Parental Neglect

"Mommy just wants to have a little fun, and all you can think about are your empty little stomachs!"
Peggy Bundy, Married... with Children

In fiction, we have parents who are nice and kindly to the protagonists. Then we have those who are downright bastards to the kids. Sometimes, they're not there at all. Other times they try to be there but it doesn't always work. And, finally, we have the parents who are there, but for the most part, don't seem at all interested in their child.

Parental Neglect happens when the parents are shown not to pay a lot, if any, attention or care to their children for some reason. Maybe they're just busy with work. Maybe they and their children aren't particularly emotionally close, or perhaps they're just obsessed with their own attempts to save the world. Nevertheless, for some reason, their children are not the highest on their agenda.

This can be set up for an Freudian Excuse. Also an excuse for kids who go off to save the world not worry too much about their parents, seeing as they don't give two cents about what they're doing anyway. It should be noted that neglect is in no way a less extreme form of abuse than the forms on the Abusive Parents page; extreme neglect in the care of infants has been known to put dampers on mental and cognitive development, and in children it can induce severe psychological damage.

In regards to the parents themselves, Parental Neglect does not necessarily mean they are terrible or unpleasant people, they may in fact just fall into the category of Parents as People.

Obviously can be Truth in Television, though it's usually not as extreme as fiction portrays it.

A Super Trope to When You Coming Home, Dad? and Daddy Didn't Show.

Compare and contrast with Abusive Parents, Adults Are Useless, Parents as People, and Parental Abandonment.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ataru Moroboshi of Urusei Yatsura, mostly because of Ataru's mother. In the first manga story, Mrs. Moroboshi said "Ataru, you be sure to come home for the holidays!" and she always laments "I wish I never had him" throughout the manga and anime (sometimes in hearing range of Ataru). Atop that, there's the "omiai" scene in the movie Only You, where the Moroboshis force join with Lum's parents to force him to marry her officially… all so that Ataru's parents will get better lives for themselves on the Oni homeworld. Atop that, Mr. Moroboshi always hides himself behind the newspaper and pretends nothing is happening: when Mrs. Moroboshi tries to provoke him into being a responsible father, he normally replies with some form of off-the-wall comment that does nothing.
  • Subaru's parents have largely paid little attention to their daughter, after their son Kazuma died. They knew for years that Subaru even performed (non-sexually) at a cabaret, they just never cared enough to talk to her about it. It wasn't until Subaru revealed that she isn't planning on going to highschool, that her parents began to really interfere again. The sequel shows that her father seems to have absolutely no interest in his daughter anymore, now that he's remarried. Her mother follows Subaru's dancing via articles, though.
  • Fullmoon O Sagashite has this as Izumi's background from his life as a human. His father died when he was a small child and his mother was constantly bringing men home,even being physically abusive towards Izumi or Leo, as his name back then, which eventually ended in Izumi, as a child, committing suicide by stepping in front of a train. Goes more into the Parents as People category, as it's later shown that the mother was mostly stricken with grief and overall realized herself that she just couldn't be a good mother to Leo… to the point that she thinks she has no "right" to stop him from committing suicide and asking for his forgiveness for failing as a mother.
  • Hayate of Hayate the Combat Butler has incredibly neglectful parents—they spend all their money on gambling, and steal from Hayate to fund their habits, eventually selling his organs to the Yakuza Very Nice People to pay off their debts. They also stole a ring from him when he was a child given to him by his girlfriend/mentor Athena. He desperately wanted to trust and love them. He put his place with Athena at jeopardy to argue with her that they were good people, despite how she told him that they were not, so she put all of her love for Hayate into that ring. His parents smiled, said they would take good care of it… and hocked it at a pawn shop. No wonder Athena was pissed off like Hell at being proved right, and then Hayate was kicked out of her grace.
  • In The Prince of Tennis anime, Kevin Smith's father George is an emotionally scarred alcoholic who heavily neglected Kevin by subjecting him to Training from Hell and not caring if the child was around when he was drunk. Kevin openly tells his teammate Billy that his father is a worthless person and that's why he wants to beat Ryoma, to not be like his dad.
  • Naruto:
    • Gaara was horribly neglected by his father who ordered him killed on several occasions. This left Gaara to be raised by his uncle Yashamaru, who initially respected him… but said uncle ultimately ends up betraying him and being killed by Gaara, leaving the latter to trust no one. Though it's later revealed that Yashamaru did care—but was ordered to act that way towards Gaara under the orders of his father. Naturally, when Gaara finds out from his Edo-Tensei-revived!dad, he promptly goes "Calling the Old Man Out" mode.
    • Considering it's heavily implied he didn't see his own orphaned godson for the first 13 years of his life, Jiraiya certainly appears neglectful to the point of being abusive. He gets (somewhat) better after their initial meeting, though, if you call spending his godson's life savings on booze and hookers an improvement. But… supplementary materials reveal Jiraiya's reason for not being with Naruto when he was growing up: He was keeping Minato's old enemies in check, tracking down Orochimaru, and tracking Akatsuki. He was keeping all threats from outside the village from getting to Naruto. It doesn't stop fans from resenting him, anyways, not helped by the fact that Jiraiya is fairly wealthy and could easily have hired tutors and caretakers to raise him, and no reason is given why he didn't even arrange for a proper foster family to care for his godson.
    • Naruto himself is unintentionally running headlong into this territory in Naruto Gaiden, with his work preventing him from spending as much time as he'd like with his children, especially his son, Boruto, who acts out in the same way Naruto did when he was young. It doesn't help that he seems to think being Hokage means taking on every burden himself and the villagers are indulging him possibly to make up for mistreating him as a child.
    • Sasuke was even worse. According to his thirteen-year-old daughter, she has never seen him even once. When they met, he didn't recognize her and almost gouged her eyes out.
    • Hiashi Hyuuga was the first example shown in the show. Cold and distant to his firstborn, rather than provide her with needed emotional support and stability, he basically discarded Hinata by sending her to the Ninja Academy, using wording along the lines of "The Hyuuga Clan doesn't need someone like her"... while she was listening. While he did wise up after Neji beat Naruto publicly and the clan's dirty laundry with the Cage Bird Seal was aired to everyone, before getting to that point, he had also been indirectly responsible for his nephew Neji nearly killing Hinata in the preliminary matches, by hiding his brother's letter to his son explaining why he sacrificed his life to save Hiashi for NINE YEARS because he couldn't deal with his own grief, allowing the hatred of his nephew to fester until he took it all out on Hinata. And we are only told things got better in the clan. We have never been shown Hiashi apologizing to his daughter for nearly getting her killed because of his neglect. So while he's not the monster often shown in fanfics, Hiashi could never be considered a good father figure at all.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, Yusuke's mother Atsuko clearly cares about him a great deal, but she's also an alcoholic and does almost nothing to actually look after him.
  • Katekyo Hitman Reborn!:
    • Although Tsuna's mother Nana loves him, she definitely doesn't really care enough about his future or his self-esteem to count as a very good parent (including not doing anything about his truancy or poor grades, and constantly belittling him in front of his friends and the girl he likes as "No Good Tsuna"—honestly, he's only 14 years old). She eases up a little when the truth comes out, though that could also be argued. And then there's his father, who went missing for most of Tsuna's life, and only reappears suddenly to force Tsuna (without even asking Tsuna if he wants to first) into becoming a Mafia crimelord that will be targeted by countless assassins. (Though considering what kind of parent he can be…)
    • There's also Chrome's parents, who treated her like she didn't exist and then abandoned her to die after a car accident… with half her internal organs missing.
  • Gauron from Full Metal Panic! certainly qualifies in relation to the twins Yu Fang and Yu Lan. Not surprising, considering his personality. He cares little for their physical or mental well-being, and is shown to mainly care about using them for his plans. There are hints and implications that his relationship with them also might not strictly have been a pure, father-daughter kind. He also didn't seem to care that, by having them work in Amalgam, they were being raped and beaten by Gates (which was apparently happening to them ever since they were young children). Despite all this, they still obsessively love him.
  • Riza Hawkeye's father of Fullmetal Alchemist appears to have been so absorbed in his alchemy research he disregarded the well-being of his daughter and the state of his home. Hawkeye said that her father "at least" made sure she got an education. As well, her father's tattooing of a massive alchemical array on her back could only be described as physical abuse.
  • Zai Vessalius from Pandora Hearts was rarely around when Oz was a child and hardly paid any attention to him even when he was. Gil eventually confronted him about this, leading to Oz overhearing his father calling him disgusting and saying he should never have been born. As if that weren't enough, it is later revealed that Zai created a whole fake cover story in order to convince the Baskervilles to condemn Oz to the Abyss for the crime of existing. As it turns out, Oz isn't even Zai's son but rather the soul of the chain B-rabbit in the cursed body of Jack Vessalius. Jack caused Zai's first child to be stillborn in order to take its place, and this is the reason for Zai's utter loathing of both Jack and Oz.
  • Honey Hunt has the protagonist's (Yura) famous celebrity parents, Yukari and Takayuki. For one thing, Yura is judged a disappointment by others because she is continuously compared to her celebrity parents and she is used to people trying to get close to her for the sole purpose of getting to possibly meet Yukari and Takayuki. For another thing, Yukari is hardly at home and is very selfish. In all of her interviews, she lies and says that she and Yura are close and spend much time together as a result of Takayuki being abroad so often, when in reality, she is a cold and distant parent. Also, immediately after showing up after being away from home for about a half a month, Yukari coldly announces that she and Yura's father are getting divorced before telling Yura that she can go wherever she wants. Also, while Takayuki was having an affair she was having one of her own with Yura's neighbor and crush, Shinsuke. When Yura finds out about the affair Yukari's response is to smile, declare that Shinsuke likes her more than Yura, that she's going to allow Shinsuke to live with her in a mansion she had bought, and that Takayuki had a baby with his mistress so neither he nor Yukari will have time to look after Yura anymore. She then demands that Yura leave the house. It's eventually revealed that she and her husband were only together for the sake of their careers and their images, they didn't love each other. The two of them even agreed on a rule with each other that they would stay married as long as they hid their own adulterous affairs. After she decided to divorce Takayuki because the press found out about his affair, however, it is shown that she has no intentions of taking care of Yura and merely cared about repairing her image in the eyes of the public because they had originally thought she was the "ideal mom". Seriously, poor kid.
  • Psyren: Sakurako Amamiya's parents are very neglectful, having both basically abandoned her after splitting up and not batting an eye when she vanishes for weeks at a time.
  • Future Diary:
    • While Yukiteru's mother Rea maintains a close relationship with Yukiteru, she is rarely at home because of her work as a video game programmer and approves of Yuno as a potential bride for Yukiteru, even remaining oblivious to Yuno's psychotic and dangerous behavior. Really, when your son is on the run from the law, then disappears for a week after being exhonorated and comes back incredibly nervous, you should be at least a little concerned.
    • Also, his father Kurou. Initially, he appears in chapter thirty claiming to just want to check on his son, but it turns out that he has only returned to destroy Yukiteru's diary in order to fulfill a deal with the Eleventh. Despite his only clear desire being to free himself from his debts, he does try to save Yukki when the latter almost falls to his death, but takes the parachute away from Yukki before the tower crumbles soon after. He then stabs Rea when she tries to take him to the police and escapes, though is stabbed to death himself two chapters later by the Eleventh's men, just when he'd realised the error of his ways and was trying to atone. Ouch
    • And then we learn that Yuno's father wasn't so different. He was a huge Workaholic to the point that he failed to notice how his wife had become abusive towards their child. And then said kid got fed up
  • Meiko Akizuki's parents in Marmalade Boy only seem to care about themselves and their marital problems/economic deals, fighting all the time when they're at home while almost completely ignoring Meiko's own needs, only showing some concern when it's obvious it will affect their reputation (like their Parental Marriage Veto in the anime. For worse, they simply can't get divorced because if they do, the Akizuki wealth will be divided and most likely lost. On top of it, Mrs. Akizuki is a Lady Drunk who is seen drowning her sorrows on screen while bitching out her much hated husband.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Yugi's mother is hardly ever around during the series, as well as being oblivious to the true nature of the Millennium Puzzle or any other activity that her son engages in. Moreover, Word of God stated that the reason his father never shows up is because he's away on business (all the time, apparently). No wonder Yugi was a Shrinking Violet at the very beginning.
    • The Virtual World filler arc has Gozaburou Kaiba, who abandoned his real son Noa/Noah, who died in a car accident, after he transferred Noa's soul into a virtual world and realized that it was impossible for Noa to be the heir of the company. Gozaburou, who commited suicide and had his soul also transferred to the virtual world, uses Noa to get revenge on Seto. Also, Gozaburou ignored Mokuba for 98% of the time (the remaining 2% bit him in the ass).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V:
    • Reiji Akaba believes that his father Leo wouldn't care if Reiji gets kidnapped. On the other hand, his mother Himika averts this trope.
    • In contrast to this trope and Parental Abandonment, ARC-V invokes Good Parents who actually watch the duels of their children. Yuya's mother Yoko and Yuzu's father Shuzou are even supporting characters to balance out the fact that Yuya and Yuzu have a Disappeared Dad and a Missing Mom, respectively.
  • In Wild Rose, Mikhail's mother raised him without showing any emotion in order that his markings wouldn't show. While this control allows him to live a good life in society, it really psychologically screwed him over and he has no concept of what love even is. This leads to him neglecting Camille, his adopted son, in turn because he doesn't understand Camille's attachment to him or why he needs to reciprocate it.
  • Bleach: Yukio felt neglected by his parents because he was a silent child locked in his own fantasies. His parents were deeply disappointed that he wasn't the child they'd imagined having. In revenge, he decided to drive his parents to suicide. He acts proud of this achievement and that he loved doing what he did, but when Hitsugaya digs a little deeper, Yukio's battered psyche explodes in anger and pain.
  • Out of the girls in Gunslinger Girl, Jean's charge Rico, was a victim of this. Her parents simply abandoned her in an hospital due to her very weak health and she languished away there until the Agency took her in.
  • Dr. Gennosuke Yumi from Mazinger Z. While it's true that he has a huge workload based on being the Team Dad of the Photoatomic Institute and helping Kouji with his fight against Dr. Hell, it doesn't fully justify how many times he neglects his teenage daughter and local Action Girl, Sayaka.
  • Rei's father in Sailor Moon, in the manga and the live-action. Takashi Hino not only is a very highranked member of a leading political party, but he's such a workaholic that he doesn't visit his dying wife Risa a single time when she's hospitalized. As a result, Rei refuses to live with him and moves with her maternal grandfather to the Hikawa shrine.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • Tsubomi's parents in HeartCatch Pretty Cure! started out like this—they were always away on business and Tsubomi was always being watched over by her grandmother. Took Tsubomi a painful thirteen-fourteen years to break down and finally admit she was lonely. The rest of the series dual-wields this showing her parents willing to make up for all the lost time they had and Tsubomi trying to become a better person after years of accidental neglect.
    • And previously, in Yes! Pretty Cure 5, there's also Karen's parents, though less 'severe'. They're always traveling worldwide as they're famed musicians, and all they could give to Karen was only material stuff, her butler Sakamoto and occasional phone calls. Karen at least tried to be independent and be appreciative of what was given, to not make them worry, but deep down, she's always lonely, only having Komachi as her best friend, until she met Nozomi and the others. Oh and she mentioned that her parents usually came back during Christmas for awhile... but that turns out to be off-screen: They don't even appear in the respective Christmas Episodes of both seasons.
  • The Pet Girl of Sakurasou: Chihiro just dumps Mashiro on the co-tenent Sorata — which didn't sound so special, except Mashiro is an Idiot Savant and Chihiro knows Mashiro needs professional help 24/7.
  • In Kotoura-san, there's Haruka's father. His daughter is having serious social issues at school caused by her telepathy, and his wife Kumiko us frantically trying to find a cause to no avail since she doesn't know about Haruka's Psychic Powers. His response? Relegate it as "woman's work" and start rarely coming home. No wonder Kumiko eventually snaps.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Goku is usually away from his family because he's either dead or off training.On the upside, Goku has a very loving and respectful relationship with his own sons and granddaughter, despite missing something like nineteen years of Gohan's life, seventeen of Goten's, and ten of Pan's, due to training or being dead. Gohan himself doesn't seem too disturbed by his daughter going off into space, either, although he and his wife Videl are seen worrying about her when she's getting into fights.
  • Maya's father from Occult Academy spent so much time working on his school and studying the occult that he didn't have time for his family. He didn't even notice that his ex-wife had died until two years after the fact.
  • Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon: Kanna's parents took a very hands off approach to raising her, under the logic of "dragons grow stronger by themselves". As a result, she started pulling pranks to get attention, which got her exiled to Earth. This is why she clings to Kobayashi as a Parental Substitute.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog comic, Evil Sonic's Scourge's father Anti-Jules made very little time for his son. Scourge would describe him as full of "empty words". It's heavily implied he was killed by his son.
  • In the classic Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, the new Robin has parents that are never visually seen, but heard off-panel in a state perpetual drug intoxication (their dialogue suggests that they may be ex-hippies who just spend their time now commenting on how the world sucks while constantly high). She leaves them to join Batman.
    Unidentified parent (months after she left): Hey, didn't we used to have a kid?
  • The War at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks plays with this. Jun and Emily accuse each other of suffering from parental neglect, i.e. "the reason you're so messed up is because your parents don't love you enough." However neither of really experienced parental neglect, Cassie has. Despite that she is the kindest and purest character in the whole cast.
  • When Green Arrow took in Roy Harper as his ward, Arrow barely spent any time with Roy when they weren't fighting crime and most often left Roy to his own devices. This was one of the reasons Roy experimented with drugs and eventually became a heroin addict.
  • A large amount of comic villains have this for their back stories. This, being beaten and genocide are common Freudian excuses.
  • Ultima and Sovereign Powers are terrible parents, treating their son Tyler as their superhero legacy and remaining obliviously insistent that he'll develop superpowers 'any day now' Because Destiny Says So. And until that day, they dump him in a boarding school for metahumans in the hope he'll get Touched by Vorlons without really considering what this does to him. Toby states outright he had to use his Reality Warper powers in order to prevent them from disowning Tyler once he came along, and even then they seem to have forgotten he exists.
  • In Violine, Marushka, Violine's adoptive mother, is very strict and controlling, mostly communicates through robots with Violine, and is distant to her. She goes to any length to keep Violine from her father, from having the doctor fake a broken leg and put her in braces, to having her made sick by the doctor, to having her killed if nothing else works.
  • Black Canary's mother (the original Black Canary) was a well-meaning mom; however, she would often be too busy fighting crime to attends events or spend time with her daughter. Dinah gave her a "#1 Mom" cup ironically but loved her mom nevertheless.

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown of Stars: During a conversation with Asuka Misato admits she failed her and Shinji. She was their guardian and the only mother figure they had, but she neglected them during the war right when they needed her the most, and as a result their trauma got worse until they broke down.
  • Little Bro—a DuckTales fanfic—takes a look at Gladstone Gander trying to raise an egg until it hatches. And since this is Gladstone we're talking about..
  • Ghosts of Evangelion: Misato took Shinji and Asuka in during the War but she neglected them when things got real bad. Although Asuka forgives her eventually, Misato regretted her inaction for as long as she lived.
  • HERZ: Asuka’s father stopped looking after his daughter when she was four. She is twenty-six now and he is still absent of her life. He never shows up, never calls… and Asuka never ever mentions him. It’s telling that she has managed to forgive Gendo but she never talks about her father.
  • Evangelion 303: After his wife's death, Gendo distanced himself from his son. Shinji do not ever remember living with him, and grew up thinking that his father was ashamed of him. Ritsuko raised him until he was old enough, and then Gendo sent him away for school.
    • This moment is the first time that Shinji has seen his father in over ten years... and Gendo started to lecturing him just like that. Naturally Shinji was not amused.
  • The One I Love Is: Misato cared dearly for her wards Shinji and Asuka, but after Kaji's death, she was so wrapped into her grief, rage and thirst for revenge that she completely neglected them while they were going through a break-down. She never helped Asuka while she was going through a severe emotional turmoil or after she got mind-raped, and she was not there for Shinji when he was depressed because everyone were dying or leaving him. Shinji even mentioned she was barely in home those days.
  • Isabella, Luso's and Frimelda's mother in The Tainted Grimoire was an Alcoholic Parent after her husband died. Her dad decided to take away the kids after this has gone on for too long. Her dad was unable to do this because on the very night he announced his intent, there was a fire and Isabella, in her last act to redeem herself of her neglect, tried to warn her dad and her kids but died trying.
  • Brainbent: "Bro" Strider, who is the sole caregiver to his young brother, often leaves him alone for hours or days at a time, doesn't always feed him, and allows their apartment to fill with trash. And he isn't the best of parents when he is home, either.
  • Queen of All Oni: Jade is shown to have suffered this to the point of bordering on abuse. It eventually turns out to be because her parents were self-admitted towards not being fit to be parents and therefore didn't put much effort into it.
  • The Fairly OddParents! fanfiction Never Had A Friend Like Me: The main OC, Amanda Adams suffers this at the hands of her parents, who only care about their money and could care less about their daughter. Even the evil genie who tricks people with their wishes dislikes their parenting skills and thinks they should pay more attention to their daughter. Even Evil Has Standards, indeed.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, the Bonnes' parents are on constant vacations and check in infrequently via communicators.
  • One of the biggest complaints about the lost Fire Emblem Awakening comic Future of Despair was how it turned Henry, canonically said to be a member of the Good Parents group, into this. In the comic featuring his death, it's all but stated that he left his son Yarne (whose mother Panne fell victim to Death by Childbirth) completely alone when Yarne was around one year old, to pretty much get himself killed by fighting to the death against Risen. Henry's train of thoughts during this comic are seen as full of selfish, whiny mangst that is only centered on HIS own pain at Panne's death, with his baby son's extremely uncertain future being only on the back of his mind until the very moment of his demise.
  • Mirror's Image depicts Diamond Tiara's grandparents on her father's side as this, at least once they hit bad times. Worse than the usual examples, it's directly responsible for the death of their daughter via starvation. Because she was a Changeling princess, and needed large amounts of love to survive. An angry Chrysalis arranged things so that both Riches ended up in prison, and by the time the story takes place they're still there.
  • In the Pokémon fanfic Olivine Romance, Jasmine's parents display this, in different ways:
    • Jasmine's mother raised her with strict expectations but little support and no guidance on how to meet those expectations. She often berates her for minor misbehavior and is not above hitting her, and it seems she does so not to try to discipline Jasmine, but out of anger for impinging on her own life.
    • Her father is more kind and caring, when he's around.
  • Despair's Last Resort's Kumiko Akamine was given this treatment. Her parents have jobs that cause them to work until night, when they are home they never spoke to her, and they don't seem to care what she does. She tries to justify this with the fact that their job keeps them busy, but it's obvious that it's left a mark on the girl.
  • Kyoshi Rising; Fire Lord Mitsuo took his wife's Death by Childbirth very badly, badly enough that he's still emotionally distant to his children ten years later.
  • From Kill la Kill AU, we have Ragyou's mother Youko (otherwise known as "Meinu"), who is this, as her she mostly preferred to sit, smoke cigarettes, and watch TV, and, to some degree, abusive, and left a then child Ragyou to basically raise herself. Word of God states Nonon's parents are this and that they only pay attention to her when she goes to jail, in which case they bail her out. One of the fanfics states a lesser version of this with Sukuyo's parents who loved her and were quick to give her what she needed, yet were painfully absent-minded, allowing their daughter to be free ranged, going wherever she wanted to, and the fact that they typically didn't call her by her given name, instead calling her "Turtle".
  • We also have this in the Kiryuuin Chronicles, as Satsuki notes that she was always taken care of by Rei, a servant, and has been since birth, the same going for her little sisters, and, apparently, she usually didn't see her parents, seeing as in chapter two (not counting the intro) her mother was very far in her pregnancy and she notes it was a long time that she had seen her. This might actually be justified on her mother's end, considering how her father is and it turns out it was, her mother, Ragyou, was trying to protect her and her sisters from her husband by leaving them in the care of Rei
  • Silver Spoon of Bad Future Crusaders was neglected by her racist unicorn parents because she was an earth pony. Surprisingly, for all the issues and bad qualities that define her, her borderline abusive parents actually led to one of her few good qualities: she likes children and is even protective of ones who are similarly neglected by their parents.
  • Thousand Shinji: After Shinji merged with his Eva Misato fell apart, resorted to her boyfriend and alcohol to endure her pain, and neglected her remaining ward, Asuka. Asuka — who was also in a very fragile emotional state — resented her for it.
  • In The Second Try, Asuka states during Instrumentality that she is resented with her guardian Misato because the older woman neglected her when she was hurt and abandoned her when Asuka needed her the most.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: Misato cares about her wards Shinji and Asuka, but her own psychological issues often prevents her from connecting with them, and being obsessed with continuing Kaji's quest for the truth behind NERV, she often up ends neglecting them, though she feels guilty about it. She gets better after a while, though.
  • Defied in Once More with Feeling. When SEELE suggests Shinji that he should move with his grandfather because Misato is too busy to take care of Asuka and him properly, Shinji replies that at the very least she tries to look after them, unlike his so-called blood relatives.
  • In My Mirror, Sword and Shield Suzaku’s biological mother was a Refrain addict who spent all her money getting her next fix instead of feeding or clothing her son. Suzaku noted that after he was five that he had to run the house and take care of her until she died.
  • In Lopoddity's Pandoraverse, Tree Hugger and Zephyr Breeze were very bad parents to their natural son Chakra Blossom. Tree Hugger was loving but wildly irresponsible, often leaving her son alone while she went to hippie retreats, while Zephyr never had any real presence in his son's life, feeling parenting would "cramp his style". As a result, Chakra was raised largely by his aunt Fluttershy, and grew up to resent both of his parents. It's also implied his neglectful childhood is part of what led him to become the bitter and manipulative pony he is in the setting's present.
  • In One Year, Yu Narukami's parents being a case of this is touched upon, and it's indicated that Kanako(Yu's mother) suspects that her younger brother Dojima is probably more responsible than she is in some ways, such as taking care of Yu during the year-long business trip she and her husband went on. Yu, for his part, tries to understand his parents' perspective, but sometimes, his resentment shows through, such as when Kanako suggests that she'd have likely discouraged him from getting into a relationship with Yukiko if she'd known at the time.

  • Michael's biological mother Denise in The Blind Side. Not necessarily abuse so much as neglect, due to her addiction to crack cocaine.
  • In The Hairy Bird, Verena's parents, who are divorced, dropped her at boarding school, which made her think they don't want anything to do with her.
  • In Ip Man, this seems to be how the titular character treated his son. However, that changes when the Japanese invaded and he was stripped of his properties and forced to scrape a living.
  • Off The Black features two cases of this. David's father is entirely emotionally unavailable due to him still grieving over his wife's abandonment of the family two years before. And Ray is badly estranged from his son, claiming that he "just never paid attention" until it was too late.
  • In Godzilla (2014), even before the incident at the power plant turned him into an obsessive conspiracy theorist, Joe Brody was already unintentionally dismissive of his family, forgetting to greet his son in the morning and even that it's his own birthday today.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: First Class: Charles' mother is hinted to be emotionally distant towards her son, which is why Raven's maternal act backfires spectacularly.
      Charles: (telepathically communicates to Raven disguised as Mrs. Xavier) My mother has never set foot in this kitchen in her life, and she certainly never made me hot chocolate, unless you count ordering the maid to do it.
      • There's also the fact that she apparently never noticed her son taking in and pretty much raising another girl from who-knows-where.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: Ben Hardy suggests that a lack of parental nurturing is a major factor in Warren Worthington III turning to the dark side.
      "People who don't get looked after enough can end up being very angry and I feel like this is where Angel's anger comes from and maybe that gives him the potential to transform and become one of the villains."
  • Matilda: Matilda's parents verbally berate her and neglect her every need, they have no problem leaving her at home, and they left her in the car when they got home from the hospital after driving extremely recklessly with her unrestrained in the back seat.
  • How to Be: Art's parents, due to their own upbringing, have no idea of how to connect to Art or, seemingly, to each other.
  • Storks: The plot is set in motion by a young boy whose realtor parents are both Married to the Job, so he writes to the storks to send him a baby brother.

  • Owen Meany's parents in A Prayer for Owen Meany. Johnny's mother is pretty much Owen's mom.
  • Adrian's parents in the Adrian Mole series border on neglect, though it is played for laughs.
    • They don't have much time for each other either, as they are usually busy having affairs with neighbors and people they work with.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Crowfeather. The only reason he had Breezepelt was to get his Clan to forget about him running off with Leafpool, and it really shows in how well he treats his son.
    • For that matter, most of the characters ignore their family completely. The families of most of the characters who were born before the beginning of the series are unknown because they never acknowledge being related to anyone. Although this might not be abuse so much as seeing the entire Clan as their family.
    • Rainflower neglects Crookedstar at a young age… all because he broke his jaw.
  • Also played for laughs in the Teenage Worrier series, where Letty's parents are rarely at home, refuse to cook or buy groceries, smoke and get drunk in the house, and largely ignore her in favor of their younger son.
  • While his sisters suffer Sexual Abuse, Thomas Raith is generally neglected until it's time to insult somebody by having him appear in his father's place. It's implied that if Thomas hadn't used Obfuscating Stupidity to play the Airheaded Playboy role to the hilt, he would've been offed.
  • Subverted (sort of) in Coraline. Yes, the heroine's parents never have time for her, but the alternative is much, much worse—and we see that the parents do care for Coraline when they finally find time. The movie plays it a little differently. While Coraline's parents do ignore her for much of the movie, it's because they're busy getting moved into their new place and putting together a gardening catalogue that needs to be finished as soon as they can. When they finish both of those things, they spend plenty of time with their daughter and even give her a present as a thank you for dealing with it.
  • While Harry Potter's real parents are absent due to being dead, Harry's aunt and uncle treated Harry like dirt, giving him lousy birthday and Christmas presents, locking him in a tiny closet and letting Dudley get away with bullying Harry, while lavishing all their attention on their son. Dumbledore called them out on this, implying, interestingly enough, that the Dursleys did more damage to Dudley than to Harry. That's understandable, since thanks to all of their pampering Dudley grew into a cruel and selfish Spoiled Brat who thought he could get away with anything. Fortunately, he later gets Character Development and reconciles himself with Harry. Interestingly, Harry actually likes that the Dursleys shift towards ignoring him more and more as the series goes on. He can take care of himself fine and thinks it's an improvement to be left alone in his room to do whatever.
  • In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett's children Wade and Ella, suffer from this, Scarlett is always too wrapped up in her own concerns to care about Wade, and especially Ella. Rhett points out that if it weren't for him and Melanie, Wade and Ella would not even know what love is.
  • Wicked Lovely:
    • Keenan's mother Beira.
    • In Ink Exchange, Leslie's older brother Ren.
  • Ella Enchanted has Sir Peter, Ella's greedy and selfish father. He tries to use his clever ways to gain riches. He gains much of his wealth through trickery and deceit and loses it the same way. Sir Peter takes pride in Ella for being a brave, sassy child. Once he gets to know his daughter, he notes their resemblance, laughs at her attitude, and seems to grow somewhat fond of her. Yet, he deals little with his daughter and is more concerned for his business than her well-being. They have a distant relationship, as Ella acknowledges his corrupt, greedy nature and finds it unpleasant—especially during his attempts to force her to marry. He marries Dame Olga because of her wealth and cares little when Dame Olga forces Ella to work as a servant.
  • Happens in several Jacqueline Wilson books, most notably Dustbin Baby where April suffers neglect because her severely depressed mother cannot look after her properly. Lily Alone specifically deals with this issue; the 10-year-old heroine is left alone to care for her younger siblings because her mother goes on holiday and the babysitter doesn't show up.
  • Bambi's mother gradually grows more distant in the novel, eventually abandoning Bambi once mating season arrives. She does come back, though. His father is distant in both the novel and the film, but not in the sequel to the film.
  • Silas and Sarah Heap in Septimus Heap are shown to have amazingly little concern for their children, barely ever helping when they are in trouble.
  • In Needful Things, Cora Rusk practically forgets she even has children after getting her "needful thing" from Leland Gaunt.
  • In Flowers in the Attic Corrine ignores all of her children's very reasonable protests, even in extreme instances such as when the grandmother starves them.
  • Turns up in Herald Jakyr's backstory in Bastion. Jakyr's parents belonged to the Valdemaran version of the Quiverfull movement. They not only couldn't remember their kids' names, but as of the end of the Collegium Chronicles still haven't realized that Jakyr no longer works at the family inn. And since he's a senior Herald at the beginning of that series, do the math.
  • In Bubble World, Freesia's mom is more concerned about her internet blog than her husband and children, and her dad lacks presence because he's wrapped up in the past.
    • Ricky's father lets him do whatever he wants just to get him out of the way, even to the point of purchasing Bubble World if it will make him go back.
  • In the Schooled In Magic series, Emily is described as having extremely neglectful parents (especially her alcoholic mother). Upon arriving in her new world they found her to be malnourished and underdeveloped physically for her age because she was left to her own devices when looking for food or clothes.
  • In Hush, Hush, Nora's father died not long before the series began and her mother is constantly out of town for her job. Even when her mom is home though, she rarely seems to put much effort into looking after Nora. This conveniently gives Nora a chance to run out and do things her mother would never approve of, with little to no chance of being caught.
  • The Secret Garden: Both Colin and Mary, which is a large part of why they're both spoiled brats. Even before Mary's parents died of Cholera, they were rarely there for her. Her mother foisted her off on servants so that she could be a socialite, to the point where many of her colleagues didn't even know she had a daughter. Colin's father Archibald Craven basically abandoned Colin after his mother Lillias suffered Death by Childbirth.
  • David McKee's picture book Not Now, Bernard is all about this trope. Little Bernard can't do anything to get his parents to pay him any attention, even when he tells them that there's a monster in the garden and it's going to eat him. So Bernard goes out into the garden and, sure enough, the monster eats him. After this, the monster goes inside, where Bernard's parents even fail to notice that a monster has replaced their son and treat him just as dismissively as they did Bernard.
    "But I'm a monster" said the monster. "Not now, Bernard" said Bernard's mother.
  • In Radiance, Percy means well, but his obsession with movies and very busy schedule means that he's often not around for his daughter. He does do his best to give her love and attention, but mostly is able to work it in through treating Severin as a part of his movies. One of his wives writes how it's a little creepy watching a child do multiple takes of opening her Christmas presents and thinking nothing of it.
  • Forbidden: The Whitelys' mother—Lily—disappears to her boyfriends house for weeks at a time, leaving the responsibility of her five children to the eldest two.
    With Dave she can pretend she is young again, free of the restrictions and responsibilities of motherhood. She never wanted to grow up— […] the only reason they got married was because she accidentally fell pregnant with me—a fact she likes to remind me of whenever we have an argument. And now that I am just a few months away from being legally classed an adult, she feels freer than she has in years. Dave already has a young family of his own. He has made it very clear that he doesn’t want to take on someone else’s. And so she shrewdly keeps him away, only bringing him back to the house when everyone is asleep or out at school. With Dave she has reinvented herself—a young woman caught up in a passionate romance. She dresses like a teenager, spends all her money on clothes and beauty treatments, lies about her age, and drinks, drinks, drinks—to forget that youth and beauty are behind her, to forget that Dave has no intention of marrying her, to forget that at the end of the day she is just a forty-five-year-old divorcée in a dead-end job with five unwanted children.
  • Draconus from The Kharkanas Trilogy doesn't pay much attention to his kids, and named his three daughters Envy, Spite, and Malice (if he had a fourth, she would apparently be named Venom). On the other hand, their mother, Olar Ethil, urges him to kill them, so he still ends up the nice parent of the two.

    Live Action TV 
  • Supernatural:
    • John Winchester was this sort of parent, as he only ever focused on hunting monsters rather than being a father. Among other things, he was often gone for days or weeks at a time, leaving Sam and Dean holed up in weekly motels and schools, and never spent Christmas with his sons. The most stand-out example however is when he leaves his nine- and five-year-old alone in a motel room with a loaded shotgun for days while he's hunting a monster that preys on children.
    • God is one too. Only four of his angelic children had ever seen him in the first place (most likely Michael, Lucifer, Raphael and Gabriel) and most of the angels know damn well that Lucifer was the favorite. Where did that leave the rest of them? He's actually gone so far as to neglect all of the angels, ignoring them as they fight and kill themselves in civil war, and evidently not caring that one of his Archangels is dead, two of them are locked in a cage in Hell, and the last is trying to take control of Heaven through brutal force.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer gives us Buffy's divorced dad, who starts out okay but then slowly weans himself out of her life, and Willow's mother, who is only interested in her work, sees Willow as a statistic, apparently only ever talks to her to impress political viewpoints on her, and is generally so disinterested that she was surprised to see Willow had cut her long hair when it had been like that for months. The extent of her neglect verges on Fridge Logic when you consider that the episode establishing their neglectfulness came about a half-season after a bookcase had fallen on her and briefly landed her in a wheelchair. You'd think if anything would make her pay attention...Then there's Xaner's parents,who are shown to drink to the point where Xander would rather sleep outside in demon-infested Sunnydale on Christmas eve than listen to them fight.
  • This is one of the main recurring themes in Shameless (US).
  • Pushing Daisies. After his mother died, Young Ned's father dropped him off at a boarding school and never came back. He found a new family, with two new sons… And then abandoned them, too. Although the show seemed to be building up to some kind of revelation about Ned's father which might have explained (if not justified) why he abandoned two families. Then the show was canceled.
  • The Twilight Zone episode "The Bewitchin' Pool" centered around two children of neglectful parents who find a child's paradise at the bottom of their pool.
  • It's implied that Criminal Minds' Emily Prentiss's childhood wasn't that fantastic due to her mother's job as an ambassador. When Hotch asks her if she's leaked information to a local politician, she says that she hates politics and thinks that they "tear families apart and damage people".
  • The elder Tams in Firefly, though unusually it seems that the real neglect as opposed to their children's implied Lonely Rich Kid status only started late in life. When their son became worried that his sister was being mistreated somehow at the boarding school she was attending, they pretty much brushed his concerns off, which is bad enough. But even to be scrupulously fair to them and concede that Simon was making some pretty dramatic claims based on not a lot of evidence, what happened when Simon subsequently got himself arrested for probably the first time in his life trying to get hold of actual proof is impossible to make excuses for. Somewhat competent parents might have either started asking some questions of their own or at least encouraged Simon to go and talk to local psychiatric services, but what does dear old Dad do? Threaten to disown Simon for embarrasing him. Canon has yet to afford Simon the opportunity of Calling the Old Man Out, sadly.
    • There's also the fact that Simon seems completely certain that if he tried to take River back to their parents, they'd just hand her back over her former captors.
  • Potsie of Happy Days. Always Played for Laughs. Not as bad as some examples, but his parents seemed overly gleeful to give him money to get away from them; likewise, they dumped him with the Cunninghams to get away from him; and, after his dad said something angrily, Potsie expressed that he was just glad his dad was talking to him again.
  • Steve Urkel's unseen parents in Family Matters are a serious example. Many times over the series, Urkel describes his parents' mean actions. Example include as pushing back in when he was born, a curfew for when he can come home and using exploding candles on his birthday cake. Finally toward the end, they leave for Russia without him. All of it is Played for Laughs as Laura says that his parent "Took the easy way out" when they moved.
  • Rizzoli & Isles: When dealing once again with serial killer Hoyt, Maura Isles starts looking into his childhood after he says that the two of them are alike. Maura looks back at her own childhood as well, and realizes that, although her adopted parents did love her, they were much more interested in their own things than they were in her. According to Isles, the "less [she] asked for, the less time they had for [her]." Apparently it got to the point that they sent her to boarding school at ten years old. After she gave them the brochures for it.
  • It's implied on Friends that Chandler's parents were neglectful. His mother was concerned with her career as an erotic novelist, his father ran off to Vegas to become a drag queen, and he was left with the houseboys and later sent to boarding school. When they were around, they worried more about their messy divorce than his feelings. (They chose Thanskgiving dinner to tell him they were splitting up). As an adult, Chandler specifically describes his mother as a "Freudian nightmare" and he hasn't seen his father in years, and comments he 'should probably tell them' when he gets engaged.
  • Gossip Girl takes this to new highs with all the parents bar Rufus. Lily used to frequently take off with new inappropriate boyfriends and leave her kids at the Waldorf's, Eleanor criticizes her bulimic daughter's appearance and apparently regularly forgets her birthday, Anne didn't even inform Nate she was planning to divorce his father, and Bart kicked Chuck out of his own home and into a hotel suite because he suspected him of pulling pranks.
  • It is implied in The X-Files that Mulder's parents became neglectful after Samantha went missing. It is noted that his parents divorced shortly after, and that "no one would talk about it". Nothing is ever explicitly said, but his attitude about it says that he simply waited until he was old enough to leave and then did—he went to England for college. In the series, he sees his parents rarely before their deaths, and it is hinted that at least one of them blames him for his sister's disappearance. In "Sein und Zeit", it's also hinted that (MAJOR SPOILER) that Mulder's mother has known for years that Samantha actually died when she was fourteen. The fuck? Why wouldn't have she told him? She knew he had been blaming himself and how it had messed him up. Mulder's parents can come off as downright emotionally abusive.
  • Lampshaded in One Tree Hill when the group attends a prom in a different, completely normal town. The students listen horrified to the soap-opera-esque description of their lives, and one ventures to ask how their parents can be okay with this. Brooke happily replies that she hasn't seen her parents for months. She, Peyton and Hayley all live without their parents, who are all far away or dead, normally not even returning for weddings, childbirth, near death, major traumas and graduation.
  • In The Middleman Lacey refers to her mother as Doctor Barbara Thornfield MD. PhD., doesn't recognize her voice over the phone, and is surprised at being able to speak to her the same day she tried to contact her after only 40 minutes on hold.
  • In the The Nine Lives of Chloe King The villain's son has dated/been friends with The Girl he's been trying to kill. if he took an half hour out of his busy day of being evil he might actually know this.
  • Both Al and Peggy from Married... with Children, especially Peggy she isn't just a neglectful mother but a neglectful wife, neighbor and pretty much anything you could imagine. She blatantly refuses to do anything resembling work, including house work, cooking or anything for anyone who isn't herself. Subverted later on when Seven is introduced and she dotes on him, but only him.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and later Young Hercules demonstrate that while the titular character had a loving mother, his father Zeus was never around. Zeus' excuse is he was busy being king of the gods and considered Hercules his favorite child. Hercules considers the answer bull since Zeus hardly does anything related to being king and is usually pursuing his romantic affairs so it's still a sore spot for our hero.
  • On NCIS, the stories of DiNozzo's father are legendary. The most telling story was of how he left young Tony behind in a hotel in Maui and only remembered his son when he received the room service bill. Though DiNozzo Senior does try to make amends in later seasons.
  • On The Big Bang Theory, Leonard's mother treated him more like a test subject than a child, and was so cold and detached that he built a hugging machine that his dad borrowed. Needless to say, he has some unresolved mommy issues (not at all helped by her continued publishing of psychology books with little gems like "Just because you have kids doesn't mean you'll like them" right on the jacket).
  • On Heroes, it's heavily implied but not outright stated that Angela and Arthur Petrelli actively chose to neglect Peter in favor of battling each other with Nathan as their pawn in their individual grand schemes. This, in turn, led Nathan to become Peter's de facto parent.
  • Though they obviously do love him, the Grimes' of The Walking Dead display a ridiculous amount of nonchalance for what their son Carl does, allowing him to just wander off whenever he pleases despite the fact it's the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • The Wire:
    • Jimmy McNulty loves his sons, but repeatedly shows ill judgment when he's with them (e.g. losing them in a supermarket, leaving them alone at home in the middle of the night, etc.)
    • Frank Sobotka shows little affection and attention toward his wayward oldest son Ziggy, until it's too late for both of them.
  • In season 2, Virna Hunter in Boy Meets World drives off in the family's trailer home while her son Shawn is at school and doesn't show up or check on Shawn's wellbeing until season 4. Her husband Chet also dumps Shawn at the Matthews' place to chase after her and win her back, without contacting him or giving him any means of support for several weeks.
  • Arrested Development: Maeby Funke. Her parents barely notice she exists—forgetting they have a daughter, even when she's standing next to them. She spends the majority of the series trying (and failing) to get them to notice her.
  • This seems to be the case of Scott's father in Teen Wolf. As an FBI agent, it's likely he was a workaholic with little time for his wife and child.
  • Used in Jam in a sketch where a couple realize their young son hasn't come home from school. They casually make a phone call to ask if anyone's seen him and, upon being told he was seen getting into someone's car, they decide he's "probably" gone to a friend's house and ignore it. Several weeks later, he still hasn't been found—and the parents continue to do nothing. Even when they're informed that their son's body was discovered, they can't be bothered to identify him (saying that if the police think it's him, "that's good enough for us") and then get annoyed that they're expected to bury him themselves.

  • The narrator of the song "The Mute" by Radical Face suffers from this. The song ends with the titular mute running away from home so their parents can be happy without them. The music video makes it seem a bit more complicated; while the father visibly ignores the child, the mother's visibly distraught when she's gone.
  • The titular character of the Melanie Martinez Concept Album "Cry Baby" has two distant parents keeping up a Happy Marriage Charade. Her mother is an Alcoholic Parent who has had a poor opinion on Cry Baby from the day she was born, though she seems to like her behind her dysfunctional behavior. Her father is distant in general and has a mistress. The mother kills both him and his lover, and is implied to have tried to kill her daughter.

    Tabletop Game 
  • The Emperor of Mankind from Warhammer 40,000 definitely counts as one. This result in the largest bloodiest war the galaxy has ever seen.

  • Next To Normal:
    • The song "Superboy and the Invisible Girl". Specifically, between the mother and daughter. Mother explicitly states she couldn't hold their daughter when she was born. The relationship doesn't appear to improve.
    • depending on your point of view, father and son. The son's ghost seems to desperately want to be seen by the father, but he refuses to even speak his son's name, let alone acknowledge him.
  • The parents in Tommy take the cake for leaving their deaf, dumb and blind son with his abusive cousin and, later, with a drunk child molester. There's also that moment where they attempt to "cure" him by paying a gypsy to feed him acid…
  • In Mrs. Hawking of the Mrs Hawking play series, the titular protagonist says she preferred when she was neglected by her father, because it meant he left her to her own devices and didn't interfere with her. The first time he actually paid attention to her he forced her into a marriage she didn't want.

    Video Games 
  • Isaac Clarke from Dead Space was never priority one for his parents, especially not his mother. Data logs reveal the reason he hates Unitologists so much is because his mother used the money he was going to use to go to college on the cult. That didn't leave a good impression of Unitology (or his mother) on Isaac.
  • Cid of the Lufaine from Dissidia: Final Fantasy was originally a very caring parent to Chaos before starting the cycles of war. However, he was a very lousy father to the Warrior of Light, who shortly after being born, was thrown into the conflict by his father without an identity or a childhood to speak of.
  • Silent Hill: Homecoming has this in SPADES. Alex Shephard is practically forgotten by his parents, who are very distant with him, giving him little to no attention at all while absolutely doting on his much younger brother, Josh, even giving the child a family ring that has a great deal of meaning to it. The boy acts like a brat about it to his brother, evidently loving to rub how he's their favorite in his older brother's face. This ends badly. While Alex is jealous, to his credit he does still love his family and does everything he can, even descending into what seems like hell itself, to find and rescue his brother. It turns out his family had a reason for being so distant-every fifty years, the townspeople had to sacrifice one of their children in order to appease their God and keep all hell from breaking loose. Alex's parents purposely remained distant with him, not wanting him to experience or learn compassion, love or happiness, so the inevitable death of their son would be easier on all of them. Alex's parents seem to realize how wrong this was, however, as they beg for his forgiveness before their deaths-though the realization of how wrong they were seems to only come after Alex accidentally killed Josh out of jealousy brought on by the aforementioned ring.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon gets another mention here, considering Harlan Wade had Alma locked up inside a psychically shielded vault and kept in a drug-induced coma for the majority of her life.
  • Tales of the Abyss has Luke fon Fabre. By the beginning of the game he had been held captive in his own home for seven years, partially by a distant father and doting mother. The conditions improved.
  • The manga adaptation of Tales of Symphonia depicts Zelos Wilder's early life as this, with his mother feigning illness simply to get him out of her sight. Being a child, he tries to win her affections. it doesn't work. Colette Brunel's family are also implied to be distant, but that's more because it's better not to get attached to the lamb needed to save the world than actual contempt.
  • Angela in Seiken Densetsu 3; her mom ignored her for the majority of her life and then tries to kill her at the beginning of the game. Granted this is because she was being manipulated by Koren, but still…
  • Pokémon:
    All my Mom and Dad do is fiddle with their tablets! They never play with me! I'm bored!
    Maybe I'm not their real kid... Maybe their tablets are...
  • It was stated in a Codec conversation in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty that Fatman's parents neglected Fatman while he was a kid, and as a result, he often hung around clock stores, explaining why he is obsessed with time.
  • In Persona 3, Yukari's mother, after the death of her husband and Yukari's father, was emotionally broken to the point at which she started throwing herself into shallow relationships with men and hardly ever seeing her daughter. Later on in Yukari's Social Link, Yukari's mother sees the error of her ways, and Yukari herself begins to understand what it means to lose someone you love, so Yukari, albeit hesitantly, decides to start the process of reconciliation with her mother.
  • In Persona 4, Ryotaro Dojima (the protagonist's uncle and guardian) is an example of this to his daughter, Nanako. Unlike most examples, the reasons for this are explored and Dojima is portrayed as a good guy who just doesn't know how to be a parent. Specifically, his wife was killed in a hit-and-run accident, and he's been a workaholic ever since, trying to solve the case while simultaneously running from his daughter because he's afraid of failing her. Fortunately, it's possible for the player to help repair this broken family.
  • BioShock Infinite's Zachary Comstock has one of the worst examples: he needs an heir and goes all Henry VIII to get her, and what does he do? Locks her up for twenty years, no first meeting ever. Granted, she has extradimensional radiation, but he already has cancer and she's immune. Booker has a LOT to say to Comstock about this.
  • Ellen from The Witch's House is a downright depressing example. Ellen's father ignored Ellen's very existence; downright disregarding her and only paying attention to her mother. Ellen's mother struggled to give her attention but couldn't cope entirely with having a terminally ill daughter, and tried to leave her family for a rich man. Ellen, in a furious rage, killed them both. It's hard not to see it as a good thing. Of course, this is only revealed in the prequel novel; in the game, it's hinted at but not gone into detail.

  • In MAG ISA Eman's dad is a drunkard and a wife beater, and Eman's mom is overprotective and harsh. Both parents are abusive towards Eman.
  • In Mayonaka Densha, Hatsune's mother at first just appears to have an over the top case of Parental Obliviousness which seems to be played for comedy, but it is later revealed Hatsune is genuinely emotionally damaged by how much her mother doesn't pay attention to her. She tells Tom a story about how she once broke her leg as a child, had to haul herself up to her apartment, covered in blood, and phone for the ambulence herself, Hatsune's mother simply telling her to be quiet because she was distracting her. Tom's in tears by the end.
  • Vaarsuvius from The Order of the Stick qualifies as a neglectful parent to his/her adopted children, considering how s/he left her/his family to become an adventurer, a fairly dangerous profession, without giving any idea when V would return. And, despite having access to magic that can communicate with them, s/he does not bother to call home. In over 600 strips, the children are not even mentioned until an ancient black dragon threatened to eat them in revenge for Vaarsuvius killing the dragon's child.
    • Eugene Greenhilt is this to Roy but not Julia, favoring her because she chose to follow in his footsteps as a spellcaster, where Roy maintains the family tradition of being a fighter. This neglect goes as far at one point as to not realize he had more than one son. Eugene's epitaph even reads "Devoted Husband, Mighty Wizard, Passable Father."
  • Zip's parents in DDG are strongly implied to be examples of the neglect and emotional abuse types.
  • Yuki's father in Ménage à 3 could fall into this category, as he repeatedly allowed her to be exposed to tentacle porn in her preteen days. It seems to be more carelessness than maliciousness on his part, but either way it left lasting mental scars.
  • Drowtales: Though not universal, this is a very strong tradition among the Val class. The mother will usually raise her first daughter, but any successive children are usually given to elder siblings or even servants to raise so that the mother can play politics. In Val families, fathers almost never have a role in raising their children. It is not uncommon for the children of Vals to feel no bond towards their parents. This is ultimately Diva'ratrika's undoing.
    • Quaintana let her only heir be raised by the aggressively unfit-to-do-so Syphile, while keeping her away from her real mother, all while keeping her under the belief that she was her mother. It's not hard to understand how Ariel has serious mommy issues, up to and including murder for her "mommy not-so-dearest".
    • Similarly, Snadhya'runes found a way to have a child with surrogates, only to abandon her to a noble's family until she was twenty. Kalki was given a much nicer childhood, but something in her past has driven her violently insane. Imagine if Arkham City's Joker succeeded in having an unholy spawn and it possessed Kalki.
    • Ash'waren was shown to be this, since her reaction to hearing that her daughter Faen had returned from exile was a simple "who?" and then asking which daughter she was, and after being reminded with the year Faen was born only commented that her father was a bad lay. Though not a justification, the reason for this is that she's implied to have dozens if not hundreds of children due to being The Ageless, and she's a bit of a cloudcuckoolander anyway, not to mention that in the above scene she'd clearly been drinking. Ultimately, her family proves to be disloyal, and she is forced to flee her own clan to avoid the same fate as Diva'ratrika.
  • Homestuck:
    • Rose and her aloof mother only interact in what Rose interprets as passive-aggressive battles of saccharine affection. Her interpretation of her mother, a classy, successful scientist (and alcoholic), seems either partially or entirely true. Though her mother may care (and how can you argue with that pony?) she is very distant. Averted later. Rose's reaction to her death shows that the passive aggressive stuff was mostly just a charade, and she still considered herself close to her mother.
    • Gamzee's lusus is less ambiguous—he was just never there. Which didn't stop Gamzee from sitting out by the beach sometimes, waiting for "the old goat" to come home. It is a very good thing that his lusus was never around, considering it is pretty much Ax-Crazy.
    • Dave has to keep food in his closet, his brother seemingly is rarely around, and stuff in their apartment is insanely dangerous or rigged with cameras so Bro can film puppet porn.
  • In No Rest for the Wicked, the parents have, at the very least, not kept careful watch to keep the witch from stealing their children.
  • In Dubious Company, during Elly's homecoming, the crew finds his parents more interested in the newspaper than the return of their long missing son. It helps explain why he is timid, prone to emotional outburst, and clingy. At least his sister was happy to see him.
  • Peter of Peter Is the Wolf is viewed as a disappointment by his parents for being born a runt in a werewolf culture that views size and strength as extremely important. He spent most of his life being openly mocked by them and generally suffering from every kind of neglect they could dish out. Later, after he is Nearly raped, dumped by the girlfriend who walked in on said rape attempt and mistook it for him cheating on her and a very real chance of being executed by his pack for this breakup, he has to move back in with them for a few days. They respond to this Trauma Conga Line by making him sleep in the literal doghouse in their backyard, because they can't be bothered to make room for him.
  • In Stand Still, Stay Silent Torbjörn and Siv Västerström are a milder version of this. While they are definitely caring and nowhere near criminally negligent, their children are unruly enough that the woman who was babysitting them while their parents were away is introduced quitting her job. Promising her more money is not enough to convince her to come back. For most of the actual story, their time in taken up by being Mission Control to the expedition. Torbjörn's brother also seems to have made poor choices when it comes to Emil's private tutors, which may make this a family-wide problem.

    Web Original 
  • The Guild: Clara, Clara Clara to an almost criminal extent.
  • Uncle Alfon's characterization in Four Swords Misadventures is similar to that of a neglectful parent.
  • The Nostalgia Critic's mother still lives with her son, but while he calls her his world, she doesn't seem to give a shit when he gets Driven to Suicide, has a ragey meltdown or gets killed by whoever he's pissed off this time.
    • Though he had mostly nice things to say about Ponyo and his critiques were fairly minor, his one genuine complaint about the film was the Sosuke's mother's blatant neglect for his safety due to her ridiculously dangerous driving and her abandoning him during a hurricane.
  • The Autobiography of Jane Eyre: Mr Rochester is Adele's biological or legal father in this Setting Update. He's rather unconcerned about his daughter other than that he keeps her intellectually challenged because she's an extremely gifted Child Prodigy—so he hires a tutor for her and she has thousands of extracurricular activities. He's probably not intentionally unkind and he might genuinely try to do his best but he comes off as inattentive or bossy, not too mention that he is said to travel a lot and he rarely stays at his home with her. Adele says he always brings her presents and she genuinely likes what she receives in episode 12. She's also rather cheerful in his presence, so he can't be all bad, but the guy has issues.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged takes this pretty far, as Goku is shown to be a terrible father. In fact, when Gohan was wondering what his father would do in a dangerous situation, all he could think of was Goku waving and saying "Bye, son!"
    Gohan: I think I have issues.
  • Sideburns' mother is seen brushing him off when he tries talking to her, and flat out ignoring him as he's chased down the street.
  • Video Game High School:
    • Brian's mom spends all of her time playing games. While games are a big deal in this universe (it's implied gaming is how she makes money, for one thing), she never acknowledges Brian even when they live in the same house. She didn't notice her son got a scholarship to a prestigious high school until the second he left, at one point she promises to come visit but sends the cat instead, and on parents' weekend Brian dismisses the possibility of her coming since it's "double xp weekend" in her game.
    • Jenny Matrix's mother Mary is both completely absent and a controlling Stage Mom dedicated to making sure her daughter is one of the best FPS players in history. This gets worse in the second season, when Mary becomes the FPS coach and still refuses to give her daughter the slightest measure of affection. When Mary gets awarded a parent of the year award, she forces Jenny to give a speech, and while trying to write it Jenny breaks down in tears because she cannot think of a single good memory of her mother. Jenny even says her father had to teach her basic girl stuff like doing her hair and talking to boys because her mother was just never around.
    • Ted Wong's parents divorced when he was ten. His mother didn't want him and left him with his father, who bought him a condo twenty minutes away and then ignored him unless he needed something. Ted was basically forced to raise himself (except for a monthly maid and a "wise mailman"), and the worst part is that he doesn't see anything wrong with this situation until his horrified friends point it out.

    Western Animation 
  • Helga's parents, Bob and Miriam in Hey Arnold!. They're not bad people per se, but Helga was The Unfavourite growing up (Word of God states that her mother Miriam was an alcoholic), and for a while it was her Freudian Excuse to be the school bully. The deal is totally inverted with Olga: the excessive and asphyxiating attention from Miriam and Bob shaped her into an insecure, hysteric, overachieving, whiny doormat who breaks down to a ridiculous degree if she makes a wrong step. In her own words, "[Helga,] you're lucky they don't even notice you." To put this in perspective, one episode had Helga change Olga's grade in a class to a B+, causing Olga to lock herself in her room for the better part of a week. She did it expecting to have some attention for herself... but the parents still flocked to Olga, which spurred her to ultimately confess to Helga how sick she was of the whole deal. This is however played straight when Aesop Amnesia kicks in: Both Helga and Olga completely forget their heart to heart, Olga starts playing the Stepford Smiler completely straight and Helga again thinks Olga enjoys all the attention (since ever since that one time, she hasn't shown she doesn't like it).
  • The Venture Bros.:
    • Dr. Venture seems to have absolutely no interest in his sons, and treats them as walking organ banks and largely not caring if they live or die because he can clone them ad nausea. His own father has been shown as unintentionally emotionally traumatizing young Rusty through his womanizing ways. This changes (a little) in season 4, when Dr. Venture begins grooming Dean to follow in his footsteps. On the other hand, he does not take it well when Hank turns into a rebellious Emo Teen.
    • This could also be interpreted as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming for Doctor Venture. Its been said that Jonas Venture refused to let his son wear anything but shorts until he left for college, so him saying he doesn’t want to go on an adventure was simply out of the question. Even though he writes it off as a phase the fact that he allows Dean to stay home says a lot, like the fact that he has shown a lot more interest in their safety since he can’t clone them anymore ignoring it might just be his way of showing that he does care.
    • Rusty's father didn't seem all that concerned about Rusty's desire to live a normal life, instead insulting him for being ungrateful for all the opportunities of being a Boy Adventurer, which include being locked at home or being dragged all over the world, getting kidnapped with great frequency.
    • The whole series implies that the parents of boy adventurers are by nature very neglectful. Which when you think about what kind of dad would let his son wander around in mummy tombs or look for serial killers, is a good deconstruction. There are even therapy groups for this sort of thing that include parodies of Robin (Wonderboy, who has abandonment issues from his adopted parent Captain Sunshine), the Hardy Boys (who were implied to have actually killed their father but were acquitted from charges in court), "Action Johnny" who has deep, deep issues and is a serious drug addict, and Astroboy (Ro-Boy); not much is mentioned about him, but given the original Astroboy was sold to a circus by his own "father", we can imagine he suffered a similar backstory).
  • In Invader Zim, Dib's superscientist father is portrayed as neglectful, obsessed with his work to the point of not even recognizing his son in one episode. Dib seems to have responded to this by becoming similarly obsessed with his own pursuits and largely indifferent towards his father, while sister Gaz seems eager for his company and attention.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • Timmy's parents are quite neglectful and extremely selfish. They do love him though; they're more like man children than truly evil abusers. Still, there are times when they put Timmy's happiness after their own, and in the "Wishology" trilogy, they fail to notice he's been in Fairy World for an extended period of time, and don't notice they forgot to take him on two family vacations. It speaks volumes when, in part one, Timmy shrugs off the fact that they don't remember they have a son. The mother has even openly spent Timmy's college fund on stuff for herself when viewing the home shopping channel. Also, as a one-line throwaway gag when they notice "fly head Timmy" eating garbage, they refer to how they frequently forget to make dinner for three people (they only make dinner for themselves).
    • As bad as Timmy's parents are, Remy Buxaplenty's are even worse (and the reason why he has a Godfather in the first place). They spend a minute a day with their son and don't even remember his name. If "Remy Rides Again" is any indication, they've only gotten worse: when Timmy tried to fix this situation by taking away their wealth and stranding the family in a desert island so they'd spend time with Remy, they just gathered riches again (his father struck oil and his mother converted the island to a tropical resort) and returned to ignoring Remy.
    • Timmy himself will become a neglectful parent toward his own children (Tommy and Tammy) in the future, as a possible side effect of the Laser-Guided Amnesia we all know he's going to get when he gets older. He says that the purpose of the time capsule was so that he'd remember Vicky's atrocities to prevent his fate from happening to his future kids… so said memory loss might have wiped the motive away too.
    • In general, many of the children Fairy Godparents look after are like this. They only go to children who are miserable and unhappy, and many of the ones we see have Parental Neglect who make them that way.
  • In Adventure Time we have Lemongrab. His mother Princess Bubblegum, the ruler of an entire kingdom, apparently didn't want to handle the responsibility of raising a brain-damaged, failed science experiment, so she stuck him in a castle to be raised by servants in near total isolation from the outside world. It's rather common. Finn's parents left him alone in a forest (he was lucky enough to be found by a kindly couple before too long), and Marceline's father's primary interaction with her was to steal her french fries at one point.
  • Ron's parents in Kim Possible are barely involved in his life, and barely involve Ron in their decisions either, to the point that the major revelations in their family, moving to Europe in the first movie, and adopting a baby, are revealed to Ron with his parents saying "This is our way of telling you..." after he walks home from school to find a "SOLD" sign on his house, and then by finding that his room has been changed into a nursery. Ron repeatedly gets parental-type advice from his angry teacher, Mr. Barkin and it seems that Kim's family play a bigger role in his life than his own. They also repeatedly dump his baby sister on him so they can go out. This is all Played for Laughs. Comparing the family state of Ron, an only child for most of the series, to Kim, with brothers and extremely involved and supportive parents is quite jarring, and shows up a few times in the show itself, including Ron's "freakout" at losing "everything he ever cares about"… which amounts to Kim and a fast food joint. Ron does get a chance at payback when he gets to reveal to his parents that his adopted baby sister Hana is in fact a mystical ninja messiah baby as she innocently wreaks havoc all over the kitchen. When his parents ask why he didn't tell them before? "This is my way of telling you."
  • Metalocalypse:
    • It's explicitly stated that Skwisgaar's standing as the world's fastest guitarist (in the world's greatest band) is due to the sheer neglect of his mother, who was also Miss Sweden 1956.
    • Pickles; his parents still haven't noticed that he's a musically multi-talented billionaire. Their neglect drove him to run away from home, buy a guitar in a pawn shop, and start a hugely successful glam rock band. Part of it is because Pickles is The Unfavourite, as they pay more attention and lavish more praise on his deadbeat brother Seth (who actually works for Pickles by season three).
  • Danny Phantom's parents border on neglectful, especially his father, because they're so obsessive about ghosts (with a yearly fight over whether Santa Claus existed or not during Christmas that resulted in various bad luck to Danny). Though the series has also taken into great account that family means as much to them as does ghost hunting; going to great lengths to protect their children and to show how much they love them.
  • Duckman's mother forgot her son's name, didn't care that he skipped school because of bullying, went on a cruise when an auto accident left him on the brink of death, and missed his graduation and wedding.
  • The three Eds in Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy are all implied to have neglectful parents. As mentioned below, Ed's mother treats him as The Unfavourite compared to his spoiled sister, who abuses him, and his father is largely apathetic to all this. In regards to Eddy, the movie reveals that his older brother has been physically abusing him, a twelve year old boy, for years, most likely during the entire time he lived with his parents. And while his parents may or may not know about this they certainly don't do a thing about it, instead constantly berating and punishing Eddy for his bad grades and behavior at school. And in regards to Edd, his parents communicate with him exclusively through Post-it notes and are hardly shown to be at home for Edd at all, meaning he's responsible for keeping an entire house clean. Also, not just the Eds but every kid in the neighborhood is just violent in general. Pretty much everyone, from the local Brainless Beauty to the girly boy, has beaten up/caused some serious harm to another kid, or vandalized the neighborhood, and their parents do nothing to stop the kids from engaging in such destructive behavior.
  • Pretty much the main point of FX's Unsupervised.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated:
    • It features the gang's parents in this light. The gang's parents seem to put their happiness before their kids. Velma's mom (as shown in a picture) cares a lot more about her horses than her own daughter, Shaggy's parents think of him as an embarrassment, Fred's dad was thrilled at the idea of his son dying at the hands of the cicada monster, and Daphne's mother told her right to her face that sometimes she wishes they had a boy instead. Though if you think of it, this could explain why in earlier series the parents never seemed to care that their kids were mystery solving all over the place.
    • ALL the parents of Crystal Cove fit in this trope. When their children are "spookified," they abandon them!
    • Mayor Jones just has to be the worst out of them. For starters, he's not Fred's real dad. Fred's real father and mother aren't much better, though they are at least doing it for Fred's own good...once the curse corrupts them so that Fred's own good no longer matters to them, they stop the neglecting and pursue a straight up enemy relationship with their son!
    • Velma's mother gradually became better than the other parents and played more of a supportive role towards Velma and the gang, to the point that she would help them solve mysteries when they needed advice on the supernatural.
  • Family Guy. Even leaving out Meg, Peter and Lois have gotten to the point where they barely even see their children anymore. Stewie is almost always left alone with Brian while Chris seems to barely exist. In fact, Peter has gone as far as to say that he can't stand his kids. Nowhere is this trope shown better than in the episode where Stewie gets a horrible head injury that only gets worse as he is not taken to the hospital (Meg and Chris try to hide his injury in fear that they'll get in trouble). When Peter finds out, he COMMENDS the children on trying to hide the problem, and reveals that he did the same to each of them ("Sometimes to shut you up, sometimes just because the Patriots lost"). This only gets worse as he tries to get Lois to think she did it by THROWING Stewie in front of the car as Lois backs up over him. Lois then suggests they hide it and pin the blame on someone else. That's if the kids are lucky, BTW. Usually, they are the victims of abuse of all four categories (well, all four for Meg, at least).
  • Stan and Francine Smith from American Dad!. In the episode where Francine became the surrogate for their gay neighbors, the B plot had Roger and Steve hiding in the attic from Klaus. Stan received a call from the principal saying that his son wasn't in school for 9 months, and didn't give it a second thought. Francine didn't seem to even care that her son was missing for almost a year. Then there's the incident with the CIA hunting trip, and Steve runs away to live in the woods for a year. Stan lets him go because "he's a man", and Francine assumes that Hayley ran away as well (until she pointed out that she was right there). Oddly enough, at other times Francine is too in Steve's life.
  • Parents in Futurama seem to be universally neglectful:
    • Then there's Fry's parents, who are shown in flashbacks to be generally neglectful, with his mother being a Lady Drunk and his father being a Conspiracy Theorist. And then there's Cubert's "father", Hubert Farnsworth, who shows very little interest in Cubert beyond the fact that he is a successful experiment. At least in Fry's case is Dad seemed to genuinely love him on some level but was just insane. When finding out Phillip was missing he told the police to search, but DID take Fry's dog Seymour to try and find him himself.
    • In one episode, Fry is fed up with suffering this trope from Farnsworth (technically Farnsworth is his descendant, but Fry views him as the closest to a Parental Substitute he can get). This leads to him seeking out Farnsworth's parents and finding loving parental figures in them, only to learn that Farnsworth himself resents them for ignoring him throughout most of his youth. Subverted wen it's discovered that far from neglecting him, they stayed up with him every night when he suffered night terrors, which left them too exhausted to spend time with him during the day. When Farnsworth finds out, he realizes how much they love him.
  • The Simpsons:
    • This can happen, often Depending on the Writer. Homer, especially is too involved in his own schemes, or too distracted by Bart to pay enough attention to Lisa and Maggie.
    • Ned Flanders's parents were intentionally neglectful. As beret-wearing beatniks, they believed that children ought to be free and unrestrained and thus provided no guidance or discipline at all. This resulted in young Ned being incredibly violent and destructive. After some time, they finally gave in and had to seek psychiatric help to calm Ned down. On the other hand, as an adult, Ned is an outstanding father.
  • Vincent and Amanda Lane, Trent and Jane's parents, in Daria seem to be this way. They opt to let their children roam freely, as they put it, and that's if they're even in town at all. Trent even seemed remorseful about it in one episode. In one episode Amanda justifies herself on the old saw about how if you truly love something, you should let it go, blah blah blah etc., but the same episode shows that really it's just that the Lanes in general (who are actually a quite large family, but most of them spend their time Walking the Earth) simply can't spend more than about an hour together before they start getting on one another's nerves.
  • In Young Justice Superman's reticence to spend any time with or forge any sort of emotional connection with Superboy (a clone of Supes created by the Light) is portrayed as this (never mind that SB isn't actually his son and everyone just expects him to go along with it without taking his feelings into consideration). Subverted in the following season, where he's come to grips with that (saving the world always works wonders with him) and adopted Superboy as a little brother.
  • It is necessary for the show to function, but all the parents on Rugrats are terrible at keeping an eye on their infant children, who normally wander off into situations that could kill them. At most they leave their kids with Grandpa, who falls asleep in his chair while watching television.
  • Doughy Latchkey on Moral Orel's parents look and act like teenagers, always giving him money to go away so they can have time to themselves (despite that they apparently get plenty of it and Doughy's not that high maintenance). He's quite envious of Orel and his father, probably not too aware of their situation.
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Norman Osborn isn't abusive of Harry, but he does neglect his son in favor of work and in his pursuit of Spider-Man. This all changes when he becomes Green Goblin though.
  • The Legend of Korra shows that that Avatar Aang and Toph Beifong, the protagonists of Avatar: The Last Airbender, were neglectful to their kids:
    • More specifically, Aang neglected Bumi and Kya, the older son and daughter he had with his wife Katara, in favor of his youngest son, Tenzin, who was the only Airbender child in the family — albeit this was to make sure the Air Nation would make a comeback and eventually restore balance to the world. This seriously damaged Tenzin's relationships with his brother and sister, since they came to resent and mistreat him for being "the favorite" in their father's eyes.
    • Meanwhile, Toph chose to be very hands-off with her two daughters, Lin and Suyin, so that they would have the freedom to do whatever they want, something Toph herself did not have growing up. However, expecting the two girls to basically raise themselves ultimately blew up in Toph's face as it left both girls feeling unloved by their mother and made them more desperate for her attention, which led Lin to becoming a Metalbending police officer like Toph in the hopes of gaining some approval (only to be given a cold shoulder for it), while Suyin became a teenage criminal who ended up scarring Lin's face, albeit accidentally, when Lin broke up a robbery Suyin took part in. Toph covered the whole thing up and sent Suyin to live with her grandparents instead of to jail, which hurt Lin even more and resulted in seriously damaging Toph and Suyin's relationships with her, ultimately causing an estrangement that lasted well over thirty years.
  • In Jem, Phyllis "Pizzazz" Gabor's Missing Mom ran off when she was a child and the trauma left her wealthy father distant. He rarely payed attention to her which didn't help Pizzazz's attitude. Even as an adult he's very aloof towards his daughter (especially in the comic adaptation). The lack of attention growing up led to her Attention Whore and Rich Bitch personality.