Sliding Scale of Parent-Shaming in Fiction

This is the scale which tries to encapsulate how abusive and not-so-abusive parents' behaviors towards their children are judged by writers. As some authors like to remind you that a single bad day makes you evil and some others think that teenagers from 13 and up should be left to fend for themselves, this can create serious Values Dissonance.

The usual examples of said dissonance usually consist of this: mothers tend to be portrayed more sympathetically than fathers (unless they have a career); the protagonist will usually have an excuse or be forgiven for the neglect that befalls their children; a dad or a mom has a much smaller chance to be seen as a villain; the dad who left the mom and the child fending for themselves and died a hero in the war becomes much more beloved than the mother who tries to prevent the child from staying up too late; and neglectful parents who let their children do whatever they want with no ill consequences are usually more popular with a young fandom than a rightly Overprotective Dad. It also complicates matters if the parents have more than one child (especially if one is adopted and they are treated more as guardians than parents) and treat them on a very different level. Their behaviour might belong on a different category depending on the child.

A high level of parent-shaming is usually a warning sign for The Woobie, and a high number of these parents is usually a warning sign for a Crapsack World.

Note that it can include older siblings and caretakers behaving as parents would.


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    Off the scale: That was a bad day  
Even the protagonist can indulge in this and remain sympathetic. The author will tell you these are forgivable mistakes, often with no knowledge of the bad consequences on the child, and understandably so: a better alternative could be imagined, but this one isn't this bad. It is really no big deal and will have no consequences even though the Bratty Teenage Daughter will complain about this for a while.

No examples, please, as it is too subjective!

    Type I: That was bad parenting 
The protagonist can indulge in this and remain sympathetic, but expect either a redemption, or a small temporary decrease in popularity. It is mostly well-intentioned extremism, but can also be indifference toward something they think isn't important for the child.

See mild and comedic examples of Overprotective Dad, Knight Templar Parent, Knight Templar Big Brother, and Hands-Off Parenting.

Anime and Manga
  • Soul Eater contrasts Maka's Lovable Sex Maniac Bumbling Dad (who cheated on her mother a lot but sincerely cares about Maka) with Medusa's type IV.
  • In Saki Shinohayu -dawn of age-, Kousuke, Shino's uncle and Parental Substitute after her mother's disappearance, tries to sell the mahjong set they and Shino's Missing Mom played with, noticing Shino's depression. He thinks that having it around as a reminder of her mother will only make her depression worse (but since one tile is missing, the pawn shop owner says he doesn't think the set will sell). Shino is quite upset to learn about this, since she had hoped to enter a mahjong tournament in order to get her mother to come find her. However, when Kousuke sees Shino entering a tournament and enjoying herself, he comes up to her afterward and apologizes, saying that he was too busy with his job and the search for her mother to pay attention to her. He tells her that he will support what she wants to do from now on and gets the set back from the shop; they start playing together again.
  • In Girls und Panzer, Hana's mother, Yuri, passes out after learning that her daughter is doing tankery due to no longer being satisfied with flower arranging. Upon coming to, Yuri tries to find out if something is bothering Hana and tries to convince her that her flower arranging is good. After Hana reiterates her desire to do tankery, Yuri tells her never to come home again. Hana, however, remains convinced that her mother will come around, and she does, after seeing that Hana's flower arranging has improved and is taking on its own style as a result of doing tankery.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion had Misato Katsuragi as Shinji and Asuka's guardian. She seems to do a better job than their parents. "Better" in the sense that she constantly reminds them of their duties at school and work, at least. In spite of this, when it comes to their emotional and psychological needs, she can't do much about it as she has her own personal issues.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Colonel Sergei Smirnov had a strained relationship with his son, Andrei, and at the start of Season 2, he's surprised that he joined the A-Laws, though he treats him coldly. It's revealed that Andrei resented his father for not telling him the reason behind his mother's death and believed that he got her killed. It gets worse later on when Andrei kills his own father on the assumption that he's helping the Federation rebels. However, Sergei's father-daughter relationship with Soma Peries / Marie Parfacy is way better. When Soma's personality as Marie returns, he tells Allelujah to keep her out of battle and is grateful when Marie told him that the Soma Peries personality still sees him as a father. This was used later on when Soma/Marie told Andrei that the colonel still cared for him and couldn't bring himself to tell the truth about his mother's death, much to Andrei's grief and regret.
  • Kotetsu T. Kaburagi of Tiger & Bunny is a single father who is constantly working at his dream job as a superhero. He doesn't spend time with his daughter, who lives with her uncle and grandmother and doesn't care about him being a superhero. This becomes a problem later on when Kotetsu's powers start to dwindle and he has trouble trying to explain this to her and his partner, Barnaby.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Amuro Rey's father is rarely at home and usually busy building the eponymous Gundam, though the first episode showed that he, at some point, cared about him with his picture on his desk. And then he ends up dead. The mother chose to stay on Earth and is heavily implied to have been having an affair. However, Amuro still cares about her by the time he returns to Earth and his hometown. The relationship fell apart when Amuro killed a Zeon soldier in front of her and he outright said that he has to fight to protect, which his mother doesn't accept.

Films — Animated
  • Ariel in The Little Mermaid II, to Melody, but only by hiding a part of her heritage in order to protect her. The dramatic music playing in the background when Melody bursts into tears because of Ariel's reprimand makes clear that the writer considered this was serious business. Perhaps her only mistake was not to trust her for the case.
  • The Sultan to Jasmine in Aladdin. He didn't force her into an arranged marriage, but strongly encouraged her, because he genuinely thought it would be best for her. She dreamed of freedom and recognition to such a point that she puts herself in danger in order to have a taste of it. She also sets doves free while dreamily watching them flying to a far away place, which is not a good omen to begin with...

Films — Live-Action
  • Lord Thomas Bertram in the Mansfield Park adaptations. He is portrayed as a cold, but well-meaning father figure to Fanny. Much more efficient and generous than her Affably Selfish father and mother.
  • This is how Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are portrayed in the 2005 movie version of Pride and Prejudice. Mrs. Bennet is neurotic and self-focused, but both practical and well-meaning. Mr. Bennet is overly snarky and not implicated enough in his two youngest daughters' lives, but also kind and well-meaning (it is stated as such in the many analyses and in the DVD commentary). The book was much more pejorative in its treatment of their education.
  • Hank Pym from Ant-Man had a strained relationship with his daughter, Hope, and lied to her about her mother's death. As a result, Hope sides with Darren Cross to take over his company until she found out that Cross is not a nice man so she went back to her father. However, Hank refuses to let Hope take the Ant-Man mantle and instead has the ex-con, Scott Lang, do it. This further strains the relationship. Later on, Hank tells his daughter that his wife is The Wasp, who helped him during his superhero days and made a Heroic Sacrifice in one of their missions which caused him him retire and blame himself for it. After this revelation, the two reconciled. In The Stinger, Hank decides to let Hope inherit the Wasp mantle by presenting her the new suit.
  • The portrayal of Jonathan Kent in Man of Steel is very controversial to fans of Superman. While his wife helped Clark control and channel his powers, Jonathan doesn't want him to use them out of fear of being exposed to the public, despite the fact that Clark wants to use them for good. It doesn't help that after the bus accident where Clark saves his classmates by using his Super Strength, he confronts Jonathan: "What am I supposed to do?! Just let them die?!" Jonathan answers, "Maybe". Then, there's the flashback where Clark calls him out, telling Jonathan that he's not his father. It gets worse when he is about to save his adopted dad when the tornado is coming near until Jonathan refuses, which resulted to his death and Clark's grief.

  • Various instances in the works of Jane Austen:
    • Mrs Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility. She is one of the best mothers in Jane Austen's books, but she never realizes that Elinor, her eldest daughter who isn't as passionate as her and her younger daughter, can suffer as deeply as them, and acts much more constructively as the author quickly notes before explicitly writing that the favorite is Marianne, not Elinor. It reinforces Elinor's isolation in a painful situation out of which she pulls herself alone.
    • In Persuasion, Lady Russel encourages the young and innocent Anne to dump her fiancé. Despite her good intentions and true generosity, she is proven wrong when she imagines the marriage wouldn't have worked only because of class pride and a quick first impression of the gentleman. This despite the fact that she has been around Sir Walter Eliott for years, and knows that aristocracy isn't the guarantee for a good personality. She even recognizes it innerly.
    • Emma: Mr Woodhouse let his daughter become the mistress of the house and convinced her that he couldn't bear her marriage if she left home. Being clever, cunning, and having no future perspectives for herself, she fully focuses on a hilarious matchmaking business. Need we say it goes as awry as it can in a Jane Austen novel ?.
  • Molly Weasley is one of the Good Parents in the series and Harry's Parental Substitute. However, her "mollycoddling" (as Harry calls it) and overprotectiveness can be annoying to Harry, Hermione and the younger Weasley children in the fifth book, when they're not allowed to attend meetings of the Order. However, she and the rest of the adults are doing what Dumbledore had told them to: that is, keeping Harry in the dark regarding his connection to Voldemort, which resulted in Sirius' death. Dumbledore regrets this.

Live-Action TV
  • Robby Ray is this, sometimes, in Hannah Montana. He likes to criticize his son Jackson as a Running Gag. Except, when you see all Jackson goes through, it isn't even funny, and numerous times it isn't completely supposed to be. This was finally acknowledged in an episode where Miley accused her grandmother of favoring Jackson over her. Grandma's answer? "Of course, I do. If I didn't, who would?". Robbie Ray recognizes that the situation is bad and tells Jackson that he is proud of him. Unfortunately Miley unwittingly steals the spotlight and by next episode everything snaps back. He lets Jackson be abused by his chief, and refuses to ask a smaller discount for the abuse episodes to decrease in intensity, but can't bear it when he is subjected to a day of it himself. Now remember that most of Robby Ray's time is used to make his popstar daughter have a successful career.
  • Alison Dubois and Joe, from Medium, were this at worst during the first couple of seasons. They are very conservative and quite strict, but they mean well and (unless Alison is possessed or they are possessed) treat their daughters in a coherent, constructive and loving way. However, they also force them to apply themselves to quite high and sometimes contradictory standards. This leads to many The Reason You Suck Speeches from one of them to the other. Their daughter Bridget later feels neglected in comparison of the two other much more glaringly perfect sisters. Ultimately, they all regress into a not-abusive-at-all state, after some type III episodes when the visions badly shake one of them, or in very dramatic Alternate Universes where they understandably lose control.
    • Since Arielle, the eldest daughter, behaves as a caretaker and is influenced by their behavior, she is also a part of the equation. She behaves mostly as they ask but treats Bridget much more harshly than they do, and finds her free-minded, less socially conformist behavior annoying. Bridget ends up lashing out at her, viciously telling her why she won't miss her when she goes to college. Arielle is very affected, and it takes a ghost intervention to set things right.
  • Once Upon a Time has Regina, who tried to avoid this trope after indulging in it in the first season. This serves to contrast her with her mother, The-Woman-Whose-Name-Makes-The-Fandom-Tremble, Cora.

Video Games
  • Most parents who are involved in Social Links in Persona 4 fall into this category. Dojima rarely spends time with Nanako because he's afraid of failing her, Eri has trouble bonding with her stepson Yuuta due to internalizing questionable ideas about being a mother and Shu's mother, by lavishing praise on her son, ends up inadvertently convincing him that he can only please her by doing well at school. What keeps them out of Type II is the fact that they recognize their flaws and work on overcoming them, and that like the rest of the Social Links, they're portrayed as well-intentioned but flawed individuals with the potential to change for the better.

Web Original
  • The Doomy Adventures Of Irken Doominess showcasts Deef and Alyssa's parents. They are type 2s bordering type 3 because they neglect their children, Deef and Alyssa don't seem all that affected but Deef often comments that his mom "Isn't really a good mom".

Western Animation
  • Ursa in Avatar: The Last Airbender doted on her oldest son Zuko, who was badly ignored and mistreated by his father, but in doing so accidentally forgot to give her daughter Azula the same protection. While she did love her daughter very much, she mistook Azula's behavior to mean she could handle things on her own despite Ozai being just as bad to her in a different way. This messed Azula up badly, and ultimately led to her breakdown in the series finale. Ursa tried to patch things up with her in The Search and Azula seemed to let her, only to run away later on.
  • In the spin-off series, The Legend of Korra: Toph ultimately loved her daughters and considered them a blessing, but gave them far too much freedom (a result of own parents' over-protective and restrictive ways), wouldn't tell either about their respective fathers, and was frequently busy as the chief of police.

    Type II: That made you a bad parent 
This is short for "That made you a bad parent, but since Status Quo Is God, we may either forgive you in twenty minutes, or provoke your Karmic Death".

This is a big deal, at least for the writer.

The character can remain officially sympathetic, but he has got to pull a Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You, or a My God, What Have I Done? At this point, they are deemed redeemable, things may improve and everything may be fine, but the bad memories will never fade. If they aren't redeemed, expect the parent to cross to level 4, the child to forgive them while acknowledging implicitly all this damage, or the parent and the child to be estranged.

See (usually) examples of Overprotective Dad, Knight Templar Parent, Knight Templar Big Brother and Hands-Off Parenting. May still cause Designated Villain complaints, even among people whose views do not get much farther from the author's.

Anime and Manga
  • While Saki's parents have never been shown engaging in such behavior on-screen, she reveals that in the past, if she lost a mahjong game, her parents would take away her New Year's money, and if she won, her parents would get mad at her. The experience caused her to hate mahjong, but it's also implied that there may be more to her parents' separation than these arguments.
    • Nodoka's father is relatively strict and emotionally distant from her; one morning, the only thing he says to her before she goes to school is that she shouldn't play mahjong as much. He also wants her to give up on playing mahjong and go to a preparatory school, deriding mahjong as a game of chance, and believing that friends will be of no use to her in a "hick town" like the one where she lives. She implies that he's often away from home at night, and only seems to think about him when reflecting on the deal she made with him- she can stay in her current school if she wins the mahjong tournament. By comparison, Nodoka's mother doesn't know about the deal until just before the finals, and doesn't believe that Nodoka should have to go this far just to stay where she is.

Comic Books
  • In the Archie Comics' Sonic The Hedgehog series, Locke, Knuckles' father, has a questionable parenting technique. When Knuckles was still just an egg, Locke had him bombarded with radiation from the Master Emerald. When Knuckles was three, Locke began training him to be Guardian of Angel Island. This upset his wife, Lara-Le, and the two argued on how to raise Knuckles. Locke, being a Guardian, was given full custody of Knuckles, and when Knuckles was five, they moved out of the city and into the wilderness, where Knuckles' training continued. Oh, and Locke told Knuckles his mother was dead. When Knuckles was ten, Locke faked his death so that Knuckles would grow up alone, and thus, become independent. Until Knuckles was 15, Locke had him under constant surveillance to monitor his progress. Locke admits that his parenting skills are lacking, but he was more concerned with making Knuckles into a good Guardian than being a good dad.

Films — Animated
  • In Disney's Pocahontas, the chief Powathan proves quite forceful in pushing Pocahontas into marriage with Kocoum. He also refuses to listen to her pleas and tells her "You cannot imagine how much I am ashamed of you" while also knowing that his approval and her people were so important for her that she considered letting go of the possibility of freedom for them. He eventually gets better, and had apparently always been kinder up to this period, but during this moment, he clearly but briefly crosses a line. This was not approved of by some highly-regarded members of Native American communities, as it goes against a Native American principle to always listen to one's children. However, he redeems himself for this and becomes non-abusive when he listens to her in the end of the movie, which an American Indian spokesman described as the moment in which the movie redeemed itself by showing someone practicing an American Indian culture accurately by way of this character, at least on this point.

  • Jane Austen liked using this type:
    • Lord Thomas Bertram and Lady Bertram in the book Mansfield Park. They let Mrs. Norris bring Fanny down, Lady Bertram is lazy and self-involved and Lord Bertram is offensive and critical while it is not needed and tries to make her accept an Arranged Marriage. But Lord Bertram means well and treats her decently and Lady Bertram loves Fanny dearly. This is evidenced by the generally positive view of Lord Bertram and his (justified after the narrator) My God, What Have I Done? moment, and Lady Bertram's ironic but ultimately sympathetic portrayal as a sensitive but self-involved Lazy Bum. Their actions nevertheless lead to Maria and Julia turning into inconsiderate spoiled young girls, which leads to a lot of the problems in the story, but this part was unintended. The Aesop of the book seems to be partly that deep and well-thought education is an important thing, and mustn't be neglected in order to avoid creating self-destructive and self-centered people.
    • Mr. and Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. It is outright stated in the book that their parenting mistakes and Mr Bennet's failure at showing respect to his wife are the cause of the family's problems. It can be explained thus:
      • Mr Bennet, despite a great intelligence allied with quick wit and much Jerkass Dissonance, is a cold, critical and neglectful father who leaves all the parenting to his impulsive, mean-spirited, verbally abusive, self-involved and extremely neurotic but ultimately loving wife. He unwittingly forces the children to "choose sides", which is very blatant with all the sisters but the eldest: Elizabeth is a younger girler version of him, with more compassion and indulgence, but still a proud Deadpan Snarker and Horrible Judge of Character. Mary tries to impress him by gaining knowledge and a level-headed exterior, but ultimately ridicules herself. The two other sisters are younger versions of the mother, one of which may be hurt by her father's disdain and controls herself, while the other couldn't care less and ruins the family's reputation because she really doesn't care about the only rational parent's opinion (seeing the way he treats her, many modern readers may accept this as understandable).
      • This directly causes: Elizabeth showing interest in Wickham and imagining that Darcy is a monster while he is more a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and after the revelation becomes her future husband, being asked to marry Mr. Collins, and getting humiliated, Jane to temporarily lose her fiancé, Lydia to marry a remorseless Gold Digger who likes her, and Mary and Kitty to witness all this and react in the most screwed-up way possible.
      • All of the daughters have screwed-up ideas of how people are supposed to behave in relationships, perhaps caused by a feeling of inferiority. Jane doesn't show her interest, Elizabeth is perfectly fine with the man she flirted with marrying a mildly richer woman (and even comments on how modest he is by choosing someone not-so-rich), and Lydia is no exception.
  • Helen Graham from The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is considered this in-universe by her neighbors as she is an Overprotective Mom who won't let her son drink alcohol or do dangerous things, and even claims that she would rather see him dead than becoming what her neighbor calls "a man from the world" after a stressful moment. She is actually a combination of Broken Bird and Good Is Not Nice, and tries to avoid the situation in which he would become like her own father and her husband, both alcoholics, neglectful fathers, and generally hedonistic men.
  • Doran Martell arranges several marriages to his heir and daughter, Arianne, with elderly men but the latter felt that he wanted to pass her inheritance to her younger brother, Quentyn, after she had read a letter meant for Quentyn when she was young. When her uncle Oberyn died via Mutual Kill against Gregor Clegane, Doran imprisoned her cousins, the Sand Snakes, when they were planning to start a war with the Lannister in retaliation, which pissed Arianne off sufficiently to stage a coup against her father until it was thwarted. Doran revealed that she was supposed to marry Viserys Targaryen as part of his and Oberyn's plan to avenge the deaths of Elia and her children against the Lannisters, thus making her queen and passing the inheritance to Quentyn. Note  But had not Doran kept his plans too secret from his relatives, then Myrcella Baratheon wouldn't have lost an ear and Arys Oakheart wouldn't have died. After this revelation, Arianne and the Sand Snakes became supportive of it, though the latter still make quick jabs on their uncle Doran's passivity.
    • Catelyn Stark clearly loves her children and is willing to do anything to protect and save them (which leads to very damaging consequences) but she resents her husband's illegitimate child Jon Snow for being her husband's son by another woman raised alongside her lawful children. While Jon loves and is loved by his father, half-siblings, and uncle, Catelyn remains distant and cold to him — albeit she is never physically abusive to him and does not interfere in Jon's close relationships with his father and half-siblings. In a mad moment of grief when her son Bran is in a coma, she lashes out at a fourteen-year old Jon, who is also deeply grieved over his half-brother Bran, by telling Jon, "It should have been you". She's glad when Jon decides to join the Night's Watch, where he'll be with his Cool Uncle Benjen Stark. However, Catelyn is displeased when her son Robb, Jon's half-brother with whom he is very close, plans to legitimize him to inherit Winterfell in the event that he dies in the war he is fighting.
  • In The Gordian Event by Lee Deadkeys, Grandpa Walker tried to teach Frank a lesson after he let their meat rabbits out. He walked Frank outside with a shotgun, where their dogs had torn the rabbits to shreds. He made Frank watch while he shot the dogs, telling him that it was time to face the consequences. Originally, Frank thought the gun was meant for him.
    Jess: My God, Gramps was kind of an asshole.

Live-Action TV
  • Veronica Mars had Lianne Mars as a type two. She starts off as a Missing Mom, the reasons for which weren't entirely in her control (it's complicated). But later on, after she's found again, Veronica learns that her mom has never fully recovered from her alcoholism. She dumps her college fund to get her mom into rehab. Her mom not only skips out before her program is complete, but steals Veronica's 50-grand bounty before disappearing (again). However, as she was an alcoholic, the writers maintained a reasonable doubt as to whether to blame her or her sickness for her most desperate acts.
  • John Winchester of Supernatural is sympathetic once we know his history, but still falls here. He ostracizes Sam for going to Stanford when he could be hunting monsters; Dean has an obedient and authoritarian attitude towards John that John apparently prefers; he made his sons spend their childhood as traveling Hunters despite the many disadvantages of this lifestyle; and he is usually portrayed as an emotionally distant drunk. But he did it all because the Yellow-Eyed demon has plans for Sam and there was probably no course of action that had a better chance of saving Sam from these plans. (Although we can still ask, was he right to keep so much of his rationale a secret, instead of telling Sam and Dean?)

Web Original

Western Animation
  • Hey Arnold!: Helga Pataki's parents don't pay much attention to her because they're too busy doting on her older sister, Olga, who is eventually stressed out by her parents' attention. The mom, Miriam, is possibly alcoholic and sometimes forgetful, which causes Helga to look down on her; meanwhile, her dad, Bob, is busy with his beeper business and tries to groom Helga into becoming like Olga, much to Helga's dismay. Their lack of attention toward her is pretty much responsible for making her into a bullying Tsundere. However, they do care about her, and at least attempt to make up for their mistakes once Helga calls them out.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Turner of Fairly OddParents are portrayed as very neglectful that they leave their son, Timmy, to an Obviously Evil babysitter. Though there are few cases where they love and care for Timmy, they're basically adult-sized children.

    Type III: That made you a bad person 
The parent can still be well-intentioned but misguided, though in most cases, they are either a huge Jerkass or a lunatic. They may have canonical redeeming qualities, enough vulnerability, or enough limits to save themselves from being pure evil. This character can be sympathetic, but expect in most cases a condemnation from the writer, and maybe a Karmic Death.

See the most misguided examples of Knight Templar Parent, Knight Templar Big Brother, and Parental Abandonment.

May cause canonical Cry for the Devil.

Anime and Manga
  • Shiho Nishizumi from Girls und Panzer, mainly to her younger daughter Miho. She belittles Miho's approach to tankery, calling her "foolish" to ask whether Maho needed to fire on a tank from the opposing team that was trying to save one from her team even when she was winning, and berates Miho from later saving a tank from her team, even though her team lost, seemingly as a result of that decision. She even goes so far as to plan to cast Miho out of the family due to not liking her approach to tankery, although, in the end, she has a moment in which she can be interpreted as accepting Miho's way of tankery. It's somewhat telling that Maho, Shiho's eldest daughter and heiress, as well as the person who seems spared from most of her mistreatment, only decides to live up to being heiress so that Miho will not have to.
  • Fujinami Ryuunosuke is the daughter of a man who demanded a male heir. He decides to raise his daughter as a boy, despite her fervent wishes otherwise, and proceeds to foil every attempt she makes to have a normal life.

Fan Fiction

Films — Animated
  • Lady Tremaine from the 1950 Disney cinematic version of Cinderella is certainly evil, but she cares for her daughters (who she still abuses, like Cinderella) and wants the best social position for both. It is acknowledged surprisingly easily for such an evil character (even though she never marks her concern, just acts on it).
  • Mother Gothel in Tangled is ambiguously evil and abusive, but even if she loves Rapunzel, she wants to be eternally young more than anything. To this end, she manipulates Rapunzel, maintaining in her a slight inferiority complex and paranoia. She is in type IV just like her fairy tale counterpart. Despite her obvious good sides and Pet the Dog moments, it is quickly made clear how far she is willing to go to achieve her objective of being eternally young.

  • Rodmilla de Gent from Ever After is certainly evil, but she cares for her eldest daughter and wants the best social position possible for her, while not abusing her other daughter in a different way than when she insults her... There are hints that she was abused by her mother and misses her husband.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory gives us Wonka's dentist father who was so obsessed with teeth that he didn't care about Willy's feelings and part of his development was reconciling with his estranged son.

  • The Wicked Stepmother from Cinderella is very evil to Cinderella, and undoubtedly has a completely negative effect on her life. However, she wants the best for her daughters, who are described as ugly but, for one of them, not irredeemable and sometimes considerate to the heroine.
  • The enchantress from Rapunzel is very hostile to the young girl's undeserving lover, who is her Prince Charming, and locks her daughter away. Other than that, she is a loving and good mother, and a very responsible person for the two thirds of the fairy tale. Then, she abandons her daughter in the desert and inflicts a painful revenge on her lover.
  • The magician queen mother of the first version of Snow White reported by the Brothers Grimm could be this, as she sincerely desired a child.

  • The daughter who Sir Walter Eliott from Persuasion loves the most is the one who looks and acts like him. He puts down and neglects the daughter who looks like his dead wife, never brings her emotional stability, and also participates in postponing her wedding for seven years (long story). He doubles as a Hypocrite as, while extremely proud of his rank and looks, he is ready to marry a woman without wealth and looks while he would never let his daughters consider this lack of highly-valued qualities suitable for a husband.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Catelyn's sister, Lysa Tully, loves her only son, Robert "Sweetrobin" Arryn, and is overprotective of him, given that she suffers several miscarriages and was able to give birth to her son, despite his poor health. Lysa's overprotectiveness results in her poisoning her own husband, Jon Arryn, when Littlefinger tells her that that Jon Arryn planned to send Robin away. However, poisoning her husband is part of Littlefinger's plan to sow discord between the Starks and the Lannisters, which results in the War of the Five Kings.

Live-Action TV
  • In Game of Thrones, the TV adaptation of A Song Of Ice And Fire, several of the Type IV parents receive Adaptational Heroism, making them a little more sympathetic. One example would be Cersei Lannister, who doesn't care of Joffrey's behavior in the books. In the show, she's actually aware of the horrible things that Joffrey does and does not approve of them, which makes her a tragic character. Her Kick the Dog moments from the book (such as ordering the deaths of Robert's bastard children and attempting to have her brother Tyrion killed during the Battle of Blackwater) are given to Joffrey. After Joffrey dies of poison, Cersei becomes concerned for the safety of her younger children, Myrcella and Tommen.
    • In contrast, Stannis Baratheon receives an Adaptational Villainy but he loves his daughter, Shireen, and does everything he can to cure her greyscale. When this fails, he refuses to send her to the Doom of Valrynia. But in times of desperation when the Boltons get the best of him, Stannis has no choice but to agree to allow Melisandre to burn Shireen alive to appease the Lord of Light in hopes it will allow him to defeat the Boltons. However, half of his army abandons him as a result and Stannis is defeated by the Boltons, leaving Stannis deeply grieved over the loss of his daughter and his wife.
  • Black Mirror S04E02: ArkAngel. The mother's intentions were good, but she crossed several lines invading her daughter's privacy, drugging her without her knowledge, etc...

Visual Novel
  • Umineko: When They Cry: Eva Ushiromiya loved her son but she's very picky on whoever's in relationship with him. And that's Shannon, who's the family's "furniture". In Episode 6, George reveals that he's going to marry Shannon no matter what and it pissed his mother off which made her turned into Eva-Beatrice in order to beat him into submission with magic. There's also Episode 4 where Eva survived the Rokkenjima massacre and adopted her niece, Ange, who she mistreated her out of grief for losing George and Hideyoshi along with refusing her to tell the truth about the massacre. However, depending on which truth you believe, it turns out Eva's part is deliberate because Ange's parents (particularly Kyrie) are said to be the culprits of the massacre and Eva is trying to protect her from the Awful Truth though this is due to Bernkastel's manipulation to make Ange hate her aunt.

Web Comics
  • Jason's father in Something*Positive was a Type III. He was a psychiatrist who performed experiments on his children and literally tested how much they loved him. As in with multiple choice tests. The fandom had no qualms about Jason putting him down with a single punch the first time he appeared in the comic.
  • Quain'tana in Drowtales probably falls here, since while she is a horribly abusive parent whose many misdeeds include letting one of her daughters be abused by her soldiers, and who is implied as ordering her to be raped to try and conceive an heir after she became infertile, and later resorting to taking said daughter's child to raise as her own, she's not pure evil, and her early life as a street rat with no parents of her own is implied to be the reason she has no idea how to raise her own children. Given that the setting also has Grey and Grey Morality she's still also one of the more heroic characters whose goals, mainly tearing down the caste system and uplifting the common people, are noble and sympathetic.

Web Video
  • The Nostalgia Critic's parents only stay in Type III because he can remember a few good moments and still love them despite portraying them as monsters when he was little.

Western Animation
  • Goof Troop has Pete, who is consistently portrayed as being a bad person, not only but especially in regards to his parenting — a strong contrast against Goofy's more loving approach. He is The Chew Toy who suffers Laser-Guided Karma on a regular basis, while his son, PJ, lives in circumstances that lend themselves entirely to our sympathy. Even on this PG show, at best Pete's parenting is narcissistic and bullying. In other circumstances it is manipulative and threatening. And sometimes his treatment of PJ verges on actual physical abuse. There are some hints throughout the series that Pete loves his son but just can't show it right and he does have very rare moments where he will Pet the Dog. Still, one of the subplots in the first movie involved the message "Pete's parenting advice is bad!" and PJ goes through massive Character Development and gets a happy ending in the second movie. Keep in mind that we are happy for him because he's left home and has a nice girlfriend.
  • Malory Archer's questionable parenting techniques are often shown to be cruel, and have done long-term damage to her son Sterling.

    Type IV: That made you a monster 

These are the lowest of the low among fictional parents, the worst cases of Evil Matriarchs and Archnemesis Dads. These people are often described as so irresponsible or self-centered that their good sides do not even succeed in making them canonical Anti Villains. Many of them are either pure Jerkasses or worse, treating their children or the children in their care horribly.

Writing about Anti Villains, this is often where Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds parents end up.

Anime and Manga
  • Genma Saotome from Ranma is a type IV. He raised Ranma to only respect martial arts prowess and have no concept of how to deal with girls. But it is his infamous training methods, especially the Cat-Fist, which make him a complete monster of a parent.
  • In Soul Eater, Medusa's behaviour towards Chrona, whom she barely treated as anything but a test subject, is this.
  • In Speed Grapher, Shinzen underfeeds, slaps, belittles, and pretty much pimps Kagura to Suitengu, as revenge because Kagura's father ran out on them when she was pregnant.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler's parents fulfill Type IV as they cross the Moral Event Horizon by selling their son's organs to the frigging Yakuza. Their abusiveness was originally Played for Laughs.
  • In the TV series of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Precia Testarossa whips Fate when she fails to do well enough on her quest for Jewel Seeds, and when it's revealed that Fate was actually a clone of Precia's dead daughter Alicia, whom Precia wants to revive with Fate's efforts, Precia denounces Fate as worthless and laughs off Fate's telling her that even if she doesn't consider Fate her daughter, Fate will consider Precia her mother.
  • Kill la Kill's Ragyou Kiryuin is hardly acknowledged as another human being, primarily due to her horrible and downright creepy treatment of her daughter Satsuki, and because she's a Life Fiber hybrid who chose to embrace the evil alien side. And that's even before we learn what she did to her other daughter Ryuko — or what she does to her when she gets her hands on her.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Infamously, Shou Tucker, the Sewing-Life Alchemist. Both his wife and daughter are turned into mere fodder for his alchemical experiments.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • After his wife's death, Gendo Ikari became obsessed in getting her back and sent their son, Shinji, away. Ten years later he summoned his son... to pilot a giant robot and fight alien monsters. In the End of Evangelion Gendo admits he avoided his son because he felt unworthy of being a parent and feared he would only do a bad job and mess up Shinji by raising him, and therefore reasoned that his son would ultimately be better off without him in his life.
    • Gendo at least had a (bad) excuse, but Asuka's father is even worse. When his wife got crazy and was committed he begun an affair with his wife's doctor... where his three-year-old daughter could hear them. Did he care? Not at all. When Asuka was four she found her mother's corpse hanging from the ceiling. Did he care? Not at all. He married his mistress and more or less left his daughter to her own devices.
  • Code Geass. Emperor Charles di Britannia is a Social Darwinist who didn't answer his son's question about his wife's death and sent him and Nunnally to Japan which he invaded later on, causing Lelouch to start his rebellion against the Britannian Empire. However, it's revealed that Charles sent his children there in order to protect them from his older and immortal brother, V.V., who is Marianne's killer, though she escaped death thanks to her Geass which allowed her to reside in Anya's body. And his invasion of Japan was to secure the entrance to the Sword of Akasha where he and Marianne can make a world without lies. But this goes down to Type IV because Lelouch isn't pleased about this, particularly that they don't care that their actions resulted in a bloody and needless war and that they abandoned their children because of this selfish act.

Animated Films
  • Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame is this to Quasimodo, who he terrifies and manipulates. He accidentally murdered Quasi's mother and tried to murder Quasimodo himself at the beginning of the movie, but took him home because he feared damnation. Frollo is more than ready to kill Quasimodo at the end of the movie.
  • Snow White's stepmother from Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs qualifies, as she makes Snow White work as a servant, is jealous of her beauty, and acts on said jealousy for a considerable amount of time even before hurting her directly physically.
  • In Coraline, the Other Mother is abusive and locks up children's souls in a secret place, but you could argue that the parental role is a facade anyways.

Fan Fiction

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 gives us Ego, the Living Planet, who is Peter "Star-Lord" Quill's biological father. At first, he seemed to be a cool dad and he and his son bonded so quickly after years of being separated. Turns out it's not the case: he wanted to use Peter's Celestial powers for his Assimilation plot to replace life with himself and killed all of his children who turned out to be failures for not having any Celestial powers. It also turns out that he is responsible for the death of Peter's mother, Meredith, by giving her the brain tumor despite claiming that he really loved her but his love for her distracted his plans. Then, he destroys Peter's walkman which was Meredith's last connection to her son. Peter didn't take what his father had done very well, which makes Yondu right about Ego: He is a jackass.

  • Terry Pratchett's The Truth has an example of a Type IV parent in William de Worde's father. Snobbish, distant, cruel, and outright racist, he turns out to be the main villain when it is discovered that he engineered and led the plot to frame Lord Vetinari for embezzlement and attempted murder.
  • In Agnes Grey, the pupils' parents are this trope. Not because they abuse them, but because, for most of them, unlike Agnes' supportive, loving and heroic parents with whom they contrast, they couldn't care less about what their children do. This is one of Agnes' biggest issues, as she must deal with Spoiled Brats or manipulative people at best and enfants terribles at worst, while having all the duties of a parent and almost none of the rights and honours of the function.
  • In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, many parents from noble families consider their children political pawns to expand their power and prestige. One example is Tywin Lannister, who is more focused in making his House the most powerful and fearful in all of Westeros through such methods as forcing his children into unwanted, politically-motivated marriages. Also, he hates his dwarf son Tyrion for the death of his wife (Tyrion's mother) in childbirth, his dwarfism, and shaming the Lannister name due to his whoremongering and drunken antics. However, the worst thing that Tywin does to Tyrion is having his men gang-rape his wife, Tysha, and forcing him to participate. He also forces his other son Jaime to lie to Tyrion that Tysha was a whore. Though he's disappointed in how his three children turned out, Tywin doesn't ever blame himself for it.
    • Cersei is a horrible parent, too, given how she lets Joffrey do whatever he wants (such as abusing his bride-to-be Sansa Stark, ordering the deaths of those who defied him and having their heads displayed on the castle walls, ordering Ned Stark's execution and instigating a war with the North, etc.) and is very disappointed that his little brother Tommen isn't like him when he tries to stand up for himself.
    • Randyll Tarly is worse than Tywin in that he threatens to arrange for his son, Samwell Tarly, to die in a Hunting "Accident" unless Samwell joins the Night's Watch and forfeits his right to his inheritance, all because Randyll is disappointed with how his son turned out — Samwell loves books, reading, and food, and hates hunting, fighting and blood.
  • In Harry Potter, Vernon Dursley hates Harry for what he is and treats him like dung. When the Hogwarts invitation arrived for Harry, Vernon did all his might to prevent him from touching it until Hagrid intervenes, It gets worse in the second book where he locks up all of Harry's wizarding stuff and after Harry received a warning from the Ministry of Magic due to Dobby's meddling, Vernon locks him up in his room with full intent to keep him from returning to Hogwarts. He gets civil to his nephew later on with one rule which is not mentioning about magic to anyone. Then in the fifth book, he attempted to kick Harry out of the house upon learning that Voldemort is back to kill him until Dumbledore's Howler came to remind him. Though he is one of the most despised characters in the series, the only thing that prevents him from being a fully blown monster is his love for his wife and son, Petunia and Dudley. Though he and his wife were also terrible parents toward Dudley in a different way, spoiling and indulging him, never punishing him for anything, and never raising him to be a good person. In the sixth book, Dumbledore points out that what they've done to Dudley is actually worse than what they've done to Harry.

Live-Action TV
  • In Veronica Mars, Aaron Echols is this.
  • Grimm has a special example. Giving The Scrappy Abusive Parents rarely creates audience sympathy, and can cause cries of Sympathetic Sue. But Adalind Schade, who appeared like a shallow Manipulative Bastard for seventeen episodes, is an exception to this rule. What she does is mostly supervised by her mom, Catherine. She physically and emotionally abuses her and flirts with her daughter's Bastard Boyfriend while encouraging Adalind to pursue him because he's powerful and she's got evil plans to carry out. When Adalind isn't being efficient enough, Catherine throws her out, and almost shouts : "You're Defiled Forever, geddit?". Later on, Adalind keeps audience sympathy even amongst the fans of the ship she apparently sunk.
  • In Once Upon a Time, Regina's mother abused her physically and emotionally, tried to make her a Gold Digger, and finally used the same heart spell than Regina on her fiance. There are only hints about her having a tragic backstory which are finally revealed to be a bit exxagerated (she was just poor and humiliated), so, if they aren't further explored, the writers' treatment will be this. As of season 2, episode 9, she tried to rip her daughter's heart out after learning that Regina wanted her hurt. This serves to contrast Cora/Regina, since Regina does a lot of sacrifices for her son.
    • As of 2x16 Cora does love her daughter, but a spell prevented her from feeling it properly for most of her life. When she is freed and feels it she says that her daughter would have been enough, even without power.
  • Riverdale: Honestly, if there was a Type V, the Blossoms would be this. They start out seeming to be the perfect definition of Type IV, then we learn Clifford literally killed his own son.

Visual Novels
  • Dear God, Umineko: When They Cry has the some of the worst parents ever. Kinzo Ushiromiya treats his entire family as pawns in order to summon Beatrice and treats his children, who are already adults, like shit. Before that, he imprisoned his illegitimate daughter and raped her because she bore the physical appearance of his first love.

Video Games
  • Relius Clover of BlazBlue series. He pretty much sees any human being as a possible live specimen for his mad research, his family included, and has no qualms into snatching their soul away to put them in an inanimate doll (so they become animated) and having them serve as his research project or weapon. The complete one is made of his wife, the incomplete one is made of his daughter, and he left it for his son Carl to finish, completely traumatizing the little boy and making him hate the man. And when the boy has the gall to call him out? Relius just either nonchalantly attempts to kill him (and the resident buxom doctor who calls out his 'awesome' parenting skill) or just shoves him the extent of his mad research, knowing that he'd pass out (in which case he'd probably move in for the kill if uninterrupted).
  • Tekken: Heihachi Mishima threw his son, Kazuya, into a ravine. Apparently, Kazuya came back alive, defeated his father and tossed him into the same ravine. Of course, Heihachi came back very pissed that he threw Kazuya into a volcano. And that's the first glimpse of the Mishima family dynamics.
    • Apparently, Kazuya doesn't win the "Father of the Year" award either since he's willing to harm his own son, Jin Kazama. Granted, the Mishima family is cursed with the Devil Gene and Kazuya is very open in accepting his heritage as it makes him stronger.
  • Mass Effect: According to Miranda Lawson, her father is a Mad Scientist who desires to create the perfect heir for his dynasty and control them. Later on, Miranda left her father and went to Cerberus while she placed her sister into a foster family to keep her safe from him. In Mass Effect 3, we finally get to meet the guy, and Henry Lawson turns out to be one of the worst human beings you have ever met where he disguised his research facility as a refugee camp and subjected the refugees to indoctrination which resulted in them turning into husks just to find a way to control the Reapers with mixed results. In contrast to other members of Cerberus who wanted the best for humanity, Henry only cares about himself and is willing to kill his own daughters.
  • Borderlands 2 has Handsome Jack, who turned out to be the father of Angel, who turned out to be a Siren, forcibly held captive by him as a living battery. Jack has a very twisted way of loving his daughter despite the fact that she's secretly helping the Vault Hunters to free her from his control. After you're forced to kill her, Jack gets livid that he orders a bounty on your head for killing his daughter and wants you dead. Though Angel herself didn't really think highly of him for what he did to her: her last words were: "Dad, I have to tell you something... you're an asshole."
  • Virtually all of the Warriors of Hope's parents in Absolute Despair Girls abused them to the point at which they except for Monaca, who was manipulating them, became suicidal, as well as willing to kill all adults with a little encouragement from Junko Enoshima. Masaru's father physically abused him and forced him to buy alcohol for him even though the only possible way for Masaru to do so was by stealing it. Jataro's parents neglected him to the point at which he's happy if people hate him, simply because they're paying attention to him. Kotoko's parents forced her into child prostitution. Nagisa's parents used him as a test subject to see how much one could study before breaking as part of a twisted experiment for Hope's Peak Academy. Monaca's father and brother physically abused her for being an illegitimate child and while she manipulated them into mass-producing the Monokumas that the Warriors used to take over the town, they were greedy and incompetent enough to let her, which makes them even worse. All of them perish in the kids' uprising, and no one feels much pity for them.
  • Lord Harkon of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim expansion Dawnguard gets this spot. He's a thoroughly nasty vampire lord who allowed the Daedric Lord of Rape and Domination, Molag Bal, to have his way with both his wife and his daughter in order to make them vampires, and then became obsessed with a prophecy to blot out the sun, to the point that he sealed his daughter in darkness for at least a thousand years for trying to defy him, and drove his wife to hide out in the Soul Cairn just to get away from him. And then when he sees his daughter, Serana, again, all he gives a damn about is whether or not she has the Elder Scroll he needs to make the prophecy a reality. And he doesn't even give a damn about Serana at all, only about her blood which can be used to blot out the sun, which he tries to kill her for at the end of the Dawnguard storyline.

Western Animation
  • Fire Lord Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender burned his own son's face and banished him for three years for refusing to fight him, ultimately becoming the The Big Bad of the series.
  • Yakone in The Legend of Korra forced his sons to go through harsh training, verbally abused them, made them inflict abuse on helpless animals and tried to get them to hurt each other, all so he could raise them to be Tykebombs for his revenge. And it WORKED.
  • Dr. Mar Londo in Legion Of Superheroes experimented on his unwilling son, turning him into a werewolf-like creature. He wanted to create a monster (by using a human for a template rather than an animal like his previous experiments) for the purpose of serving him as a general for his army for galactic domination. To make matters worse he thinks his son should be thanking him for this.