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Ted: [whispering to Bill] Your stepmom's cute.
Bill: Shut up, Ted.
Ted: Remember when she was a senior and we were freshmen?
Bill: Shut up, Ted!

Parents in fiction rarely look old enough to have children of the age shown. Sometimes this is because of a Teen Pregnancy, or Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome, or some form of time travel or immortality. Sometimes, it's for a much more mundane reason: the parents remarried, adopted, or gained custody of the suspiciously old child through other means that justify the age discrepancy. Basically, this trope occurs when a relatively young person (usually in their teens or early 20s) gets a Promotion to Parents over other characters who are roughly the same age as themselves.

See also Absurdly Youthful Mother and the other subtropes, especially Mum Looks Like a Sister. Compare Promotion to Parent, which usually falls under this trope. Contrast Adult Adoptee, where an adult adopts another adult into the family.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Beelzebub: Oga is made Baby Beel's foster father through a Deal with the Devil at age 15, while the foster mother Hilda is 16. However, virtually everyone else assumes that they are teen parents.
  • Bleach: Thanks to Abusive Parents, Sora Inoue kidnapped his sister Orihime when she was 3-years-old and ran away from home. His act saved Orihime's life but forced a Promotion to Parent at the age of eighteen.
  • Satoshi, from D.N.Angel, was adopted as a teenager by a man in his twenties.

  • In Elfen Lied, Kohta and Yuka (both 18-19) are given custody of Mayu (~13) by her mother as she doesn't want her any more.
  • Eureka (14-16) of Eureka Seven has three young kids who call her "mother": Maurice, Maeter, and Linck. At first Renton is pretty freaked out thinking they're her biological kids, but then he's told that they're orphans she adopted. This happened because she killed their parents when she was a soldier for the Special Operations Force, which led to her having a Heel Realization and adopting the three orphans as a form of atonement. In the epilogue, Renton (also 16) marries Eureka and her children become his too, taking on his last name of Thurston.
  • Gintoki in Gintama who is in his 20s takes in Kagura who's 14. Interestingly he fulfils many aspects of the Dad the Veteran trope.
  • Gundam:
    • At age 15, Fraw Bow from Mobile Suit Gundam starts taking care of the orphans Kikka (4), Retsu (5) and Katz (8). Seven years later, we see them again in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: 22-year-old Fraw has married victorious Hayato and they have adopted the three kids, who are now 11 (Kikka), 12 (Retsu) and 15 (Katz, who even joins the cast as a regular).
    • Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam: In Steel Seven, it's shown that Tetenith's stepmother Europa is, at the most, maybe 10 years older than she is. Likely a case of political marriage on the part of her father Crux, who was the sovereign of Jupiter.
    • Mobile Suit Victory Gundam: 12-year-old Shakti rescues an orphaned baby after a Zanscare attack, and is still shown raising him at the end.
  • Highschool of the Dead: Alice's (age 12) father gets killed while trying to find shelter for them from a horde of zombies. She gets rescued by Takashi's group only moments later. In the following episodes, Alice quickly and steadily becomes attached to Hirano and Saya, as though they're her "new" parents. The feeling is apparently mutual, as both highschool students begin to treat Alice as their ward.
  • Gon from Hunter × Hunter was raised by his father's cousin Mito. At the start of the series she's 24 to his 12, and she's had him since he was a toddler, meaning she couldn't have been older than 14 when Ging left him in her care.
  • Yuuri (16), from Kyo Kara Maoh!, adopts the 10-year-old girl, Greta, who tried to kill him in her first appearance.
  • Listen to me, girls. I am your father!: 19-year-old Yuuta adopts his sister's three orphaned daughters (only the youngest is a blood relation), ages 14, 10, and 3.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Nanoha officially adopted the then 6-year-old Vivio when she was just 19. One fan comic had fun with this small age difference by having Nanoha introduce Vivio to her parents with no prior information, causing her father Shiro to have a breakdown when he thought that she got Vivio the usual way at the tender age of 13 (not helped by the fact that the timeline for this hypothetical pregnancy lines up with the time she got hospitalized for totally different reasons between seasons).
    • Taking this even further, as of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid, Vivio can transform into a teenager/young adult version of herself, which, coupled with Nanoha's own rather youthful looks, makes it appear as if they are virtually the same age.
    • There's also Fate, who's the official guardian of Caro even though they only have a 9 year difference between them.note  Caro admits during StrikerS that she tends to view her as more of a Cool Big Sis than a mother as a result. Erio would also count, but he's officially under the guardianship of the forty-something Lindy since he was rescued back when Fate was still too young to officially be his guardian. Fate goes on to become Vivio's other mother, as well as Lutecia's legal guardian for the time when her mother Megane was still in her coma.
    • Averted with Subaru Nakajima who, while likely old enough to become Thoma's guardian in Force, despite being only six years older than he is, asks her father to take him in instead (presumably, she'd much rather be his sister).
    • Depending on your definition of adoption, Hayate takes this to extremes. She has called the several hundred year old Wolkenritter her children ever since she was nine.
    • Nanoha's own mother Momoko was an example in the original Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever continuity. Kyouya (who was her stepson) and Miyuki (who was her niece) are 14 and 16 years younger than her respectively. Whether this is still the case in Lyrical Nanoha or if they're Nanoha's biological siblings is unknown.
  • In Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, the 25-year-old Kobayashi takes in Kanna and later Ilulu, who are the dragon equivalents of 9 and 16 respectively (though they're both chronologically much old than her).
  • An erotic Korean manhwa aptly named My Stepmom (alternatively known as This Doesn't Feel Like Me) goes like this: A young male protagonist has a new stepmom who is barely 10 years older than him. She's kind and all... for the most part, except that she likes to dress provocatively and all but stated to develop sexual interest on the protagonist (who already has a girlfriend) and eventually did seduce him to have sexual encounter with her (several times). In a somewhat complicated twist, several flashbacks later reveal that she's the protagonist's sort-of stepsister, since she's actually the bastard (and abandoned) daughter of the protagonist's ex-stepmother with her previous partner before marrying the protagonist's father (ignoring that, the ex-stepmother really slept around a lot with many men before and after marrying the protagonist's father and the stepmom had her killed for abandoning her when she was little).
  • In No. 6 Inukashi who is likely 14-15 adopts a baby after said baby is orphaned during one of the manhunts.
  • In RIN-NE, Shinigami live for hundreds of years, but stop aging early in adulthood. Rinne's mother Otome's dark secret is that she's only two years younger than her mother-in-law, which shocks her husband.
  • In Sailor Moon, the Outer Senshi (all 16-17) adopt Hotaru after she has magically regressed to an infant. She then magically re-ages to around 13.
  • In Sword Art Online, pictured above, Kirito (age 16) and Asuna (age 17) adopt the little girl Yui in the VRMMORPG of the same name. Yui is technically less than 2-years-old, but acts closer to a precocious 6-year-old.
  • Played with regarding Evangeline in UQ Holder!. While she was born some time during the Hundred Year's War and normally looks like an adult, her true form is exactly 10-years-old (having been turned into a vampire on her birthday). This in contrast to her fourteen (actually 2)-year-old adopted son Touta.
  • Variable Geo: Satomi's had to support herself and her kid brother, Daisuke, ever since their parents died in an automobile accident, 3 years ago. So she's essentially become a teen mom (minus the pregnancy).
  • You're Under Arrest!: Ken Nakajima's stepmother Sena, who is younger than her stepson. Played for Laughs when Miyuki and Natsumi at first think she is Ken's biological mother and try to figure out how it happened. A major plot point involves Sena trying to get Ken to acknowledge her as his mom.

    Comedy 
  • Jeff Foxworthy jokes about his father getting remarried to a woman young enough that Jeff has to take her to school the next day.
    "Look both ways, Mom!"

    Comic Books 
  • In the Age of Apocalypse, Rogue married Magneto and became stepmother to his sole surviving child Quicksilver, despite being younger than him.
  • Batman:
    • The relative ages of Batman and his Robins changes depending on the continuity, but in several versions Bruce Wayne was in his early twenties when he adopted a 10- to 12-year-old Dick Grayson, putting their ages only roughly a decade apart. Dick is likely closer in age to Bruce than to his youngest adopted brother, Damien Wayne.
    • Robin (1993): Tim Drake's stepmom Dana is young enough to be his older sister, though there would be a significant age gap, and looks younger than her actual age. She is near Dick Grayson's age, and he would eventually become Tim's older brother through adoption.
  • X-Men: In X-Men (2013), Jubilee finds and adopts an abandoned baby she names Shogo. This despite only being 17, and thanks to being turned into a vampire she'll be the same age even as her kid grows up. This eventually becomes a non-issue when she is turned back into a human.

    Fan Works 
  • In Harry Potter fanfic If Them's the Rules, 18-year-old Harry adopts the 8-year-old Tom Riddle.
  • There's a Touhou Project 4koma in a near-mundane setting in which Suwako and Sanae, who already have this kind of relationship in canon, are classmates of the 11-year-old Letty and 17-year-old Yuuka respectively (Usual warnings about Danbooru and NSFW ads apply). They are still mother and daughter, in that order, which has been commented on being a special case. It has been theorized that Suwako merely looks young... and also has the mentality of a child and still attends elementary school. It has eventually been shown that they both look their age and aren't related in blood, which does raise the question of what in her name Kanako was doing at a children's festival with a bag of sweets and a marriage contract.
  • Child of the Storm has Jane Foster is in her late twenties when Harry is thirteen. This contributes to the initial awkwardness between the two, along with the Parent with New Paramour thing, even if Lily is long dead (and gently firm on the 'til death do us part bit, even if she's Not Quite Dead)), with Jane lampshading the relatively small age difference and noting that she doesn't think she's ready for kids yet, let alone a teenager. Over time, though, Harry becomes a Shipper on Deck for Thor/Jane and has a ready-made maternal substitute in his godmother Wanda, so Jane — who treats him more like her foster brother, who's maybe five years older than Harry (who sees her as a sort of Cool Aunt) — doesn't have to take that role.
  • Stars From Home initially has Charles, who is around 30, remarking that he actually could be Scott's father... until they realize apparently-15-year-old Scott is actually 25.
  • More than My Friend: After Mac loses his mom and brother to a car accident, Frankie becomes his official guardian.
  • Subverted at the end of White Devil of the Moon. Lindy adopts Alicia, who was born the same year as her but spent close to 30 years in medical stasis (and thus didn't age past 5).
  • In The Outside, Promotion to Parent aside, Satsuki is about 10 years older than Ryuuko and is very much on the same emotional level (if not a tad older) as she is. However, since she was about 13, she tries to fulfill a parental role for her sister but fails, as she doesn't have to many skills to care for herself, let alone her little sister, properly.
  • One More Time, One More Chance: In a Promotion to Parent situation (they have no living parents/other relatives), Satsuki takes custody of Ryuuko, though she is about 5 years older.
  • Stone Streak has married couple Juleka and Marinette (who are around 25 years old) adopting 13-years-old Adrien after his father's death.
  • If Wishes Were Ponies: After a nine-year-old (almost ten) Harry Potter ends up in Ponyville and turns into a unicorn colt, he's taken in by Twilight Sparkle, who becomes his adoptive mother (despite being less than a decade older than him). Every time they are shown together, it's clear to the reader (and everyone else) that he loves and respects her more than anyone else. This technically applies to the Mane 6 as well; they are all around Twilight's age, but (due to the amount of time they spend with Twilight) they all take a bit of a role in Harry's upbringing.
  • Past Sins: Twilight Sparkle adopts Nyx, who — if her similarity in biological and mental development compared to the Cutie Mark Crusaders are anything to go by — is equivalent to being a nine-years-old human or a four-years-old horse. If anything, Twilight is the equivalent of someone in her late teens or very early twenties by human standards (eight- or nine-years-old by horse standards).
  • In What Might Have Been, Amethyst has come to see Rose as something of a mother when it was explained to her what a "mom" was, even calling her "Mom" a few times.
  • This is basically the situation for Dadvid and Momwen in the Camp Camp fandom, what with David and Gwen both being in their mid-20s and Max and Nikki (the two most common adoption cases) both being 10 and other possibilities (like Harrison and Nurf) only being slightly older (if that) or slightly younger (in the case of Dolph).
  • Bequeathed from Pale Estates: Deconstructed, as Oberyn Martell feels rather uneasy about being forced to marry a girl who's younger than half of his daughters and barely old enough to be an elder sister to the other half.
  • In DiscordantPrincess' Hazbin Hotel fanfictions, OC Megan all but officially adopts the adorable Niffty; Niffty even calls her "Mama Megan," despite the fact that at 30, Megan is young enough to be Niffty's (22) older sister. The little cyclops even gets an upgrade to big sister after the birth of Megan and Alastor's twins.
  • We Are All Pokémon Trainers: Tagg is basically the closest thing Pef has to a father figure, but they first met when the former was around 19 and the latter was 14.
  • Glad Tidings pokes fun at how Ulder Ravenguard (a human in his fifties) is younger than his son-in-law Astarion (a vampire elf around two hundred years old). Ulder can attempt to provide Astarion with "unsolicited fatherly advice," to which Astarion points out that he's four times his age.

    Films — Animated 
  • Monsters University: Don, who has been the Older Sidekick to the rest of the Oozma Kappa frat boys, gets engaged to his frat brother Squishy's mother Sherri at the end of the movie. Everyone is weirded out (or it's at least made awkward by Don trying to make it not sound awkward) by the idea of their classmate and their other classmate's mother getting married while both classmates are still attending the same college and classes.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Bill & Ted:
  • Legally Blonde: Chutney and her stepmother, Brooke, are around the same age. This led to Chutney resenting/hating Brooke enough to want to kill her.
  • Star Wars: Downplayed in the Prequel Trilogy. After Qui-Gon's death, Obi-Wan becomes Anakin's master and parental surrogate. At the time, Obi-Wan is 25 and Anakin is 9, making for a sixteen year gap. Qui-Gon, in comparison, was 48. As a result, Anakin and Obi-Wan have something between a brotherly relationship and a father-son one (Anakin admits he does think of him as a father-figure, while Obi-Wan says he's like a brother), and they bicker like siblings as well.

    Literature 
  • In Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years, Adrian's mother falls for and marries her lodger, who is around the same age as Adrian. The guy eventually leaves her and runs off with Adrian's own girlfriend.
  • In the Flowers in the Attic series by VC Andrews, it's a significant plot point that Malcolm Foxworth fathered a child (Corrine) with his stepmother Alicia, who was sixteen when she married his father — a decade or more younger than Malcolm. He even states in front of his father that he cannot acknowledge a girl so much younger as his new "mother".
  • In The Hallowed Hunt, Ijada's father died, and her mother remarried. Then her mother died and her stepfather remarried. When Ijada explains this, Learned Hallana asks:
    Hallana: And she's ah, how many years older than you?
    Ijada: Three.
  • I'm In Love With the Villainess: Rei and Claire (both 17) end up adopting a pair of twin girls (who are 6).
  • The 25-year-old Kate Daniels becomes the legal guardian of 12-year-old Julie. At first, Kate refers to herself as a substitute mom, then as a crazy aunt, but she always refers to Julie as her kid.
  • In Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy stories, every story that Mary, Dowager Duchess of Cumberland is in also contains an explanation that she's a year younger than her stepson, the current Duke of Cumberland. She was his father's second wife, and it was a May–December Romance — she was in her 20s, he in his fifties when they married.
  • In The Orphan Train Adventures, at the end of the series, Johnny Mueller (age 20) and Frances Kelly (age 19) plan to get married and adopt Eddie Marsh (age 11).
  • At the end of the first Safehold book, Off Armageddon Reef, 10-year-old Hektor Aplyn becomes Hektor Aplyn-Ahrmahk, the adopted son of King, later Emperor, Cayleb, who is not even twenty yet. The adoption, and elevation to the rank of Duke of Darcos, are in of honor Cayleb's father, King Haarahld, who gave his life protecting Hektor, at the time mere midshipman on his flagship, in the Battle of Darcos Sound. Despite the small age gap, and the fact that his biological family is still alive and well, Hektor refers to Cayleb and his wife Sharleyan as "father" and "mother" when they're together. Hektor is generally shown early on to be far more overwhelemd by his new rank than his adopted parents.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Taken to an extreme example with Walder Frey, who keeps marrying women and bearing children despite being over 90 years by now. His current wife, Joyeuse Erenford, is 16 years old, while his eldest child, Stevron, is 65. Out of the twenty eight trueborn children Walder conceived before his marriage to Joyeuse, only six of them are younger than her.
    • Viserys I Targaryen's second wife, Alicent Hightower, was only 9 years older than Rhaenyra, Viserys' daughter with his first wife. Alicent's youngest son, Daeron, and Rhaenyra's eldest son, Jacaerys, were the same age, and were actually brought up together in the hopes that a showdown between the rivaling families could be averted (it didn't).
    • Samantha Tarly married Ormund Hightower when he already had a teenage son, Lyonel, who was only two years younger than her. After Ormund died, Samantha and Lyonel fell in love with and ultimately married each other.
  • Star Wars Legends: A not-uncommon practice for the Mandalorians. They take parenting very seriously (to the point where calling one an "unfit parent" is a shoot-to-kill insult), but blood ties? Not so much. An adult with no family ties (or willing to sever former ties) who is willing and able to live the code, fight under Mandalore's banner, and accept training from an established Mandalorian is as good a candidate for adoption as an orphaned tyke who can be raised in the life.
  • Togetherly Long: When Chiisai was a child living alone in the jungle, she found the orphaned Oukii as a baby and decided to take care of him.
  • The Twilight Saga is a cross between this and Supernaturally Young Parent: officially, Carlisle and Esme are a twenty-something married couple with teenage foster children. In reality, the whole family are vampires, all of whom are at least decades older than they seem — and in fact, Esme was actually born after her "son" Edward, despite biologically being about a decade older.
  • In the Under Suspicion (Series), Alex Buckley became his younger brother Andrew's legal guardian when he was twenty-one and Andrew was seventeen, after their parents both died within a few years of each other. As a result, the brothers are very close, with Andrew having a key to Alex's apartment and occasionally popping round to see him. Alex also empathizes with Laurie, who was left to raise her son by herself (albeit with help from her father) after her husband was murdered.
  • Paige of Women of the Otherworld adopted Savannah when Paige was 23 and Savannah was 13; the dynamics of this are explored when Paige narrates how she's young enough to remember pulling exactly the same crap Savannah's pulling, which gives her a certain edge in the inevitable parent-child negotiations. Then Paige marries Lucas Cortez, also in his mid-twenties, and Savannah has two parent figures less than a decade older than her.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 100: In the six years in between seasons 4 and 5, Clarke, left behind on Earth following an apocalypse, finds a lone survivor in the form a 6-7 year old Grounder child. Clarke is in her late teens at the time, and adopts the child as her own. The age difference could have made this work as a Cool Big Sis dynamic, but since Clarke was Madi's sole caregiver for over half her life, Clarke thinks of and refers to Madi as her daughter and their interactions come off as parent/child, not siblings. And since the show runs on the concept of Family of Choice, no one questions this, not even Clarke's own mother when they're reunited.
  • In Defiance, Nolan doesn't look much older than his adopted Irathient daughter, Irisa. Their respective actors are about 10 years apart in age.
  • Dynasty (2017) opens with Blake Carrington marrying his Sexy Secretary, Cristal Flores, making her a young stepmother to his adult children, Steven and Fallon (Steven's actor is actually the same age as Cristal's). After she dies, Blake marries her Suspiciously Similar Substitute, Cristal Jennings, who is just as young.
  • In the Brazilian telenovela Força de um Desejo the protagonist is just a couple of years older than her stepsons. Slave girl Luzia jokes that she's young enough to be Inácio's wife instead of his stepmother, which is an Accidental Truth as she was supposed to marry Inácio before tragedy hit them. Towards her other stepson Abelardo she settles more on a Cool Big Sis role.
  • In Hollyoaks, Patrick Blake's girlfriend/later wife Maxine is the same age as his daughter Sienna. This leads to awkwardness when hospital staff don't believe Maxine is the step-grandmother of Sienna's own daughter.
  • House of the Dragon: After the death of his first wife, King Viserys marries Alicent Hightower, who is the same age as his daughter, Rhaenyra, and is also her best friend. While Alicent initially acts as a Good Stepmother to Rhaenyra, various incidents eventually lead the two friends to become estranged.
  • At the beginning of Just Shoot Me!, Jack's current wife went to high school with his daughter, Maya.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • In Kamen Rider Ghost, protagonist Takeru is the heir to a Buddhist temple, whose head monk Onari became Takeru's caretaker when Takeru's father died ten years previously. At that time, Takeru would have been 8-years-old and Onari 16, so this trope applies.
    • In Kamen Rider Gotchard, Kyoka adopted Spanner when he was 14 and she 24.
  • In Mad Men Roger Sterling leaves his wife for a girl barely older than his daughter, which creeps said daughter endlessly, and her stepmother's attempt to clumsily play the Cool Big Sis card (lavishing gifts on her and trying to give her advice on men) make it even worse. Bert Cooper refers to the second Mrs. Sterling as Roger's "child bride".
  • The Mandalorian combines this with Interspecies Adoption: the title character is looking after a baby alien, and as the Season 1 finale notes, is considered his foster father by Mandalorian culture. The thing is, his ward is a 50-year-old toddler from a species that lives for centuries, while he, a human, is probablynote  in his early-to-mid-thirties.
  • Modern Family:
    • Claire and Mitchell's stepmother Gloria is roughly the same age as them — it's stated at one point that Gloria is in fact a few months younger than Claire, and less than two years older than Mitchell. (In fact, Sofia Vergara, who plays Gloria, is two years younger than Julie Bowen, who plays Claire, and just over three years older than Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who plays Mitchell.)
    • It's also been remarked on the show that Gloria's son Manny is technically a step-brother to Claire and Mitchell, even though he's the same age as Luke, his "nephew". Both Luke and Hayley have gotten around certain age limits by telling people "my uncle will be chaperoning" without mentioning which uncle. This usually backfires because Manny is actually a pretty good chaperone.
  • Super Sentai:
    • After serving as the fake 18th head of the Shiba household, Samurai Sentai Shinkenger's Takeru is adopted into the family to become the actual 19th head in the finale. It's stated that the 17th head, Kaoru's father, died 17 years before, making the new adoptive mother 16- to 17-years-old and younger than her son who, from his age in flashbacks, appears to be 6-8 years older than her.
    • Ryouga in Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger is 21 with parental responsibility for his orphaned 6-year-old niece.
    • In Gosei Sentai Dairanger, 18-year-old Rin takes on the role of parent for 9-year-old Kou after the death of his mother. Played with in the show's Distant Finale which implies that they got married in the future.
  • In The Tudors, Princess Mary is actually older than her fourth stepmother Katherine Howard. In Real Life, she was just a couple of years younger than her fifth stepmother Katherine Parr.
  • Kendall Casablancas of Veronica Mars, the gold-digging Trophy Wife of real estate mogul Dick Casablancas, has stepsons 7 and 9 years younger than she. She also sleeps with one of her stepsons' friends. And her oldest stepson, after his dad's large-scale fraud is exposed and is forced to flee the country, brings Kendall a bag full of new lingerie while telling her that she'll have to earn her upkeep "some other way" (though he could have been joking).
  • In Zoo, Mitch's former stepmother Allison is about his age. He also holds a lot of resentment for her. It's later revealed that she used to be his girlfriend until his father seduced and married her. She later divorced him, when it became clear that monogamy is not his thing.

    Music 
  • This was the subject of the song "His Own Grandpa", a hit for Guy Lombardo in 1948.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Arlo And Janis: Mary Lou got pregnant and had Meg when she was fourteen. She later married Gene, who is two years younger than she is, making him just twelve years older than Meg.
  • Dick Tracy adopted Junior when Dick was about twenty and Junior was about nine. Consequently, Junior is now a grown man with his own children, and Dick gets to be a grandpa while still only in his forties.

    Theater 
  • In A Little Night Music, Anne is eighteen and her stepson Henrik is nineteen and madly in love with her. They run away together.
  • As with the movie (see above), Legally Blonde has Chutney and Brooke.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Trucy's dad Phoenix "Nick" Wright is 33, while she is 15. Protagonist Apollo does the math and is mind boggled by the implications of this fairly small age gap. However, it later turns out that Trucy was adopted by Phoenix (Of course, long-time players of the series could guess that already long before that point, since Trucy was never mentioned before the seven-year Time Skip between the end of the Phoenix trilogy and Apollo Justice). This becomes somewhat Hilarious in Hindsight when you calculate the age difference between Apollo and his biological mother and learn that it is exactly the same as the age gap between Phoenix and Trucy.
    • Ace Attorney Investigations 2 introduces another one, with Hakari Mikigami (Justine Courtney in the fan translation), age 26, and her adoptive son Shimon Aizawa (John Marsh), age 13. His biological mother and his adoptive mother were cousins. While the small age gap will clue the player in that he's probably adopted, the fact of importance to the plot is the name of his real father.
  • In BitLife, it’s possible to adopt children once you reach twenty-one (as long as you have a job and a residence), and as children up for adoption can be any age under eighteen, it’s quite possible to end up with an adoptive child just several years your junior.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, during the World of Ruin, Terra Branford, who is 18 at the start of the game, ends up 'adopting' the orphaned children of a village where all the adults had died after the sundering of the world. When she rejoins the party, the two surviving teenagers Duane and Katerine, who are both last known to be sixteen in the World of Balance, help her take over caring for the children.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV Minfilia's adoptive mother was only 22 when she adopted the 12 year old Minfilia. Hence why when the now 37 year old F'lhaminn does turn up in A Realm Reborn thanks to the games Generic Cuteness art style for humanoid women especially she looks roughly the same age as the 27 year old Minfillia.
  • If the female protagonist of Harvest Moon: Light of Hope marries Gorgan, she becomes the step-mother of Nova. Nova is not only the same age as the protagonist, but she can be married by the male protagonist.
  • Galaxy Angel II: Vanilla H, one of the heroines of the Galaxy Angel trilogy, becomes this to Nano-Nano Pudding, a living nanomachine colony, when the former's only 15-16 years old. Played with since, while Nano-Nano looks like a pre-teen girl, she'd been in stasis for several centuries prior to the Chrono Quake, and Vanilla awakened her about two years prior to the start of the second trilogy.
  • A Little Lily Princess discusses this as a possibility. Sara and her younger friend Lottie, who both have a death-induced Missing Mom, are in an arrangement where Sara is informally Lottie's mother. In one of Lottie's events, Sara marrying Lottie's father after graduating so the two of them can stay together and Sara can become Lottie's mother in a more official way is considered. When Sara says she doesn't want to marry, Lottie offers to marry Sara's father. Both options are ultimately dismissed.
  • In Long Live the Queen:
    • Bennett, the Earl-Consort of Dis, is only thirteen years older than his stepdaughter Gwenelle. He's been married to her mother Lieke since Gwenelle was a baby and she considers him her father.
    • If Elodie plays her cards right, she can end up married to Ignatius, the older brother of the Duchess of Ursul. Elodie is 14-years-old, 24 years younger than the 38-year-old Ignatius, and a year younger than her own stepdaughter Briony (who is appropriately mortified).
  • In Princess Maker 2, you can be a very young man when you adopt your daughter (in fact, you can adopt her at 11, and she starts at 10...).
  • Both played straight and subverted in the van der Linde gang from Red Dead Redemption and its Prequel Red Dead Redemption 2. Dutch van der Linde who was a Parental Substitute to John Marston, the Player Character, is about eighteen years older than John whom he took in at twelve. However, in the latter that takes place twelve years earlier, he's also a father figure to its protagonist Arthur, who is only about eight years older than him whom he "adopted" when he was 14. However II introduces a co-leader/"co-parent" to John and Arthur with Dutch whose name is Hosea. He's about eleven years older than Dutch which makes him thirty years older than John and twenty years older than Arthur (which isn't as common today but isn't that far off base in the 1890s). Hosea is also the person who's their actual Parental Substitute, Arthur even calls him his "pa" and says he loves him more than Dutch.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, 12-year-old Genis's sister, sole caretaker and mother figure is Raine, age 23. She's been raising him since infancy, making her roughly 11 or 12 when she had to start taking care of him because their mother abandoned them. It's implied in a Z-Skit that she's been a school teacher in Iselia for around six years, but it isn't clear what she did to support them before that.
  • Twisted Wonderland: Lilia has three foster sons Malleus, Silver and Sebek, but doesn't look or act much older than them and goes to high school with them.
  • The Walking Dead: Season Two: Clementine (11) becomes one to AJ (a newborn) after his parents die. Season 4 introduces a boarding school that was left by adults right at the start of the Zombie Apocalypse, leaving kids to fend for themselves. Many of the older members (about 16-18 now) can be considered this to the younger kids (8-10 now).
  • In The Walking Dead: Season Four Clementine, 16, is taking care of AJ, 6. The justification is that this is a zombie apocalypse, and Clementine is the only survivor of the group AJ's parents were members of, and she's been taking care of him since she was 11 and he was a newborn. The setting of this particular season is a boarding school for troubled youth with only kids and teens living there. You can make an argument that older members of this community (who are 17-18) were peer parents to younger kids (age unclear, but likely about 12).
  • After the destruction of Raccoon City and the death of her parents, Sherry Birkin (12) is somewhat adopted by Leon Kennedy (21) and Claire Redfield (18) at the end of Resident Evil 2. The 2019 remake even has her bring up the idea that the two should adopt her. Files from Resident Evil 6 reveals that the two of them become her emotional support during the years after Raccoon City due to Sherry's legal guardian, Derek Simmons, keeping her locked up until Albert Wesker's death 11 years later.

    Web Animation 
  • Kitty in No Evil. She's taken on a de facto parental role to Corn, Calamity, Huey and Ichabod, going a little beyond Team Mom. The youngest of them came along when she was nine, and by Word of God, Huey is her age, and Ichabod is older than she is.
  • It's common for a Virtual Youtuber to call their character designer "papa" or "mama", even if the designer's own avatar looks roughly the same age as their "children". Some of these pairs play up the parent-child aspect for laughs.

    Webcomics 
  • In Angel Down, Samuel (who is in his early 20's) is the adoptive father of Chloe, who is 19.
  • Following the events of Chapter 50 of Drowtales, Ariel and Faen, who are the physical equivalent of mid to late teenagersnote , take over custody of Ariel's two youngest siblings, a toddler boy who's just learning to speak and an infant girl.
  • In Everyday Heroes, Thump Sharpley mentions that his mom is a year younger than he is. As his dad explains, Thump's biological mother died in childbirth; Dad later remarried a much younger woman.
  • In Homestuck, Dave's much older brother is revealed to be his genetic father, through cloning shenanigans. The author indicated that Bro is 28-years-old, so he had to have been about 15 when he adopted Dave. The same likely goes for Rose's mom, who is also quite youthful. Strangely, though the published version refers to Bro as "30-something". It may just be another case of Andrew Hussie being... well, Andrew Hussie.
  • In Rain (2010), Heather (22) is the guardian for her younger sibling Ky (16), due to their parents being terribly abusive/neglectful. (Rain's being raised by a relative as well, but in her case her aunt/guardian isn't too far off from her parents' age.)
  • Something*Positive: Kharisma's father married one of her friends of the same age as her.

    Web Original 
  • Played With in that the children she cares for are her cousins and little sister but Bunny is in early to mid-twenties. Though she hasn't given birth to any children to speak of, but she is a bit young for motherhood. It is stated here that she didn't even finish college when Madgie came to live with her and is studying online so she can do so as to better provide for her youngest cousins. It was noted that, at some point, when Madgie was nine and she was twenty, she was mistaken for being Madgie's mother.
  • Joked about on Blank Check with Griffin and David's episode on the 2000 Shaft: Griffin mentions that in the 2019 Shaft reboot, Richard Roundtree's Shaft is retconned from being the uncle of Samuel L. Jackson's Shaft into his father, despite there being just a six-year age difference between the two. Demi suggests that the elder Shaft could've adopted an 18-year-old at 24.
    David (as Shaft I): Your name's John Shaft Two!
    Demi (as Shaft II): I had a name! I've had a name for several...Ok!
    Griffin: No, no, you didn't have a name and you didn't have a game, and now both are Shaft!

    Western Animation 
  • Daria:
    • Brittany's stepmother Ashley-Amber is about 10 years older than Brittany herself. Daria initially thought they were sisters.
      Jane: How is it that she looks and acts exactly the same age as her own stepdaughter?
    • Mr. DeMartino once (bitterly) mentioned his ex-friend marrying his mom, which presumably put this trope into effect.
  • Jerrica from Jem is implied to be in her early-to-mid twenties yet a few of her foster daughters are in their mid-teens. Jerrica's father was their original foster parent, but Jerrica took over after his death. This is Truth in Television as Americans can foster at age twenty-one.
  • King of the Hill has Hank's stepmother Didi, who was his classmate in kindergarten.
  • Twilight and Spike's relationship varies Depending on the Writer in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, but Twilight is often treated as Spike's maternal substitute as she hatched and reared him. Their ages are vague but Spike is treated as a preteen while Twilight is implied to be in her late teens or early twenties.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars included an episode involving a clone deserter with young children. He's no older than 13 at this point while his children are about 5-6, but he's been fast-grown so physically he's in his mid-twenties, and the children are his step-children.
  • Star Wars Rebels: Kanan becomes Ezra's master after the latter commits to being a Jedi. The show clearly implies that Kanan is a father figure for Ezra, even though Kanan was a young teenager when Ezra was born. Technically applies to Hera as well; she's around Kanan's age, yet acts as a mother figure for Sabine (who spends most of the series separated from her family and clan) and Ezra.

    Real Life 
  • Too many to even start listing them. Let's just say that the above Bill and Ted example is not even remotely far-fetched.
  • Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I used language like this in their diplomatic correspondence. Even though Elizabeth was only nine years older than Mary (and they were cousins to boot), Mary wanted Elizabeth to name her heir presumptive to the English throne and Elizabeth wanted Mary not to make any alliances with her enemies, so they made a big deal of being happy to love each other as mother and daughter... if each agreed to the others' terms.
  • Henry VIII's marriages meant that Mary Tudor got this five times. The oldest of her stepmothers, Anne Boleyn, was about fourteen years older than her; the youngest, Catherine Howard, was several years younger.
  • During Japan's feudal days, if a lord didn't have an heir he would often adopt a grown man to succeed him. For example, Uesugi Kenshin had adopted two sons, one his nephew (Uesugi Kagekatsu, son of Kenshin's older sister Aya) and another the seventh son of a neighboring lord (Uesugi Kagetora, born Hojo Saburo), who eventually fought each other for the right to lead the Uesugi Clan.
  • Robert Johnson was a friend and mentor to Robert Lockwood. Lockwood was four years younger than Johnson and was the son of Johnson's girlfriend, who was more than a decade older than Johnson.
  • Before same-sex relationships gained legal recognition, it was not unheard of for one partner to formally adopt the other as an alternative method to legally identify each other as next of kin for purposes of taxation and keeping disapproving relatives under control. When a jurisdiction legalizes same-sex marriage, there are occasional stories of such couples trying to undo the "adoption" so they could get the marriage they wanted all along. This is still quite normal in Japan where same-sex marriages aren't legal.
  • While The Prophet Muhammad's first wife, Khadijah, was 15 years his senior, most of his later wives were far younger — sometimes as young as or even younger than his four daughters by Khadijah. Out of his twelve later wives, the only one who was indisputably old enough to be a mother to the four was Sawdah bint Zam'ah, who was his age (and already had children from her previous marriage). The youngest of them, Aisha bint Abu Bakr, was eight years younger than Fatima, Muhammad's eldest daughter.


Alternative Title(s): Peer Stepparent

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