Ted: [whispering to Bill]
Your stepmom's cute. Bill:
Shut up, Ted. Ted:
Remember when she was a senior and we were freshmen? Bill:
Shut up, Ted!
Parents in fiction rarely look old enough to have children of the age shown. Sometimes this is because of a Teen Pregnancy
, or Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome
, or some form of time travel or immortality
. Sometimes, it's for a more mundane reason. The parents remarried, adopted, or gained custody of the suspiciously old child through other means that justify the age discrepancy.
See also Absurdly Youthful Mother
and the other subtropes, especially Mum Looks Like A Sister
. Compare Promotion to Parent
, which usually falls under this trope.
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Anime and Manga
- In Elfen Lied, Kohta and Yuka (both 18-19) are given custody of Mayu (~13) by her mother as she doesn't want her any more.
- The title character of Lyrical Nanoha officially adopted the then 6-year old Vivio when she was just 19. One fan comic had fun with this small age difference by having Nanoha introduce Vivio to her parents with no prior information, causing her father Shiro to have a breakdown when he thought that she got Vivio the usual way at the tender age of 13.
- Taking this even further, as of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vivid, Vivio can transform into teenager/young adult version of herself, which, coupled with Nanoha's own rather youthful looks, makes it appear as if they are virtually the same age.
- There's also Fate, who's the official guardian of Caro even though they only have a 9 year difference between themnote Erio would also count, but he's officially under the guardianship of the forty-something Lindy since he was rescued back when Fate was still too young to officially be his guardian. Fate goes on to become Vivio's other mother, as well as Lutecia's legal guardian for the time when her mother Megane is still in her coma.
- Averted with Subaru Nakajima who, while likely old enough to become Thoma's guardian in Force, despite being only six years older than he is, asks her father to take him in instead (presumably, she'd much rather be his sister).
- Eureka (14-16) of Eureka Seven has three adopted children, all orphans. She's the one who orphaned them, and she adopted them after realizing how horrible it was that she killed their parents.
- In the epilogue, all three children are adopted by Renton as well, who is also 16, as Maurice, Maeter, and Linck all are shown to have the last name Thurston. It is also implied that Renton and Eureka are married, at least legally.
- Possibly averted with Ao, though her actual age when giving birth to him is not yet known.
- At age 15, Fraw Bow from Mobile Suit Gundam starts taking care of the orphans Kikka (4), Retsu (5) and Katz (8). Seven years later, we see them again in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: 22-year-old Fraw has married her Victorious Childhood Friend Hayato and they have adopted the three kids, who are now 11 (Kikka), 12 (Retsu) and 15 (Katz, who even joins the cast as a regular).
- In Sailor Moon, the Outer Senshi (all 16-17) adopt Hotaru after she has magically regressed to an infant. She then magically re-ages to around 13.
- Yuuri (16), from Kyo Kara Maoh, adopts the ten year old girl, Greta, who tried to kill him in her first appearance.
- Satoshi, from D.N.Angel, was adopted as a teenager by a man in his twenties.
- Beelzebub: Oga is made Baby Beel's foster father through a Deal with the Devil at age 15, while the foster mother Hilda is 16. However, virtually everyone else assumes that they are Type 1 teen parents.
- Bleach: Thanks to Abusive Parents, Sora Inoue kidnapped his sister Orihime when she was three years old and ran away from home. His act saved Orihime's life but left him Promoted To Parent at the age of eighteen.
- You're Under Arrest!: Ken Nakajima's stepmother Sena, who is younger than her stepson. Played for Laughs when Miyuki and Natsumi at first think she is Ken's biological mother and try to figure out how it happened. A major plot point involves Sena trying to get Ken to acknowledge her as his mom.
- In the Age of Apocalypse, Rogue married Magneto and thereby became the adoptive mother of the sole survivor of his children, Quicksilver. He is an unspecified number of years older than her. (It could still happen in the main timeline).
- In the current adjectiveless X-Men series Jubilee finds and adopts an abandoned baby she names Shogo. This despite only being 17, and thanks to being turned into vampire she'll be the same age even as her kid grows up.
- In Harry Potter fanfic If Thems The Rules, eighteen year old Harry adopts the eight year old Tom Riddle.
- There's a Touhou 4koma in a near-mundane setting in which Suwako and Sanae, who already have this kind of relationship in canon, are classmates of the 11-year old Letty and 17-year old Yuuka respectively (Usual warnings about Danbooru and NSFW ads apply). They are still mother and daughter, in that order, which has been commented on being a special case. It has been theorized that Suwako merely looks young... and also has the mentality of a child and still attends elementary school. It has eventually been shown that they both look their age and aren't related in blood, which does raise the question of what in her name Kanako was doing at a children's festival with a bag of sweets and a marriage contract.
- An interestingly played example in Child Of The Storm. Jane is in her late twenties when Harry is thirteen, with there being about a fifteen year age gap between the two, which is the source of a fair amount of awkwardness between the two (along with the fact that Harry associates his father with being with his mother), with Jane lampshading the relatively small age difference and noting that she doesn't think she's ready for kids yet, let alone a teenager. This awkwardness has largely been resolved, with the two now being close (when Jane finds Harry crying in his father's arms in chapter 58, she simply asks, voice hard, "Who?", fully intent on making them suffer), and having a relationship that is probably closer to Like Brother and Sister (Jane explicitly notes that she treats him more like her younger half brother, who's maybe five years older than Harry), while resolutely ignoring the potentially weird implications for her relationship with Thor, for which Harry is now decidedly a Shipper on Deck. The general view is that they care for each other very much, platonically speaking, and the details don't matter.
Live Action TV
- In Just Shoot Me!, Maya's father marries a woman who's exactly the same age as Maya. In fact, they used to go to school together.
- After serving as the fake 18th head of the Shiba household, Samurai Sentai Shinkenger's Takeru is adopted into the family to become the actual 19th head in the finale. It's stated that the 17th head, Kaoru's father, died 17 years before, making the new adoptive mother 16-17 years old and younger than her son who, from his age in flashbacks, appears to be 6-8 years older than her.
- Kendall Casablancas of Veronica Mars has stepsons 7 and 9 years younger than she.
- In Modern Family Claire and Mitchell's stepmother Gloria is roughly the same age as them - it's stated at one point that Gloria is in fact a few months younger than Claire, and less than two years older than Mitchell. (In fact, Sofia Vergara, who plays Gloria, is two years younger than Julie Bowen, who plays Claire, and just over three years older than Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who plays Mitchell.)
- In Defiance, Nolan doesn't look much older than his adopted Irathient daughter, Irisa . Their respective actors are about 10 years apart in age.
- In A Little Night Music, Anne is eighteen and her stepson Henrik is nineteen and madly in love with her. They run away together.
- In Ace Attorney Trucy's dad Phoenix "Nick" Wright is 33, while she is 15. Protagonist Apollo does the math and is mind boggled by the implications of this fairly small age gap. However, it later, thankfully, turns out that Trucy was adopted by Phoenix. (Of course, long-time players of the series could guess that already long before that point) In a straighter example, however, her older brother Apollo is only 18 years younger than their biological mother.
- In Princess Maker 2, you can be a very young man when you adopt your daughter (in fact, you can adopt her at 11, and she starts at 10...).
- In Tales of Symphonia, 12 year old Genis's sister, sole caretaker and mother figure is Raine, age 23. She's been raising him since infancy, making her roughly 11 or 12 when she had to start taking care of him because their mother abandoned them. It's implied in a Z-Skit that she's been a school teacher in Iselia for around six years, but it isn't clear what she did to support them before that.
- Played With in that the children she cares for are her cousins and little sister but Bunny is in early to mid twenties, though, she hasn't given birth to any children to speak of but she is considerably a bit young for motherhood. It is stated here that she didn't even finish college when Madgie came to live with her and is studying online so she can do so as to better provide for her youngest cousins.
- It was noted that, at some point, when Madgie was nine and she was twenty, she was mistaken for being Madgie's mother, something that would be virtually impossible, seeing as Bunny is 11 years older than Madgie.
- This was the subject of the song his own grandpa, a hit for Guy Lombardo in 1948.
- Too many to even start listing them. Let's just say that the above Bill and Ted example is not even remotely far-fetched.