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Abusive Alien Parents

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In fiction, aliens with advanced technologies and societies are oftentimes able to travel faster than light, blow up entire planets, and other such feats. However the Puny Earthlings have one major advantage over these nearly all-powerful beings: parental skills.

For some bizarre reason, many aliens, especially Starfish Aliens, seem to utterly lack skills in parenting. They will oftentimes give their offspring away, subject them to Training from Hell to make them "Space Spartans'', or sometimes just eat them. Never mind the fact that most of the brainier animals on the planet all give some level of parental care, the idea never seems to sink into sentient races unlike humanity.

This trope isn't just limited to aliens and other interstellar beings. The trope also pops up in non-human races that are distinctly Terran in origin. This trope can lead to Freudian Excuses for the aliens' actions and may even lead a race to be Always Chaotic Evil.

See also Aliens Are Bastards and No Blood Ties.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Before the events of Dragon Ball Z, the Saiyans send their infants/toddlers off to fend for themselves... and destroy planets. Without Freeza's influence, the last Saiyans left alive do care about their young, although this caring generally takes the form of Training from Hell to ready their offspring to better handle combat as opposed to trying to keep them out of danger. According to Word of God, Saiyans don't have much of a nesting instinct. Saiyans thrive on challenge and harsh environments, becoming stronger upon recovering from fatal injuries. This may also explain Goku and Vegeta's parental styles, as while they do care for their children, their way of raising would be different (not to mention Goku being raised in the near-wilderness).
  • The dragons in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid don't seem to have any clue on how to raise their young in any functional way. This is most blatantly pronounced in the case of Kanna Kamui, who used to commit various pranks solely to get her parents to pay attention to her. Eventually, when she broke a valuable object, they banished her out of her house, so she wound up following Tohru to Earth, where Kobayashi (who Tohru is in love with) took her in. This trope is also implied to be a reason why so many young (by dragon standards) dragons wind up latching into Kobayashi, as she's willing to give them attention and encouragement that they've never received from anyone else, certainly not from their parents. The only dragon who has thus far shown herself to be in any way competent at childrearing is Tohru in her interactions with Kanna, and that has most likely much to do with Kobayashi's influence, and she generally acts more like a big sister towards her anyway.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL: Astral World leaders Ena and Eliphas view Astral, who is someone created by them, as a tool meant to fulfill his suicide mission to save their world. They do not care for him or see him as an individual until they learn otherwise and change their ways. Ena seems to have learned and sees her past actions as wrong, But Eliphas is still debatable.

    Comic Books 
  • The Technarchs, ladies and gentlemen. Best known as the race of Warlock of the New Mutants, every child of this creche-raised techno-organic species has to face their parent in single combat to the death. This really sucks for Warlock because his "mutation" means he has a conscience. He is the only member of his race that thinks this is messed up. Oh, and his father is the Technarch leader the Magus, the most powerful Technarch alive who is big enough to rip apart stars. And Warlock was supposed to fight this guy by himself. No wonder he ran. Fridge Logic sets in when you consider how many other species hate the Technarchs and try to kill them, since there's no way they ought to be able to sustain themselves as a species.
  • Invincible: The titular character and his father Omni-Man are a variation. Omni-Man is a wonderful, loving father... until he reveals to Mark that he's an alien invader and he wants Mark to join him in subjugating the planet. When Mark refuses, a Curb-Stomp Battle ensues and Mark is nearly killed. Viltrumite society is rather violent in general, with the weak being killed at birth and half of the population weeded out by a planet-wide brawl. How do they have a self sustaining population? They don't, which becomes a plot point later.
  • Superman:
  • One issue of Justice League Adventures (No. 24, "Alien Like Me") involved a kid who, as it turned out, was an alien, raised by human parents after his Energy Beings parents dump him on Earth. Then one day his true form begins showing and he accidentally blows up his parents. And only then do his alien parents come back for him. Needless to say, the kid was not happy. Subverted though, as the aliens are shown to love their kid, in their own weird way, and the issue ends on an ambiguously happy note, with either his human parents raised by alien energies, his alien parents choosing to raise him as humans, or something else entirely.
  • Even though Transformers are a machine species that doesn't reproduce and thus doesn't actually have parents and children in the way humans do, they still manage to be abusive parents in The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye:
    • Normally, new Transformers are "born" when an energy pulse from Vector Sigma ignites Hot Spots on Cybertron. New Sparks are generated in the hot spot, which eventually absorb the surrounding metal to form bodies for themselves. However, as Vector Sigma's pulses slowed, Nova Prime became worried that new sparks weren't being created fast enough so he had his scientists harness the power of the Matrix of Creation to artificially create new sparks, which were then placed into already-made bodies. The process was called Cold Construction because there were so many sparks created this way that they couldn't make new bodies quickly enough. And while normal Transformers created their own body based on their "DNA", Cold Constructed Transformers were simply placed into a body based on what role Nova Prime wanted them for. This generally led to Cold Constructed Transformers facing heavy discrimination for being "inferior" (which bore some truth because their bodies weren't the ones they'd have naturally made for themselves and therefore they didn't always have the same natural dexterity and fluidity as a Forged (natural) Transformer.
    • During the Great War, Autobots came across a stockpile of frozen sparks and came up with the brilliant plan of turning them into instant reinforcements, called Made to Orders. They were given a Ten Steps education program, which was then shortened to Seven Steps, and finally a Three Steps program where they were just provided with a data upload as they woke up, handed a weapon, and sent straight into battle. What the Decepticons did with their Made to Orders wasn't revealed but it definitely was not any nicer.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Martians in Mars Needs Moms have their offspring pop out of the ground every twenty-five years and are raised by nanny-bots programmed with the fatally extracted memories of abducted human mothers. Or rather the females are, the males are dumped down the garbage chutes where they've formed a tribal society that actually does care for their children. And it turns out that the Supervisor is entirely responsible for their Brave New World-esque society, and once she's overthrown they start forming nuclear families.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Martians in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. They plug their kids into learning machines to educate them, meaning the children never have any sort of fun, and are described as just being small adults. Then the parents wonder why they just sit there emotionlessly staring at the TV-equivalent all day. However the parents do care about them and are seeking a cure. Having a fat man enter the room and laugh at them for thirty seconds seems to do the trick. Martian culture doesn't seem to know what fun is, bar one ancient and eccentric hermit. It's mentioned that the children didn't start acting depressed until they started watching Earth TV, which seems to have taught them the concept.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Thanos' "children", beings he had abducted from all over the universe to serve as his generals. Four of them were blindly obedient to him while Gamora and Nebula came to hate him for the abuse and torture he had inflicted upon them to turn them into his generals, and while he actually did love them in an omnicidal maniac kind of way he nevertheless saw them as expendable at best.
    • Poor Peter Quill got it twice. First with his adoptive father Yondu who, while actually loving him, treated him rather poorly growing up and made an effort to never show him any affection while training him to become a Ravager. Then there's Peter's actual father Ego, who sought a child to inherit his powers and help him spread across all existence, and who fathered thousands of children in the universe and killed every single one of them who didn't manage to develop powers: which is all but Quill. Yondu at least finally shows he did love Peter and finally sets things right the guy via a Heroic Sacrifice.

  • Edgar Rice Burroughs:
    • In the John Carter of Mars series, the Green Martians shuffle their eggs upon laying, in order to avoid emotional attachments to them, seeing as their society actively disdains love and kindness. Their society actually punishes parents who try to be nice to their adopted children.
    • From the same author, the Coripies of Pellucidar.
  • Animorphs:
    • The Yeerks. They reproduce via a three-slug orgy, after which they die, and from their mashed up ball of flesh comes many baby Yeerks, so that Yeerks never know their parents. (Interestingly, though, they do retain sibling relationships afterwards, even though they're all just a bunch of slugs swimming around in a pool.) Except Visser Three, who goes out of his way to sabotage any attempt his twin makes at gaining any sort of power. But then again, he's Ax-Crazy anyway, and not that good of a representative of his species.
    • The Ellimist Chronicles mentions a species so obsessed with eugenics that they kill up to 90% of their offspring.
  • Bruce Coville's Book of... Aliens: On Nnnnnn's planet in I, Earthling, children mature quickly and are pretty much kept out of sight by their nurses and teachers until they're ready to join adult society — the parents have almost nothing to do with raising them.
  • In Frank Herbert's ConSentiency series (The Dosadi Experiment, Whipping Star, etc), the Gowachin "tads" (an obvious derivation of "tadpole", i.e., their youngsters) are pursued in their ponds by the adult Gowachin, with the very clear implication that the slow ones are eaten by the adults. This is said to form large parts of the Gowachin psyche.
  • The regul from C. J. Cherryh's The Faded Sun trilogy treat all children as expendable slaves; the survival rate to adulthood is less than one in a hundred, and most pre-adult regul are killed, often quite casually, by adults of their own kind.
  • The Lord of the Rings: One of Tolkien's attempts to justify the Always Chaotic Evil-ness of orcs uses this trope as an explanation. Tolkien had a hard time reconciling the notion of an inherently evil race with his belief in free will.
  • The Monsters of Morley Manor has a brief sequence in which the narrator reanimates the corpse of an alien Child Soldier, and experiences all of that soldier's memories, beginning with a time he was left alone on a mountain overnight to toughen him up. (He also mentions, but refuses to describe further, a time when four children were left alone in a room with only enough water for two of them to survive until the day they were scheduled to be released.)
  • In Neal Asher's Polity series, adult males of the vicious, crab-like Prador note  use their brood of sons as a combination of expendable slave-labour and readily-available food supplies, even harvesting the brains of particularly troublesome sons to be used as lobotomized Wetware CPUs for their warships or attack drones. For any juvenile Prador male, the only sane way to survive to adulthood is to somehow murder their father and usurp his position, assuming they can even survive that long before he catches on to them.
  • Averted in the book-length ''Rocheworld''. The Flouwen are shown to be very kind to an offspring 'born' after the humans reach their planet. (It's complicated.)
  • In the A Sound of Thunder spinoff books, Struth's people give their eggs to other sapient dinosaurs, and have them raise them instead.
  • In the Space Brat series by Bruce Coville, aliens are hatched from eggs and raised by a computer, although after that they enter school and have a fairly normal childhood. However, the main protagonist Blork got a piece of eggshell caught behind his ear, causing him to cry. The computer, not knowing the cause, simply labelled him a "Brat" (literally; the word was rubber stamped on his forehead), which gave him a bad reputation that impacted his entire life.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • The Yuuzhan Vong give their offspring to workers to be raised in caste-specific creches. They still know perfectly well who their parents and children are — they just don't care. And then, it's repeatedly made clear that Domain (the Vong term for extended family or clan) loyalty is one of the pillars of their society. They may not be raised by their parents, but as a rule they're very devoted to their families as a whole. Unless they get abandoned. The X-Wing novel Mercy Kill introduces a Yuuzhan Vong fighting for the good guys named Viull Gorsat. He states that during the war he was abandoned by his parents and condemned to live among other such outcasts, essentially a slave. While assigned to a work crew, he was caught up in a New Republic military attack and was captured. The New Republic gave him to a human family that adopted him. Unlike the cruel Yuuzhan Vong society, his new human parents loved him and cared for him, with his new dad inspiring him to eventually join Wraith Squadron when he grew up. Since the Yuuzhan Vong are extra-galactic (they came to the Star Wars galaxy because they pretty much destroyed their own) and had no prior contact with this galaxy before their evacuation, then from Viull's standpoint the residents of the Star Wars galaxy (Humans, Twi'leks, Hutts, Zabraks, etc.) are the aliens, making this an aversion.
    • Neimoidians (like Nute Gunray) are even worse, they just dump their kids in hatcheries and leave them there to fend for themselves. They are given little food and have to fight each other to survive, only the strongest live, and the weak starve. One Duros (species of whom Neimoidians are a Lost Colony of) expresses disgust at this custom after being mistaken for a Neimoidian, stating that "at least we take care of our young".
  • The Baby Eaters from Eliezer Yudkowsky's short story "Three Worlds Collide". They evolved from a species that lived in a resource-poor area and practiced cannibalism to survive, although they obviously don't eat all their babies, just enough to prevent starvation. They have evolved a culture where eating babies is considered the basis of all morality and the word for "to be ethical" is the same as the word for "to eat babies." The Super Happy People from the same story consider humans to be Abusive Alien Parents because we do not use genetic engineering to remove our children's ability to feel pain.
  • The extremely alien aliens from David Brin's Uplift universe practice every variation of this trope. The underlying message appears to be that each species has evolved its own way of ensuring reproductive success. Galactic politics, while opportunistic at best, usually tends to shake out into the "have few offspring but invest as much in each as you can" species versus the "have lots of offspring and cull the weak" species when push comes to shove.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of Andromeda Tyr, a member of a Human Subspecies known for being protective of their children, objects to the crew dealing with an alien merchant of a species known for eating their young. Nightsiders on the other hand will toss their larvae in an ocean and watch as they eat one another.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor has stated that Gallifreyan children are shipped off to the academy at age eight, and forced to look into an untempered window to the Time Vortex. This is what reputedly created the Doctor's evil foil, the Master. The only alternative to this appears to be military service, an idea the young Doctor liked even less. The Master themself, while privileged even among Time Lords, had this to say:
      The Master: It began on Gallifrey, as children. Not that you'd call it childhood. More a life of duty.
    • The Slitheen are also hinted to have this style of parenting in some episodes; with Blon Fel-Fotch being threatened with death if she didn't continue the family tradition. It should be noted that the Slitheen are not a species, but a family. We have no idea how the average Raxacoricofallapatorian parent treats their kids. When Blon is defeated by being rejuvenated into an egg, the Ninth Doctor is hopeful a new adoptive family will Raise Her Right This Time.
  • Farscape. Depends on your definition of abuse, but Sebacean children born into the Peacekeeper ranks never meet their parents and are put through military training from a very young age. At the very least, they rob the kids of any sort of childhood. Additionally, parents are severely punished if they ever try to contact their child, which turns out to be a pretty good deterrent against any "good" parenting. Aeryn's mother, Xhalax, visited Aeryn once, when she was a very young girl. For this infraction, Xhalax was demoted and forced to kill Aeryn's father.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Morgoth created the Race of Orcs, while Sauron continued his work and made sure Orcs will multiply even after losing the War of Wrath. Both of them mistreated the Orcs greatly, and as Always Chaotic Evil as the may be, the Orcs mostly served their masters out of fear. Inverted with Adar, who is A Father To HisOrcs, and never mistreats them.
  • My Parents Are Aliens in which two clueless aliens arrive on Earth and seek to blend in by taking on human form and adopting children to bring up. This is more benign neglect combined with misunderstandings, although the Social Services Does Not Exist trope is averted — Social Services takes a close interest, and this adds further hilarity.
  • Resident Alien: Harry’s species is cruel to its offspring, though they lack the emotions to feel any way about it.
    Harry: We leave our offspring in the great ice wind desert, where the flesh is ripped from the bone to see who survives.
  • In Star Trek:
    • Played With in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Suddenly Human". A human kid has been adopted by the Proud Warrior Race Guy Talarians who killed his biological parents in a former conflict and his biological grandmother wants to get him back 'cause she suspects this trope. The truth turns out to be somewhere in the middle; the Talarians might be Politically Incorrect Villains whose hat is The Spartan Way and whose idea of play/training is rough by human standards, but Captain Endar truly loves his adopted son.
    • Inverted in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Imaginary Friend", when an alien took the form of a girl's imaginary friend to observe the Enterprise. Since the alien didn't understand that children need to be protected because they don't fully comprehend the dangers of the world, the rules and restrictions placed on children led the alien to believe that children were an oppressed minority and that humans were cruel and uncaring.
    • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Changelings sent Odo and many others like him out into space as new-made infants, without much if any concern over what might happen to them. Although this was supposedly done as an experiment to see what cultural values the group of infants would absorb in being raised by alien species, as a way of learning about these species before making official contact. However, Odo stated that a secondary objective was to assess potential enemies by seeing how they treat the weak and helpless.
      • DS9 also played with this trope in the episode "Cardassians", where some Cardassian orphans on Bajor had been adopted into Bajoran families who cared for them, while others were left to overwhelmed orphanages.
    • In Star Trek: Voyager a reptilian Delta Quadrant race seems to abandon its young on a planet with no apparent caretakers. While the parent does come to check up on it, it was still left unguarded in a cave (though to be fair, the planet was hostile to virtually all other forms of life).
  • The Teletubbies are supposed to be toddlers (around the same age as the show's Target Audience), but they have no parents. They get food from machines in their hill house thing, and they have an apparently sentient vacuum cleaner to clean up after them. The closest thing they have to any sort of parental guidance is the "voice trumpets." (Which, like human toddlers, they aren't always inclined to listen to.)
  • Not necessarily species-wide, but in V (2009), Anna crushes one of her own eggs to make a point, and subsequently has her daughter's legs broken for the sake of a publicity stunt.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Drow, punished like crazy when young to make them paranoid, cunning, and cruel. In fact the wholesale treachery and slaughter inherent in their race has gotten to the point where the only reason they survive is because their batshit insane goddess, Lolth, has willed it.
    • The Illithid mind flayers begin their lives as tadpole like larvae living in the pool containing the Illithid Elder Brain. The Brain excretes material that the larvae eat, but will also attempt to catch and eat any larvae it can. Only a very small percentage of the larvae reach the stage where they can become full-grown Illithids. And if the full-grown Illithid avoids getting itself killed by an adventurer or something, its brain will eventually be eaten by the Elder Brain anyway. It gets them coming and going. Illithids think that by being eaten by the elder brain they are becoming one with it, but this is actually a lie that the elder brains tell to keep the lesser illithids in line. The elder brains absorb the memories of the illithids that they eat but their not their personalities.
    • Beholders will select a few of the newborn Beholders that look most like themselves and eat the rest. They don't take care of the remaining ones either, just give them enough time to get away from them.
    • Sahuagin seal up their hatchlings in nesting chambers, then don't let them out until the strong ones have eaten all their weaker siblings. If a hatchling survives, but emerges with a missing limb or other serious injury, the parents eat it.
  • The Elder-Spawn in GURPS: Dungeon Fantasy have one parent that is an Unspeakable Madness from Beyond Reality and another that's insane.
  • Inverted by Teenagers from Outer Space: there, there was no rebellious teenage culture until Earth was found.
  • Downplayed with the Tau of Warhammer 40,000: breeding is a matter of scientifically-controlled eugenics and caste systems, so the parents mostly contribute genetic material before the kid gets sent to the appropriate educational complex. However, it's not unheard of for the parents to take an interest in their offspring's progress.
  • The Kafers in Twenty Three Hundred AD beat their students (both young and adult) before and after lessons. Lampshaded because their unique neural biochemistry requires stimulation through fear or pain in order to function at top efficiency. Unfortunately for human prisoners, they use the same techniques on them during interrogations — not For the Evulz or out of sadistic pleasure, but to try to raise their intelligence to get the maximum amount of information from them.
  • In Traveller the Hivers release their larvae into the wild and don't let them back into society until a certain age.

    Video Games 
  • Zuul in the Sword of the Stars series, apart from members of the Liir-Zuul alliance in the second game, release their children into the wild to fend for themselves into adulthood, justified by a "weed out all but the strongest" mentality.
  • According to Crypto in Destroy All Humans!, his cloning tube is more lovable than his own mother.
  • Mother from Wild ARMs is definitely this. She gives birth to a bundle of children, raises them to fight on her behalf so she can destroy the planet she's currently on, and leaves them to burn on said planet once she's finished. Zeikfried, her favourite son, gets the worst of it as he gets to experience the joy of being eaten alive and possessed so she can complete her plans. What's worse? She believes this makes her a loving parent because she's sharing the very thing she loves the most with her children.

  • In Alien Dice the Rishan tend to be abusive towards their children (sometimes leading to Parental Abandonment). As slaves, Rishan were not allowed to raise their children, so many didn't have parents to learn proper parenting techniques from. May also qualify as Social Services Does Not Exist since Rishan are technically human.
  • Drive (Dave Kellett): r-selecting species with lethal rites of passage seem common.
    • The Continuum reproduce asexually and rapidly if they want to, and treat their progeny as cannon fodder with nothing but a number to identify them. One in thousands survives the heat of battle and becomes a Maker.
    • Tesskans abandon their offspring to the wild, eventually allowing the survivors to rejoin the pack when they gang up on and kill the pack's oldest member.
    • The Astina have hundreds of pups and then require them to prove their worth to their family. As seen when Orla catches a pup stealing and for getting caught his father kills him with his bare hands.
    Sett: "800 children... and maybe five of them with wits."
  • Sam's species in Freefall has elements of this. Members of his species die after reproduction, like Earth octopi. Other members of the species then choose from the offspring, which is said to be like "picking out puppies".
  • Homestuck: Some of the trolls play this trope straight — each troll on birth is adopted by a lusus naturae, which acts as their custodian. Some are colossal morons, and others are just vicious.
    • The standout example is Vriska's lusus, a spider larger than her house that feeds on young trolls. If Vriska doesn't bring "Spidermom" enough food, then it will eat her. That probably explains why Vriska's very quick to give her a Mercy Kill.
    • This is nothing compared to Feferi's lusus, an Eldritch Abomination at least seven miles long that requires other lusus to feed, and kills all the trolls in the entire galaxy except the twelve protagonists. At least she's nice to Feferi.
    • Karkat's crab-like lusus isn't as murderous as Vriska's, but it's pretty mean too. Karkat has to fight it every time it gets crabby which is often.
    • Gamzee's lusus isn't so much an Abusive Alien Parent as a neglectful one — it has spent basically his whole life doing other things (it's never mentioned what, exactly), so he's never learned not to sit on his ass eating sopor slime pies all day. This is later revealed to have been a good thing, due to the fact that Gamzee is otherwise a Monster Clown that goes on murderous rampages.
  • Trying Human has EBE1 act rather coldly towards Hue, up to and including hitting him when Hue's quirkyness annoys him. Hue is quick to cower and shake, implying this is far from an isolated incident.

    Web Original 
  • NationStates: One of the random events involves aliens coming to your nation and offering to trade their first born for pizza, and clarifying that they consider their young a delicacy.
  • Hamster's Paradise: The Always Chaotic Evil harmsters are born well developed and mature quickly, after about a month the mother stops taking care of them and starts treating them as subordinates, pups that prove especially troublesome are mauled by their own mothers in front of their siblings as a warning. It's also mentioned that the maniacal rippero (the vicious predators the harmsters evolved from) would encourage their pups to use their weaker siblings as hunting practice, it's unknown if the harmsters continue this behavior but it wouldn't be surprising if they did.
  • Serina: The solitary Gravedigger people are a zig-zagged example. It's mentioned that they have a tendency to give birth to litters of multiple chicks at a time but the mothers have a custom of killing all but the strongest of their offspring at birth but after that they are very loving parents who do their best to teach the chick how to survive. However, there's a population of socialized Gravediggeres who no longer practice this due to it's founding members being raised by the highly social and empathetic Woodcrafters.

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of Ben 10, Grampa Max's psychic lizard alien girlfriend (It Makes Sense in Context) comes to Earth, and is confused by human parental habits. Apparently, on her planet children are left to fend for themselves as soon as they are born.
  • Four Eyes!: Emma's parents. They did send her to Earth but that's only their genuinely evil act. They mean well, it seems but they poke fun of her situation every now and then.
  • Futurama
    • The people of Omicron Persei VIII leave their children undefended on alien planets with nothing to indicate there are sentient beings down there, and then act surprised when aliens come and eat them. They are justifiably angry when they find out that people are doing so, but no one noticed for months that people were coming to the planet and eating the kids. Why weren't there any early detection systems or defense systems?
      Leela: I hope you'll always think of me as your mom.
      Jrr: When my species grows up, we eat our moms.
    • There is a "Nanny-Cam Satellite" that takes video of Leela eating the first Popplers. This implies that the camera was there to half-assedly monitor whoever was supposed to watch the kids. It seems to be a case of "too busy to care" and "phony reassurance through technology." When you consider that all Omicronians do is watch thousand-year-old Earth TV and invade Earth, combined with the parental cannibalism...
    • In "Fear of a Bot Planet", Zoidberg orders "one of your young on a roll." The human kiosk attendant responds "We're out of rolls", though his face suggest he might have just been making an excuse.
    • The Decapodeans are a weird subversion: one episode establishes that parents die while mating, yet Zoidberg repeatedly alludes to being raised in a nuclear family and having various living relatives.
    • Even split on Kif's species; they go though a period as a tadpole, swimming unsupervised in a primordial swamp, and then are implied to have a childhood where they are raised by their parents in a family environment twenty years later, conveniently allowing Kif and Amy to delay settling down by another two decades.
  • In Invader Zim, Irkens don't have parents, being grown in Uterine Replicators, with the "smeets" reporting for training immediately after birth. When Zim thinks about "parents", he imagines the computer which woke him up.
    Smeet Zim: I love you, cold, unfeeling robot arm!