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Adoptive Peer Parent
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.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    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.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.

    Fanfiction 

    Film 
  • From Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure:
    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!
    • During their report, while chatting with Sigmund Freud, Bill claims his only problem is "a minor Oedipal complex".
    • Then in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, we find out that she divorced Bill's father... and married Ted's.
  • Legally Blonde: Chutney and her stepmother Brooke are around the same age. Chutney hated it so much she tried to kill Brooke for that.

    Literature 
  • Paige of Women Of The Otherworld adopted Savannah when Paige was 23 and Savannah was 13. Then Paige marries Lucas Cortez, also in his mid-twenties, and Savannah has two parent figures less than a decade older than her.
  • Twenty-five-year-old Kate Daniels becomes the legal guardian of twelve-year-old Julie. At first Kate refers to herself as a substitute mom, then as a crazy aunt, but she always refers to Julie as her kid.
  • In the Flowers in the Attic series by VC Andrews, it's a significant plot point that Malcolm Foxworth fathered a child (Corrine) with his stepmother Alicia, who was sixteen when she married his father - a decade or more younger than Malcolm. He even states in front of his father that he cannot acknowledge a girl so much younger as his new "mother".
  • In Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy stories, every story that Mary, Dowager Duchess of Cumberland is in also contains an explanation that she's a year younger than her stepson, the current Duke of Cumberland. She was his father's second wife, and it was a May-December Romance — she was in her 20's, he in his fifties when they married.
  • In Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years, Adrian's mother falls for and marries her lodger, who is around the same age as Adrian. The guy eventually leaves her and runs off with Adrian's own girlfriend.
  • In The Hallowed Hunt, Ijada's father died, and her mother remarried. Then her mother died and her stepfather remarried. When Ijada explains this, Learned Hallana asks:
    Hallana: And she's ah, how many years older than you?
    Ijada: Three.

    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.

    Theatre 
  • In A Little Night Music, Anne is eighteen and her stepson Henrik is nineteen and madly in love with her. They run away together.

    Video Games 
  • 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.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • In Daria, Brittany's stepmother Ashley-Amber is about 10 years older than Brittany herself. Daria initially thought they were sisters.
    Jane: How is it that she looks and acts exactly the same age as her own stepdaughter?
    • Mr. DeMartino once (bitterly) mentioned his ex-friend marrying his mom, which presumably put this trope into effect.
  • King of the Hill has Hank's stepmother Didi, who was his classmate in kindergarten.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars included an episode involving a clone deserter with young children. He's no older than 13 at this point while his children are about 5-6, but he's been fast-grown so physically he's in his mid-twenties, and the children are his step-children.

    Music 
  • This was the subject of the song his own grandpa, a hit for Guy Lombardo in 1948.

    Real Life 
  • Too many to even start listing them. Let's just say that the above Bill and Ted example is not even remotely far-fetched.


Absurdly Youthful MotherThe Parent TropeMum Looks Like A Sister
Adopted To The HouseAdopt An IndexChildren Raise You

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