[[quoteright:180:[[Webcomic/BugMartini http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Pirate-Parents_1153.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:180:[[http://www.bugcomic.com/comics/pirate-parents/ Why having pirates for parents sucks.]]]]

->''"Every superhero needs a tragic family story: Spiderman's parents... Dead. Batman's parents... Murdered. Superman's parents... Exploded. I actually had the best requirements."''
-->-- '''Ben''', ''Film/WhoAmI''

A stunningly large number of heroes and their coteries are lacking in the parent department, either through death or in that they just aren't talked about. Even if both parents are alive, they may well be emotionally or physically distant (although that's just ParentalNeglect). Everyone is, for the sake of the plot, ConvenientlyAnOrphan, whether they actually are or not.

This is [[ConvenientlyAnOrphan a very convenient way]] for characters to be able to run off in the middle of the night to fight Evil, get sucked into another world, etc. without having anyone responsible for them making a fuss. In fact, one of the first things a creator of stories about [[KidHero children or teens having adventures]] needs to do is explain a lack of parental involvement.

It also allows for the OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent to be revealed as a super-powered demon fighter, or intergalactic being without the need for a messy {{Retcon}} answering [[FridgeLogic the question an alert viewer would ask]] about why the parents didn't know about this. It's simply a case of the child following in their parents' SecretLegacy.

Of course, if you go back far enough, you'll reach a time when most young adults in RealLife actually were orphaned or abandoned. Adults died younger than they do now, and people with chronic illnesses like schizophrenia or tuberculosis were often sent away from the family to recover or die. It was also easier to abandon a family, given the poor communications of the times and the lack of a police force. Because of all this, it's quite common for a fictional character from the 19th century or earlier to mention being orphaned with no more emotional reaction than a shrug, since the experience was considered a normal part of real life. A good example is Jane Austen's ''Literature/{{Emma}}'', where the title character's mother died years earlier, but is barely mentioned.

Note that the parents in question don't actually have to die for this Trope to be in effect. Note also that in a few cases listed below, parents are hardly even mentioned -- which makes things incredibly awkward.

If only one parent is missing or dead, then it's a case of MissingMom or DisappearedDad. When several siblings lack their original parents, the first born will receive a PromotionToParent. Parental Abandonment is also a leading cause of {{Dark Magical Girl}}s. One standard method for achieving it is to make your characters BlitzEvacuees.

In families with servants, this can lead to the OldRetainer acting as a ParentalSubstitute. If they were traveling abroad when both parents died, the child may be RaisedByNatives. If the parents die in the wilds, their surviving child may be RaisedByWolves. It is also possible the parents left them out there to die, expecting them to be a meal, not an adoptee.

When the parents had to separate from the child in order to protect it, this results in MosesInTheBulrushes. When the parents had to leave the child in order to give it "a better life", then it leads to GiveHimANormalLife.

In animation, cases of ''parentis absentia'' can be caused by budgeting; it's cheaper to animate one character (usually Dad) than to have two characters basically doing the same thing.

Parental Abandonment is a common feature of a DarkAndTroubledPast (though children lucky enough to find a ParentalSubstitute generally avoid such a fate). It is a common feature of a TearJerker.

It should be noted that parental abandonment does not always mean either or both parent(s) leaving, but also the child being ignored by the parent, knowingly or unknowingly.

May entail TellMeAboutMyFather. Or [[AlwaysMale rarely]], mother. For [[TheLawOfConservationOfDetail reasons of economy]], the child is seldom interested in both parents. See also ParentalNeglect, HandsOffParenting, MissingMom, and DisappearedDad. Parental Abandonment en masse may create a TeenageWasteland.

Compare FreeRangeChildren when it's the children who voluntarily go out on their own accord. The reverse form is the MissingChild, but there can be interesting crossover: the child may seem to go missing because of the abandonment of/distance created by their parents, and the parents either don't notice or get concerned and finally realize they love their offspring.

For the opposing extreme, contrast MeddlingParents, MyBelovedSmother, OverprotectiveDad and FantasyForbiddingFather.
* [[ParentalAbandonment/AnimeAndManga Anime & Manga]]
* ParentalAbandonment/{{Comics}}
* ParentalAbandonment/FairyTales
* ParentalAbandonment/FanWorks
* ParentalAbandonment/{{Film}}
* ParentalAbandonment/{{Literature}}
* ParentalAbandonment/LiveActionTV
* ParentalAbandonment/{{Manhua}}
* ParentalAbandonment/{{Manhwa}}
* ParentalAbandonment/{{Music}}
* ParentalAbandonment/MythsAndReligion
* ParentalAbandonment/TabletopGames
* ParentalAbandonment/{{Theater}}
* ParentalAbandonment/VideoGames
* ParentalAbandonment/VisualNovels
* ParentalAbandonment/WebAnimation
* ParentalAbandonment/WebComics
* ParentalAbandonment/WebOriginal
* ParentalAbandonment/WesternAnimation
* ParentalAbandonment/RealLife