"I wouldn't say a word that could be reckoned as injurious,
But to find a mother younger than her son is very curious."When you subtract the age (or apparent age) of a child from that of their parent, this results. Often done to justify a Mrs. Robinson or Stacy's Mom, but sometimes, the mother in question really was that young when she gave birth. Sometimes she only appears this way because of the art style. In Real Life, a girl can conceive as soon as she has her first menstrual cycle, which commonly occurs (on average) at around 11 or 12 years old these days (although carrying a child to term before physical maturity is risky and has a higher chance of death in childbirth; Henry VII's mother was thirteen when she gave birth to him and couldn't get pregnant again because of the damage to her reproductive organs) and in rare cases this can occur at an even younger age, such as five years old.note See also:
- Adoptive Peer Parent: Parents remarried, adoption, or gained custody through other means.
- Mum Looks Like a Sister: The parent looks younger, or the child looks older. Closely related to Older Than They Look and Younger Than They Look.
- Not Allowed to Grow Old: After a Time Skip, the children grow up but the parents still appear the same.
- Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Children are born, then their age is retconned.
- Supernaturally Young Parent: Time Travel, Magic, Bizarre Alien Biology or Immortality are involved.
- Teen Pregnancy: Pregnancy at a young age is clearly implied or stated.
open/close all foldersFaked parentage
Live Action TV
- In the Our Miss Brooks episode "The Wrong Mrs. Boynton", Miss Brooks unwittingly offers to masquerade as Mr. Boynton's mother. This is in spite of the fact she is actually a couple of years younger than her Love Interest. It Makes Sense in Context.
- In Only Fools and Horses, Del wins a family holiday for the Trotters by entering a children's art contest with a picture painted by Rodney when he was 14. In order for them to be eligible to claim the prize, Rodney (who's in his early 20s) has to pose as a 14-year-old boy, with Del (who was 16-17 when Rodney was born) pretending to be his father. Del at least has the sense to claim Cassandra, about the same age as Rodney, as a stepmother.
- Tracy Jordan's adult son on 30 Rock is far too old. In an aversion, Tracy sees through the deception immediately (while his friends assume the Cloudcuckoolander was actually taken in).
- Discussed in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "T.R.A.C.K.S", when Agents Coulson and Simmons are posing as father/daughter family. Simmons comments that Coulson is "far too young to have a daughter my age." (Though it would seem she's just being polite: the official website states that Coulson was 49 and Simmons 26 at the time the mission took place, meaning that they could easily be father and daughter at their respective ages.)
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender season 3, Sokka and Katara fake being Aang's parents at a Fire Nation school. The two of them are barely older than he is and wear unconvincing disguises (Sokka wore a fake beard, Katara wore a pillow stuffed under her shirt to make her look pregnant) to pass themselves off. To really blow some heads, just remember that in terms of pure chronological age, he could be their great-great grandfather.
Writers Cannot Do Math
Anime and Manga
- Cardcaptor Sakura: It is never stated how old Syaoran's mother Yelan is, only that she looks very young and beautiful enough to stand out in a universe populated by The Beautiful Elite. She is, however, thought to be somewhere in her mid-to-late 30's, and possibly married as a teenager. This is never confirmed, because she is only seen in the first OVA.
- As mentioned above, in the dub of Digimon Tamers, Ruki/Rika's age was altered, but the age of her mother was left alone. Ruki is implied to have been the result of a teen pregnancy in the original. The dub's numbers indicate that Rumiko gave birth at thirteen. Oops.
- Kill Killer features a story with a "Dirty Callahan"-like killer of pedophiles who, after a lengthy period in prison for beating the supposed killer of his five year old child, reunites with his partner, the mother of the child... a 19 year old teenager. Someone obviously couldn't make a subtraction... Or maybe that was the point.note
- In Harry Potter, the official Black family tree includes birth and death dates; if followed exactly, Sirius' grandfather had his mother when he was only 13. J. K. Rowling is on record that math isn't her strong suit, so many fans assume she just misplaced a decade. Then again, given the Blacks' status as a Big Screwed-Up Family, it could conceivably be accurate....
- A more subtle but still prominent example would be with Harry's parents. Going by the birth and the death dates, Lily Potter gave birth to Harry when she and James were 20, and both of them died when only 21. While not completely out there (they were crazy for each other by the end of school, and James had both a good job out of school and a good bit of old family money that Harry himself later inherits, so providing for Harry wasn't a challenge), it does still feel jarring, especially given how old they're portrayed as in the movies. Rowling does acknowledge this later on.
- In W.E.B. Griffin's OSS series, one of the major characters is the son of a Hollywood star, who, if one believes her official studio biography, gave birth to him at thirteen. However, this is entirely due to the studio claiming that she's younger than she actually is due to the fact that she always plays The Ingenue, and they need to make her look as if she's young enough to plausibly play that role (They try not to draw attention to the fact that she has an adult son - who is only legitimate because she married the father for one year to avoid any possible scandal connected to the pregnancy - whenever possible).
Live Action TV
- In One Life to Live, Greg is explicitly stated (in courtroom testimony, no less) to have ten years' experience as a fully licensed practicing neurosurgeon, putting him in his early 40s at the youngest. His mother is played by an actress in her late 40s, and to make things interesting he has a 15-year-old sister. All the characters were introduced during 2009 so SORAS isn't involved.
- Supernatural. John Winchester may be ruggedly handsome with a beard, but this hardly hides the fact that he looks MAYBE ten years Dean's senior.
- In the third episode of Girl Meets World, Topanga tells a small child that she's 30. Topanga and Cory have a daughter, Riley, in 7th grade. If Riley is normal age for her grade (12-13), Topanga had her when she was 17-18. Given that Boy Meets World goes through Topanga's second year of college and she had no children up until that time, clearly someone didn't do the math.
- That or she was simply lying about her age.
- Dead or Alive: Ayame, the mother of Hayate, Kasumi, and Ayane. She's had three kids, Hayate being in his early twenties and Kasumi and Ayane being in their late teens (17 and 16, respectively, in the original game), and in her every appearance so far, she doesn't appear to be much older than Kasumi.
- In The Sims 3, Boyd and Susan Wainwright are 11 days until Elder while playing in normal lifespan (AKA they're 62 SimDays old), while their daughter, Blair, is in her very first day of Young Adult (31 SimDays old), meaning that Blair was born while both her parents were in their very first day of Young Adult, and thus she would have been conceived when her parents were teens in "normal gameplay". In the meanwhile (a completely different family/household but still in Sunset Valley) Leighton Sekemoto is 19 days until Adult (basically middle-aged) while his son, Sam, is on his first day of toddler. This is because, while 1 SimDay = 1 Year in the Child, Young Adult, Adult, and Elder Stage, it equals 6 months in the Baby, Toddler, and Teen lifestage.
- Super Mario Bros.: Not the case anymore; but the Koopalings were once considered to be Bowser's children along with Junior. Bowser himself is only a few years older than Mario (who is 26); and the Koopalings are all teenagers or young adults. If they're considered Bowser's children; Bowser would only be about ten years older than Ludwig (the eldest).
- Due to poor translation rather than poor math, an NPC in the first Mega Man Battle Network says that ten-year-old Lan's grandfather, the famous Dr. Tadashi Hikari, is forty-five years old. Yikes. Later games in the series clarify that Tadashi died at forty-five (of a genetic heart problem), before Lan was born.
- Homestuck. Bro Strider. Most fans think of Bro as being in his early/middle 20s, until you sit down and do the math. He was at least an adult - 18 - when he adopted baby!Dave. Dave is thirteen now, making bro at least 31. The same might apply to Mama Lalonde and Dad Egbert, but Mom and Dad seem to be thought of as "older" than Bro, so I don't know. The whole lot of them don't seem to change in appearance between adopting their children and thirteen years later.
- The Egbert Family. Nana was born in 1910. John was "born" in 1996. Dad appears to be a regular middle aged man, but if Nana had Dad around age 20 (as was normal for a woman of her time period) Dad would have to be in his sixties when John is "born." If Dad is about, say, 40 when John is 13, Nana would have had to have given birth to him in HER fifties-sixties. It's unclear how old Dad is SUPPOSED to be, but so far it doesn't seem to add up when considering Nana's and John's ages.
- All the main heroines in How I Became Yours.
- Katara would have become a mother at age 15 had Mai not induced a miscarriage, and in the epilogue (taking place when she's 23), she has several children who look to be at least 5 years old.
- Toph would have been 21 at the time of the epilogue, and she also has seemingly kindergarten-aged kids.
- Azula, since she got pregnant during the comic, would have been 17/18 when her child was born.
Anime and Manga
- Diva from Blood+ looks, sounds and even acts very youthful, if not childish and immature. She becomes this after she rapes and kills Riku., who happens to be 13 years old. She does mature slightly a year after the Time Skip.
- In Sword Art Online, Kirito and Asuna adopt the AI Yui as their daughter. At the time, Kirito and Asuna are 16 and 17, respectively. Yui, by virtue of being an AI appears to be 8 despite in fact being 2.
- Konata's mother Kanata from Lucky Star looked incredibly young throughout her life and (sometimes) acted accordingly. This fact gave fuel for some interesting speculation about the preferences of Konata's father Soujirou.
- Past Sins
- Twilight adopts the magically generated Nyx. Biologically, they're a late teennote and child respectively, and that's not even going into the newly-made or millennium-old question with Nyx. And things get even weirder when Nyx is artificially aged up to an adult horse...
- There's also the fact that some of Twilight's blood was used in the ritual to resurrect Nightmare Moon (due to her status as the Element of Magic), possibly making her a Truly Single Parent or some weird case of Has Two Mommies with Princess Luna.
- Aki-chan's Life is a particularly extreme example, with fourteen or fifteen year-old Asuka and Shinji being parents of a four year-old girl. Time travel was involved.
- Of course, even in the previous story, Asuka was probably only about fifteen or sixteen when she gave birth to Aki. Even that's just a guess on her and Shinji's part as they weren't bothering to keep track of time after the apocalypse.
- The Child of Love: Asuka gave birth Teri when she and Shinji were fifteen. During her birthday she admits she is too young to be a mother.
- Ghosts of Evangelion: Kyoko is only a few years older than her daughter because she was a bodiless soul for twenty years.
- In RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse, Ditzy Doo was just barely legal when she got pregnant with Dinky.
- A Brother's Price justifies this trope by changing the definition of "mother". All sisters of a child's birth mother who are still part of the same family groupnote are her mothers. This makes possible a situation in which someone's mother is the same age as her, or possibly even younger.
- Seems to be pretty heavily implied as the norm in Allegiant, given that Natalie and Andrew were together before they entered Abnegation together, and that the Bureau requires that all persons entering the experiment promise to have a minimum number of children to ensure the survival of their "corrected genes".
- In Die Alchimistin, Sylvette gives birth at eight. It isn't clear whether it was fully natural or the Big Bad stimulated her puberty somehow (he was probably able to do that).
- In Alice, Girl from the Future the Pirate Queen first appears as a strikingly beautiful woman in her twenties. She is also the mother of Rat who is definitely much older than that, which is lampshaded by the hero. Then her young face turns out to be a mask, and what lies beneath is so horrid that the author doesn't even describe it.
- Although we never know for sure whether she is his real mother, as she is only shown in human form and he is a shapeshifting scorpion-like alien. We only have his word that he inherited the shapeshifting from his father, but the author is rather vague on the question of alien/human interbreeding.
- In Magic or Madness, all magic-user parents were absurdly young when they had their kids, because magic is Cast From Life Span (and if you don't use it, you go insane). This causes several problems, since said mothers weren't mature enough to properly raise children.