 2015
    samitv
  • September 18, 2015
    Prfnoff
    I made a few changes to the Iolanthe example.
  • September 20, 2015
    JoeG
    Get rid of the one big folder and replace it with folders for Anime, Comic Books, etc. Then I'll give it another hat.
  • September 21, 2015
    Arivne

  • September 22, 2015
    JohnnyCache
    • Lampshaded in The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy: The great-grandfather of Zaphod Beeblebrox is Zaphod Beeblebrox the Fourth. His grandfather is the Third, and his father is the Second. This is "explained" as being due to an accident with a contraceptive and a time-machine.
  • October 25, 2015
    DAN004
    Pmub
  • October 26, 2015
    eroock
    How does this contrast against Supernaturally Young Parent?
  • October 26, 2015
    Chabal2
    Golden Sun Dark Dawn: The main characters are young teenagers, with their parents in their thirties. However, due to the influence of the titular Golden Sun (the source of the elixir of life), their parents' aging has been slowed to the point that the two we see look only a few years older than their children (and even then due to having facial hair).
  • October 26, 2015
    robinjohnson
    • Continuum: Alec, who is a teenager in the 2010s part of the story, finds out from a paternity test that the 40-something Jason is his father - but it turns out Jason is actually Alec's time-travelling son.
  • October 26, 2015
    DAN004
    ^^ this seems to be that trope, but with the child looking/being older than the parent.

    Which isn't that distinct.
  • October 26, 2015
    StarSword
    Literature:
  • October 26, 2015
    randomsurfer
    • Star Trek The Next Generation: In "Firstborn" Worf is approaced by an Old Retainer who used to work for his family - but it turns out it's actually his son Alexander who traveled back in time in order to help Worf train him to be a warrior instead of a diplomat, because in Alexander's original timeline Worf was murdered in the Klingon High Council chamber and Alexander couldn't do anything about it.
    • Star Trek Deep Space Nine: In "The Visitor" Sisko becomes Unstuck In Time due to some Plebotonium and only appears periodically, always to his son Jake. Jake grows up, and grows old, while Sisko remains the same physical age. Eventually Jake discovers that if he dies while his father is there, it will cause a Reset Button to be pressed, so he takes some poison to die when his father next shows up.
  • October 31, 2015
    rmctagg09
  • October 31, 2015
    DAN004
    Okay, so motion to merge with Supernaturally Young Parent?
  • October 31, 2015
    eroock
    The wording of laconic and most of OP's exampled are the same as on Supernaturally Young Parent. Also Interstellar is listed there. This leads me to believe this trope already went live in 2014 as Supernaturally Young Parent without anybody pressing the launch button here. Please stop posting in this thread and direct your entries to the live trope.
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