What the Hell, Dad?

"He can't even shoot straight."
Josef Stalin responding to his son Yakov's attempted suicide by self inflicted gunshot.

You've got your cool dad. You've got your Abusive Dad. And then you've got... this guy. He views his son (this is almost Always Male) as an equal and in no real need of monitoring, instruction, or the rest of the whole parenting game. Can border on its own form of abuse. The child ranges from prepubescent to simply not meeting one's cultural definition of adulthood.

Can lead to "Well Done, Son!" Guy. May eventually be called out. See also Parental Neglect, Adults Are Useless. Contrast Knight Templar Parent and Papa Wolf.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • To the extent that she's a mother figure for Shinji, Misato in Neon Genesis Evangelion.
    • Of course his actual parent, Gendo Ikari, is a thousand times worse.
  • Son Goku from Dragon Ball Z, full stop. With both Gohan and Goten.
  • Pretty much any parent on Digimon.
  • In the 2003 anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist, after Disappeared Dad Hohenheim comes back to see his kids (who are only 16 and 14), he figures they've taken care of themselves long enough that it doesn't really matter if he takes up a fathering role. And so he leaves again!
    • He was pathetic and low in pretty much every arena possible. Al really wanted him to stay, but he didn't listen. His Wangst reaches really annoying levels when you find out just how much of an asshole he is.
    • The original Hohenheim, however, is a completely different story.
  • Bleach: Aloof fathers Isshin and Ryuuken are big headaches for their sons. Isshin pretends to be clueless about Ichigo's adventures while secretly collaborating with his son's Sink-or-Swim Mentor. He only reveals his powers to hide an even bigger secret from Ichigo. Ryuuken tells Uryuu to his face that he does not view him as an equal in any way and only admits it's because Uryuu isn't achieving his full potential when his son's unconscious and unable to hear him. In one depressing scene, they acknowledge their awful parenting and debate who is the worst father. It appears they loathe how they treat their sons but feel forced to by a mysterious grand plan.
  • This is almost how the de Blois family relationship works out in Gosick, with Albert being so obsessed with preparing for World War II that Grevil is an easily intimidated (mostly) ineffectual police inspector and Victorique's own upbringing being as it is, considering he only sees her as a tool for what's to come.
  • Patrick Zala in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED treats his son Athrun as though he were any other subordinate. Given that Patrick is a paranoid and genocidal General Ripper this is not a good thing. By the end he's attempted to personally execute Athrun for treason.
    • Flit Asuno from Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, once a sweet kid has grown up into a borderline expy of Patrick. He expects his son, Asem, to behave and conduct himself as an adult and soldier at all times, regardless of how it affects him.
      • And he's not really any better towards his grandson.
  • Gambino from Berserk. Apart from being a full-blown douchebag to Guts as well as his teacher in being a mercenary, Gambino didn't do much in the way of parenting toward his adopted son. He even sent the kid onto the battlefield before he started his official training at the tender age of four, fully expecting Guts to not get his ass killed.
    • Not really. He actually fully expected Guts would get his ass killed. Guts simply wouldn't oblige.
  • To some degree, both of Light Yagami's parents in Death Note do this to him, though it's most likely unintentional; they seem to completely ignore every aspect of his life besides his schoolwork, to the point where they fail to notice his deteriorating mental state and murderous tendencies. This may or may not contribute to Light's Psychopathic Manchild state.
    L: Your son's pretty smart.
    Soichiro: Yeah, I guess he is.

    Comic Books 
  • Magneto is this to all his children.

  • Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade's Henry Jones Sr., to such an extent that Junior preferred to be named after the dog instead.
  • That's My Boy: Donny who raised his son as a teenager and feed him lolipops for breakfast, now his son is a diabetic and needs to take insulin shots daily. That's just the tip of the iceberg of how messed up a dad Donny is.


    Live Action TV 
  • Degrassi The Next Generation has several, since Adults Are Useless:
    • Toby's dad has a disturbing punishment for him and JT for watching porn.
    • Craig's dad is abusive. Naturally Joey goes to the opposite extreme.
    • Tracker, somewhat justified by the fact that Tracker is Sean's brother, not his father. But that doesn't explain why Tracker lets Sean stay in Toronto when he moved to Alberta. Indeed, Sean in general follows the Rule of Cool.
    • Peter's dad.
  • John Winchester from Supernatural trained his sons from an early age to kill the demon that murdered their mother, and didn't really do much else in the way of parenting. He left that to oldest son Dean, treating Dean more like a grown hunter than a child.
  • The relationship between Frank Barone and his adult sons in Everybody Loves Raymond runs on this trope. Frank's reaction, on realising Ray has made it into the big time as a newspaper columnist, is to say
    Never thought a son of mine would ever amount to anything!

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Granddad from The Boondocks. Riley hangs around known criminals, Huey has a massive weapons stockpile, and Granddad doesn't care. Though he does beat them when they do something bad.

    Video Games 
  • Dr. Thomas Light repeatedly sends his son Rock out to fight hordes of evil robots and a megalomaniacal Mad Scientist. Justified in that said son is, you know, a robot himself.
  • The King of All Cosmos kicks off the first Katamari Damacy by going on a drunken bender and knocking all the stars out of the sky. He then sends his tiny son to clean up the mess for him, placing completely arbitrary conditions on his rolling. Don't roll a big enough katamari before his patience runs out? Punishment time!
  • Kenshi is this, according to Kano. And he's got a point.

    Western Animation 
  • Dr. Rusty Venture on The Venture Bros.. He even hires Sgt. Hatred (a known pedophile) as a bodyguard, and when it's revealed Hatred has a nickname for Hank, Rusty simply says "You're sleeping with him, aren't you?"
    • Rusty's own dad, Dr. Jonas Venture Sr., has become worse and worse as more of Rusty's childhood is shown. In season one, he was shown to have been a mildly negligent Insufferable Genius, but by this point, he seems to have been an emotionally manipulative, near-scociopath who knowingly placed his son in danger on a daily basis...and was also negligent.
  • All the South Park parents are portrayed as this. Borders on a Running Gag at times.
    Kyle *from the episode Asspen* It's been 8 hours, where the hell are our parents?!
  • Peter to Chris on Family Guy, to the point of Incest Subtext. Then again, it's Family Guy, so Incest Subtext is par for the course.
  • Fire Lord Ozai from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Yes, his son survived what he put him through, with Uncle's help, and yes, his daughter was highly competent as The Dragon, but he did not do the parenting thing, and sent them both into great danger very casually. Azula at least he trained personally.
  • Archer, though he is not the actual father of Wee Baby Seamus, gets his name tattooed on the infant's back. Archer got Seamus' name on his back, and he thought the gesture would symbolize how they "have each other's backs." Seamus's mother is very horrified by this.
  • Played for laughs in Futurama when Leela and the rest of the crew end up becoming teenagers again. Leela chooses to go live with her parents, so she can experience what it would have been like to have parents (structure, discipline, etc.) but they just give her alcohol and don't care how late she stays out. Part of this is due to lack of knowledge, but mainly she is already an adult mentally and know she can make her own decisions.
  • When Homer Simpson isnt an Abusive Dad, he's this trope, especially towards Bart. This is especially obvious whenever Marge isnt around, as Homer has little interest in proper parenting and usually just ignores his children until he's guilt tripped into doing actual parental things with them.

    Real Life 
  • Josef Stalin's son Yakov was so heavily abused by his father that he attempted suicide. When Yakov was captured by Nazis in WW2 the Nazis offered to free him in exchange for several high ranking officers since he was Stalin's son. However Stalin refused the deal, believing that the deal was unfair because Yakov was not a high ranking officer himself. Yakov later died in a Nazi concentration camp.