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Doesn't Know Their Own Child

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A parent can't get details on their own child correct. (Launching January 31st)

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
Zerukin on Jan 5th 2019 at 8:58:20 AM
Last Edited By:
Zerukin on 5 hours ago
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

Elena: What is his teacher's name?
Alejandro: That's an easy one. Mister... Brother... Father Kin... Jin... Hoofer? (beat) So I have a bad memory! What does that prove?
Elena: That you do not know your own son. And even worse, he does not know you.

Parents often claim they know everything about their child, and they will do what they believe their child would like. However, there are moments when what they do for their child is not something their child is really into.

The child will quiz them on themselves and reveal that their parent doesn't know them as well as they claim. Finding this out will greatly offend the child knowing that their own parents don't know them despite having raised them.

In some cases, the details that the parents believe actually were relevant to the child in question. However, the child has grown out of those bits, which requires the parents into having to get to know their child all over again just to find out their new interests.

Likely to be a result from Parental Neglect. May overlap with Amazingly Embarrassing Parents. Contrast Parents Know Their Children. Not to be confused with Luke, You Are My Father, where parents meet somebody whom they find out is their child.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • Robin: Tim's father Jack does not know his son's hobbies or interests and often just assumes Tim likes the things Jack's ideal son would like. For example his father thinks Tim likes playing American Football when Tim doesn't even like watching the game and prefers baseball, basketball, and skateboarding as sports.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In The Legend of Zorro, Elena quizzes Alejandro on details of their son Joaquin's life to make a point that he's so busy being Zorro that he's being a poor father.
  • Searching utilizes this for drama- a father realizes that he doesn't know anything about his daughter after she goes missing.

    Live Action TV 
  • Blackadder: King Richard IV never, ever gets his son Edmund's name right and makes no attempt to find out if his wishes for his son (marriage, Archbishopric) are in line with Edmund's.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow's mom doesn't notice that her daughter got a haircut for months.
  • Al and Peg Bundy on Married... with Children sometimes don't remember their kids' birthdays or even their names.

    Web Original 
  • There is a story on Techtales about a doctor's office complaining that a computer program refuses to input a birth date as given by the patient's father... 2/29/1982.

    Western Animation 
  • Aaahh!!! Real Monsters has Slickis genuinely unable to remember what activities his son, Ickis, likes.
  • Family Guy: Meg Griffin is ignored by her family so often, that there are moments where they don't even understand her. Such as when footage gets out about her kissing somebody, she says shes going to go eat peanuts, which Peter and Lois stare at her in confusion over. She tells them she's allergic. When they don't react, she angrily shouts they don't know anything about her.
  • The Legend of Korra: An implied version: Aang showed definite favoritism towards his airbending son Tenzin, taking him to visit Air Nomad temples and holy sites. Somewhat understandable in that Aang was the Last of His Kind and thus desperate to pass on his culture to the only other person who could understand it, but it couldn't have made his kids' lives easy. Tenzin himself wasn't really aware of it until he and his siblings were in their forties.
  • The Simpsons: Homer once hired a private detective to learn about his children.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Sadie has some issues with her mom not quite having caught up to the fact that Sadie is an adult now.
    • Connie's mother doesn't even notice that Connie no longer has lenses in her glasses until it's pointed out by Connie sticking her fingers through the frames.

    Real Life 
  • Alec Baldwin, in the infamous voicemail message he left for his daughter Ireland in 2007, says at one point "I don't give a damn that you're 12-years-old or 11-years-old..." She was 11 at the time.

Feedback: 21 replies

Jan 5th 2019 at 10:08:45 AM

  • The Simpsons Homer once hired a private detective to learn about his children.
  • Steven Universe Sadie has some issues with her mom not quite having caught up to the fact that Sadie is an adult now.

Jan 5th 2019 at 10:28:48 AM

There is a story on Techtales about a doctor's office complaining that a computer program refuses to input a birth date as given by the patient's father... 2/29/1982.

Jan 5th 2019 at 1:22:10 PM

Live-Action Television

  • Al and Peg Bundy on Married With Children sometimes don't remember their kids' birthdays or even their names.

Real Life

  • Alec Baldwin, in the infamous voicemail message he left for his daughter Ireland in 2007, says at one point "I don't give a damn that you're 12-years-old or 11-years-old..." She was 11 at the time.

Jan 5th 2019 at 1:31:53 PM

Film:

  • In The Legend Of Zorro, Elena quizzes Alejandro on details of their son Joaquin's life to make a point that he's so busy being Zorro that he's being a poor father.
    Elena: What is his teacher's name?
    Alejandro: That's an easy one. Mister... Brother... Father Kin... Jin... Hoofer? (beat) So I have a bad memory! What does that prove?
    Elena: That you do not know your own son. And even worse, he does not know you.

Jan 6th 2019 at 2:04:15 PM

  • Also from Steven Universe, Connie's mother doesn't even notice that Connie no longer has lenses in her glasses until it's pointed out by Connie sticking her fingers through the frames.

  • For Real Life, I believe Narcissistic Parenting results in this? I remember a very memorable quote about a narcissistic mother who believed that her daughter's favorite food was something that the daughter was allergic to despite constantly being told otherwise.

  • Searching utilizes this for drama- a father realizes that he doesn't know anything about his daughter after she goes missing.

  • Aaahh Real Monsters has Slickis genuinely unable to remember what activities his son, Ickis, likes.

  • In Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Willow's mom doesn't notice that her daughter got a haircut for months.

I wouldn't put this in Parents As People; I can see where things overlap, but there's definitely examples of this where the parent simply doesn't actually care about their child at all, or only cares about the idea of the child.

Jan 9th 2019 at 9:48:07 PM

  • The Legend Of Korra: An implied version: Aang showed definite favoritism towards his airbending son Tenzin, taking him to visit Air Nomad temples and holy sites. Somewhat understandable in that Aang was the Last Of His Kind and thus desperate to pass on his culture to the only other person who could understand it, but it couldn't have made his kids' lives easy. Tenzin himself wasn't really aware of it until he and his siblings were in their forties.
  • Blackadder: King Richard IV never, ever gets his son Edmund's name right and makes no attempt to find out if his wishes for his son (marriage, Archbishopric) are in line with Edmund's.

Jan 10th 2019 at 1:47:56 AM

^ That Korra example just sounds like Parental Favoritism

Comic Books

  • Robin: Tim's father Jack does not know his son's hobbies or interests and often just assumes Tim likes the things Jack's ideal son would like. For example his father thinks Tim likes playing American Football when Tim doesn't even like watching the game and prefers baseball, basketball, and skateboarding as sports.

Jan 10th 2019 at 6:17:05 AM

^ Parental Favoritism may cause this trope for the parent's other child(ren).

Jan 11th 2019 at 8:03:03 AM

Note to self: Make sure the page quote is fixed upon launched. Seems like the TLP doesn't seem like the double... what do you call those things just below the backspace?

Jan 11th 2019 at 10:23:17 AM

^ I fixed it. I never use the backslashes because the wiki is so inconsistent about applying them.

Jan 11th 2019 at 4:59:17 PM

I was thinking of launching this on monday, but then I thought "Maybe it would be better to wait until the end of the month so see if anybody else has examples to expand it further."

Thus I have decided to set the launch date to the end of the month. That is three weeks from now. That way, this has plenty of examples, and we can all go out to Baskin-Robbins (their ice cream is 1.50 per scoop on 31st of a month).

13 hours ago

bumping in case anybody has more examples before launch.

12 hours ago

Hatted. Anybody have any suggestions on what to index this on?

12 hours ago

^ Definitely was planning the character flaw index. All the others are definitely good too.

11 hours ago

The only other index I can think of that might apply is Memory Tropes, but I can't think of any indexes this applies to that would be likely to be overlooked.

8 hours ago

So... I just looked at all the Truth In Television pages, and none of them are labelled as an index. Is it supposed to be that way?

6 hours ago

Compare The Unfavorite, which may cause this.

5 hours ago

Discworld: Moist von Lipwig is so forgettable his mother often came back from school with the wrong child, which greatly helps him as a professional conman.

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