Created By: TheMuse on December 16, 2013 Last Edited By: TheMuse on February 8, 2014
Troped

Remarrying For Your Kids

A parent replaces a spouse

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Trope
Having a single parent in a work isn't uncommon in the slightest. But if a character's Missing Mom or Disappeared Dad is explained as being a product of death or Parental Abandonment, it's likely for the single parent to be paired up with another character by the end. This can be used to resolve the lack of spouse and parent in one swoop. The character may intentionally be looking for a spouse/partner throughout the story, but this often isn't the case.

The popularity of this trope may lead one to assume that anytime a widowed parent appears, they will be paired off in the end.

Playing this straight involves the parent being paired off with another character over the course of the story (backstory doesn't count) May involve a plot that features Parent with New Paramour.

Examples

Film
  • A major plot point of Nanny McPhee is Cedric Brown's necessity to get remarried after his wife's death, due to pressure put on him by the great aunt. By the end of the movie, he marries Evangeline.
  • Love Actually. Liam Neeson's character's wife dies at the beginning of the movie and he is forced to raise their child alone. By the end, he is paired up with another woman, be this is an unusual variant of the trope, considering the son is his by marriage.
  • Averted in Treasure Planet. Jim's lack of father is given an explicit explantation, but Mrs. Dawkins never enters another relationship.
  • The Aristocats. Played straight with Duchess and O'Malley, but the kitten's lack of biological father is never mentioned or explained.
  • In Disney's Enchanted, Robert has an extended relationship with Nancy, but end up with Giselle in the end. Morgan's mother is explicitly mentioned to have 'left,' which is actually pretty dark for a kid's movie.
  • Rugrats in Paris has Chuckie's father decide to remarry because he wants to provide a mom for his son. Unfortunately, he's not very good at telling that Chuckie is terrified of his new girlfriend Coco. Played Straight as Chaz ends up marrying Kira by the end of the movie.
  • Averted in Epic. MK's mother is explicitly mentioned to have died, but her father, Bomba, is not paired up with another character

Literature
  • Deconstructed a bit in Wives and Daughters, Molly's mother dies when she's a little girl. When she's teenaged, her father thinks she really needs a mother-figure and marries because of it. However, while not being exactly Evil Stepmother, she's a difficult woman and not helpful at all.

Legend
  • Min Ziqian was a Chinese model of filial piety. After his father discovered that his Wicked Stepmother was dressing her own children warmly, and not his first son, he told her he had married her to have someone to look after his son, and she is not doing it, so he would divorce her. Only Min Ziqian's intervention, reminding him that without her there, none of the children would be looked after, saved her.
  • In The Green Knight, the king remarries because his daughter begs him to.

Real Life
  • Abraham Lincoln's mother died of milk sickness when he was nine. A short time later his father went off for a week and brought home a Widow Woman specifically to be the new mother to his children. The new Mrs. Lincoln already had three children of her own, so the replacement went both directions.
    Thomas Lincoln: "I have no wife and you no husband. I came a-purpose to marry you. I knowed you from a gal and you knowed me from a boy. I've no time to lose: and if you're willin' let it be done straight off."
  • Truth in Television. This wasn't uncommon through much of human history, especially due to Death By Child Birth being much more common. (Which often left behind children, and sometimes Massive Numbered Siblings) The widower left behind would be expected to remarry to provide his children with a mother. A dead father would often produce a similar result. This was often motivated by the idea that children needed to be raised by a 'mother' and 'father' to flourish
  • This was common enough in the Victorian-era that etiquette books even had guidelines for how long Wife #2 should mourn her dead predecessor (assuming the male remarried during his mourning period).
Community Feedback Replies: 27
  • December 16, 2013
    TheMuse
    An examples/other feedback you could add would be appreciated :)
  • December 16, 2013
    RandomSurfer
    Needs a non-dialog title. (On TV Tropes any title using first or second person pronouns is considered dialog, even if nobody has ever said it.)

    Real Life: Abraham Lincoln's mother died of milk sickness when he was nine. A short time later his father went off for a week and brought home a Widow Woman specifically to be the new mother to his children. The new Mrs. Lincoln already had three children of her own, so the replacement went both directions.
    Thomas Lincoln: "I have no wife and you no husband. I came a-purpose to marry you. I knowed you from a gal and you knowed me from a boy. I've no time to lose: and if you're willin' let it be done straight off."
  • December 16, 2013
    KTera
    • This is possible in Heavy Rain. Ethan separates from his wife during the Time Skip, but in one ending he ends up with Madison and after rescuing Shaun they move into a new apartment together.
  • December 16, 2013
    DAN004
    So this is about finding a new spouse? Or a plot that arises from it?
  • December 16, 2013
    temporaryobsessor
    For now you could try, "Remarrying for your kids". It's Shorter and harder to confuse with Replacing your spouse with your kids.
  • December 17, 2013
    Arivne
    Formatted Examples section, Namespaced and italicized work titles.
  • December 17, 2013
    TheMuse
    Trope has been renamed. Sounds much better
  • December 18, 2013
    TheMuse
    Anyone else have any more examples? If not, I can launch it
  • December 18, 2013
    DAN004
    Hey hey, be patient. You need 5 hats, better description and more examples.
  • December 18, 2013
    LongLiveRock
    Would the The Brady Bunch count?
  • December 19, 2013
    TheMuse
    ^I was intending it to be more of a "sub plot throughout the story" rather than a backstory type thing. A major part that I was trying to get across is: "A majority of media that actually explicitly mention/explain the 'missing parent' end up pairing the remaining parent with another person by the end.
  • December 19, 2013
    Antigone3
    From what I've read, this was common during a good chunk of human history. Victorian-era etiquette books even had guidelines for how long Wife #2 should mourn her dead predecessor (assuming the male remarried during his mourning period).
  • December 19, 2013
    TheMuse
    I've edited the description a bit. Does anyone have any suggestions on what to improve?
  • December 19, 2013
    Sibuna
    This was the father's reason for marrying the Stepmother in almost every version of Cinderella.

  • January 18, 2014
    TheMuse
    Any other suggestions?
  • January 26, 2014
    TheMuse
    Needs more hats
  • January 26, 2014
    Goldfritha
    You should bump it a few times for hats.

    But in the meantime:

    Legend
    • Min Ziqian was a Chinese model of filial piety. After his father discovered that his Wicked Stepmother was dressing her own children warmly, and not his first son, he told her he had married her to have someone to look after his son, and she is not doing it, so he would divorce her. Only Min Ziqian's intervention, reminding him that without her there, none of the children would be looked after, saved her.
  • January 26, 2014
    Goldfritha
    Also
  • January 27, 2014
    Tuckerscreator
    • Rugrats In Paris has Chuckie's father decide to remarry because he wants to provide a mom for his son. Unfortunately, he's not very good at telling that Chuckie is terrified of his new girlfriend Coco.
  • February 1, 2014
    Sackett
    Do we have the trope about when a kid tries to find a replacement parental figure by marrying their remaining parent off to their preferred replacement?

    Seen It A Million Times
  • February 2, 2014
    DAN004
    I guess we don't ^
  • February 2, 2014
    randomsurfer
  • February 3, 2014
    XFllo
    Is this already covered with Parental Substitute? It seems really close, though this draft puts emphasis on the adults, while Parental Substitute is focused on the kids.

    Literature:
    • In Wives And Daughters, Molly's mother dies when she's a little girl. When she's teenaged, her father thinks she really needs a mother-figure and marries because of it. However, while not being exactly Evil Stepmother, she's a difficult woman and not helpful at all.
  • February 3, 2014
    DAN004
    Parental Substitute as I see it seems to cover unofficial parents while this trope is official via marriage.
  • February 3, 2014
    TheMuse
    ^^^^^If one doesn't exist, I think Kid Plays Matchmaker might make a good title
  • February 5, 2014
    SquirrelGuy
    In some tellings of Cinderella, a backstory is given on how the titular character got a wicked stepmother and stepsisters in the first place. Cinderella's father was a widower (or his wife left? not sure) who got remarried to a woman with two daughters to be a positive influence on his own daughter. Of course, things quickly went south from there.
  • February 8, 2014
    TheMuse
    We've got five hats and are preparing for launch, if anyone wants to add some last-minute examples before we launch, feel free

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=y24718wtgu06g1m11o4e8kzh&trope=RemarryingForYourKids