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Parental Neglect

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"Mommy just wants to have a little fun, and all you can think about are your empty little stomachs!"
Peggy Bundy, Married... with Children

In fiction, we have parents who are nice and kindly to their kids. Then we have those who are downright bastards to the kids. Sometimes, they're not there at all. Or they have no clue what their little ones are up to. Other times they try to be there but it doesn't always work. And, finally, we have the parents who are there, but for the most part, don't seem at all interested in their child.

Parental Neglect happens when the parents are shown not to pay a lot, if any, attention or care to their children for some reason. Maybe they're just busy with work. Maybe they and their children aren't particularly emotionally close, or perhaps they're just obsessed with their own attempts to save the world. Nevertheless, for some reason, their children are not the highest on their agenda.

This can be set up for a Freudian Excuse. Also an excuse for kids who go off to Save the World not to worry too much about their parents, seeing as they don't give two cents about what they're doing anyway. It should be noted that neglect is in no way a less extreme form of abuse than the forms on the Abusive Parents page; extreme neglect in the care of infants has been known to put dampers on mental and cognitive development, and in children, it can induce severe psychological damage.

In regards to the parents themselves, Parental Neglect does not necessarily mean they are terrible or unpleasant people, they may in fact just fall into the category of Parents as People.

Obviously can be Truth in Television, though it's usually not as extreme as fiction portrays it.

A Super-Trope to When You Coming Home, Dad? and Daddy Didn't Show.

Compare and contrast with Abusive Parents, Adults Are Useless, Parents as People, and Parental Abandonment. Can oveap with Lethal Negligence if a parent's laziness ends up getting their kid harmed or killed.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Present to varying degrees in Accel World — Haruyuki's mother has barely any contact with him apart from giving him his lunch money every day, while Kuroyukihime is estranged from her parents after threatening her sister with a knife and implies that their relation wasn't exactly close before that. Kuroyukihime cynically notes that the Neurolinkers that children wear from a young age (which is a prerequisite for Brain Burst) serve to enable this sort of hands-off parenting.
  • Bleach: Yukio felt neglected by his parents because he was a silent child, locked in his own fantasies. His parents were deeply disappointed that he wasn't the child they'd imagined having. In revenge, he decided to drive his parents to suicide. He acts proud of this achievement and that he loved doing what he did, but when Hitsugaya digs a little deeper, Yukio's battered psyche explodes in anger and pain.
  • In A Centaur's Life, Manami's father divides his time between his (part-time) work, his painting, and his children, thus often forcing Manami to look after her younger siblings. Manami politely but firmly tells her father to choose between painting and his job/family, since he can only devote himself to two of those things.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, GT, and Super, Goku is usually away from his family because he's either dead or off training. On the upside, Goku has a very loving and respectful relationship with his own sons and granddaughter, despite missing something like (by GT) fifteen years of Gohan's life, thirteen of Goten's, and six of Pan's, due to training or being dead. Gohan himself doesn't seem too disturbed by his daughter going off into space, either, although he and his wife Videl are seen worrying about her when she's getting into fights.
  • Durarara!!: implied to be how Izaya was raised. According to a journal entry by Izaya's father, despite caring for him very much, Izaya's parents were overseas most of the time. As a result, they know very little about their son and appear to be unaware of the majority of the fights he was in post-high school. Also, as his parents weren't around, Izaya was left in charge of his sisters' upbringing. Yes. Those sisters.
  • Riza Hawkeye's father of Fullmetal Alchemist appears to have been so absorbed in his alchemy research he disregarded the well-being of his daughter and the state of his home. Hawkeye said that her father "at least" made sure she got an education. As well, her father's tattooing of a massive alchemical array on her back could only be described as physical abuse.
  • Gauron from Full Metal Panic! certainly qualifies in relation to the twins Yu Fang and Yu Lan. Not surprising, considering his personality. He cares little for their physical or mental well-being and is shown to mainly care about using them for his plans. There are hints and implications that his relationship with them also might not strictly have been a pure, father-daughter kind. He also didn't seem to care that, by having them work in Amalgam, they were being raped and beaten by Gates (which was apparently happening to them ever since they were young children). Despite all this, they still obsessively love him.
  • Full Moon has this as Izumi's background from his life as a human. His father died when he was a small child and his mother was constantly bringing men home, even being physically abusive towards Izumi or Leo, as his name back then, which eventually ended in Izumi, as a child, committing suicide by stepping in front of a train. Goes more into the Parents as People category, as it's later shown that the mother was mostly stricken with grief and overall realized herself that she just couldn't be a good mother to Leo... to the point that she thinks she has no "right" to stop him from committing suicide and asking for his forgiveness for failing as a mother.
  • Future Diary:
    • While Yukiteru's mother Rea maintains a close relationship with Yukiteru, she is rarely at home because of her work as a video game programmer and approves of Yuno as a potential bride for Yukiteru, even remaining oblivious to Yuno's psychotic and dangerous behavior. Really, when your son is on the run from the law, then disappears for a week after being exonerated and comes back incredibly nervous, you should be at least a little concerned.
    • Also, his father Kurou. Initially, he appears in chapter 30 claiming to just want to check on his son, but it turns out that he has only returned to destroy Yukiteru's diary in order to fulfill a deal with the Eleventh. Despite his only clear desire being to free himself from his debts, he does try to save Yukki when the latter almost falls to his death but takes the parachute away from Yukki before the tower crumbles soon after. He then stabs Rea when she tries to take him to the police and escapes, though is stabbed to death himself two chapters later by the Eleventh's men, just when he'd realised the error of his ways and was trying to atone. Ouch.
    • And then we learn that Yuno's father wasn't so different. He was a huge Workaholic to the point that he failed to notice how his wife had become abusive towards their child.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka:
    • Urumi's mom is focused on her job trading stocks, to the point that she didn't notice when her daughter tried to kill herself until after Onizuka burst in looking for her, and then her first concern was to get him to leave rather than worry about Urumi.
    • It takes Onizuka staging a Faked Kidnapping of Miyabi and holding a knife to her throat to get her parents to care.
  • Out of the girls in Gunslinger Girl, Jean's charge Rico, was a victim of this. Her parents simply abandoned her in a hospital due to her very weak health and she languished away there until the Agency took her in.
  • Giorno Giovanna from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind had an extremely bad childhood. First of all, his biological father, a hundred-year-old British vampire, didn't even know he existed after having a one-night stand with his mother, and the only reason Giorno even knows he exists is due to a single photo. His biological mother was an extremely neglectful parent who left her extremely young son alone in the house to party, and later married a man who seemed nice at first but turned out to be an extremely physically abusive stepfather for Giorno, along with being a drunkard. In short, Giorno somehow managed to have Parental Abandonment, Parental Neglect, AND Abusive Parents at the same time. Is it any wonder, then, that he looks up to a gangster just for treating him with basic decency?
  • Hayate of Hayate the Combat Butler has incredibly neglectful parents—they spend all their money on gambling and steal from Hayate to fund their habits, eventually selling his organs to some "very nice people" to pay off their debts. They also stole a ring from him when he was a child given to him by his girlfriend/mentor Athena as a symbol of her love for him. He desperately wanted to trust and love them, but Athena argued that there was no good reason for him to do so, and she eventually dumped Hayate when she found out that his parents sold the ring at a pawn shop.
  • Honey Hunt has the protagonist's (Yura) famous celebrity parents Yukari and Takayuki. For one thing, Yura is judged a disappointment by others because she is continuously compared to her celebrity parents and she is used to people trying to get close to her for the sole purpose of getting to possibly meet Yukari and Takayuki. For another thing, Yukari is hardly at home and is very selfish. In all of her interviews, she lies and says that she and Yura are close and spend much time together as a result of Takayuki being abroad so often when in reality, she is a cold and distant parent. Also, immediately after showing up after being away from home for about half a month, Yukari coldly announces that she and Yura's father are getting divorced before telling Yura that she can go wherever she wants. Also, while Takayuki was having an affair she was having one of her own with Yura's neighbor and crush, Shinsuke. When Yura finds out about the affair Yukari's response is to smile, declare that Shinsuke likes her more than Yura, that she's going to allow Shinsuke to live with her in a mansion she had bought, and that Takayuki had a baby with his mistress so neither he nor Yukari will have time to look after Yura anymore. She then demands that Yura leave the house. It's eventually revealed that she and her husband were only together for the sake of their careers and their images, they didn't love each other. The two of them even agreed on a rule with each other that they would stay married as long as they hid their own adulterous affairs. After she decided to divorce Takayuki because the press found out about his affair, however, it is shown that she has no intentions of taking care of Yura and merely cared about repairing her image in the eyes of the public because they had originally thought she was the "ideal mom". Seriously, poor kid.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
    • Kaguya is a Lonely Rich Kid and is forced to live in a Big Fancy House separate from the rest of her family with only servants to look after her. She says that her father never showed her any form of affection and she believes that he wouldn't even care if she died. He neglected to even give her The Talk, and as a result, she didn't learn about sex until she was 16.
    • Shirogane's mother was an Education Mama who walked out on the family almost a decade ago, temporarily taking his sister with her and leaving him behind because of his poor grades.
  • In Kotoura-san, there's Haruka's father. His daughter is having serious social issues at school caused by her telepathy, and his wife Kumiko is frantically trying to find a cause to no avail since she doesn't know about Haruka's Psychic Powers. His response? Relegate it as "woman's work" and start rarely coming home. No wonder Kumiko eventually snaps.
  • Yuna of Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear is a 15-year-old shut-in and Teen Genius who makes millions off the stock market. She lives alone in a fancy high-rise apartment, playing her favorite VRMMO all day and getting food by delivery. Her parents are only mentioned in one scene when she wires them money so they can continue their traveling abroad before she promptly forgets about them. The only family member who shows any concern is Yuna's grandfather who signed the deed, but even then we only hear about him from Yuna's side of a phone call.
  • Precia Testarossa started off this way in the backstory of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, leaving her Familiar Linith to raise Fate while she spent all her time researching how to bring Alicia back to life. Then Linith died, and things got significantly worse.
  • Meiko Akizuki's parents in Marmalade Boy only seem to care about themselves and their marital problems/economic deals, fighting all the time when they're at home while almost completely ignoring Meiko's own needs, only showing some concern when it's obvious it will affect their reputation (like their Parental Marriage Veto in the anime. For worse, they simply can't get divorced because if they do, the Akizuki wealth will be divided and most likely lost. On top of it, Mrs. Akizuki is a Lady Drunk who is seen drowning her sorrows on screen while bitching out her much-hated husband.
  • Dr. Gennosuke Yumi from Mazinger Z. While it's true that he has a huge workload based on being the Team Dad of the Photoatomic Institute and helping Kouji with his fight against Dr. Hell, it doesn't fully justify how many times he neglects his teenage daughter, Sayaka.
  • Maria no Danzai: Taiichiro is this towards his son Kiritaka. He’s a police inspector but prioritizes his job more than spending time with his family. On the night of his son’s 14th birthday, he gets a call from his wife, Mari, as she’s concerned over their son’s wellbeing at school and fears he’s hiding something. He dismisses her worries as being overprotective, while firmly believing since Kiritaka is now a middle schooler, it’s normal for him to want privacy. Taiichiro promptly hangs up on Mari just so he can get back to work. Little did he realize, Kiritaka has been viciously targeted by a Gang of Bullies. Only a few hours later, the bullies blackmail Kiritaka into jumping off a cliff, leading to his death. Taiichiro comes to regret how he’s treated Kiritaka, especially after finding his suicidal notes; except that’s not quite the case...
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid:
    • Kanna's parents took a very hands-off approach to raising her, under the logic of "dragons grow stronger by themselves". As a result, she started pulling pranks to get attention, which got her exiled to Earth. This is why she clings to Kobayashi as a Parental Substitute.
    • Fafnir explains in one chapter that this is actually a case of Deliberate Values Dissonance. Dragons lack a concept of emotional maturity or parent/child bonds, and those that express an understanding of it (like Tohru's father or Ilulu's dead parents) are merely imitating humans.
  • My Hero Academia: Enji Todoroki, the pro hero Endeavor, does this. He pretty much abandoned Shoto's older siblings since they lacked the potential to surpass All Might in his eyes. Flashbacks in Chapter 39 show that this actually worked out in their favor since they were spared the abusive training that Shoto was forced to endure. This did not stop Natsuo from hating him even more than Shoto does, to Shoto's surprise.
  • Naruto:
    • Gaara was horribly neglected by his father who ordered him killed on several occasions. This left Gaara to be raised by his uncle Yashamaru, who initially respected him… but Yashamaru ultimately ends up betraying him and being killed by Gaara, leaving the latter to trust no one. Though it's later revealed that Yashamaru did care—but was ordered to act that way towards Gaara under the orders of his father. Naturally, when Gaara finds out from his Edo-Tensei-revived!dad, he promptly goes "Calling the Old Man Out" mode.
    • Considering it's heavily implied he didn't see his own orphaned godson for the first 13 years of his life, Jiraiya certainly appears neglectful to the point of being abusive. He gets (somewhat) better after their initial meeting, though, if you call spending his godson's life savings on booze and hookers an improvement. But… supplementary materials reveal Jiraiya's reason for not being with Naruto when he was growing up: He was keeping Minato's old enemies in check, tracking down Orochimaru, and tracking Akatsuki. He was keeping all threats from outside the village from getting to Naruto. It doesn't stop fans from resenting him, anyways, not helped by the fact that Jiraiya is fairly wealthy and could easily have hired tutors and caretakers to raise him, and no reason is given why he didn't even arrange for a proper foster family to care for his godson.
    • Naruto himself is unintentionally running headlong into this territory in Naruto Gaiden, with his job as Hokage preventing him from spending as much time as he'd like with his children, especially his son, Boruto, who acts out in the same way Naruto did when he was young. It doesn't help that he seems to think being Hokage means taking on every burden himself and the villagers are indulging him, possibly to make up for mistreating him as a child.
    • Sasuke is even worse. According to his daughter in Naruto Gaiden, she has never seen him even once because he's been away on a mission since she was a toddler. When they met, he didn't recognize her and almost gouged her eyes out. Sasuke later tries to make up for lost time in Boruto.
    • Hiashi Hyuga was the first example shown in the series. Cold and distant to his firstborn, rather than provide her with needed emotional support and stability, he basically discarded Hinata by sending her to the Ninja Academy, using wording along the lines of "The Hyuga Clan doesn't need someone like her"... while she was listening. While he did wise up after Neji beat Naruto publicly and the clan's dirty laundry with the Cage Bird Seal was aired to everyone, before getting to that point, he had also been indirectly responsible for his nephew Neji nearly killing Hinata in the preliminary matches, by hiding his brother's letter to his son that explained why he sacrificed his life to save Hiashi for nine years because he couldn't deal with his own grief, which allowed the hatred of his nephew to fester until he took it all out on Hinata. And we are only told things got better in the clan. We have never been shown Hiashi apologizing to his daughter for nearly getting her killed because of his neglect. However, he did allow Hinata to participate in the Fourth Shinobi War and he did not stop her from helping him and Neji protect Naruto during the fight against Obito and Madara. So while he's not the monster often shown in fanfics, Hiashi could never be considered a good father figure at all.
  • Maya's father from Occult Academy spent so much time working on his school and studying the occult that he didn't have time for his family. He didn't even notice that his ex-wife had died until two years after the fact.
  • One Piece: This is why the main character Luffy and his older adoptive brother Ace turned out the way they did. They were put into the care of Luffy's biological grandfather Garp, but Garp, as a famous and very busy Marine, put virtually no effort into actually raising them himself and instead dumped the responsibility onto other people. Ace was raised by Dadan and her gang of mountain bandits, while Luffy is implied to have been raised by the people of Windmill Village up until Garp dragged him off to be raised by Dadan alongside Ace when he was seven. That would be bad enough on its own, but to make things worse, Garp put them in the care of Dadan with the ultimate goal of making them into Marines. Therefore, when the mountain bandits quite obviously failed to raise them into being law-abiding Marines their grandfather wanted them to be, whenever Garp showed up he tried to use Tough Love and made multiple attempts to beat the idea into their heads instead. That had the exact opposite effect of what he wanted, as it just made both brothers more determined to follow their dreams, if only just to get away from him.
  • Zai Vessalius from PandoraHearts was rarely around when Oz was a child and hardly paid any attention to him even when he was. Gil eventually confronted him about this, leading to Oz overhearing his father calling him disgusting and saying he should never have been born. As if that weren't enough, it is later revealed that Zai created a whole fake cover story in order to convince the Baskervilles to condemn Oz to the Abyss for the crime of existing. As it turns out, Oz isn't even Zai's son but rather the soul of the chain B-rabbit in the cursed body of Jack Vessalius. Jack caused Zai's first child to be stillborn in order to take its place, and this is the reason for Zai's utter loathing of both Jack and Oz.
  • The Pet Girl of Sakurasou: Drop-In Landlord/Sensei-chan Chihiro just dumps her cousin Mashiro on the co-tenant Sorata — which didn't sound so special, except Mashiro is an Idiot Savant and Chihiro knows Mashiro needs professional help 24/7.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • Tsubomi's parents in HeartCatch Pretty Cure! started out like this—they were always away on business and Tsubomi was always being watched over by her grandmother. Took Tsubomi a painful thirteen-fourteen years to break down and finally admit she was lonely. The rest of the series dual-wields this showing her parents willing to make up for all the lost time they had and Tsubomi trying to become a better person after years of accidental neglect.
    • And previously, in Yes! Pretty Cure 5, there's also Karen's parents, though less 'severe'. They're always traveling worldwide as they're famed musicians, and all they could give to Karen was only material stuff, her butler Sakamoto and occasional phone calls. Karen at least tried to be independent and appreciative of what was given, to not make them worry, but deep down, she's always lonely, only having Komachi as her best friend, until she met Nozomi and the others. Oh and she mentioned that her parents usually came back during Christmas for a while... but that turns out to be off-screen: They don't even appear in the respective Christmas Episodes of both seasons.
  • In The Prince of Tennis anime, Kevin Smith's father George is an emotionally scarred alcoholic who heavily neglected Kevin by subjecting him to Training from Hell and not caring if the child was around when he was drunk. Kevin openly tells his teammate Billy that his father is a worthless person and that's why he wants to beat Ryoma, to not be like his dad.
  • Psyren: Sakurako Amamiya's parents are very neglectful, having both basically abandoned her after splitting up and not batting an eye when she vanishes for weeks at a time.
  • Reborn! (2004):
    • Although Tsuna's mother Nana loves him, she definitely doesn't really care enough about his future or his self-esteem to count as a very good parent (including not doing anything about his truancy or poor grades, and constantly belittling him in front of his friends and the girl he likes as "No Good Tsuna"—honestly, he's only 14 years old). She eases up a little when the truth comes out, though that could also be argued. And then there's his father, who went missing for most of Tsuna's life, and only reappears suddenly to force Tsuna (without even asking Tsuna if he wants to first) into becoming a Mafia crimelord that will be targeted by countless assassins. (Though considering what kind of parent he can be…)
    • There's also Chrome's parents, who treated her like she didn't exist and then abandoned her to die after a car accident… with half her internal organs missing.
  • Rei's father in Sailor Moon, in the manga and the live-action adaptation. Takashi Hino not only is a very high-ranked member of a leading political party, but he's such a workaholic that he doesn't visit his dying wife Risa a single time when she's hospitalized. As a result, Rei refuses to live with him and moves with her maternal grandfather to the Hikawa shrine.
  • Lain's mother in Serial Experiments Lain acts very detached towards her and often looks at her with disdain. Her father isn't that much better but he does talk to her at least, and his behavior can be explained by him being a busy Salaryman. It turns out that they're not Lain's biological parents. Lain isn't even human. Lain's entire family was forced to treat her like their daughter, which explains their uninterested behavior towards her.
  • Subaru's parents have largely paid little attention to their daughter after their son Kazuma died. They knew for years that Subaru even performed (non-sexually) at a cabaret, they just never cared enough to talk to her about it. It wasn't until Subaru revealed that she isn't planning on going to high school, that her parents began to really interfere again. The sequel shows that her father seems to have absolutely no interest in his daughter anymore, now that he's remarried. Her mother follows Subaru's dancing via articles, though.
  • Johnny Bolt in Super Crooks (2021) was raised by a white trash single mother who was more interested in sleeping around than looking after her son, even openly blaming him for her difficulties in finding a partner. Johnny's life of crime was a direct result of his desire to skip town to get away from her.
  • Ataru Moroboshi of Urusei Yatsura, mostly because of Ataru's mother. In the first manga story, Mrs. Moroboshi said, "Ataru, you be sure to come home for the holidays!" and she always laments "I wish I never had him" throughout the manga and anime (sometimes in hearing range of Ataru). Atop that, there's the "omiai" scene in the movie Only You, where the Moroboshis force join with Lum's parents to force him to marry her officially… all so that Ataru's parents will get better lives for themselves on the Oni homeworld. Atop that, Mr. Moroboshi always hides himself behind the newspaper and pretends nothing is happening: when Mrs. Moroboshi tries to provoke him into being a responsible father, he normally replies with some form of off-the-wall comment that does nothing.
  • In Wild Rose, Mikhail's mother raised him without showing any emotion in order that his markings wouldn't show. While this control allows him to live a good life in society, it really psychologically screwed him over and he has no concept of what love even is. This leads to him neglecting Camille, his adopted son, in turn because he doesn't understand Camille's attachment to him or why he needs to reciprocate it.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Yugi's mother is hardly ever around during the series, as well as being oblivious to the true nature of the Millennium Puzzle or any other activity that her son engages in. Moreover, Word of God stated that the reason his father never shows up is that he's away on business (all the time, apparently). No wonder Yugi was a Shrinking Violet at the very beginning.
    • The Virtual World filler arc has Gozaburou Kaiba, who abandoned his real son Noa/Noah, who died in a car accident, after he transferred Noa's soul into a virtual world and realized that it was impossible for Noa to be the heir of the company. Gozaburou, who committed suicide and had his soul also transferred to the virtual world, uses Noa to get revenge on Seto. Also, Gozaburou ignored Mokuba for 98% of the time (the remaining 2% bit him in the ass).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V:
    • Reiji Akaba believes that his father Leo wouldn't care if Reiji gets kidnapped. On the other hand, his mother Himika averts this trope.
    • In contrast to this trope and Parental Abandonment, ARC-V invokes Good Parents who actually watch the duels of their children. Yuya's mother Yoko and Yuzu's father Shuzou are even supporting characters to balance out the fact that Yuya and Yuzu have a Disappeared Dad and a Missing Mom, respectively.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, Yusuke's mother Atsuko clearly cares about him a great deal, but she's also an alcoholic and does almost nothing to actually look after him.
  • In Mushi Shi Ginko meets a young boy who became inspirited by the titular creatures when his mother tied him to a tree that was subsequently struck by lightning. (He was about five at the time and she couldn't stand the sound of his crying). As a result, He has Nigh-Invulnerability to lightning and spends most of his time in the trees outside just waiting to be struck by it. Ginko warns the boy that if he keeps up that kind of behavior, he could die. The Boy explains that while he isn't well regarded by his mother or father, the lightning always comes right down to him. Ginko tries speaking with the boy's mother and insists that she tell him that she wants him to live so that he'll stop his reckless behavior but in the end, she grabs hold of him and suggests that they die together promising that she'll come back as a mother that knows how to love her son. Just as the lightning is about to strike them both, he pushes her out of the way but even that proves ineffective and after being cured, he is taken in by relatives.
  • Food Wars!: As if Erina didn't have enough with having an Abusive Dad in Azami, the final arc reveals that her mother, Mana, all but dumped her, all because of her whims to try and find food that can please her. She actually set things up in the BLUE to try and get Erina ousted just because she didn't think Erina's God Tongue could "save" her, and she's willing to give her up to a creep like Asahi Saiba to marry her without a second thought.
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets: Maruo Nakano, the quintuplets' stepfather, is shown to be frequently absent from their lives, mostly working in the hospital he runs, to the point he doesn't appear in person until at least halfway through the story and only contacts the protagonists via phone call, and their relationship is somewhat distant (and even strained in Nino's case). In fact, at one point he didn't know about a spat that happened between Itsuki and Nino until Fuutarou told him, which prompts him to quit his tutor job because he refuses to work for such a neglectful father. That said, given that he provides shelter and money for them, he's quite a few steps above Mudou, the quints' biological father, who abandoned their mother Rena while she was pregnant with them, leaving her to raise them alone, and doesn't show up in their lives until they're already teenagers.

    Comic Books 
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), Scourge's father Anti-Jules made very little time for his son. Scourge would describe him as full of "empty words". It's heavily implied he was killed by his son.
  • Speaking of Archie Comics, there was one comic book in which Ethel was revealed to have very neglectful parents who were obsessed with TV and paid no attention to her.
  • In the classic Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, the new Robin has parents that are never visually seen but heard off-panel in a state of perpetual drug intoxication (their dialogue suggests that they may be ex-hippies who just spend their time now commenting on how the world sucks while constantly high). She leaves them to join Batman.
    Unidentified parent (months after she left): Hey, didn't we used to have a kid?
  • Robin (1993): Robin III (Tim Drake) was able to explore Gotham as a kid and later become Robin while his parents Jack and Janet were still alive due to their constant travels. Once when Bruce asked where his parents were Tim wasn't even positive about what country they were in. Jack compounds the issue by being unattentive, flighty, dismissive, and easily angered when he's stuck at home after Janet's murder, and generally avoids his son as much as possible. Jack only started to try and get to know Tim in the lead-up to his own murder. It's telling that Tim addresses his father as "sir" and refers to him as "Jack" rather than "dad", though he does call Janet "mom" and "mommy".
  • The Books of Magic: After the death of his wife, the grieving William Hunter spends a lot of time watching the TV or sitting zoned out in the car instead of being aware of his son. He gets better eventually... And then he dies.
  • The War at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks plays with this. Jun and Emily accuse each other of suffering from parental neglect, i.e. "the reason you're so messed up is that your parents don't love you enough." However, neither really experienced parental neglect that Cassie has. Despite that, she is the kindest and purest character in the whole cast.
  • When Green Arrow took in Roy Harper as his ward, Arrow barely spent any time with Roy when they weren't fighting crime and most often left Roy to his own devices. This was one of the reasons Roy experimented with drugs and eventually became a heroin addict.
  • PS238:
    • Ultima and Sovereign Powers are terrible parents, treating their son Tyler as their superhero legacy and remaining obliviously insistent that he'll develop superpowers "any day now" Because Destiny Says So. And until that day, they dump him in a boarding school for metahumans in the hope he'll get Touched by Vorlons without really considering what this does to him. Toby, Tyler's clone with superpowers, states outright he had to use his Reality Warper powers in order to prevent them from disowning Tyler once he came along, and even then they seem to have forgotten he exists.
    • Cecil's parents are all too happy to let their son run off with a random stranger. Cecil's Conspiracy Theorist tendencies certainly make him a handful, so it's understandable, but still not right.
      Revenant: So as I said on the phone, after looking at your son's test scores, we think he'd be an ideal candidate for a weekend study program we're hosting at—
      Cecil's Parents: Take him.
      Revenant: I thought you'd want to see me credent—
      Cecil's Parents: We trust you.
      Revenant: I'll leave a brochure and several numbers you can reach us on the dining room ta—
      Cecil's Parents: Fine.
      Revenant: Would you like us to address his... "fondness" for all things extraterrestrial?
      Cecil's Parents: Bless you...
  • In Violine, Marushka, Violine's adoptive mother, is very strict and controlling, mostly communicates through robots with Violine, and is distant to her. She goes to any length to keep Violine from her father, from having the doctor fake a broken leg and put her in braces, to having her made sick by the doctor, to having her killed if nothing else works.
  • Black Canary's mother (the original Black Canary) was a well-meaning mom; however, she would often be too busy fighting crime to attends events or spend time with her daughter. Dinah gave her a "#1 Mom" cup ironically but loved her mom nevertheless.
  • The version of Professor Xavier in Ultimate X-Men was a negligent father, leaving his family after meeting Magneto. This came back to bite him when his son became the Ultimate version of Proetus and his own behavior didn't help matter (comparing his love for his son to a pet owner's for their pet).
  • Wonder Girl Donna Troy may have been the Team Mom for her superhero team, but she wasn't similarly so for her actual children. Donna spent so much time as a superhero that her husband divorced her and took the kids. Not soon afterwards, her ex and her kids were later killed off in a car accident.
  • Wonder Woman (Rebirth): Barbara's father was barely present in her childhood, leaving her education to private tutors. Not that he was any better when he was physically present.
  • Rick and Morty (Oni): In Issue 37, Beth notices that Morty has locked himself in his room for a week, but not that Summer has been missing for days.
  • Ultimate X-Men: Angel's parents refused to deal with their son having massive angel wings, and left him at a ranch of theirs.
  • Superman:
    • In How Luthor Met Superboy, young Clark is noticing that teen Lex Luthor is becoming disturbingly unhinged, but his father cannot stop his downward spiral, even though his son clearly needs him, because the man is always working away from home.
      Superboy: It's unfortunate Luthor's father, a traveling salesman, is rarely home. His son needs a father's guidance...
    • Supergirl storyline Day of the Dollmaker: According to the titular villain's (not entirely reliable) account of events, Toyman gradually stopped paying attention to his own son in favor of doting on other little children.

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown of Stars: During a conversation with Asuka Misato admits she failed her and Shinji. She was their guardian and the only mother figure they had, but she neglected them during the war right when they needed her the most, and as a result, their trauma got worse until they broke down.
  • Always Visible: Delia recalls that when her father kicked her away from the table at age five, her mother did not interfere and simply silently submitted to her husband.
  • Little Bro—a DuckTales (1987) fanfic—takes a look at Gladstone Gander trying to raise an egg until it hatches. And since this is Gladstone we're talking about...
  • Ghosts of Evangelion: Misato took Shinji and Asuka in during the War but she neglected them when things got real bad. Although Asuka forgives her eventually, Misato regretted her inaction for as long as she lived.
  • HERZ: Asuka’s father stopped looking after his daughter when she was four. She is twenty-six now and he is still absent from her life. He never shows up, never calls… and Asuka never ever mentions him. It’s telling that she has managed to forgive Gendo but she never talks about her father.
  • Evangelion 303: After his wife's death, Gendo distanced himself from his son. Shinji does not ever remember living with him and grew up thinking that his father was ashamed of him. Ritsuko raised him until he was old enough, and then Gendo sent him away for school.
    • This moment is the first time that Shinji has seen his father in over ten years... and Gendo started lecturing him just like that. Naturally Shinji was not amused.
  • In Laying Waste To Halloween, Gabe doesn't make food for Percy and sometimes doesn't even buy food for Percy.
  • The One I Love Is...: Misato cared dearly for her wards Shinji and Asuka, but after Kaji's death, she was so wrapped in her grief, rage, and thirst for revenge that she completely neglected them while they were going through a break-down. She never helped Asuka while she was going through a severe emotional turmoil or after she got mind-raped, and she was not there for Shinji when he was depressed because everyone were dying or leaving him. Shinji even mentioned she was barely at home those days.
  • Isabella, Luso's and Frimelda's mother in The Tainted Grimoire, was an Alcoholic Parent after her husband died. Her dad decided to take away the kids after this has gone on for too long. Her dad was unable to do this because on the very night he announced his intent, there was a fire and Isabella, in her last act to redeem herself of her neglect, tried to warn her dad and her kids but died trying.
  • Brainbent: "Bro" Strider, who is the sole caregiver to his young brother, often leaves him alone for hours or days at a time, doesn't always feed him, and allows their apartment to fill with trash. And he isn't the best of parents when he is home, either.
  • Queen of All Oni: Jade is shown to have suffered this to the point of bordering on abuse. It eventually turns out to be because her parents were self-admitted towards not being fit to be parents and therefore didn't put much effort into it.
  • The Fairly OddParents! fanfiction Never Had a Friend Like Me: The main OC, Amanda Adams suffers this at the hands of her parents, who only care about their money and couldn't care less about their daughter. Even the evil genie who tricks people with their wishes dislikes their parenting skills and thinks they should pay more attention to their daughter. Even Evil Has Standards, indeed.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, the Bonnes' parents are on constant vacations and check in infrequently via communicators.
  • Miraculous: The Phoenix Rises gives us Maximilliam, Max and Haley's father who spends virtually all of his time in bed watching a childish sitcom, even when they're in danger of being evicted and threatens to take his belt off at anyone who interrupts him.
  • One of the biggest complaints about the lost Fire Emblem: Awakening comic Future of Despair was how it turned Henry, canonically said to be a member of the Good Parents group, into this. In the comic featuring his death, it's all but stated that he left his son Yarne (whose mother Panne fell victim to Death by Childbirth) completely alone when Yarne was around one year old, to pretty much get himself killed by fighting to the death against Risen. Henry's train of thoughts during this comic are seen as full of selfish, whiny mangst that is only centered on HIS own pain at Panne's death, with his baby son's extremely uncertain future being only on the back of his mind until the very moment of his demise.
  • Mirror's Image depicts Diamond Tiara's grandparents on her father's side as this, at least once they hit bad times. Worse than the usual examples, it's directly responsible for the death of their daughter via starvation. Because she was a Changeling princess, and needed large amounts of love to survive. An angry Chrysalis arranged things so that both Riches ended up in prison, and by the time the story takes place they're still there.
  • In the Pokémon fanfic Olivine Romance, Jasmine's parents display this, in different ways:
    • Jasmine's mother raised her with strict expectations but little support and no guidance on how to meet those expectations. She often berates her for minor misbehavior and is not above hitting her, and it seems she does so not to try to discipline Jasmine, but out of anger for impinging on her own life.
    • Her father is more kind and caring, when he's around.
  • Despair's Last Resort's Kumiko Akamine was given this treatment. Her parents have jobs that cause them to work until night, when they are home they never spoke to her, and they don't seem to care what she does. She tries to justify this with the fact that their job keeps them busy, but it's obvious that it's left a mark on the girl.
  • Kyoshi Rising; Fire Lord Mitsuo took his wife's Death by Childbirth very badly, badly enough that he's still emotionally distant from his children ten years later.
  • In Brightest Day: The Second Front gives us Sunset Shimmer, which also covers her reason for being how she is; Sunburst was her older more talented brother and got all their parents' praise, while all Sunset got was "we expected nothing less" or "Sunburst did it better"... until eventually she snapped and cut off all ties to her family after she became Celestia's student. Upon arriving in the Human world Sunset almost immediately ran into her Human family, who were desperately searching for her hoping to make up for their mistakes. Sunset discovered that a similar scenario happened, resulting in her counterpart running away and decided to use this development to her advantage, taking her human self's place.
  • From Kill la Kill AU, we have Ragyou's mother Youko (otherwise known as "Meinu"), who is this, as she mostly preferred to sit, smoke cigarettes, and watch TV, and, to some degree, abusive, and left a then child Ragyou to basically raise herself. Word of God states Nonon's parents are this and that they only pay attention to her when she goes to jail, in which case they bail her out. One of the fanfics states a lesser version of this with Sukuyo's parents who loved her and were quick to give her what she needed, yet were painfully absent-minded, allowing their daughter to be free ranged, going wherever she wanted to, and the fact that they typically didn't call her by her given name, instead calling her "Turtle".
  • We also have this in the Kiryuuin Chronicles, as Satsuki notes that she was always taken care of by Rei, a servant, and has been since birth, the same going for her little sisters, and, apparently, she usually didn't see her parents, seeing as in chapter two (not counting the intro) her mother was very far in her pregnancy and she notes it was a long time that she had seen her. This might actually be justified on her mother's end, considering how her father is and it turns out it was, her mother, Ragyou, was trying to protect her and her sisters from her husband by leaving them in the care of Rei
  • Silver Spoon of Bad Future Crusaders was neglected by her racist unicorn parents because she was an earth pony. Surprisingly, for all the issues and bad qualities that define her, her borderline abusive parents actually led to one of her few good qualities: she likes children and is even protective of ones who are similarly neglected by their parents.
  • Thousand Shinji: After Shinji merged with his Eva Misato fell apart, resorted to her boyfriend and alcohol to endure her pain, and neglected her remaining ward, Asuka. Asuka — who was also in a very fragile emotional state — resented her for it.
  • In The Second Try, Asuka states during Instrumentality that she is resented her guardian Misato because the older woman neglected her when she was hurt and abandoned her when Asuka needed her the most.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: Misato cares about her wards Shinji and Asuka, but her own psychological issues often prevent her from connecting with them, and being obsessed with continuing Kaji's quest for the truth behind NERV, she often up ends neglecting them, though she feels guilty about it. She gets better after a while, though.
  • Defied in Once More with Feeling. When SEELE suggests Shinji that he should move in with his grandfather because Misato is too busy to take care of Asuka and him properly, Shinji replies that at the very least she tries to look after them, unlike his so-called blood relatives.
  • In My Mirror, Sword and Shield Suzaku’s biological mother was a Refrain addict who spent all her money getting her next fix instead of feeding or clothing her son. Suzaku noted that after he was five he had to run the house and take care of her until she died.
  • In Lopoddity's Pandoraverse, Tree Hugger and Zephyr Breeze were very bad parents to their natural son Chakra Blossom. Tree Hugger was loving but wildly irresponsible, often leaving her son alone while she went to hippie retreats, while Zephyr never had any real presence in his son's life, feeling parenting would "cramp his style". As a result, Chakra was raised largely by his aunt Fluttershy and grew up to resent both of his parents. It's also implied his neglectful childhood is part of what led him to become the bitter and manipulative pony he is in the setting's present.
  • In One Year, Yu Narukami's parents being a case of this is touched upon, and it's indicated that Kanako(Yu's mother) suspects that her younger brother Dojima is probably more responsible than she is in some ways, such as taking care of Yu during the year-long business trip she and her husband went on. Yu, for his part, tries to understand his parents' perspective, but sometimes, his resentment shows through, such as when Kanako suggests that she'd have likely discouraged him from getting into a relationship with Yukiko if she'd known at the time.
  • In Black Sky, the Prince of Sabina became a shut-in following his beloved wife's death, basically letting his four-year-old daughter be raised by the wider family and refusing to attend various events such as her wedding and her son's birth. And that's not even touching what he did to his toddler son...
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Night Blade's parents really did a number on him, since he was born so late in their lives and they no longer knew how to relate to a young child.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged takes this pretty far, as Goku is shown to be a terrible father. In fact, when Gohan was wondering what his father would do in a dangerous situation, all he could think of was Goku waving and saying "Bye, son!"
    Gohan: I think I have issues.
  • In Claire the Kind, it is established pretty early on that Claire's parents are not always there when she needs them.
    Claire: Um, mom?
    Mrs. Nuñez: Yes, Claire? Is there something you need?
    Claire: I, uh... was wondering if you could pick me up later on Thursday?
    Mrs. Nuñez: Claire, you know we'll be at work all day.
    Claire: I know, I was just-
    Mrs. Nuñez: And why do you need to be picked up later?
    Claire: You don't remember?
    Mrs. Nuñez: No, I can't say I do.
  • Dexter's parents are implied to be this way in Invisible Sun. Dexter intentionally hides his intellect from them, but at the same time they don't put much notice to him anyway:
    His parents were five states away? Good lord. "They don't know you're here?"
    He shrugged. "I told them I was planning a trip to Townsville while they were away. Whether or not they actually heard what I said is a completely unrelated matter."
    Utonium paused. Dexter's words were delivered in a matter-of-fact, offhanded manner, as if a fourth grader up and traveling hundreds miles away from home was a commonplace thing.
    "They don't know you're in Townsville?"
    "I told them I was coming here if you would allow." Dexter smiled, thought the gesture did not reach his eyes. "The real question, Professor Utonium, is do they care?"
    "Do they?" he wondered, his horror growing. He sensed the answer as Dexter adjusted his glasses. Already Utonium recognized the gesture as a delaying tactic the boy utilized to buy time to consider.
    "I have no idea," was the softly-spoken, honest reply.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Alexis Lois "Lexi" Luthor mentions that her parents are usually too busy getting wasted and playing Russian roulette to pay any attention to her. This also means that she's left to run LexCorp herself, doing so with an iron fist.
  • The Outside: While she isn't Ryuuko's parent, Satsuki plays this as a guardian and seems to be a little inattentive and gullible, along with being busy with whatever she might be doing. Because of this, Ryuuko is made a foster kid when she didn't question how her sister got hurt from a household fall, nor did she get her attention for her injured leg.
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Mitsuki Bakugo is so busy at work that she rarely takes the time to sit down and get to know her son. While she knows that his ego has been ballooning since he discovered his Quirk, she had no idea that he and Izuku have been growing apart, or that Katsuki was essentially friendless.
  • In the Pokémon: The Series fic "Ash's Adventure: Girls' Hunter Edition", May left her family to become a PokeGirl- a human capable of using Pokémon attacks and carried around in a human ball- because her father was so distant for years that she is amazed he was even able to maintain enough interest in her mother to have children in the first place.
  • A key theme in The Confectionary Chronicles is Hermione recognising that her older sister, Ness, was more of a parent to her than her own parents before Ness committed suicide. Over the next few years, the Grangers grow increasingly distant from Hermione as they don't truly understand how to help her cope with Ness' death, to the extent that Hermione goes to live with her aunt and uncle full-time after the Grangers can't accept the revelation that she's a witch.
  • In Conversations with a Cryptid, Hisashi Midoriya up and disappeared on his family a decade ago. Izuku doesn't really have any emotional connection to him and doesn't even know what he looks like. When he returns in Kidnapping of a Cryptid, he does his best to make up for this.
  • RWBY: Scars:
    • After Summer died, Taiyang fell into a depression where he could barely function. This left his oldest daughter Yang in charge of her sister Ruby for a while. Yang still holds resentment towards her dad for that period.
    • Willow barely interacts with her three children. Weiss has stated that she can literally count the times she's talked to her mother while sober on her hands. When Jacques beat his kids as children, Willow would shoo them away because she didn't want to think about the abuse. Willow's neglect only adds to the Schnee's being a Big, Screwed-Up Family.
  • The Many Dates of Danny Fenton: When seeing Buttons from Animaniacs getting punished by Mindy's parents for getting covered in garbage, Danny and Jazz, who saw that he was trying to save Mindy, call them out for not properly watching over their daughter.
  • Fallout: Equestria: Littlepip's mother largely ignored her for most of her life, instead focusing on drinking. When Littlepip finally returns home, after having fought her way through the dozens of Steel Rangers who were slaughtering the inhabitants of the Stable, her mother barely acknowledges her presence, going right back to talking to her friends about how one of her dresses was ruined when her friend died. Velvet Remedy slaps her across the face.
  • In Through Their Eyes, Veruca's parents didn't pay attention to her for days on end when she was younger. After she was taken as ransom, it took them three days to notice she was missing. After Veruca was saved, her parents promised to give her anything she wanted, which is why she became such a Spoiled Brat.
  • Let the World Smile: Zelda's father is very distant and more concerned with political matters. He's more her king than her father.
  • The Pokémon Squad: Played for Laughs in "The Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Life of Timothy Green" when Timothy is left in RM's care. This is the result of RM following the advice of a parenting book written by Timmy Turner's parents.
  • Unbreakable Red Silken Thread:
    • Both Heather and Sammy's parents are guilty of this.
    • Cody's are as well but not to the same degree, coming off as more along the lines of innocently insensitive most of the time. They might have forgotten his birthday, but when he ended up in the ICU they dropped everything and were there at his side.
  • Blackbird (Arrow): Quentin failed to realize that Laurel had been kidnapped for over three years because he was too deep in his cups with his grief over Sara's (supposed) loss. Knowing what happened to Laurel, it's hard to feel a lot of sympathy for him.
    • The Lances basically let Sara get away with figurative murder because she was the baby of the family, and completely failed to parent her at all. Notably, this extends even after she gets back — Quentin has made no genuine effort to actually build a relationship with Sara and Dinah is willfully ignorant of how her 'favorite' daughter has been slowly killing herself over the last three years due to the guilt over what happened to Laurel. To Quentin's credit that's partially because Sara and Dinah have both been avoiding him. Then, in the last chapter, Sara asks to move in with him, which he happily agrees to, fulling averting this trope.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: Vedia, one of the girlfriends of Belladonna, is implied in the main story to come from a wealthy family. One of the Holiday Specials reveals that her parents were often absent and hired private tutors to homeschool her.
  • Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox: Minor character Yukata accuses her mother Yui of being this, citing the fact that when Yukata was wrongly accused of theft by Konoha High School's Hall Monitors' Guild (because she refused to go on a date with one of their members), Yui simply took the accusation at face value without even considering Yukata's side of the story; however, Yui counters that Yukata running away from home to join a street gang in another city didn't help her case. It's soon revealed that Yui never had much, if any, emotional investment in Yukata ever since the latter was a baby, as Yui wasn't ready to have a child (the condom broke) and then underwent a traumatic birthing process when Yukata was born three months premature; the only reason Yui didn't terminate the pregnancy was that neither she nor her husband believed in abortion, plus the husband had always wanted a child and was excited about the opportunity.
  • In the Danny Phantom fanfic "Humans and Ghosts", it is made painfully clear that while this version of Jazz and Danny's parents still love them, they also value their lab research above all else. Jazz at one point laments that, while she loves her younger brother, she hates that she's had to act as Danny's caregiver since she was six because Jack and Maddie couldn't be bothered to make sure they had food to eat or were going to school.
  • In Legacy (DocSuess), Tony and Peter's relationship as father and son is virtually non-existent. While Tony and Peter are only ever seen together in convenient PR-related activities like galas and charities, he has his company provide for any of the "personal stuff", with multiple mentions that Tony doesn't even know when Peter's birthday is.
  • In the Punch-Out!! fanfic Shining and Sweet, Little Mac's biological parents hardly remember he exists, due to their constant fighting. This is to the point where they can't remember his current age (they think he's 15; he's 18) or his middle name (his mother claims it's William; it's actually Hiroki).
  • Ships Ahoy!: Oprah's adoptive family, comprised of Auntie May, Uncle Chester, and her adoptive cousins Lunette and Molly, never gave her much attention when she was growing up, and in Uncle Chester's case, it's straight-out neglect. Although Auntie May was the kindest out of the family, she still never showed Oprah any real loving affection and constantly pressured her into joining Odd Squad, sending Oprah to her room without dinner when she told her that she didn't want to join Odd Squad and wanted to start up a fruit stand instead. How her adoptive family treated her didn't bother her, however, as she had the wits and common sense to make it through life fine and was completely independent.
  • This Is A Wild Game Of Survival: Na-yeon's parents would rather fire nannies to take care of her than engage in her life. This is because they view her as a way of furthering their wealth and status and quite toxic in their own right. Of course, this does leave Na-yeon feeling quite unloved, especially after falling out with her best friend and having to come home to an empty house.

    Films — Animation 
  • Storks: The plot is set in motion by a young boy whose realtor parents are both Married to the Job, so he writes to the storks to send him a baby brother.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Michael's biological mother Denise in The Blind Side. Not necessarily abuse so much as neglect, due to her addiction to crack cocaine.
  • In The Breakfast Club, Allison says her parents ignore her, which appears to be the reason she's such a mess. She eventually admits that she doesn't actually have detention, but can get away with telling her parents that she does because they don't care enough to check. The real reason she's there is she just wants someone to hang out with.
  • Cuties:
    • Amy's mother, as she is dealing with her husband's second marriage, which ends up worrying more about her wedding than about Amy's true feelings.
    • Angelica's parents; according to her, they just work in a restaurant without worrying about Angelica and her brother. The film shows that Angelica and her brother do not get along so well.
  • Duck Butter: Sergio's mother Susana left her wandering in the street as a four old, which she continues to resent into the present, saying it was crazy.
  • Europe '51: Young Michele is the single child of a wealthy couple, and feels extremely neglected due to his parents only caring about their opulent lifestyle of parties and society hobnobbing. In the opening scene, he constantly attempts to talk to his mother and the only time he manages to is when she's in her room getting ready for yet another party. He isn't even able to look at her, since she's getting dressed and she has him turn around. This ends tragically when his feelings overwhelm him to the point he throws himself down a stairwell and perishes, causing his mother to realize how awful she was being.
  • The Field Guide to Evil: Arnold's parents Chris and Macy in "Beware the Melonheads". His mother Macy is always drinking wine and on her phone discussing business, even when she is supposed to be watching Arnold. His father Chris is slightly better but is more concerned with being a 'cool dad' than actually noticing what is going on with his son.
  • Gooby: Willy's parents are too caught up in business to pay attention to him. However, after Willy nearly falls due to a Floorboard Failure in an abandoned house, he and his parents start spending more time together.
    • Neglectful parents are actually what Gooby helps with, as he's passed down from one neglected kid to another to fix their relationships.
  • The Grizzlies: Russ walks into his student Zach's house to see his parents passed out from alcohol and drug use. It's shown that Zach is the one who primarily takes care of his younger brother Johnny, including hunting for his family.
  • In The Hairy Bird, Verena's parents, who are divorced, dropped her at boarding school, which made her think they don't want anything to do with her.
  • How to Be: Art's parents, due to their own upbringing, have no idea of how to connect to Art or, seemingly, to each other.
  • In Ip Man, this seems to be how the titular character treated his son. However, that changes when the Japanese invaded and he was stripped of his properties and forced to scrape a living.
  • In Let Me In, one of the major changes to story from the Swedish novel is how the main character's mother is changed from a loving parent who was simply busy with work to an alcoholic who neglects her son. She's seen drinking drunk repeatedly while ignoring her own son whose being horribly bullied at school. In one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the film, after being attacked Owen goes to her for comfort only to discover she's passed out drunk.
  • Margarita: Ben and Gail are both medical professionals highly focused on their careers. As such, six years back they got Margarita (a Mexican in Canada who's undocumented) to be their nanny. Margarita basically raised their daughter Mali ever since, who is quite resentful of them for this.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Although Odin does love Loki, he found it difficult to forge a close bond with his adopted son and remained distant because Loki isn't a Proud Warrior Race Guy like him and is of Jötunn descent. It's lampshaded by Loki in Thor:
      Loki: You know, it all makes sense now, why you favoured Thor all these years, because no matter how much you claim to love me, you could never have a Frost Giant sitting on the throne of Asgard!
    • Tony Stark complains that his dad was never around for him, and he seriously doubted that his father loved him at all. It is eventually shown not to be the case in regards to whether he loved him.
      Tony: He was cold, he was calculating, he never told me he loved me, he didn't even tell me that he liked me, so it's a bit hard for me to digest that he said the whole "future is riding on me" thing. You're talking about a man whose happiest day of his life was shipping me off to boarding school.
  • Matilda: Matilda's parents verbally berate her and neglect her every need, they have no problem leaving her at home, and they left her in the car when they got home from the hospital after driving extremely recklessly with her unrestrained in the back seat.
  • MonsterVerse:
    • Godzilla (2014): Even before the incident at the power plant turned him into an obsessive conspiracy theorist, Joe Brody was already unintentionally dismissive of his family, forgetting to greet his son in the morning and even that it's his own birthday today.
      • The prequel graphic novel Godzilla Awakening reveals Dr. Serizawa was on the receiving end of When You Coming Home, Dad?, which led to a reconciliation in his young adulthood when his father revealed the truth of his work for Monarch.
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): Madison has been on the receiving end in the five years since her brother's death, as her mother became the Workaholic whilst her father turned to drinking and divorced Emma. The novelization confirms Madison coped with the help of her Honorary Aunt Vivienne Graham. Even at the start of the film, Emma retains custody of Madison but is still somewhat distant with her, while Madison and Mark only have sporadic contactnote . Both parents come to regret the ways they've neglected their surviving child.
    • Godzilla vs. Kong: The novelization reveals that Serizawa had a similar When You Coming Home, Dad? parenting style with his son Ren to the one his own father had with him, but unfortunately Ren didn't respond to it the same way Ishirō did, instead growing to resent his father. The rift between them got particularly bad after Dr. Serizawa's wife died while he was on an expedition and he didn't find out until a week later, while Ren had to organize his mother's funeral himself at age eighteen. Ultimately, when Serizawa died before he and Ren could reconcile, this created a Freudian Excuse which led to Ren becoming a full-blown Evil Genius and an antithesis to everything that his father and grandfather had stood for.
  • M3GAN: A major theme of the movie. Gemma shirks her parental responsibilities, leaving the bulk of childcare to M3GAN. Brandon's mother is also overly lenient and makes excuses for her son's antisocial behavior.
  • Mystery Men: Invisible Boy tells his father "Hey dad, I'm taking three strange men into my room" when he has The Blue Raja, The Shoveler and Mr. Furious over in a testing tone. His dad doesn't even appear to notice a bit of it, indicating this is a long-running feature of their relationship.
  • Not Like Everyone Else: Brandi's dad pays far more attention to her brother, taking him to Cherokee ceremonies with her left behind at home. He apologizes for this later.
  • Off the Black features two cases of this. David's father is entirely emotionally unavailable due to him still grieving over his wife's abandonment of the family two years before. And Ray is badly estranged from his son, claiming that he "just never paid attention" until it was too late.
  • In Point Of Origin, a Bio Pic of serial arsonist/fire investigator John L. Orr, he spends all his time at home in the basement, either working in the investigation or on his writing. His wife Wanda tells him she spends more time with his kids than he does, and she is not even their real mother.
  • Santa Claus (1959) has a family of rich people, with the parents buying their son everything he could ever want... but they're constantly out socializing, leaving him home by himself; they even suggest that he practice his piano lessons if he's ever feeling bored or lonely. His letter to Santa is just him begging his parents to stay home Christmas eve, so Santa meets them at their cocktail party and serves them a beverage that brings their familial love back to the forefront of their minds.
  • The Squid and the Whale: Bernard and Joan are pretty crappy parents. However, at least Joan kind of made an attempt. It turns out Bernard didn't really contribute much to his children's lives. Both parents are apathetic about their son Walt's plagiarism and troubles in school. Most notably, at one point both parents leave their pre-teen son Frank at home by himself for three days, where he proceeds to get alcohol poisoning.
  • Spanking the Monkey: Tom isn't close to either his wife or his son. According to Susan, Tom didn't want Raymond in the first place. Even at the end, when Ray reveals what he and Susan have been doing in order to get his father to intervene and let him leave the home, he just dismisses Ray and tells Susan to get him professional help.
  • The Summer of Sangaile: Neither of Sangaile's parents seem to realize, or perhaps care, that she cuts herself.
  • Wasp: Zoe lives a sad and lonely life, as a desperately poor single mother of four, and if she weren't so terribly poor or if she had some support, she probably wouldn't make the choices she makes. But still, leaving your kids loitering in a parking lot for hours while you play pool and engage in Auto Erotica until it's dark and they are scrounging through garbage for food, that's parental neglect.
  • War of the Worlds (2005): Due to his ex-wife having primary custody of them, Ray doesn't see his kids that often and barely knows anything about them. His teenage son Robbie is openly resentful of him and calls him by his first name, while his young daughter Rachel clearly prefers her mother over him. However, Ray still loves his kids and is very protective of them, and part of his Character Development is learning to become a better dad, especially toward Rachel.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • X-Men: First Class: Charles' mother is hinted to be emotionally distant towards her son, which is why Raven's maternal act backfires spectacularly.
      Charles: [telepathically communicates to Raven disguised as Mrs. Xavier] My mother has never set foot in this kitchen in her life, and she certainly never made me hot chocolate, unless you count ordering the maid to do it.
      • There's also the fact that she apparently never noticed her son taking in and pretty much raising another girl from who-knows-where.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: Ben Hardy suggests that a lack of parental nurturing is a major factor in Warren Worthington III turning to the dark side.
      Ben Hardy: People who don't get looked after enough can end up being very angry and I feel like this is where Angel's anger comes from and maybe that gives him the potential to transform and become one of the villains.

  • Adrian's parents in the Adrian Mole series border on neglect, though it is played for laughs.
    • They don't have much time for each other either, as they are usually busy having affairs with neighbors and people they work with.
  • Animorphs:
    • Tobias's guardians are an aunt and uncle, who live on opposite sides of the country and pass him off between them at different times of the year. Both are implied to resent having to take care of him, and neither made the slightest effort to look for him when, as far as they knew, he just disappeared (his friends did send each a forged note saying he was staying with the other, which was apparently enough for them). Tobias even casually states in the first book his belief that he has no one who would care if he died fighting the Yeerks.
    • The second book revolves around Rachel's friend Melissa, who is upset that her parents have become distant towards her and don't seem to love her anymore. What Melissa doesn't know is that they're Controllers, and her father chose to be infested to keep her safe. While the Puppeteer Parasites that took over her parents' bodies can and usually do perform warmth and humanity to divert suspicion, when only Melissa is present they're supremely indifferent to her.
    • Marco's father, meanwhile, spends the first few books still suffering from depression over the death of his wife a few years earlier, leaving Marco to pick up a lot of the slack around the house. He manages to pull himself together enough at the end of the fifth book to realize what he's been doing and take steps to shape up.
  • Bambi's mother gradually grows more distant in the novel, eventually abandoning Bambi once mating season arrives. She does come back, though. His father is distant in both the novel and the film, but not in the sequel to the film. Justified, though, as this how it is for real deer.
  • In Bubble World, Freesia's mom is more concerned about her internet blog than her husband and children, and her dad lacks presence because he's wrapped up in the past.
    • Ricky's father lets him do whatever he wants just to get him out of the way, even to the point of purchasing Bubble World if it will make him go back.
  • Cinderella. Not from the stepmother—that's outright abuse; from her father. While he suffers Death by Adaptation in just about every version, both the Charles Perrault and The Brothers Grimm versions make it clear that he's alive; he just goes along with his wife's actions. In fact, in the latter, he actually introduces Cinderella to the prince as the kitchen-maid, not his daughter.
  • Subverted (sort of) in Coraline. Yes, the heroine's parents never have time for her, but the alternative is much, much worse—and we see that the parents do care for Coraline when they finally find time. The movie plays it a little differently. While Coraline's parents do ignore her for much of the movie, it's because they're busy getting moved into their new place and putting together a gardening catalogue that needs to be finished as soon as they can. When they finish both of those things, they spend plenty of time with their daughter and even give her a present as a thank you for dealing with it.
  • In Dinoverse, Janine's mother runs a bed and breakfast that is their sole livelihood. She insists that Janine help her with the work and otherwise has very little to do with her. Rebellious teen that Janine is, she acts out by having a double life as a nighttime graffiti artist and thinks her mother doesn't care - faced with being Trapped in the Past as a Giant Flyer, she welcomes the prospect. One of her classmates informs her that much of Janine's mother's absence is due to cleaning up the graffiti and making sure Janine isn't in trouble for it. She feels like she can't confront Janine for fear that Janine will just leave.
    • Patience Mc Cray was first adopted by a kind woman who loved her, but became too ill to care for her, and an unhappy Patience acted out extravagantly at the orphanage and washed up in the foster system. The Mushniks took her in, a family who manifestly doesn't care about her. Patience thinks it's better this way. They get regular checks, she gets a place to sleep and food, and she can put all her energy into school sports and the prospect of carving herself a better life.
  • The Dresden Files: While his sisters suffer Sexual Abuse, Thomas Raith is generally neglected until it's time to insult somebody by having him appear in his father's place. It's implied that if Thomas hadn't used Obfuscating Stupidity to play the Airheaded Playboy role to the hilt, he would've been offed.
  • Ella Enchanted has Sir Peter, Ella's greedy and selfish father. He tries to use his clever ways to gain riches. He gains much of his wealth through trickery and deceit and loses it the same way. Sir Peter takes pride in Ella for being a brave, sassy child. Once he gets to know his daughter, he notes their resemblance, laughs at her attitude, and seems to grow somewhat fond of her. Yet, he deals little with his daughter and is more concerned for his business than her well-being. They have a distant relationship, as Ella acknowledges his corrupt, greedy nature and finds it unpleasant—especially during his attempts to force her to marry. He marries Dame Olga because of her wealth and cares little when Dame Olga forces Ella to work as a servant.
  • Fire & Blood: King Jaehaerys I. Widely considered one of, if not the, best king Westeros ever has, but as a father... passable? He gets on well enough with the eldest, who are his heirs, but when you've got nine kids kicking around. He was pretty terrible with the girls especially. Saera grew up to become a monstrous little shit, and he had no time or patience to deal with Daela's disorders.
  • In Flowers in the Attic Corrine ignores all of her children's very reasonable protests, even in extreme instances such as when the grandmother starves them.
  • Forbidden: The Whitelys' mother—Lily—disappears to her boyfriend's house for weeks at a time, leaving the responsibility of her five children to the eldest two.
    With Dave she can pretend she is young again, free of the restrictions and responsibilities of motherhood. She never wanted to grow up— […] the only reason they got married was because she accidentally fell pregnant with me—a fact she likes to remind me of whenever we have an argument. And now that I am just a few months away from being legally classed an adult, she feels freer than she has in years. Dave already has a young family of his own. He has made it very clear that he doesn’t want to take on someone else’s. And so she shrewdly keeps him away, only bringing him back to the house when everyone is asleep or out at school. With Dave she has reinvented herself—a young woman caught up in a passionate romance. She dresses like a teenager, spends all her money on clothes and beauty treatments, lies about her age, and drinks, drinks, drinks—to forget that youth and beauty are behind her, to forget that Dave has no intention of marrying her, to forget that at the end of the day she is just a forty-five-year-old divorcée in a dead-end job with five unwanted children.
  • The Fragility of Bodies: Peque and Dientes both have Struggling Single Mothers who don't have time to pay attention to them, allowing the kids to get involved in all sorts of schemes, including the deadly Game of Chicken.
  • Girls Don't Hit: Joss didn't really want to have children, and largely lets her husband Colin raise hers. She therefore is often unaware of what her kids are into, or in her son's case his age and whether he's bathing unassisted now.
  • In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett's children Wade and Ella, suffer from this, Scarlett is always too wrapped up in her own concerns to care about Wade, and especially Ella. Rhett points out that if it weren't for him and Melanie, Wade and Ella would not even know what love is.
  • In The Great Divorce, the Possessive Mother (whose name appears to be Pam) was obsessed with her favorite son to the point of utterly neglecting the rest of her family, including her other children.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry's real parents are absent due to being dead, Harry's aunt and uncle treated Harry like dirt, giving him lousy birthday and Christmas presents, locking him in a tiny closet, and letting Dudley get away with bullying Harry while lavishing all their attention on their son. Dumbledore called them out on this, implying, interestingly enough, that the Dursleys did more damage to Dudley than to Harry. That's understandable since thanks to all of their pampering Dudley grew into a cruel and selfish Spoiled Brat who thought he could get away with anything. Fortunately, he later gets Character Development and reconciles himself with Harry. Interestingly, Harry actually likes that the Dursleys shift towards ignoring him more and more as the series goes on. He can take care of himself fine and thinks it's an improvement to be left alone in his room to do whatever. Word of God says that Harry and Dudley were able to mend fences for good and are on friendly terms as adults.
    • Snape’s mother was implied to be this way while his father was just straight-up an Abusive Parent.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: Turns up in Herald Jakyr's backstory in Bastion. Jakyr's parents belonged to the Valdemaran version of the Quiverfull movement. They not only couldn't remember their kids' names but as of the end of the Collegium Chronicles still haven't realized that Jakyr no longer works at the family inn. And since he's a senior Herald at the beginning of that series, do the math.
  • Tͻgã Pious in His Only Wife toward his younger children, who are protagonist Afi's cousins. The kids tell Afi that Pious, who has three wives, does not provide the children's mother with enough for her to feed them appropriately or eats all the meat when he shares meals with them. He also often refuses to pay their school fees so that the school principal sends them home and they have to leave their classes in shame. It has been established that this is not a case of poverty, but rather, being an entitled tightwad. And on top of that, he hits them frequently.
  • In Hush, Hush, Nora's father died not long before the series began and her mother is constantly out of town for her job. Even when her mom is home though, she rarely seems to put much effort into looking after Nora. This conveniently gives Nora a chance to run out and do things her mother would never approve of, with little to no chance of being caught.
  • Draconus from The Kharkanas Trilogy doesn't pay much attention to his kids, and named his three daughters Envy, Spite, and Malice (if he had a fourth, she would apparently be named Venom). On the other hand, their mother, Olar Ethil, urges him to kill them, so he still ends up the nice parent of the two.
  • In Needful Things, Cora Rusk practically forgets she even has children after getting her "needful thing" from Leland Gaunt.
  • The Neverending Story: Bastian's father is well-intentioned, but he has become depressed and distant after his wife died and has ended up pretty much ignoring his son.
  • David McKee's picture book Not Now, Bernard is all about this trope. Little Bernard can't do anything to get his parents to pay him any attention, even when he tells them that there's a monster in the garden and it's going to eat him. So Bernard goes out into the garden and, sure enough, the monster eats him. After this, the monster goes inside, where Bernard's parents even fail to notice that a monster has replaced their son and treat him just as dismissively as they did Bernard.
    "But I'm a monster," said the monster. "Not now, Bernard," said Bernard's mother.
  • Nowhere Stars: After Liadain's illness was officially declared terminal, her father all but abandoned her at a hospice ward, and doesn't visit or call very often. It's implied he never got over the death of Liadain's mother from the same condition that's killing her, and doesn't know how to emotionally deal with losing his daughter too; not that Liadain sees this as an acceptable excuse, and it's part of why she doesn't tell him when she becomes a Keeper.
  • Played with in Sabriel, in the case of Terciel (the titular Sabriel's father). He brings her to boarding school in Ancelstierre when she's young and sees her in person only once or twice a year. (Her mother died when she was born, so she wasn't able to help.) However, he's doing this because it's not safe for her in the Old Kingdom, and he talks with her more frequently with remote sendings. Later,when he knows he's about to die, he confesses that he hasn't been the best parent. She doesn't seem to mind, and it's clear that he was a loving parent.
  • Tia's parents in The Ship Who Searched boasted to friends that they were able to have and raise a child without compromising full time work on their dream job - archaeology on airless worlds with no one else around. Their habitat boasted food synthesizers, a limited medical AI, and a large library, so they happily left their daughter in it, alone, all day every day while they worked. She could contact them, but they hated to be interrupted and would punish her by withholding attention such as the rare "Family Days" in which they spent an entire day with her. On top of that, whenever they made an exciting discovery they stopped bothering to come home for meals and in the evenings, leaving her alone for weeks on end. Somehow she's relatively healthy until the age of seven, when their neglect leads to her becoming paralyzed - and then they take her to a hospital and transfer guardianship to one of her doctors before leaving to return to that exciting discovery.
  • Owen Meany's parents in A Prayer for Owen Meany. Johnny's mother is pretty much Owen's mom.
  • In Radiance, Percy means well, but his obsession with movies and very busy schedule means that he's often not around for his daughter. He does do his best to give her love and attention but mostly is able to work it in through treating Severin as a part of his movies. One of his wives writes how it's a little creepy watching a child do multiple takes of opening her Christmas presents and thinking nothing of it.
  • Mr. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Although he loves and respects Jane and Lizzy, he's completely checked out of parenting the younger three and left it all to his silly, ill-judging wife, with predictable results. Mr. Bennet alternately avoids them or laughs at them and dismisses Lizzy's concerns over young Lydia's flirtatious behavior. When Lydia runs off and brings disgrace to the whole family, Mr. Bennet is forced to acknowledge that his apathetic parenting is a good deal to blame for it.
  • In the Schooled in Magic series, Emily is described as having extremely neglectful parents (especially her alcoholic mother). Upon arriving in her new world they found her to be malnourished and underdeveloped physically for her age because she was left to her own devices when looking for food or clothes.
  • The Secret Garden: Both Colin and Mary, which is a large part of why they're both spoiled brats. Even before Mary's parents died of Cholera, they were rarely there for her. Her mother foisted her off on servants so that she could be a socialite, to the point where many of her colleagues didn't even know she had a daughter. Colin's father Archibald Craven basically abandoned Colin after his mother Lillias suffered Death by Childbirth.
  • Silas and Sarah Heap in Septimus Heap are shown to have amazingly little concern for their children, barely ever helping when they are in trouble.
  • The Duke of Visnya isn't much of a father to Irina in Spinning Silver. He is far and away practical above everything, and Irina being the very plain daughter of a mother who had no value beyond that he loved her means that he can't use her for a good political marriage, and with two healthy sons, she's not an heir either. As a result, Irina spends most of her time upstairs with her old nurse keeping out of his way. He doesn't take notice of her until he can marry her to the tsar, and only after she proves to be as politically astute as himself does he respect her.
  • Also played for laughs in the Teenage Worrier series, where Letty's parents are rarely at home, refuse to cook or buy groceries, smoke and get drunk in the house, and largely ignore her in favor of their younger son.
  • In This Is Not a Werewolf Story, Raul's father became so depressed after his wife's disappearance that he often forgot to bring Raul to school, and when a social worker came by Raul was dirty, wearing clothes that were too small and eating his bowl of cereal on the floor. After that Raul went to the boarding school that serves as the novel's main setting; after a while, his dad stopped picking him up for the weekend, though Raul fakes going home to satisfy the staff. This last part, at least, is Justified: Raul's father has been getting fake letters indicating that Raul doesn't want to see him.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Crowfeather. The only reason he had Breezepelt was to get his Clan to forget about him running off with Leafpool, and it really shows in how well he treats his son.
    • For that matter, most of the characters ignore their family completely. The families of most of the characters who were born before the beginning of the series are unknown because they never acknowledge being related to anyone. Although this might not be abuse so much as seeing the entire Clan as their family.
    • Rainflower neglects Crookedstar at a young age… all because he broke his jaw.
  • In Kari Maaren's YA novel Weave a Circle Round, the main character's mom and stepdad are so absent that when she goes time-travelling for eighteen months and returns home on the same day she left, thus appearing to everyone else to have aged a year and a half (including a growth spurt, a tan, several inches of hair, and a lot of muscle due to her adventures) in about two hours, they legitimately do not notice a thing. While this does make some things easier, as she only has to explain the time travel to people already in the know, it's also incredibly hurtful and later contributes to an illusion of a Bad Future in which she becomes estranged from her mother and doesn't even cry at the funeral because they haven't spoken for twenty years. However, the illusion does give her the impulse to talk to her mother about how neglectful she's being, so it's implied they might fix their relationship.
  • Wicked Lovely:
    • Keenan's mother Beira. Since she's the Winter Queen, and he's the Summer King, the fact that they're archenemies has a great deal to do with this.
    • In Ink Exchange, Leslie's older brother Ren. He also happens to be abusive.
  • Happens in several Jacqueline Wilson books, most notably Dustbin Baby where April suffers neglect because her severely depressed mother cannot look after her properly. Lily Alone specifically deals with this issue; the 10-year-old heroine is left alone to care for her younger siblings because her mother goes on holiday and the babysitter doesn't show up.
  • Wings of Fire: MudWing dragons don't play parents, abandoning the eggs once they're hatched and leaving the oldest sibling to raise his/her siblings. For example, Clay's mother willingly sold his egg to the Talons of Peace for two cows.
  • The Wolves of Mercy Falls Series shows examples of this with every single main character. Grace is the most obvious case, and her mother has a Freudian Excuse for it, but Isobel openly criticises her parents for ignoring her. Sam's parents, though mainly in the Abusive Parents category, are also neglectful of him after he becomes a werewolf. It's also hinted that Cole's father, before Cole is seen to be taking after him, was ambivalent towards him. This is subverted with Olivia's family, who demonstrably care about her going missing.
  • The Marvellous Land of Snergs: Sylvia's mother barely pays attention to her daughter until Sylvia gets sick. When Sylvia goes missing shortly after, her mother frets for a while, but it is told she got over her daughter's disappearance soon.
  • Cardan in the The Folk of the Air series was completely ignored by his father, the king of Elfhame because of a prophecy saying Cardan would lead the monarchy to ruin. His mother let him be nursed by a cat rather than deal with him, and he essentially grew up running around the palace as a feral child, simultaneously ignored by his family, but still a noble in rank and thus obeyed by anyone who wasn't a blood relation.
  • Set in the same universe as The Folk of the Air, Hazel and Ben of The Darkest Part of the Forest were neglected by their parents growing up, as their mother and father were both eccentric artists more interested in their work and in throwing parties for their fellow artist friends. As children, Hazel and Ben often went around in torn/filthy clothes, ate cat food and table scraps, and slept outside without their parents noticing.
  • In The Goblin Emperor, Emperor Varenechibal neglected his fourth son, Maia, his entire life, leaving him to be raised first by his mother, and then by Resentful Guardian Setharis and keeping him away from the imperial court. The only time they ever even spoke was at his mother's funeral when Varenechibal noted unhappily that he looked just like his mother, who he hated.
  • Wayward Children: Parental neglect is a central theme. Neglectful parents leave their children alone more than watchful parents, which makes it much easier for neglected children to find a door to another world that fits them better.
  • In Wish, Charlie's mama is a Sleepy Depressive who spends most of her time in bed, making little effort to take care of Charlie or her sister Jackie.
  • Song of the Dolphin Boy: Ever since Finn's mum disappeared, his dad has spent most of his time sitting forlornly in a chair. He buys food and clothes but otherwise has mostly left Finn to raise himself. He does become more involved once he tells Finn that Sylvie was a selkie.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrested Development: Maeby Funke. Her parents barely notice she exists—forgetting they have a daughter, even when she's standing next to them. She spends the majority of the series trying (and failing) to get them to notice her.
  • Beverly Hills, 90210: Kelly was initially ignored by her mother Jackie while the latter was The Alcoholic before she went into rehab. However, in the sequel series, Jackie fell off the wagon and neglected Kelly's younger sister Silver leading to Silver moving in with Kelly. It's implied that Steve was neglected by both his father and mother, who once forgot his birthday.
  • On The Big Bang Theory, Leonard's mother treated him more like a test subject than a child, and was so cold and detached that he built a hugging machine that his dad borrowed. Needless to say, he has some unresolved mommy issues (not at all helped by her continued publishing of psychology books with little gems like "Just because you have kids doesn't mean you'll like them" right on the jacket).
  • In season 2, Virna Hunter in Boy Meets World drives off in the family's trailer home while her son Shawn is at school and doesn't show up or check on Shawn's wellbeing until season 4. Her husband Chet also dumps Shawn at the Matthews' place to chase after her and win her back, without contacting him or giving him any means of support for several weeks.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer gives us Buffy's divorced dad, who starts out okay but then slowly weans himself out of her life, and Willow's mother, who is only interested in her work, sees Willow as a statistic, apparently only ever talks to her to impress political viewpoints on her, and is generally so disinterested that she was surprised to see Willow had cut her long hair when it had been like that for months. The extent of her neglect verges on Fridge Logic when you consider that the episode establishing their neglectfulness came about a half-season after a bookcase had fallen on her and briefly landed her in a wheelchair. You'd think if anything would make her pay attention...Then there's Xander's parents, who are shown to drink to the point where Xander would rather sleep outside in demon-infested Sunnydale on Christmas eve than listen to them fight.
  • From what we see during the show, Crystale Bouvier-Montgomery, in Le cśur a ses raisons was not interested in her kids at all if not downright dangerous. To name a few, she abandoned her daughter to be raised as a mare in a stables, sent them to the laundry room during their holidays pretending to be a beach vacation, tried to abandon them in the wild, and gave them alcohol and cigarettes while in their crib. Of course, everything is entirely Played for Laughs.
    Crystale: I've never had any maternal instincts. To me, children are nothing more than a reserve for organ donations.
  • Criminal Minds: It's implied that Emily Prentiss' childhood wasn't that fantastic due to her mother's job as an ambassador. When Hotch asks her if she's leaked information to a local politician, she says that she hates politics and thinks that they "tear families apart and damage people".
  • Doctor Who:
    • Moira from Series 10 isn't as extreme an example, but she's still obviously neglectful of her foster daughter Bill. When Bill hands her a stack of graded assignments (all with grades above 85%), instead of complimenting her, Moira's only concern is whether or not Bill is sleeping with her private tutor. This leads Bill to sigh that she's not interested in men in a tone that implies she's told her many times before. Moira also gives Bill two very old £10-notes for Christmas (Bill got her a fancy scarf), and only mentions the box full of photos of Bill's dead mother in an off-hand comment.
    • "It Takes You Away": Hanne's father Erik won't be winning any awards for Father of the Year. When he discovers a version of his dead wife in another dimension and doesn't want to leave, he doesn't want his daughter to panic. So he sets up speakers outside the house to play sounds to keep his blind daughter inside.
  • Steve Urkel's unseen parents in Family Matters are a serious example. Many times over the series, Urkel describes his parents' mean actions. Examples include as pushing back in when he was born, a curfew for when he can come home, and using exploding candles on his birthday cake. Finally toward the end, they leave for Russia without him. All of it is Played for Laughs as Laura says that his parent "Took the easy way out" when they moved.
  • The elder Tams in Firefly, though unusually it seems that the real neglect as opposed to their children's implied Lonely Rich Kid status only started late in life. When their son became worried that his sister was being mistreated somehow at the boarding school she was attending, they pretty much brushed his concerns off, which is bad enough. But even to be scrupulously fair to them and concede that Simon was making some pretty dramatic claims based on not a lot of evidence, what happened when Simon subsequently got himself arrested for probably the first time in his life trying to get hold of actual proof is impossible to make excuses for. Somewhat competent parents might have either started asking some questions of their own or at least encouraged Simon to go and talk to local psychiatric services, but what does dear old Dad do? Threaten to disown Simon for embarrassing him. Canon has yet to afford Simon the opportunity of Calling the Old Man Out, sadly.
    • There's also the fact that Simon seems completely certain that if he tried to take River back to their parents, they'd just hand her back over her former captors.
  • It's implied on Friends that Chandler's parents were neglectful. His mother was concerned with her career as an erotic novelist, his father ran off to Vegas to become a drag queen, and he was left with the houseboys and later sent to boarding school. When they were around, they worried more about their messy divorce than his feelings. (They chose Thanksgiving dinner to tell him they were splitting up). As an adult, Chandler specifically describes his mother as a "Freudian nightmare" and he hasn't seen his father in years, and comments he 'should probably tell them' when he gets engaged.
  • The Full Monty (2023)'s Destiny gets it from both mom and dad. Mom Yaz is oblivious to her boyfriend stealing her twin daughters' lunch money, so Destiny gives them hers and bullies a younger student to get his money. Yaz also takes his side over Destiny's in any conflict including when he spies on Destiny changing. As for Destiny's dad, Gaz loves his daughter Destiny but continually lets her down due to his idiotic schemes.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Robert, especially with Joffrey. He even admits this on his deathbed in front of him. He also ignores his numerous — and ''real' — bastard children. Seeking out contact with them would probably reflect badly on his position, but he doesn't even make any arrangements to make sure they would be provided for in his absence. In the books, this is somewhat averted, as he has Varys send his bastard children gifts in secret and even spends time with them. Unlike in the show, several of his bastards (mainly those of noble birth) are well-known and acknowledged, so they're no secret. In the show, these characters have either been Adapted Out or their story arcs combined with other characters, and only a select few know their identity.
    • Selyse refuses to even acknowledge Shireen's existence at first.
  • Presented as a Freudian Excuse for several characters on The Good Place:
    • Eleanor's parents were self-absorbed louts who blew her college fund, regularly forgot her birthday, and were generally so inept at taking care of her that Eleanor legally emancipated herself sometime in her early teens. She eventually owns up to using their poor parenting to justify her selfish Jerkass behaviour throughout her whole life.
    • Experienced to a lesser extent by Tahani, who was The Unfavorite to the point that her parents spelled her name wrong in their will. She spent most of her life trying to earn fame and recognition to spite them.
  • Gilmore Girls: Liz, Luke's sister, was a Junkie Parent while her son Jess was growing up, and by information alluded to by her and Jess, she practically left him to raise himself while she got drunk, high, and went through a multitude of unsavory boyfriends. By the time the series starts, she's cleaned herself up, but Jess still wants nothing to do with her.
  • Gossip Girl takes this to new highs with all the parents bar Rufus. Lily used to frequently take off with new inappropriate boyfriends and leave her kids at the Waldorf's, Eleanor criticizes her bulimic daughter's appearance and apparently regularly forgets her birthday, Anne didn't even inform Nate she was planning to divorce his father, and Bart kicked Chuck out of his own home and into a hotel suite because he suspected him of pulling pranks.
  • Gotham: Jerome and Jeremiah Valeska's father, Paul Cicero, was at the very least neglectful towards Jerome, though it's never mentioned how he treated Jeremiah. When Jerome was nine, Cicero found him hiding from his mother and her lover because they had been beating him, and instead of trying to help him, he told him that the world doesn't care about him or anyone else, and he should get used to it. He also never told him that he was his father until Jerome was seventeen or eighteen, and it's implied that he only had a peripheral role in his life until Jerome was sent to Arkham for killing his mother. After that, though, he seems to have quit the circus and settled down in Gotham so that he could be closer to his son. When he and Jerome next meet, he apologizes for not being a very good father to him, but that doesn't stop Jerome from killing him.
  • Potsie of Happy Days. Always Played for Laughs. Not as bad as some examples, but his parents seemed overly gleeful to give him money to get away from them; likewise, they dumped him with the Cunninghams to get away from him; and, after his dad said something angrily, Potsie expressed that he was just glad his dad was talking to him again.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and later Young Hercules demonstrate that while the titular character had a loving mother, his father Zeus was never around. Zeus' excuse is he was busy being king of the gods and considered Hercules his favorite child. Hercules considers the answer bull since Zeus hardly does anything related to being king and is usually pursuing his romantic affairs so it's still a sore spot for our hero.
  • On Heroes, it's heavily implied but not outright stated that Angela and Arthur Petrelli actively chose to neglect Peter in favor of battling each other with Nathan as their pawn in their individual grand schemes. This, in turn, led Nathan to become Peter's de facto parent.
  • House of the Dragon: Both King Viserys and Alicent Hightower neglected to properly raise Aegon, which contributed in him becoming an unpunished Serial Rapist and the poorest possible choice to be a king (and he's aware of the latter but pushed to take the crown by the Hightower side of his family anyway).
  • Used in Jam in a sketch where a couple realize their young son hasn't come home from school. They casually make a phone call to ask if anyone's seen him and, upon being told he was seen getting into someone's car, they decide he's "probably" gone to a friend's house and ignore it. Several weeks later, he still hasn't been found—and the parents continue to do nothing. Even when they're informed that their son's body was discovered, they can't be bothered to identify him (saying that if the police think it's him, "that's good enough for us") and then get annoyed that they're expected to bury him themselves. Their only reaction to being told that a friend has confessed to the murder is to sigh and resolve to "have a word" the next time they see him.
    • This sketch is a homage to a similar sketch by Victoria Wood about a teenage champion swimmer who's attempting to cross the English Channel. Her parents decide to take a holiday on their own rather than go with her and are oblivious to the fact that she's swimming alone without supervision or adequate provisions. When she hasn't returned more than a week later, they are unconcerned and decide she is just "looking for a nice beach"; they even forget that they have multiple other children until reminded about it.
  • Keep Breathing: Liv's mom was an artist more interested in her painting than her. We see that she once even forgot to pick Liv up from school for instance and this made her have to walk home in the rain, which her dad berated her mom over.
  • Law & Order has a few cases, usually relating to some kind of death by neglect.
    • The victim in "Indifference" was technically killed by her mother, but her father is also held responsible for his role in the events, which included not even checking on his child when he came in to find her bleeding on the floor (in addition to other things, like getting his wife hooked on the drugs that triggered her violent impulses).
    • "God Bless The Child" involves a variation. The parents at the center of the case were loving, involved parents who took good care of their child in most respects, but they belonged to a religion that didn't believe in modern medicine and therefore didn't seek medical assistance when their daughter became seriously ill, leading to her death from a treatable infection.
    • The mother in "Aria" is an extreme Stage Mom who completely neglects her daughters' well-being because she's more concerned about them having successful acting careers, eventually leading one of the daughters to commit suicide because she can't take it anymore.
  • A couple of the killers in Law & Order: Criminal Intent are adult children trying to get the attention of neglectful parents, with the best-known example being Jo Gage, the daughter of a famous criminal profiler, who kills several people just to make herself a component in one of her father's cases so he'll spare a little attention for her. Even after she's caught and arrested, this is her primary consideration.
    Jo: Tell my dad everything. He'll come to my cell now. He'll listen to me. However long it takes.
  • Pops up occasionally in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, though it's usually a secondary issue to a more egregious crime.
    • One of the victims in "Bullseye" is a girl whose mother and stepfather spend all their time playing video games and ignoring her. It's eventually revealed that the mother's neglect is due to a severe mental disorder that causes her not to recognize the girl as her child, but the stepfather is perfectly in his right mind and just doesn't care.
    • "Institutional Fail" involves a child who died from neglect, despite the fact that she was supposedly getting regular home visits from the department of child services. This leads to a discovery of serious systemic problems in the department.
    • "Bang" features a Smug Snake lawyer who wants to have as many children as possible and accomplishes this by impregnating women and then convincing them to carry their babies to term by talking about how they'll all be a happy family together, only to turn around and leave them almost as soon as the baby is born, sending money but never actually being a part of his children's lives. Elliot tells him flat-out that he has no idea what it actually means to be a father.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: Dewey, this worsens once his younger brother Jamie is born. It's later revealed that his parents never took any photos of him growing up.
  • Both Al and Peggy from Married... with Children, especially Peggy she isn't just a neglectful mother but a neglectful everything. She blatantly refuses to do anything resembling work, including housework, cooking, or anything for anyone who isn't herself. Subverted later on when Seven is introduced and she dotes on him, but only him.
  • Melrose Place: Amanda Woodward's scummy businessman of a father neglected her during her childhood (once going on a business trip on Christmas Day, leaving her alone). It probably explains why she is the way that she is.
  • In The Middleman Lacey refers to her mother as Doctor Barbara Thornfield MD. PhD., doesn't recognize her voice over the phone, and is surprised at being able to speak to her the same day she tried to contact her after only 40 minutes on hold.
  • In Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, Hiroshi Randa is remembered as being barely present by his daughter Cate, likely to his secret work with Monarch taking up much of his time and exacerbated by him having a secret second family to spread what family time he did have even thinner.
  • On NCIS, the stories of DiNozzo's father are legendary. The most telling story was of how he left young Tony behind in a hotel in Maui and only remembered his son when he received the room service bill. Though DiNozzo Senior does try to make amends in later seasons.
  • Never Have I Ever:
    • Eleanor's mother abandoned her to follow her acting dreams.
    • Ben's parents can't be bothered to spend time with him. When her mother is introduced, she's keen to leave him to go to various frivolous "workshops."
      Andy Samberg: (narrating Ben's Day in the Limelight) Ben's mom and dad had a very unique parenting style, in that they did none of it.
  • The Nine Lives of Chloe King: The villain's son has dated/been friends with The Girl he's been trying to kill. if he took a half hour out of his busy day of being evil he might actually know this.
  • Lampshaded in One Tree Hill when the group attends a prom in a different, completely normal town. The students listen horrified to the soap-opera-esque description of their lives, and one ventures to ask how their parents can be okay with this. Brooke happily replies that she hasn't seen her parents for months. She, Peyton, and Hayley all live without their parents, who are all far away or dead, normally not even returning for weddings, childbirth, near death, major traumas, and graduation.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "Straight and Narrow", Rusty Dobson confides in Charlie Walters that, after his father left a year earlier, he became a troublemaker so that his corporate executive mother would pay attention to him. He says that the plan worked too well given that she sent him to the Milgram Academy to be straightened out.
    • In "Stranded", Kevin Buchanan is continually neglected by his father Alex, who frequently claims that he has no time for him but seems to have all the time in the world for his elder son Josh. Tyr'Nar takes advantage of Kevin's distant relationship with his father to convince Kevin to help him. Kevin's mother Danielle admits that she likewise spends far more time with Josh than she does with Kevin.
    • In "Seeds of Destruction", Linda Andrews' mother continually neglected her when she was a child as she was more interested in sleeping with men than in being a parent.
    • In "Family Values", Jerry Miller is a workaholic who neglects his children Candace and Russ as well as his wife Brooke. He buys the household robot Gideon to pick up the slack but Gideon ultimately replaces him as the head of the family.
  • Part of Me: Mónica would often focus on her career more than her family, a major source of conflict between her and her oldest daughter Camila.
  • The Power (2023): Margot is the mayor of Seattle, thus she's quite busy with her job, to resentment from her teenage daughter Jos, who thinks she doesn't get any time with her.
  • Pushing Daisies. After his mother died, Young Ned's father dropped him off at a boarding school and never came back. He found a new family, with two new sons… And then abandoned them, too. Although the show seemed to be building up to some kind of revelation about Ned's father which might have explained (if not justified) why he abandoned two families. Then the show was canceled.
  • Red Dwarf: While Rimmer Senior was an abusive parent of the madest degree, Mrs. Rimmer seems to have been entirely uninvested in stopping any of this, or even being involved in Rimmer's life at all. The only time we see them interacting, she's lecturing him on his poor performance at school, while totally ignoring he's hanging from a rope trap. A few episodes state that while Rimmer despised his father while still wanting his approval, he regards his mother as totally aloof, while insisting she did love him, but was just "busy".
  • Rizzoli & Isles: When dealing once again with serial killer Hoyt, Maura Isles starts looking into his childhood after he says that the two of them are alike. Maura looks back at her own childhood as well and realizes that, although her adopted parents did love her, they were much more interested in their own things than they were in her. According to Isles, the "less [she] asked for, the less time they had for [her]." Apparently it got to the point that they sent her to boarding school at ten years old. After she gave them the brochures for it.
  • Supernatural:
    • John Winchester was this sort of parent, as he only ever focused on hunting monsters rather than being a father. Among other things, he was often gone for days or weeks at a time, leaving Sam and Dean holed up in weekly motels and schools, and never spent Christmas with his sons. The most stand-out example however is when he leaves his nine- and five-year-old alone in a motel room with a loaded shotgun for days while he's hunting a monster that preys on children.
    • God is one too. Only four of his angelic children had ever seen him in the first place (most likely Michael, Lucifer, Raphael, and Gabriel) and most of the angels know damn well that Lucifer was the favorite. Where did that leave the rest of them? He's actually gone so far as to neglect all of the angels, ignoring them as they fight and kill themselves in civil war, and evidently not caring that one of his Archangels is dead, two of them are locked in a cage in Hell, and the last is trying to take control of Heaven through brutal force.
  • This seems to be the case with Scott's father in Teen Wolf. As an FBI agent, it's likely he was a workaholic with little time for his wife and child.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "The Bewitchin' Pool", Gloria and Gil Sharewood are both extremely self-obsessed and show their children Sport and Jeb no affection. Gloria has to prompt Gil to dive for the kids when they vanish into the pool. She only worries about them once it looks like they might have drowned.
  • Though they obviously do love him, the Grimes of The Walking Dead (2010) display a ridiculous amount of nonchalance for what their son Carl does, allowing him to just wander off whenever he pleases despite the fact it's the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Veronica Mars has horrible parents in spades.
    • Veronica's mother Lianne was implied to be this. Lianne was an alcoholic, and in the series premiere, straight up walks out on her family without telling anyone she was leaving. Lianne returns partway through season 1 wanting to fix her problems, but quickly falls off the wagon again and abandons her family for good.
    • Logan Echolls' mother Lynn is this to some degree. Being addicted to pills and alcohol, in one episode she's shown drinking and ignoring her husband as he loudly beats Logan in the next room.
  • The Vegas from Victorious are shown this way from time to time. In one episode, their daughter Trina has her wisdom teeth removed. They take a vacation and leave Trina in the care of their other daughter.
    • Cat's parents are implied to be this. Most likely because they're too busy taking care of Cat's mentally unstable older brother. Cat eventually moves in with her grandmother.
    • Andre lives with his mentally unstable grandmother, while his parents are never mentioned or seen. From what we've seen it looks like Andre is taking care of his grandmother rather than the other way around.
  • The Wire:
    • Jimmy McNulty loves his sons, but repeatedly shows ill judgment when he's with them (e.g. losing them in a supermarket, leaving them alone at home in the middle of the night, etc.)
    • Frank Sobotka shows little affection and attention toward his wayward oldest son Ziggy until it's too late for both of them.
    • Many of the young gang members have parental neglect in their background. Wallace had run away from his Alcoholic Mom and lives in a squatted vacant with a dozen other orphaned or abandoned boys. Duquan's parents are drug addicts who will even sell his new school clothes to score drugs, and Michael's mother is a absent drug addict and apologist for his sexually abusive stepfather. Even Namond, who is in many ways Spoiled Rotten, is also neglected emotionally by his mother, who expects him to toughen up and start providing for the family by selling drugs and would rather he spent a weekend in Juvenile Hell than cut her shopping trip short.
  • It is implied in The X-Files that Mulder's parents became neglectful towards him after Samantha went missing. It's noted that they divorced shortly after she disappeared and that "no one would talk about it." Nothing is ever explicitly said, but his attitude about it says that he simply waited until he was old enough to leave and then did — he went to England for college. He sees his parents rarely before their respective deaths. In "Sein und Zeit", it's also hinted that that Mulder's mother has known for years that Samantha actually died when she was 14, and she never told Mulder. However, this isn't to say that Mulder doesn't love them — he never stops despising Krycek for killing his father, and when Scully performs an autopsy on his mother after she dies and tells him that she killed herself to avoid the suffering that would follow her cancer (that she never told him about) he breaks down crying in Scully's arms.
  • Young Sheldon: In "A Stolen Truck and Going on the Lam", Mary and George don't notice Missy having run from home. They notice George's truck missing, and report it to the police. It takes the cop insisting on asking their daughter if she'd heard anything during the thievery for them to go call Missy and realize she's gone.

  • The titular character of the Melanie Martinez Concept Album Cry-Baby has two distant parents keeping up a Happy Marriage Charade. Her mother is an Alcoholic Parent who has had a poor opinion of Cry Baby from the day she was born, though she seems to like her behind her dysfunctional behavior. Her father is distant in general and has a mistress. The mother kills both him and his lover, and is implied to have tried to kill her daughter.
  • The narrator of the song "The Mute" by Radical Face suffers from this. The song ends with the titular mute running away from home so their parents can be happy without them. The music video makes it seem a bit more complicated; while the father visibly ignores the child, the mother's visibly distraught when she's gone.
  • Tears for Fears:
    • "Suffer the Children" focuses on the profound loneliness that a child feels because of his absent parents.
      It's a sad affair
      When there's no one there
      He calls out in the night
      And it's so unfair
      At least it seems that way
      When you gave him his life

      And all this time he's been getting you down
      You ought to pick him up when there's no one around
      And convince him
      Oh just talk to him
      'cause he knows in his heart you won't be home soon
      He's an only child in an only room
      And he's dependent on you
      Oh he's dependent on you
    • Roland Orzabal (the main songwriter) has confirmed that "Pale Shelter" is about the pain and insecurity that stems from not receiving enough (or any) warmth and affection from one's parents.
      I'm calling you, I'm calling you
      I asked for more and more
      How can I be sure
      When you don't give me love
      You gave me pale shelter
      You don't give me love
      You give me cold hands
  • The Shibasaki siblings have this backstory in Confession Executive Committee. Their mother was once a happy and gentle person, but following her divorce from their dad and her taking custody of the children, she changed. She's shown going off with lovers every night, and in "Lonely Boy" the children offhandedly mention that they've grown accustomed to her absence. The times she is present in their lives, it's not very pleasant.

  • One episode of Sick Sad World mentioned a mom who left her infant in her car while she snuck onto an inactive roller coaster.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • One of the main points of contention during Rey Mysterio's feud with his son Dominik Mysterio is the fact that, as much Rey loved his children, he wasn't around much thanks to prioritizing his wrestling career over being there for their childhoods. Dominik described one story where Rey promised to attend his eighth grade graduation if he got good grades, only to end up missing the ceremony in order to perform at that year's WrestleMania. While many of Dominik's complaints about his father were unwarranted, this one was acknowledged as the only grievance that was legitimate, and Rey apologized for it.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Emperor of Mankind's neglect of his sons, the Primarchs, from Warhammer 40,000 definitely counts. This resulted in the largest, bloodiest war the galaxy had ever seen. Most of them had better relationships with their adoptive parents than the Emperor. Part of the reason is the Primarchs come from very different cultures and other part is the Emperor is old. And because of that he no longer has the same concept of time or relationships as everyone else. For example, The Emperor tells his religious zealot of son Lorgar Aurelian to cease his worship of his father as a god. To The Emperor, once should have been enough. To Lorgar, his most holy Father had told him once in a hundred years. What the Emperor did after, while well-meaning, didn't help Lorgar in the slightest.
    • Of course, the latest novels in the Horus Heresy series revealed the real reason for the Emperor's callousness towards his sons. He never considered the Primarchs as sons in the first instance. He only ever saw them as tools to realise his ambitions. Malcador even implies he actually intended some of them to betray him.
    • Roboute Guilliman was brought back from stasis and met with his father. No one knows what they told each other, but Roboute was clearly less than happy with him and his attitude, even though he still set out with a "let's start fixing this dump" attitude after.

  • Next to Normal: Natalie's parents are explicitly neglectful, mostly due to her mother suffering from bipolar psychosis and her father attempting to help her (while also struggling with depression). It is implied that her model behavior and excellent grades were a plea for attention — one that clearly did not work, and she acts out occasionally in anger towards her parents for the way she grew up. When she purposefully messes up an extremely important piano recital and begins abusing her mother's prescription medication, her parents barely notice or react. While it does differ from some other tropes in that they both truly loved Natalie and never intended to do her harm, it was most definitely neglect.
    • Depending on your point of view, Dan and Gabe. The son's ghost seems to desperately want to be seen by the father, but he refuses to even speak his son's name, let alone acknowledge him.
  • The parents in Tommy take the cake for leaving their deaf, dumb, and blind son with his abusive cousin and, later, with a drunk child molester. There's also that moment where they attempt to "cure" him by paying a gypsy to feed him acid.
  • In Mrs. Hawking of the Mrs. Hawking play series, the titular protagonist says she preferred when she was neglected by her father because it meant he left her to her own devices and didn't interfere with her. The first time he actually paid attention to her he forced her into a marriage she didn't want.
  • Jeremy's father in Be More Chill fell into depression after his wife left him to the point of losing all motivation and neglecting his son. Jeremy finally snaps, and at the Squip's nudging, calls him out for seeemingly not caring about him. This makes his father realize that he needs to change and take his role as a father more seriously.
  • Olive's mom in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee moved to India for a "spiritual journey," leaving Olive with an emotionally (and in some productions, physically) abusive father.
  • Elisabeth: As a child, Rudolf is the subject of what amounted to a custody battle between his mother on one side and his father plus grandmother on the other. Sisi was not allowed to take care of any of her older children because she was a young mother and as such, according to Sophie, unfit to raise a child. Eventually, Franz Joseph relents and gives Sisi the right to decide how her children are educated at the end of act 1. Only a few songs later, young Rudolf sings of being scared and lonely without anyone to comfort him because his mother is never home. Adult Rudolf continues to adore (borderline worship) his mother, as he did in real life, despite her continued emotional and physical distance from him. The final straw for his being Driven to Suicide is her refusal to get involved with his increasingly stressful life.
  • In Jasper in Deadland, Jasper's father is an Addled Addict, who cares more about his drugs and alcohol than his son. It's implied that Jasper's mother was there for him until she decided she'd had enough, and abandoned him and her husband.

    Video Games 
  • Isaac Clarke from Dead Space was never priority number one for his parents, especially not his mother. Data logs reveal the reason he hates Unitologists so much is that his mother used the money he was going to use to go to college on the cult. That didn't leave a good impression of Unitology (or his mother) on Isaac.
  • Die Hard: Vendetta introduces a (non-canon) new villain, Piet Gruber, the son of Hans Gruber from the original Die Hard. As it turns out, Hans was quite the neglectful dad who barely spoke to Piet, and Piet is actually glad his father's dead.
  • Cid of the Lufaine from Dissidia Final Fantasy was originally a very caring parent to Chaos before starting the cycles of war. However, he was a very lousy father to the Warrior of Light, who shortly after being born, was thrown into the conflict by his father without an identity or a childhood to speak of.
  • God of War (PS4): Kratos isn't very close to his son Atreus, with it being implied that he was absent for most of the boy's childhood and that the events of the game were the first big thing they actually did together. In this case, he does genuinely care about his son, but he's utterly petrified that he might accidentally hurt Atreus or pass on his old bad habits.
  • Silent Hill: Homecoming has this in SPADES. Alex Shephard is practically forgotten by his parents, who are very distant with him, giving him little to no attention at all while absolutely doting on his much younger brother, Josh, even giving the child a family ring that has a great deal of meaning to it. The boy acts like a brat about it to his brother, evidently loving to rub how he's their favorite in his older brother's face. This ends badly. While Alex is jealous, to his credit he does still love his family and does everything he can, even descending into what seems like hell itself, to find and rescue his brother. It turns out his family had a reason for being so distant — every fifty years, the townspeople had to sacrifice one of their children in order to appease their God and keep all hell from breaking loose. Alex's parents purposely remained distant with him, not wanting him to experience or learn compassion, love, or happiness, so the inevitable death of their son would be easier on all of them. Alex's parents seem to realize how wrong this was, however, as they beg for his forgiveness before their deaths-though the realization of how wrong they were seems to only come after Alex accidentally killed Josh out of jealousy brought on by the aforementioned ring.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon gets another mention here, considering Harlan Wade had Alma locked up inside a psychically shielded vault and kept in a drug-induced coma for the majority of her life.
  • Tales of the Abyss has Luke fon Fabre. By the beginning of the game, he had been held captive in his own home for seven years, partially by a distant father and doting mother. The conditions improved.
  • The manga adaptation of Tales of Symphonia depicts Zelos Wilder's early life as this, with his mother feigning illness simply to get him out of her sight. Being a child, he tries to win her affections. It doesn't work. Colette Brunel's family is also implied to be distant, but that's more because it's better not to get attached to the sacrificial lamb needed to save the world than actual contempt.
  • Angela in Trials of Mana; her mom ignored her for the majority of her life and then tries to kill her at the beginning of the game. Granted this is because she was being manipulated by the Crimson Wizard, but still...
  • Pokémon:
  • It was stated in a Codec conversation in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty that Fatman's parents neglected Fatman while he was a kid, and as a result, he often hung around clock stores, explaining why he is obsessed with time.
  • Persona:
    • In Persona 3, Yukari's mother, after the death of her husband and Yukari's father, was emotionally broken to the point at which she started throwing herself into shallow relationships with men and hardly ever seeing her daughter. Later on in Yukari's Social Link, Yukari's mother sees the error of her ways, and Yukari herself begins to understand what it means to lose someone you love, so Yukari, albeit hesitantly, decides to start the process of reconciliation with her mother.
    • In Persona 4, Ryotaro Dojima (the protagonist's uncle and guardian) is an example of this to his daughter, Nanako. Despite being just 6-7 years old, she was forced to take care of herself as she was left home alone most days with nobody else to do the housework. Unlike most examples, the reasons for this are explored and Dojima is portrayed as a good guy who just doesn't know how to be a parent. Specifically, his wife was killed in a hit-and-run accident, and he's been a workaholic ever since, trying to solve the case while simultaneously running from his daughter because he's afraid of failing her. Fortunately, it's possible for the player to help repair this broken family.
  • BioShock
    • The prequel novel to the first game, Bioshock Rapture, reveals that Fontaine was left at an orphanage when he was young because his father couldn't be bothered to take care of him and that he drinks and sleeps around to keep himself too distracted to think about it.
    • Zachary Comstock from BioShock Infinite' has one of the worst examples: he needs an heir and goes all Henry VIII to get her, and what does he do? Locks her up for nineteen years, no first meeting ever. Granted, she has extradimensional radiation, but he already has cancer and she's immune. Booker has a LOT to say to Comstock about this.
  • Ellen from The Witch's House is a downright depressing example. Ellen's father ignored Ellen's very existence; downright disregarding her and only paying attention to her mother. Ellen's mother struggled to give her attention but couldn't cope entirely with having a terminally ill daughter, and tried to leave her family for a rich man. Ellen, in a furious rage, killed them both. It's hard not to see it as a good thing. Of course, this is only revealed in the prequel novel; in the game, it's hinted at but not gone into detail.
  • Professor Layton, tends to greatly neglect his adoptive daughter Flora, sometimes completely forgetting about her on occasion being to distracted with a case and leaving her behind to "protect her" when her back is turned.
    • Luke Triton's own father was neglectful in the Last Specter game but only because he was stressed and preoccupied because he was being blackmailed with his Hostage wife.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series' backstory, the legendary Yokudan (ancestors of the Redguards) hero and Ansei, Frandar Hunding, was not present for much of his son Divad's life. After traveling Yokuda as a Knight Errant and winning 90 duels without a loss in his youth, Frandar considered himself invincible and retired to Mount Hattu to write his treatise on sword techniques, the Book of Circles. Decades later, when the Yokudan Emperor Hira tried to consolidate power by eliminating the Ansei, Divad and the other Ansei came to Frandar to ask him to be their leader in battle. Frandar reluctantly accepted and led them to victory. Despite this, due to being considered "red with blood" by the Yokudan people, Frandar, Divad, and the other Ansei chose to self-exile from Yokuda to Tamriel. Frandar and Divad would finally bond there, and Divad would wipe out the giant goblins of Hammerfell after Frandar fell in battle to them.
  • In The Darkside Detective, Alice's father is rich but neglectful, leaving her entirely in the hands of her nanny and initially completely failing to notice that she's disappeared.
  • Justified in We Happy Few. Sally loves her baby daughter Gwen, but since they're living in a Childless Dystopia where terrible things happen to mothers and children, she doesn't have anyone who can help her and has to keep Gwen confined to her attic bedroom at all times to make sure people on the street don't hear her cry. She often has to leave Gwen alone in her crib for hours on end in order to find ingredients for the drugs she makes to keep the Bobbies off her back, and she commissions a feeder from Lionel Castershire to ensure that she can leave Gwen for longer stretches of time without having to come back. Sally absolutely hates this, acknowledges that what she's doing is cold and harsh, but also that she has no other choice. She's trying to make a better life for her baby though, as her motivation for escaping town is to ensure Gwen can grow up safely in the countryside.
  • A random event in Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town would reveal that the Doctor's parents were both medical professionals and were always too busy to pay attention to him.
  • Yes, Your Grace: Near the end of the game, Ivo rants about his father Talys acting like he doesn't exist. This is supported by Talys' own behavior early in the game, as he can only tell Ivo has royal blood and has been taught by tutors when asked about him... by the father of Ivo's future wife. During the wedding itself, Talys fulfills only the bare minimum of parental obligations and tries to leave the wedding as soon as he can to continue the research he's been doing.
  • LISA: During the opening sequence, it is shown that Lisa and Brad's childhood home was extremely untidy and dirty, being littered with various stains and empty bottles. Brad ends up following in his father's footsteps with Buddy after he relapses, oftentimes ignoring her and remaining unconscious for the majority of the time, only interacting with her when he prevents her from leaving the house.
  • What Remains of Edith Finch has Kay Finch, who steps away from bathing her infant, Gregory, to speak on the phone with her husband. And the result is why a baby should NEVER left be left alone in the tub: He bumps the faucet on and drowns.

    Visual Novels 
  • Astra's Garden: Vinegar is incurably ill and needs to constantly take medicine to keep her body from rotting to pieces. Her parent, however, doesn't take her illness seriously and doesn't bother helping her get more medicine when she runs out, causing her to miss a week's worth of medication, which worsens her illness.
  • In Every Day's Different Yuika's parents only pay attention to her to scold her when she fails to live her life according to their decisions for her while Katsuki's parents rarely bother to even come home to their daughters.
  • The Fruit of Grisaia: Of the 6 main characters, 5 suffer from this in some capacity (talk about useless adults).
    • Yuuji's parents never cared about him, in fact his father outright despised him.
    • Makina's father was a decent man, but her psychopathic mother never saw her as more than a puppet, easily disposable if she could no longer further her interest. She even assassinated her father, after he wanted to come clean about the corrupted family.
    • Yumiko's father was incapable of feeling love, only seeing her as an asset, shipping her off to her mother's parents when her presence became a burden. Her mother was better, but thanks to her mentally and physically fragile nature she could never really give her the affection and attention she desired.
    • Michiru's mother was whoever her father brought home that night, and while her father genuinely cared for her at the beginning, after her academic, mental and physical shortcomings surfaced, he himself started to see Michiru as a failure and gradually grew distant to her.
    • Sachi's parents are the mildest case, as they were genuinely nice and caring people, however they made the misguided decision to bury themselves in work, thinking that their increased income, compared to their previously rather poor finances, would buy their daughter love, while she just wanted to spend time with them. This led to them growing distant from Sachi, who, being fed up with their behavior, ran away on her birthday, which ultimately led to her parents getting run over by a truck and scarring Sachi for life.
  • In Heart of the Woods, Evelyn Fischer tends to keep her daughter Morgan at arm's length whenever she isn't emotionally abusing her and controlling her life. Morgan points out that after she learned how to cook, Evelyn stopped making dinner for her. Evelyn is much worse than she seems, since she's planning on stealing Morgan's body the same way she stole the body of Morgan's real mother.
  • In Melody, Arnold leaves the title character to look after herself when she’s still sick after a night of violent vomiting. If Amy finds out the true extent of this, she gets so angry that she disinvites Arnold from her birthday dinner.
  • In Shining Song Starnova, Nemu Akimoto remembers her late birth mother as a kind and loving woman, and she genuinely was... for a time, at least. Then her mother suffered a psychotic breakdown and stopped taking care of Nemu, leaving her to grow sickly and malnourished. Haruna, the wife of Nemu’s father, was so horrified by the poor girl’s condition when she came to check up on them that she took Nemu away and adopted her for Nemu’s own safety.

    Web Animation 
  • Camp Camp:
    • Max claims the only reason he's at Camp Campbell is that his parents didn't want to deal with him for the summer. Though considering his attitude it's not that surprising. Played much more seriously in the Season 2 finale "Parents Day"; not only did his parents not show up to the titular event, but it's also revealed that they didn't even bother to sign him up for a specific camp. They just wanted him gone. And despite Max's attempts to act otherwise, it becomes clear that their neglect has been very hurtful to him.
    • To as lesser extent, Nikki's mother, who spends most of Parents Day blowing off her daughter's attempts to get her attention.
    • Neil at one point plans to invoke this trope by running home to his dad and telling him that his mother sent him to an abusive summer camp in order to get his mother to try and buy back his love.
  • Little Pickle Town has this as Nikolai's backstory in CHOKE. While on some level his stepmother cared about him, she mostly distanced herself away and discouraged him from seeing her as a mother figure. Aside from giving him an allowance off of her prostitution job and giving him his late father's inheritance money, she barely makes contact by the time he turns eighteen and outright leaves. It's implied several times that she both can't look at Nikolai without seeing his father's face in him, and that she feels she has no right to take the place of his mother even though she was a family friend before his birth mother died and genuinely loved both mother and father.

  • Sandra and Woo: The trope is played with. Done straight initially because Richard ignores Sandra's protests that she is hungry to focus on his video game. Then subverted because in order to pacify her Richard hands her money to go out to eat but Sandra protests that he gave her $100, which Richard still waves off. The last panel is Sandra ordering steak and lobster at a fancy gourmet restaurant as she tells the reader that parental neglect sometimes works out in your favor.
  • In Mayonaka Densha, Hatsune's mother at first just appears to have an over-the-top case of Parental Obliviousness which seems to be played for comedy, but it is later revealed Hatsune is genuinely emotionally damaged by how much her mother doesn't pay attention to her. She tells Tom a story about how she once broke her leg as a child, had to haul herself up to her apartment, covered in blood, and phone for the ambulance herself, Hatsune's mother simply told her to be quiet because she was distracting her. Tom's in tears by the end.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Vaarsuvius qualifies as a neglectful parent to their adopted children, considering how they left their family to become an adventurer, a fairly dangerous profession, without giving any idea when they would return. And, despite having access to magic that can communicate with them, they do not bother to call home. In over 600 strips, their children are not even mentioned until an ancient black dragon threatened to eat them in revenge for Vaarsuvius killing the dragon's child.
    • Eugene Greenhilt is this to Roy but not Julia, favoring her because she chose to follow in his footsteps as a spellcaster, where Roy maintains the family tradition of being a fighter. This neglect goes as far at one point as to not realizing he had more than one son. Eugene's epitaph even reads "Devoted Husband, Mighty Wizard, Passable Father."
  • Zip's parents in DDG are strongly implied to be examples of the neglect and emotional abuse types.
  • Yuki's father in Ménage ŕ 3 could fall into this category, as he repeatedly allowed her to be exposed to tentacle porn in her preteen days. It seems to be more carelessness than maliciousness on his part, but either way it left lasting mental scars.
  • Drowtales:
    • Though not universal, this is a very strong tradition among the Val class. The mother will usually raise her first daughter, but any successive children are usually given to elder siblings or even servants to raise so that the mother can play politics. In Val families, fathers almost never have a role in raising their children. It is not uncommon for the children of Vals to feel no bond towards their parents. This is ultimately Diva'ratrika's undoing.
    • Quaintana let her only heir be raised by the aggressively unfit-to-do-so Syphile, while keeping her away from her real mother, all while keeping her under the belief that she was her mother. It's not hard to understand how Ariel has serious mommy issues, up to and including a desire to murder her "mommy not-so-dearest".
    • Similarly, Snadhya'rune found a way to have a child with surrogates, only to abandon her until she was twenty for not displaying a specific genetic trait (Anti-Magic). Kalki is driven by her resentment for being abandoned and treated like a tool no matter how much work she puts into being Snadhya'rune's attack dog.
    • Ash'waren was shown to be this, since her reaction to hearing that her daughter Faen had returned from exile was a simple "who?" and then asking which daughter she was, and after being reminded with the year Faen was born only commented that her father was a bad lay. Though not a justification, the reason for this is that she's implied to have dozens if not hundreds of children due to being The Ageless, and she's a bit of a cloudcuckoolander anyway, not to mention that in the above scene, she'd clearly been drinking. Ultimately, her family proves to be disloyal, and she is forced to flee her own clan to avoid the same fate as Diva'ratrika.
  • Homestuck:
    • Rose and her aloof mother only interact in what Rose interprets as passive-aggressive battles of saccharine affection. Her interpretation of her mother, a classy, successful scientist (and alcoholic), seems either partially or entirely true. Though her mother may care (and how can you argue with that pony?) she is very distant. Averted later. Rose's reaction to her death shows that the passive-aggressive stuff was mostly just a charade, and she still considered herself close to her mother.
    • Gamzee's lusus is less ambiguous — he was just never there. Which didn't stop Gamzee from sitting out by the beach sometimes, waiting for "the old goat" to come home. It is a very good thing that his lusus was never around, considering it is pretty much Ax-Crazy.
    • Dave has to keep food in his closet, his brother seemingly is rarely around, and stuff in their apartment is insanely dangerous or rigged with cameras so Bro can film puppet porn.
  • In No Rest for the Wicked, the parents have, at the very least, not kept careful watch to keep the witch from stealing their children.
  • In Dubious Company, during Elly's homecoming, the crew finds his parents more interested in the newspaper than the return of their long-missing son. It helps explain why he is timid, prone to emotional outbursts, and clingy. At least his sister was happy to see him.
  • Peter of Peter Is the Wolf is viewed as a disappointment by his parents for being born a runt in a werewolf culture that views size and strength as extremely important. He spent most of his life being openly mocked by them and generally suffering from every kind of neglect they could dish out. Later, after he is Nearly raped, dumped by the girlfriend who walked in and mistook it for him cheating on her and a very real chance of being executed by his pack for this breakup, he has to move back in with them for a few days. They respond to this Trauma Conga Line by making him sleep in the literal doghouse in their backyard because they can't be bothered to make room for him.
  • In Stand Still, Stay Silent Torbjörn and Siv Västerström are a milder version of this. While they are definitely caring and nowhere near criminally negligent, their children are unruly enough that the woman who was babysitting them while they were out of town is introduced quitting her job. Promising her more money is not enough to convince her to come back. For most of the actual story, their time is taken up by being Mission Control to the expedition. Torbjörn's brother also seems to have made poor choices when it comes to Emil's private tutors and to have been a frequently absent father to him, which may make this a family-wide problem.
  • To Prevent World Peace: The reason Tiffany's so messed up:
    • Her irresponsible mother got pregnant out of high school and died in a car crash.
    • Her Aunt never wanted children, only took care of Tiffany out of begrudging duty, and wasn't sad when Tiffany was believed to have died. Or at least, Tiffany thinks that her aunt wasn't sad. In the commentary for page 413:
    "Tiffany once described her funeral to Chronos as, "I saw my funeral years ago. No one even cried at it."
    This is true, but what little Tiffany didn't realize was that that didn't mean nobody was sad. It just meant that a) they didn't know her well, and b) even some of the ones who had known her slightly better than others felt more confusion than anything."
    • The first father figure to actually care for her was a born mage who ended up becoming a criminal in an impulsive act of revenge.
  • Kaiten Mutenmaru: It's heavily implied that Pain and Yamai Solitude were neglectful of their son, Sick:
    • Pain didn't want Sick involved in his business, so he coldly had their butler send the boy to his room. Sick promptly asked why Yamai never returned home, only for his butler to tell him that he didn't have to know everything. The butler had a good reason for keeping Sick ignorant since the card for Yamai's character in the game reveals that she was away gallivanting to satisfy her unfulfilled desire and out of sloth.
    • Sick told Anne that his bouquet for her had no one in his house to see it and that he would rather share her few simple sandwiches than eat luxurious food alone in his house.
  • My Mamma is In — Burned is Out!: One of the science lovers states that his mamma sucked because she was addicted to heroin and left him at the steps of a science altar.
  • Rain (2010): Emily's mother neglects her constantly and doesn't even bother to visit her house to check in on her.
  • Rebirth: While Noah and Parish were certainly present in Neo's life, they barely paid any attention to him, focusing all of it on his younger brother, Abel. This is largely because Neo is the product of Parish's affair with Noah's brother Ian, leading Noah to neglect him. Parish went along with this as well.
  • Hark! A Vagrant plays this for laughs in the comics about The Great Gatsby. Since Daisy and Tom's daughter disappears completely after she's introduced, the comic takes this to its logical conlusion. WHAT BABY

    Web Videos 
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
    • The Critic's mother still lives with her son, but while he calls her his world, she doesn't seem to give a shit when he gets Driven to Suicide, has a ragey meltdown, or gets killed by whoever he's pissed off this time.
    • Though he had mostly nice things to say about Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea and his critiques were fairly minor, his one genuine complaint about the film was the Sosuke's mother's blatant neglect for his safety due to her ridiculously dangerous driving and her abandoning him during a hurricane.
  • The Autobiography of Jane Eyre: Mr Rochester is Adele's biological or legal father in this Setting Update. He's rather unconcerned about his daughter other than that he keeps her intellectually challenged because she's an extremely gifted Child Prodigy—so he hires a tutor for her and she has thousands of extracurricular activities. He's probably not intentionally unkind and he might genuinely try to do his best but he comes off as inattentive or bossy, not to mention that he is said to travel a lot and he rarely stays at his home with her. Adele says he always brings her presents and she genuinely likes what she receives in episode 12. She's also rather cheerful in his presence, so he can't be all bad, but the guy has issues.
  • Positively Dreadful: Sideburns' mother is seen brushing him off when he tries talking to her, and flat-out ignoring him as he's chased down the street.
  • Video Game High School:
    • Brian's mom spends all of her time playing games. While games are a big deal in this universe (it's implied gaming is how she makes money, for one thing), she never acknowledges Brian even when they live in the same house. She didn't notice her son got a scholarship to a prestigious high school until the second he left, at one point she promises to come visit but sends the cat instead, and on parents' weekend, Brian dismisses the possibility of her coming since it's "double xp weekend" in her game.
    • Jenny Matrix's mother Mary is both completely absent and a controlling Stage Mom dedicated to making sure her daughter is one of the best FPS players in history. This gets worse in the second season when Mary becomes the FPS coach and still refuses to give her daughter the slightest measure of affection. When Mary gets awarded a parent of the year award, she forces Jenny to give a speech, and while trying to write it Jenny breaks down in tears because she cannot think of a single good memory of her mother. Jenny even says her father had to teach her basic girl stuff like doing her hair and talking to boys because her mother was just never around.
    • Ted Wong's parents divorced when he was ten. His mother didn't want him and left him with his father, who bought him a condo twenty minutes away and then ignored him unless he needed something. Ted was basically forced to raise himself (except for a monthly maid and a "wise mailman"), and the worst part is that he doesn't see anything wrong with this situation until his horrified friends point it out.

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventure Time we have Lemongrab. His "mother" Princess Bubblegum, the ruler of an entire kingdom, apparently didn't want to handle the responsibility of raising a brain-damaged, failed science experiment, so she stuck him in a castle to be raised by servants in near total isolation from the outside world. It's rather common. Finn's parents left him alone in a forest (he was lucky enough to be found by a kindly couple before too long), and Marceline's father's primary interaction with her was to steal her french fries at one point.
  • Stan and Francine Smith from American Dad! In the episode where Francine became the surrogate for their gay neighbors, the B plot had Roger and Steve hiding in the attic from Klaus. Stan received a call from the principal saying that his son wasn't in school for 9 months, and didn't give it a second thought. Francine didn't seem to even care that her son was missing for almost a year. Then there's the incident with the CIA hunting trip, and Steve runs away to live in the woods for a year. Stan lets him go because "he's a man", and Francine assumes that Hayley ran away as well (until she pointed out that she was right there). Oddly enough, at other times Francine is too in Steve's life.
  • Animaniacs has Mindy's mother, who leaves her daughter in the care of Buttons, one time even doing so to attend a "Better Parenting class".
  • Camp Lazlo: Lumpus' jerkass attitude is implied to come from the fact his dad didn't give him much attention.
  • The Cleveland Show: Donna's ex-husband Robert is this in spades. He can barely remember his own children's names, leaves his son Rallo-a five-year-old-alone in his apartment, and generally does NOTHING to spend time with them; that said, he does have something of a bond with Cleveland, Jr.-despite not being his biological father-and towards the end of the series, he adopts a toddler with Donna's mother Dee Dee.
  • In The Crumpets, Ma has a tendency to neglect her 142 children due to her devotion to inventing machines and loving her husband, who is tasked to rear the kids. In "Family Secrets", Ditzy, their daughter whose head can float off from her body, gets her head grounded (from reading a letter that may be proof of Pa having an affair) and approaches Ma for help. Ma, who is busy looking for her missing husband, identifies Ditzy's problem as "very minor", asks her where he is, and leaves before her daughter was going to finish her sentence, possibly on what she suspects of her father.
  • Danny Phantom: Danny's parents border on neglectful, especially his father Jack, because they're so obsessive about ghosts (with a yearly fight over whether Santa Claus existed or not during Christmas that resulted in various problems for Danny). Though the series has also taken into great account that family means as much to them as does ghost hunting, going to great lengths to protect their children and to show how much they love them.
  • In Daria, Jane's Hippie Parents take Hands-Off Parenting to such an extreme that it crosses over into this trope. They're often away for long periods of time, leaving the kids on their own. Her parents clearly mean well, as they believe that they're giving their kids freedom, but they've all grown up to be dysfunctional in some way, though Jane is the most stable.
  • Duckman's mother forgot her son's name, didn't care that he skipped school because of bullying, went on a cruise when an auto accident left him on the brink of death, and missed his graduation and wedding. Duckman himself isn't much better, often forgetting one of his son's names and consistently distancing himself from his oldest child who desperately craves Duckman's love and affection.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy:
    • Ed is implied to have neglectful parents. His mother treats him as The Un-Favourite compared to his spoiled sister, who abuses him, and his father is largely apathetic to all this, as summed up by the following linenote :
      Ed: The school will tell Sarah, and Sarah will tell Mom, and Mom will tell Dad, and DAD WILL JUST SIT THERE AND WATCH TV!
    • Edd's parents are an interesting case; they only seem to communicate with him through numerous sticky notes pasted all over the house, but the notes themselves have kind, nurturing words and pieces of personal advice. This may just be a result of the show not showing any adults.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • Timmy's parents are quite neglectful and extremely selfish. They do love him though; they're more like man children than truly evil abusers. Still, there are times when they put Timmy's happiness after their own, and in the "Wishology" trilogy, they fail to notice he's been in Fairy World for an extended period of time, and don't notice they forgot to take him on two family vacations. It speaks volumes when, in part one, Timmy shrugs off the fact that they don't remember they have a son. The mother has even openly spent Timmy's college fund on stuff for herself when viewing the home shopping channel. Also, as a one-line throwaway gag when they notice "fly head Timmy" eating garbage, they refer to how they frequently forget to make dinner for three people (they only make dinner for themselves).
    • As bad as Timmy's parents are, Remy Buxaplenty's are even worse (and the reason why he has a Godfather in the first place). They spend a minute a day with their son (literally timed down to the second) and don't even remember his name (they even called him "Liam" in one scene). If "Remy Rides Again" is any indication, they've only gotten worse: when Timmy tried to fix this situation by taking away their wealth and stranding the family on a desert island so they'd spend time with Remy, they just gathered riches again (his father struck oil and his mother converted the island to a tropical resort) and returned to ignoring Remy.
    • Timmy himself will become a neglectful parent toward his own children (Tommy and Tammy) in the future, as a possible side effect of the Laser-Guided Amnesia we all know he's going to get when he gets older. He says that the purpose of the time capsule was so that he'd remember Vicky's atrocities to prevent his fate from happening to his future kids... so his memory loss might have wiped the motive away too.
    • In general, many of the children Fairy Godparents look after are like this. They only go to children who are miserable and unhappy, and many of the ones we see have Parental Neglect who make them that way.
  • Family Guy. Even leaving out Meg, Peter and Lois have gotten to the point where they barely even see their children anymore. Stewie is almost always left alone with Brian while Chris seems to barely exist. In fact, Peter has gone as far as to say that he can't stand his kids. Nowhere is this trope shown better than in the episode where Stewie gets a horrible head injury that only gets worse as he is not taken to the hospital (Meg and Chris try to hide his injury in fear that they'll get in trouble). When Peter finds out, he commends the children on trying to hide the problem, and reveals that he did the same to each of them when they were younger ("Sometimes by accident, sometimes when the Patriots lost"). This only gets worse as he tries to get Lois to think she did it by throwing Stewie in front of the car as Lois backs up over him. Lois then suggests they hide it and pin the blame on someone else. That's if the kids are lucky, by the way. Usually, they are the victims of abuse of all four categories (well, all four for Meg, at least).
  • Some of the parents in Futurama seem to be universally neglectful:
    • Philip Fry's parents are at first mentioned to be quite neglectful. Fry is pleased he won't see them again when he arrives in the future, and it is later said they kept him out of school as they thought it a "waste of taxpayer's money". However, we later see them in flashback, and whilst they do have their moments of neglect (Mr. Fry is a Conspiracy Theorist and Mrs. Fry is more focused on watching the game than disciplining her sons) they are shown to love and care for both of their sons. The family is upset when Fry "disappears" and does look for him, and never gets over his disappearance. It is later explained that Fry knew he would never see them again after waking up in 3000 and tried to convince himself this was a good thing to spare his own feelings.
      Fry: There's not one thing about this place that I missed. [sees his dog, Seymour] Seymour! I forgot about you. Aw, I missed your stinky breath so much. Maybe I do kind of miss this place. Maybe I just convinced myself I hated it because I knew I could never come back. You know, boy, this was the last time I ever saw my family.
    • And then there's Cubert's "father", Hubert Farnsworth, who shows very little interest in Cubert beyond the fact that he is a successful experiment.
    • In one episode, Fry is fed up with suffering this trope from Farnsworth (technically Farnsworth is his descendant, but Fry views him as the closest to a Parental Substitute he can get). This leads to him seeking out Farnsworth's parents and finding loving parental figures in them, only to learn that Farnsworth himself resents them for ignoring him throughout most of his youth. Subverted when it's discovered that far from neglecting him, they stayed up with him every night when he suffered night terrors, which left them too exhausted to spend time with him during the day. When Farnsworth finds out, he realizes how much they love him.
  • Helga's parents Bob and Miriam in Hey Arnold! They're not bad people per se, but Helga was The Un-Favourite growing up (Word of God states that her mother Miriam was an alcoholic), and for a while, it was her Freudian Excuse to be the school bully. The deal is totally inverted with Olga: the excessive and asphyxiating attention from Miriam and Bob shaped her into an insecure, hysteric, overachieving, whiny doormat who breaks down to a ridiculous degree if she makes a wrong step. In her own words, "[Helga,] you're lucky they don't even notice you." To put this in perspective, one episode had Helga change Olga's grade in a class to a B+, causing Olga to lock herself in her room for the better part of a week. She did it expecting to have some attention for herself... but the parents still flocked to Olga, which spurred her to ultimately confess to Helga how sick she was of the whole deal. This is however played straight when Aesop Amnesia kicks in: Both Helga and Olga completely forget their heart-to-heart, Olga starts playing the Stepford Smiler completely straight and Helga again thinks Olga enjoys all the attention (since ever since that one time, she hasn't shown she doesn't like it).
  • In Invader Zim, Professor Membrane, Dib's superscientist father is portrayed as neglectful, and obsessed with his work to the point of not even recognizing his son in one episode. Dib seems to have responded to this by becoming similarly obsessed with his own pursuits and largely indifferent towards his father, while his sister Gaz seems eager for his company and attention. However, more recently in the comic books and in the TV movie Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus, Professor Membrane has been depicted more positively, trying to do his work as fast he can to spend at least some moments with his children and even assuring Dib that he has always been proud of him despite their differences.
  • In Jem, Phyllis "Pizzazz" Gabor's Missing Mom ran off when she was a child and the trauma left her wealthy father distant. He rarely paid attention to her which didn't help Pizzazz's attitude. Even as an adult, he's very aloof towards his daughter (especially in the comic adaptation). The lack of attention growing up led to her Attention Whore and Rich Bitch personality.
  • Kaeloo: Stumpy's mother barely spends any time with her son and only does the bare minimum of parenting, like telling him not to juggle chainsaws because it's too dangerous. Later in the series, we learn that this is because she had to take up three different jobs to keep the family afloat after Stumpy's father left and thus has no time to spend with him because she's so busy.
  • Ron's parents in Kim Possible are barely involved in his life, and barely involve Ron in their decisions either, to the point that the major revelations in their family, moving to Europe in the first movie, and adopting a baby, are revealed to Ron with his parents saying "This is our way of telling you..." after he walks home from school to find a "SOLD" sign on his house, and then by finding that his room has been changed into a nursery. Ron repeatedly gets parental-type advice from his angry teacher, Mr. Barkin and it seems that Kim's family play a bigger role in his life than his own. They also repeatedly dump his baby sister on him so they can go out. This is all Played for Laughs. Comparing the family state of Ron, an only child for most of the series, to Kim, with brothers and extremely involved and supportive parents is quite jarring, and shows up a few times in the show itself, including Ron's "freakout" at losing "everything he ever cares about"… which amounts to Kim and a fast food joint. Ron does get a chance at payback when he gets to reveal to his parents that his adopted baby sister Hana is in fact a mystical ninja messiah baby as she innocently wreaks havoc all over the kitchen. When his parents ask why he didn't tell them before? "This is my way of telling you."
    • In a Post-Script Season episode, this neglect haunts Mr. Stoppable again when Ron is given a school assignment to write an essay about his hero, and Ron doesn't take him into consideration at all. He then spends the rest of the episode trying to prove to his son that he can be a hero, from doing volunteer work to stopping the Villain of the Week from doing any more harm to him.
  • The Legend of Korra shows that Avatar Aang and Toph Beifong, main characters of Avatar: The Last Airbender, were neglectful to their kids:
    • More specifically, Aang neglected Bumi and Kya, the older son and daughter he had with his wife Katara, in favor of his youngest son Tenzin, who was the only Airbender child in the family — albeit this was to make sure the Air Nation would make a comeback and eventually restore balance to the world. This seriously damaged Tenzin's relationships with his brother and sister, since they came to resent and mistreat him for being "the favorite" in their father's eyes.
    • Meanwhile, Toph chose to be very hands-off with her two daughters Lin and Suyin so that they would have the freedom to do whatever they want, something Toph herself did not have growing up. However, expecting the two girls to basically raise themselves ultimately blew up in Toph's face as it left both girls feeling unloved by their mother and made them more desperate for her attention, which led Lin to become a Metalbending police officer like Toph in the hopes of gaining some approval (only to be given a cold shoulder for it), while Suyin became a teenage criminal who ended up scarring Lin's face, albeit accidentally, when Lin broke up a robbery Suyin took part in. Toph covered the whole thing up and sent Suyin to live with her grandparents instead of to jail, which hurt Lin even more and resulted in seriously damaging Toph and Suyin's relationships with her, ultimately causing an estrangement that lasted well over thirty years.
  • In Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart, the titular character comes from a Badass Family of legendary heroes but was The Baby of the Bunch and developed a massive Inferiority Superiority Complex as a result of trying to earn the respect of his father and five older sisters. His father Shin Mao frequently forgot his name and age and passive-aggressively belittled him, but genuinely cared for him and after Mao Mao starts Calling the Old Man Out he's devastated to realize how much he hurt him.
  • Metalocalypse:
    • It's explicitly stated that Skwisgaar's standing as the world's fastest guitarist (in the world's greatest band) is due to the sheer neglect of his mother, who was also Miss Sweden 1956.
    • Pickles; his parents still haven't noticed that he's a musically multi-talented billionaire. Their neglect drove him to run away from home, buy a guitar in a pawn shop, and start a hugely successful glam rock band. Part of it is because Pickles is The Un-Favourite, as they pay more attention and lavish more praise on his deadbeat brother Seth (who actually works for Pickles by season three).
  • Gabriel Agreste in Miraculous Ladybug manages the impressive feat of combining this trope with Knight Templar Parent while also being a complete Hypocrite. He obsessively micromanages every aspect of his son Adrien's life, but he's never there for any of it, working through video calls and his assistant Nathalie. And he spends most of his free time as the supervillain Hawk Moth, causing problems that his son often gets caught up in.
  • Molly of Denali: Throughout the series, we don't see Tooey's parents around very often. Granted, this could be because he isn't the main focus of the show, he is still the secondary character. In many episodes, it's implied that Tooey is simply just home alone, as his dad is absent a lot racing dogs and his mom is a doctor that goes in and out of town. This is before we are introduced to his two brothers, but even then it's implied, and later confirmed, that they're never home. "Sticker Shock" eventually revealed that they have been away at college.
  • Doughy Latchkey on Moral Orel's parents look and act like teenagers, always giving him money to go away so they can have time to themselves (despite that they apparently get plenty of it and Doughy's not that high maintenance). He's quite envious of Orel and his father, though probably not too aware of their situation.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Dr. Doofenshmirtz's backstories often have him as the victim of this... His mom ignored him in favor of his brother Roger and his dad preferred a dog (which he called Only Son) instead of him.
  • It is necessary for the show to function and isn't taken seriously, but none of the parents on Rugrats seem to keep too keen an eye on their infant children, who normally wander off into situations that could kill them. This is particularly bad in Season 1, where they sometimes leave their kids with Grandpa, who falls asleep while telling the babies a story. The worst offender is the Season 1 episode "Touchdown Tommy," where all the dads are watching a big football game. Because they are too busy watching football, the babies have covered the living room in chocolate milk, and Didi and Betty are rightfully pissed when they get back.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated:
    • It features the gang's parents in this light. The gang's parents seem to put their happiness before their kids. Velma's mom (as shown in a picture) cares a lot more about her horses than her own daughter, Shaggy's parents think of him as an embarrassment, Fred's dad was thrilled at the idea of his son dying at the hands of the cicada monster, and Daphne's mother told her right to her face that sometimes she wishes they had a boy instead. Though if you think of it, this could explain why in earlier series the parents never seemed to care that their kids were mystery-solving all over the place.
    • ALL the parents of Crystal Cove fit in this trope. When their children are "spookified," they abandon them!
    • Mayor Jones just has to be the worst out of them. For starters, he's not Fred's real dad. Fred's real father and mother aren't much better, though they are at least doing it for Fred's own good...once the curse corrupts them so that Fred's own good no longer matters to them, they stop the neglecting and pursue a straight up enemy relationship with their son!
    • Velma's mother gradually became better than the other parents and played more of a supportive role towards Velma and the gang, to the point that she would help them solve mysteries when they needed advice on the supernatural.
  • The Simpsons:
    • This can happen, often Depending on the Writer. Homer, especially is too involved in his own schemes, or too distracted by Bart to pay enough attention to Lisa and Maggie.
      • And certainly Homer's parents for different reasons: Mona was too busy chaining herself to things in protest, and Abe was just not particularly emotionally invested in Homer.
    • Ned Flanders's parents were intentionally neglectful. As beret-wearing beatniks, they believed that children ought to be free and unrestrained and thus provided no guidance or discipline at all. This resulted in young Ned being incredibly violent and destructive. After some time, they finally gave in and had to seek psychiatric help to calm Ned down. On the other hand, as an adult, Ned is an outstanding father.
  • Steven Universe: For as much as she qualifies as Pink Diamond's "mother", White Diamond is notably absent from nearly all scenes of the Diamonds, including the murder trial of Pink's alleged murderer; the other Diamonds themselves never acknowledge her. The only time she intervened at all was to help Yellow and Blue unleash the Corrupting Light on Earth after Pink's alleged shattering. When she eventually reunites with Pink (or rather, the person she perceives as Pink) she is incredibly dismissive, referring to the Gem war as Pink's "latest little game" before whisking "Pink Diamond" off to her room. It's even possible that White was outright abusive towards her "daughter", given her Pearl's battered appearance and robotic mannerisms, and the fact Blue and Yellow Diamond openly fear her. In any case, she certainly doesn't care enough about Pink to attend the ball celebrating her return, sending her Pearl instead.
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Norman Osborn isn't abusive of Harry, but he does neglect his son in favor of work and in his pursuit of Spider-Man. This all changes when he becomes Green Goblin though.
  • Pretty much the main point of FX's Unsupervised.
  • The Venture Bros.:
    • Dr. Venture seems to have absolutely no interest in his sons, and treats them as walking organ banks and largely not caring if they live or die because he can clone them ad nausea. His own father has been shown as unintentionally emotionally traumatizing young Rusty through his womanizing ways. This changes (a little) in season 4, when Dr. Venture begins grooming Dean to follow in his footsteps. On the other hand, he does not take it well when Hank turns into a rebellious Emo Teen.
    • It's been said that Jonas Venture refused to let his son wear anything but shorts until he left for college, so him saying he doesn’t want to go on an adventure was simply out of the question. Even though he writes it off as a phase the fact that he allows Dean to stay home says a lot, like the fact that he has shown a lot more interest in their safety since he can’t clone them anymore ignoring it might just be his way of showing that he does care.
    • Rusty's father didn't seem all that concerned about Rusty's desire to live a normal life, instead insulting him for being ungrateful for all the opportunities of being a Boy Adventurer, which include being locked at home or being dragged all over the world, getting kidnapped with great frequency.
    • The whole series implies that the parents of boy adventurers are by nature very neglectful. Which when you think about what kind of dad would let his son wander around in mummy tombs or look for serial killers, is a good deconstruction. There are even therapy groups for this sort of thing that include parodies of Robin (Wonderboy, who has abandonment issues from his adopted parent Captain Sunshine), the Hardy Boys (who were implied to have actually killed their father but were acquitted from charges in court), "Action Johnny" who has deep, deep issues and is a serious drug addict, and Astroboy (Ro-Boy); not much is mentioned about him, but given the original Astroboy was sold to a circus by his own "father", we can imagine he suffered a similar backstory).
  • In Young Justice (2010) Superman's reticence to spend any time with or forge any sort of emotional connection with Superboy (a clone of Supes created by the Light) is portrayed as this (never mind that SB isn't actually his son and everyone just expects him to go along with it without taking his feelings into consideration). Subverted in the following season, where he's come to grips with that (saving the world always works wonders with him) and adopted Superboy as a little brother.
  • Analyzed in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Scootaloo's parents finally show up after at least a three-year absence In-Universe. Very much a case of Parents as People as they're not portrayed as bad parents in the slightest and they and their daughter love each other very much, and it's actually their attempt at averting this that causes problems: they want to bring Scootaloo with them so they can be togethernote  and she is upset that this will separate her from her friends and that her parents are trying to dictate her life after being gone so long. There is, however, the matter that the series was mostly ambiguous on whether Scootaloo's inability to fly was an actual disability, or whether she was just a late bloomer flight-wise. The fact that it wasn't properly resolved in-universe implies that they had never bothered to take her to a doctor about it, which actually would be grossly negligent.
  • In Elena of Avalor, Carla has been raised by her father Victor for the past ten years after her mother Ash left them with the promise of finding a way to turn them all into malvagos. Ash falls out of contact with them after three years, so the lack of communication causes her family to believe she's dead, when in truth, she had just gotten carried away with her malvago training. When she finally returns, she blames her husband for depriving her of watching Carla grow up because the plan was for them to wait for her. Meanwhile, she dotes on her daughter, but there are hints through the next few episodes that she seems to prioritize power over her... which eventually culminates in Carla almost getting badly hurt from one of her schemes, to which Victor tries to get him and Carla to retire from evil, only for Ash to petrify him for arguing with her one too many times. When Ash asks Carla to come with her, unsurprisingly, Carla tells her to screw off. Though Ash is initially shocked by this, she immediately leaves her behind at the mercy of our heroes.

    Real Life 
  • The sooty albatross is an odd example. They're devoted parents, but they can only recognize their chick so long as it's in the nest. If a chick winds up outside the nest for some reason, such as being blown out by a storm, the parents won't recognize it. They'll leave it to die even if it's only inches away from the nest.


Video Example(s):


Jim's Father Leaves

When he was still a boy, Jim Hawkins' father left him and his mother and never came back. The event scarred the young James to this day, causing him to develop self-esteem issues, a delinquent attitude and a disrespect for authority.

How well does it match the trope?

4.73 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / ParentalAbandonment

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