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Platonic Co-Parenting

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Ted: It's genius! Instead of throwing away your life marrying some girl, you just go splitsies on a kid with your best bro!
Barney: I wouldn't have to choose between dating and having a family, hell, I could bring the kids on dates!
Ted: And a broken home? Um, what's that? Our kids will never know. Cause we're never gonna split up!

There are all kinds of families. Some characters have a mother and a father. Some may have a stepparent (with varying levels of goodness and wickedness) thrown in. Some were Raised by Grandparents. Some have two mommies or two daddies. Some have a single parent.

Bob, on the other hand, is raised by his mother Alice, and Charlie. No, Charlie isn't Bob's father, nor is he romantically involved with Alice. He might be her best friend, or perhaps her brother. Either way, he's every bit as involved in Bob's upbringing as she is; he'll drive him to school, cook him dinner, punish him when he acts up, and come running if he needs help. It doesn't matter that Charlie and Alice aren't a romantic couple; Charlie is, for all intents and purposes, Bob's father.

Note that this doesn't need to involve two characters of the opposite sex, or even only two characters. Platonic Co-Parenting is simply about two or more people raising a child together, without romantic entanglements. It's quite common for this sort of family to also to be a blended family; Charlie helps Alice raise her son Bob, and she helps raise his daughter Danielle. It's also possible for none of the parties to be biologically related; perhaps Charlie and Alice found Bob abandoned when he was an infant, and decided to take him in. Either way, there's often a message about how a Family of Choice is just as important and real as one dictated by blood, if not more so. (If Bob's biological Disappeared Dad shows back up, expect him to call him out, pointing out that Charlie did more for him than he ever did.)

Depending on the story, this can be used to introduce Unresolved Sexual Tension, and Alice and Charlie might eventually undergo a Relationship Upgrade... but even if they don't, if they're not related, it's a pretty safe bet that a good chunk of the fandom will want them to. Odds of an official upgrade are actually pretty low; a Last-Minute Hookup might occur, but most of these couples are relegated to Just Friends status, sometimes with the occasional Ship Tease. (If Alice is Alan or Charlie is Charlotte in this particular scenario, or if there's more than two of them involved, the chances of an actual upgrade are even slimmer.) If the creator really wants to hammer in that the setup is strictly platonic, there might be an Incompatible Orientation involved, or they might be sure to place emphasis on the "heterosexual" part of Heterosexual Life-Partners. One or both parties might also be involved with someone else, often with the other as a Shipper on Deck. Some works might have the characters actually consider dating, before concluding that they're Better as Friends. (Not that any of this ever stopped the shippers...)

Not to be confused with a pair of Amicable Exes raising their children together. Alice and Charlie can't have been romantically involved (or if they once were, it needs to have been long over by the time the kids came into the mix).

With blended and non-nuclear families becoming more commonplace, this pops up in Real Life, too.

Compare Like a Son to Me, Parental Substitute, Family of Choice, Honorary Uncle, and Happily Adopted. This could also occur between parents and eldest children who are Promoted to Parent. Also see Amicable Exes for when divorced parents are on good terms and co-parent their children.

Contrast Glorified Sperm Donor.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • A series of Compare the Meerkat commercials has Aleksandr and Sergei raise a baby meerkat pup named Oleg together. They leave Oleg behind with other meerkats in Africa, but he returns to the duo in later adverts (along with a new sister) and joins in their everyday adventures.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Buddy Daddies: The entire premise is two hitmen adopting and raising a daughter together. After some initial growing pains, neither has an issue with their daughter referring to both of them as "papa", while there isn't anything romantic that develops between the two of them.
  • Dad, the Beard Gorilla and I: After his wife's death, newly single father Souichi invites his younger brother Kouji to move in to help him raise his daughter, Michiru. However, this arrangement is only temporary, and at the end of the manga, the brothers go on separate ways to marry their respective love interests.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Kobayashi acts as a mother for Kanna while Tohru is something of a hybrid between a mother and an older sister. Despite Tohru's crush on Kobayashi, their relationship remains non-romantic.
  • Spy X Family: Loid and Yor Forger are married purely out of convenience and their relationship is entirely platonic (though with quite a lot Ship Tease), yet Yor has no problem being the mother to Loid's daughter Anya.
  • The sixth arc in Spirit Circle has Fuuta and Kouko's sixth reincarnations (Lafalle and Lapis respectively) adopt and raise the young girl Carol this way. They are certainly close, but no indication is given that they've developed romantic feelings for each other.
  • Yotsuba&!: Although Mr. Koiwai raises his adoptive daughter on his own, his close friend Jumbo frequently visits their home to babysit or to take Yotsuba on impromptu trips. The neighboring Ayase family can definitely fill in this role as well.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix: Asterix and the Chieftain's Daughter features, the daughter of Vercingetorix being raised by two Gaul chieftains.
  • In Runaways (Rainbow Rowell), Nico Minoru casts a spell that somehow enables her and Chase Stein to be recognized as Molly Hayes' legal guardians, in order to protect Molly from being sent back to foster care after her grandmother is arrested.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Zelda and Hilda Spellmen, who are sisters, raise their teenage niece Sabrina in the absence of her parents.

    Fan Works 
  • Played with in Best Friend, an alternate universe Harry Potter fanfic. Sirius and Lily raise Harry together after James is killed by Voldemort. However, they find themselves falling in love with each other, but Sirius refuses to act on it because he feels it would be a betrayal of James's memory, so he insists on staying Lily's friend. There is No Ending, so we never find out how it got resolved.
  • Better Bones AU:
    • Lionblaze and Cinderheart co-parent Dovewing and Ivypool due to both being the siblings of the two's biological parents. There's also Hawkwing and Plumwillow, as in canon.
    • Oakheart gives Graypool his kits Mistykit and Stonekit to be raised alongside her biological kit Swankit, and ends up raising the kits alongside her although they are not romantically involved.
    • Some honor siring situations, like Firestar and Sandstorm with Squirrelflight and Leafpool, are a variation where both are the biological parents of the kits, but not romantically involved, though in other honor sirings the biological father does not participate in raising the offspring.
  • A similar example to the above mentioned Best Friend in Circumstances of an Unexpected Trio series by Musicangel913, though they are also raising Draco along with Harry, who was given to them by Narcissa after her husband was tortured into insanity and learning that she'll be killed soon as a liability for being more loyal to her family than to Voldemort. When Harry asks Sirius how come he and Lily never got together romantically, Sirius admits that both were still holding a torch for their deceased partners (James for Lily and Marlene for Sirius), and their attempts to come together due to the stress of raising the two boys and the approaching dates of their dead lover's anniversary lead them to admit they were Better as Friends, which in the long run helped their family unit.
  • CucumberPlane’s Adventures in an Extended Existential Crisis: Shen Qingqiu and Shang Qinghua are not attracted to each other, but spend all their time together after faking their deaths. They take in the former Street Urchin Wei Wuxian and raise him as their own.
  • The Differentverse: Scootaloo lives with her aunt Derpy, who raises her and loves her like a second daughter, but she also knows and loves her birth mother (Derpy's sister), who gave her up to Derpy so she'd have a real mom to raise her while said birth mother, a workaholic, went back to the fieldwork she enjoyed; she does visit from time to time though.
  • In The Family Saga of the Gerards, an Andrea Chénier fanfic, there is Charles and Idia's marriage. Everyone thinks they are a perfect couple, loving parents of two daughters Dorothee and Marie. In fact, they have always been Like Brother and Sister, Dorothee's father was Idia's first husband, an aristocrat (not good in revolutionary France), and Marie is a Child by Rape conceived in prison. The girls view Charles as their father and never suspect their parents' marriage is a ruse.
  • In Harry Tano, Ahsoka raised Harry alone for four years until they met Sirius and Remus when he was eight. The three adults quickly form this relationship with Harry, as Ahsoka is Harry's adoptive mother, Sirius is his godfather, and Remus keeps Sirius from doing anything dumb. Eventually, the Weasely, Granger, and Tonks parents join in, with all nine adults befriending each other and actively helping each other to raise their children (as seen when Remus and Mrs. Granger take Harry, Hermione, and the Weasely kids to the zoo).
  • If Wishes Were Ponies: After Harry ends up in Ponyville, he is taken in by Twilight Sparkle. While she is his primary caretaker and later his adopted mother, it is shown numerous times that Twilight's friends look after him just as much as Twilight does (Fluttershy is able to calm him down whenever he panics, Pinkie Pie is always making sure he eats, and (due to the time he spends with the CMC) Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash regularly watch out for him). While he never outright calls any other member of the Mane 6 his parents, he clearly cares about them/trusts them more than most other adults.
  • My Mirror, Sword and Shield, Lloyd and Cecile share a home and raise their adoptive son Suzaku together but their relationship is platonic. Cecile thinks of Lloyd as her annoying friend, while Lloyd sees her as his assistant.
  • Son of the Sannin starts off with this as its base premise, with Jiraiya and Tsunade moving in together to raise an infant Naruto. That said, the two of them do eventually become romantically involved and get married after a few years of living under the same roof.
  • Though Toriel remains the primary caregiver, many Undertale fanfics have most of the boss monsters (Sans, Papyrus, Undyne, etc) sharing the duty of parenting Frisk, mixing this trope with Raised by the Supernatural. Sometimes the entire Monster Kingdom has shared custody of Frisk.
  • Touhou Project fanworks occasionally depict Sanae (who came to Gensokyo as a teenager) as being raised by the goddesses of the Moriya shrine, Kanako Yasaka and Suwako Moriya. It gets complicated when you remember Suwako is actually Sanae's very distant ancestor.
  • When Did I Become a Parent?: As in canon, Timon and Pumbaa are best friends who, through sheer fate/luck, became the foster parents of a lion cub. Neither Timon nor Pumbaa seek out other romantic partners, nor do they show interest in one another. They are content in their friendship and in raising Simba (and later helping to raise his daughter).

    Films - Animated 
  • Barbie as the Island Princess begins with Sagi (a red panda) and Azul (a peacock) finding a human girl washed up on the shore of their island after a shipwreck. Despite Azul's initial protests, they end up helping her, and raising her as their own. At some point during the Time Skip, they were joined by Tika, a baby elephant whose biological parents are never mentioned nor seen.
  • The Boxtrolls sees Eggs happily reunited with his biological father, but also not turning away from his adoptive father, Fish. The movie ends with the young boy now having two loving dads, who will continue to care for him together.
  • In The Lion King (1994), Heterosexual Life-Partners Timon and Pumbaa take in Simba and essentially raise him.
  • Sleeping Beauty: While in hiding from the curse, Aurora is raised from infancy to her sixteenth birthday by Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, who present themselves as her aunts. When it comes time to take Aurora home, the three are devastated; they knew they'd have to bring her to her parents and tell her the truth eventually, but it still hurts to give up the girl who is, for all intents and purposes, their own child.
  • The Willoughbys ends with Nanny adopting the Willoughby children, and moving in with Commander Melanoff to help him raise his own adoptive daughter, Ruth. The end credits play over a series of pictures of the happy blended family together.

    Films - Live-Action 
  • Badhaai Do ends with the adoption of a baby, to be raised by Sumi, her girlfriend Rimjhim, and her gay husband Shardul (whom she's in a lavender marriage with).
  • In the Disney film The Apple Dumpling Gang, the title characters are a trio of orphans, two brothers and their little sister, who happen to strike it rich with a discovery of gold. The man acting as their guardian, having previously tried to find them a good home so he wouldn't be saddled with them, realizes that the kids are sitting ducks who will never know peace because of the fortune hunters wanting to adopt them and their money. He proposes that the local stagecoach driver, a woman who doesn't particularly like him but does genuinely like the kids, marry him and adopt the kids with him. She reluctantly agrees to a platonic partnership marriage for the sake of the kids. Of course, there's a Relationship Upgrade waiting in the wings, but it takes them a while to get there.
  • Captain Marvel (2019): Before losing her memory, Carol acted as a second mother to her best friend Maria's daughter, Monica. Notably, they spent every holiday together, and when Carol was believed to be dead, her possessions were given to Maria. Monica's father is never mentioned.
  • Dumplin': Willowdean was raised by her mother and aunt, though she asserts that her aunt was the main parental figure in her life.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves: Edgin and his best friend Holga raise Edgin's daughter together after the death of his wife with assistance from the rest of the team. Edgin and Holga shut down any indication of romance between them (as Edgin is still grieving his wife and Holga is still trying to move past her husband divorcing her).
  • The main characters of Friends with Kids attempt this, deciding to conceive and raise a child together without that pesky relationship business. They both date other people while raising their young son, to the bafflement of their friends. They wind up falling in love anyway.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: The adult members of the team — Peter, Gamora, Rocket, and Drax — are shown raising Baby Groot together. In the opening sequence, each of them gets brief a moment showcasing their individual relationships to Baby Groot while fighting the monster.
  • In Sympathy Seeker, 29-year-old Anastasia searches for her Disappeared Dad, knowing only his name and vague details of her parents' brief meeting. She ends up finding three lonely old men, each of whom potentially fits these details. They get on so well together that Anastasia asks all three to stay on as her dads, even hiding her mother's photo to prevent them from finding out which one is the real father. Turns out, no one is, but they still ultimately decide to stay.
  • By the sequel to Three Men and a Baby the three men have formed a unit with Mary's mother Sylvia that sees all four of them raising her together as equal parents. Jack, Mary's biological father, also makes it clear that while he jokingly flirts with her a lot neither he nor Sylvia are interested in getting together.

    Literature 
  • Anne of Green Gables: Unmarried aging siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert have lived together for much of their lives. They decide to take a boy from an orphanage to help Matthew around the farm. They end up as foster parents of Anne.
  • Bruce Coville's Book of... Monsters: Coville's story "Duffy's Jacket" has the title character and his cousins Andrew and Marie, whose mothers are sisters and raise the trio together, with no fathers in sight.
  • In The Count of Monte Cristo, Bertuccio and his late brother's wife Assunta take a newborn Benedetto in and raise him as their son. While they tell Benedetto they're his parents, there is never any indication of a romance between them, and Bertuccio seems to think of Assunta as his own sister.
  • Decades of Darkness features a lesbian plantation owner who marries her gay male right-hand man both to avert suspicion and because she needs an heir so her wastrel brothers won't inherit her commercial empire when she dies. They do conceive a child and actually manage to raise him together pretty well, since while they obviously aren't sexually attracted to each other, they are good friends and both love their son very much. A later scene shows them, their son and respective same-sex lovers all having dinner together, which they apparently do most evenings.
  • In the first book of the Earth's Children series, Ayla and Uba are raised by their mother Iza and uncle Creb, who live together after Iza's mate died (he was an abusive jerk, so they're all well shot of him). Creb is like a father to the girls, explicitly stating at one point that he thinks of Ayla as a daughter. Later in The Clan of the Cave Bear, they all help Ayla raise her son, Durc (no man wants to mate Ayla because she's considered unattractive by Clan standards, while Durc's biological father is the Big Bad Broud, who unknowingly got Ayla pregnant after raping her and wants nothing to do with Durc).
  • Forbidden subverts this. At first, siblings Maya and Lochan do this, having had a Promotion to Parent for their younger three siblings long time ago. Then it becomes obvious that the setup isn't really platonic.
  • In The Giant of Wilmington by Eleanor Farjeon, a foundling boy is adopted and raised by seven sisters.
  • The Mortal Instruments: Clary was raised by her single mother Jocelyn and Jocelyn's best friend Luke. Jocelyn and Luke eventually have a Relationship Upgrade later in the book series.
  • Pride and Prejudice: Miss Darcy's father died five years before the start of the story, leaving her an orphan. Mr. Darcy (her older brother) and Colonel Fitzwilliam (her cousin) are her legal guardians.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: In the book "The Vile Village," the Baudelaire orphans are adopted by an entire village at once, thanks to a program that takes the saying "it takes a village to raise a child" rather literally. This being Lemony Snicket, it doesn't work out very well.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Jon Snow and Val share responsibility for Val's orphaned nephew. Though they do have some Ship Tease, it doesn't go anywhere due to Jon's Vow of Celibacy.
  • In The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson, Annika is a foundling raised by Heterosexual Life-Partners Ellie and Sigrid.
  • Mixed with Nephewism in Codex Alera, where Tavi is raised by his Uncle Bernard and Aunt Isana, who are brother and sister rather than a married couple.
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: After the protagonist goes though the nobility variant of Adopted into Royalty, her mentor from earlier in the story, the man pretending to be her biological father to make the adoption more palatable to the public, her adoptive father, and the respective wives of the latter two are all her guardians as far as she's concerned.
  • In the Vows and Honor trilogy, Tarma and Kethry are extremely close Heterosexual Life-Partners with a bond comparable to a very good marriage. Kethry swears to have children for Tarma, who can't, and while she offers to do so just off the contributions of friends and one-night stands, Tarma knows she wants someone she can love, so there's a certain amount of Threesome Subtext as they won't settle for anyone who doesn't respect their connection. Tarma also loves and is very good with kids; unsurprisingly, when Kethry does get married and they all live together, Tarma is co-parent to all their children.

    Live-Action TV 
  • All American: The protagonist, Spencer, gets recruited to play football for Beverly Hills High School, but in order to attend, he has to live with the school coach's family. On the weekends, he returns to his old neighborhood to live with his single mother and younger brother. His mother is essentially co-parenting with his coach.
  • In one plotline of The Bold and the Beautiful, Thomas (who, it must be noted, is batshit crazy) attempts to use his son Douglas as a means to get to Hope, since she has a soft spot for the kid, and Douglas' biological mother has died, causing him to see Hope as a Parental Substitute. Hope eventually realizes what's going on, but feels she can't abandon Douglas, so she tries to persuade Thomas to make her his son's legal mother without actually becoming romantically involved, intending to then sue for complete custody. This being a soap, Thomas being Thomas and Hope being Hope, this leads to an extremely convoluted Gambit Pileup, with lots of I Know You Know I Know to go around.
  • Discussed in Dead to Me, when Judy thinks she might be pregnant, and worries about whether or not she's honestly cut out for single motherhood. Her best friend Jen says she'd gladly raise the baby with her, pointing out that they already live together and Judy already helps out with Jen's own sons.
    Jen: We can be, like, a three-child mothering team.
    Judy: Mothering team? That's awesome.
  • Elementary: When Joan shares the fact that she wants to adopt a baby, Sherlock states that he'd be happy to help raise her child as an Honorary Uncle. This eventually happens in the series finale.
  • The plot of Full House is about a widower, his best friend, and his brother-in-law raising his children together. Some of the show's humor (especially in the first few seasons) derives from people being confused at the family's unusual dynamic (including a few Mistaken for Gay jokes). Becky later joins the family when she marries Jesse, and becomes this trope when she becomes a substitute mother for DJ, Stephanie, and Michelle.
    • The sequel series continues this, now featuring three boys and Kimmy's daughter Ramona being raised by DJ, Kimmy, and Stephanie (with several of the adults from the original series stepping in now and then to help out or provide support).
  • Gilmore Girls: Downplayed in the backstory. Lorelai was a single mother raising Rory, and there was no real arrangement with Luke, but he was always a prominent part of Rory's life. He was always willing to clear his schedule to help out if she was sick or needed help with a project. When Rory graduates high school, she invites her mother, her grandparents, and Luke. When Rory goes to college, Luke helps move her in and winds up lugging her mattress around all day. He winds up giving a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Rory's biological father Christopher over it when Christopher gets threatened by Luke's place in Rory's life. Luke and Lorelai have UST from day one, but they don't start dating until after Rory's in college, and his relationship with Rory isn't dependent upon his romantic interest in Lorelai.
  • Gimme a Break!: Nell, ostensibly just the housekeeper, served as a surrogate mother to Chief Carl Kanisky's three teenage daughters (and later, adopted son Joey). A flashback featuring the girls' late mother showed that she asked Nell to stay with her family for that purpose (as she'd recently learned she had terminal lung cancer). There was some mild Ship Tease between Nell and Carl in the fourth season, which was cut short by the death of Carl's actor, Dolph Sweete.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: After they all individually escape to Canada, June and her husband Luke raise Nichole (her daughter by Nick, who's still in Gilead), alongside June's best friend Moira and another friend and fellow Gilead refugee Rita. Moira even lives with June and Luke, and, prior to June being able to get out of Gilead, was already living with Luke and taking care of Nichole in June's stead.
  • Harlots: Discussed. Kitty tries to convince her friend Fanny that they, along with Harriet, should leave the Wells brothel and start their own. One of the benefits would be that they could all raise their children together. Margaret had forced Kitty to send her daughter away and planned to do the same to Fanny once her baby was weaned. Sadly, Kitty is murdered by the end of the episode, but Fanny is eventually allowed to keep her daughter.
  • Heroes:
    • Matt and Mohinder both bond with Molly, and she and Matt both need a place to live, so Matt and Mohinder end up co-parenting her. And they remain friends (or, rather, upgrade from endless bickering to a real, if dysfunctional, friendship) after she gets Put on a Bus (to go live with Mohinder's mother in India, per the graphic novels).
    • When Noah has to leave his family for a while in Volume 3, Claire's biological mother moves in and helps take care of the family along with her adoptive mother. All four of Claire's parents are involved in her life to some degree at various points, in fact.
  • Ted and Barney in How I Met Your Mother seriously consider going this route in the episode "The Rebound Girl", figuring that they might never find love, so why not settle down and adopt a child together? So Barney then turns up with a baby he claims to have adopted, but who later turns out to be his new niece he's simply babysitting for the day. They eventually realize they're being crazy and decide they'd rather wait for the right person to start a family with, but not before we get some adorably (and hilariously) shippy conversations about it.
  • Island of the Sea Wolves: Cedar and Dagger, two female wolves, each have their own pups which they raise together in the same den.
  • In the American sitcom Kate & Allie Jane Curtin and Susan St. James played childhood friends who, after they both divorced their husbands, lived and raised their kids together.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Downplayed, but Amanda Rollins essentially spends several years co-parenting her daughters with her close friend and police partner, Sonny Carisi. As a single parent, Amanda had expressed some insecurities about her abilities to mother, and Sonny stepped in to help. Over time, the show deepens his involvement with Amanda's children, with him eventually becoming her younger daughter's godfather. When Amanda and Sonny eventually get their Relationship Upgrade, the dynamic between the four of them changes so little that they're able to avoid disclosing to the girls for over six months (as they're also hiding it from their bosses), only being forced to when Jesse asks directly if Sonny is Billie's father.
  • My Two Dads is about a young girl whose mother dies, knowing that either of her two ex-boyfriends could be her biological father. Since there's no way to determine which it is, they agree to raise her together. In an interesting example of Technology Marches On, paternity testing became common during the run of the show, but they'd bonded as a family and decided not to find out.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • Emma is Henry's birth mother who gave him up for adoption as a newborn. Regina is his adopted mother. Emma comes back into Henry's life when he's 10, and once Emma and Regina get over their initial dislike of each other, the two form a unit co-parenting their son. The two regularly discuss how to raise him and he refers to both of them as "Mom(s)". Multiple characters also lampshade this, with Charming once noting that as a teenager Henry might not "want to talk to his moms" and Cruella noting that when talking about Henry's mother she might have to be more specific. Emma and Regina are widely shipped by fans, but the show doesn't go that way.
    • Rumpelstiltskin was raised by a pair of spinster sisters after being abandoned by his biological parents.
    • John and Michael Darling, who are brothers, planned to adopted Henry together after Regina wanted to back out of his adoption. However, she changed her mind and adopted him after all.
    • After Robin Hood and Maid Marian both die, their orphaned son Roland is raised by the Merry Men.
    • Zelena, Regina's half-sister, gets pregnant by pulling a Bed Trick on Regina's boyfriend. After he dies, the sisters patch up their relationship and Regina helps Zelena take care of the baby.
    • Lucy is raised by her single mother Jacinda and her mother's best friend Sabina, who Lucy refers to as her aunt.
  • Orphan Black:
    • Sarah raises her daughter Kira primarily with help from her mother and brother. Kira's biological father gets involved in season 2, but doesn't play as large a role in her upbringing.
    • By the end of the series, Alison and her husband Donnie are helping Alison's sister Helena raise her twin sons.
  • The Orville:
    • In the third season, Bortus' child Topa transitions back into a girl, causing her father Klyden to leave her and Bortus. As a result, Commander Grayson steps up and becomes Topa's mentor and mother-figure. Kelly and Bortus have one of the strongest friendships on board, but they have no romantic attraction to one another (quickly correcting a little girl who asked if they were "mates" (married)). Still, they work together to provide Topa with a strong support system, even busting into a Moclan black site to save her and Kelly remains a part of the family even after Klyden returns.
    • After Isaac protected Ty and Marcus when they were separated from Claire after a shipwreck, the kids started to view Isaac as a father figure. Thus, for all of season one and part of season two, Isaac and Claire had this relationship. Later subverted when the two become a romantic couple, and marry in the season three finale.
  • Pose: This applies to Blanca (a trans woman) and Pray Tell (a gay man) with regards to their Family of Choice. Blanca is the mother of the House of Evangelista and though Pray Tell is not an official member, he acts as a father figure to Blanca's children.
  • Queen Sugar: Siblings Ernest and Violet Bordelon raised Ernest's grandson Blue for a few years because Blue's father Ralph Angel and mother Darla were in prison and dealing with a drug addiction, respectively. Once Ralph Angel and Darla start getting their lives together, they gradually take over parenting responsibilities.
  • Raising Dion: After Nicole's husband dies, his best friend Pat steps up to help her raise their son, Dion. When Pat admits to having feelings for Nicole, she rejects him.
  • In Raven's Home, a Sequel Series to That's So Raven, Raven and Chelsea have both married, become mothers, and gotten divorced during the interval between the two shows. They then move in together in one apartment, both acting as mothers to their kids. (The father of Raven's children is also involved, and he and Rae have managed to be Amicable Exes. Chelsea and her ex-husband have not, and he's in prison on top of that.) This is even lampshaded when their landlord tries to boot them out for having two families under the same roof, which is against the building's rules. His mother steps in and vouches for Raven and Chelsea.
    Phil: They're two families!
    Myrna: I only see one.
  • The Rehearsal: After Angela cannot find a suitable man to raise her son with, Nathan decides to step in as a co-parent, with the twist that their son isn't Angela's actual child, but rather a group of child actors pretending to be her son so that she can practice raising a child.
  • Siblings Fiona and Lip raise their younger siblings in Shameless (US), because their parents are useless at best.
  • Sister, Sister, about a pair of twins who were Separated at Birth and find each other again. One was adopted by single mom Lisa, and the other was adopted by Ray and his wife who died, leaving him now a single father. Lisa and Ray move in with each other so the sisters can be together. Although Lisa and Ray initially clash, they later develop a strong friendship. Although they date for a little while, they are non-romantically co-parenting the twins for much of the show and don't end up together.
  • Supernatural:
    • After Kelly Kline is impregnated by Lucifer, she convinces Castiel that her unborn nephalim son is a force of good, not evil, and the baby adopts Castiel as his father while in utero. Since human women do not survive giving birth to nephalim, Castiel not only helps her through the pregnancy but prepares to be the primary caretaker of the child.
    • After Kelly dies giving birth to Jack, Castiel briefly dies and is sent to the Empty so Sam and Dean raise Jack, who is in the body of a young man but has the mind of a child, for a few episodes. When Cas returns, the three of them serve as Jack's adopted fathers.
  • The Umbrella Academy (2019): Reginald raises his seven adopted kids with a realistic android mother named Grace and his talking chimpanzee butler Pogo. The kids are weirded out to learn that Grace was actually modeled off a real human woman Reginald dated before they were born.
  • The Walking Dead (2010):
    • Most of the group steps in to help raise baby Judith after the death of her mother Lori. While Rick remains her adopted father, other notable group members who take a large role in raising her include Hershel, who is more or less her adoptive grandfather due to his closeness to Rick and Carl; Maggie and Beth, his daughters; Daryl, Rick’s adopted brother; Tyreese, who becomes fond of babysitting her during Season 4; and Carol.
    • In Season 10 onward, when Michonne is Put on a Bus, “Uncle” Daryl steps in as the primary parental figure for Judith and her younger brother R.J. The kids are also prominently raised by now-“Aunt” Carol, “Aunt” Maggie, “Tia” Rosita, and “Uncle” Aaron.
    • In Season 9, Rosita learns she is pregnant with Siddiq’s child after they had a fling a short while back - but she is now in a committed relationship with Gabriel. The trio talk it out with Eugene’s help, and they all agree to help raise the baby together while Rosita remains romantically involved with Gabriel. Eugene also steps in during Season 10 to help raise baby Coco due to his lingering feelings for Rosita. Tragically, by the end of the series, Rosita and Siddiq have both perished, leaving Coco solely in Gabriel’s care, while Eugene starts his own family with Max.
  • The revival of Will & Grace ends with the titular duo buying a house in the 'burbs together, so they can move there and raise Grace's son and Will's daughter under one roof. They know others might think it's weird, but it's the best, most stable life they can provide.

    Theatre 
  • The ending of Into the Woods has the Baker agreeing to adopt the recently-orphaned Jack and Red, raising them alongside his infant son. Cinderella offers to move in with them, so she can help out with taking care of the kids and house. Unsurprisingly, the Baker and Cinderella are the Fan-Preferred Couple.

    Video Games 

    Webcomics 
  • Davan in Something*Positive is a borderline example — he was briefly in a relationship with Donna, but he isn't Rory's biological father, and they became Amicable Exes long before Rory started calling him "Dad".

    Web Animation 
  • The Overly Sarcastic Productions telling of the myth of Perseus shows baby Perseus and his mother being taken in by a kindly fisherman and his wife, resulting in him growing up in an unusually stable household by Greek mythology standards. Red's depiction of the family makes it equally possible to interpret them as either this trope, or a polyamorous triad.

    Western Animation 
  • In Care Bears: Unlock the Magic, Tenderheart sees himself as a father figure to the main bears, and just as well the bears see Wish Bear as their mother. More literally, all the main bears (but especially Grumpy) see Dibble as their daughter of sorts, though it's all but spoken.
  • Carmen Sandiego: The titular character was raised since her youth by the five main faculty members of V.I.L.E.: Coach Brunt, Dr. Bellum, Countess Cleo, Professor Maelstrom, and Shadowsan. Each one takes a different level of intimacy and love towards their ward with Coach Brunt pampering and spoiling the young girl to Shadowsan's standoffish behavior. The rest are somewhere in between. It is a genuinely happy relationship, which makes Carmen's recognition of how evil they could be and her betraying them all the more shocking to, as she puts it, the only family she's ever known.
  • Darkwing Duck: Drake and Launchpad are not romantically involved (despite what some fans think), but rather best friends (though Launchpad occasionally gets on Drake's nerves). They work together to raise Drake's adopted daughter, Gosalyn. In one episode, when Darkwing becomes worried about what would happen to Gosalyn if he were killed in a fight, Launchpad instantly tells him that he'd take Gosalyn in and raise her as his own.
  • DuckTales (2017): Donald and Della are twin brother and sister. However, when Della gets lost in space for ten years, Donald raises her kids as if they were his own. When Della returns, she begins to take an active role in raising her sons, but Donald continues to treat them as his own as well. Scrooge and Mrs. Beakley also take active parental roles in the kids' lives, with Scrooge making it clear on several occasions that he cares for his family more than anyone would think, and Beakely has proven time and time again how seriously she takes watching over the kids.
  • Final Space: Following Avocato's death midway through the first season Gary Goodspeed takes to looking after his son Little Cato, even officially adopting him in season two. Towards the end of the same season, following Avacato's return due to a temporal loophole the two settle into this sort of relationship, Little Cato even takes to calling them both his dad.
  • In the Rugrats episode "Potty-Training Spike", the babies, who are all platonic friends with Phil and Lil being twins, all decide to temporarily become Spike's adoptive family while they try to toilet train him (the reason they think he needs to be toilet trained is because Didi said that peeing outside was not allowed, and they assumed it applied to dogs too). Tommy and Chuckie decide to be Spike's dads, while the twins take on the role of his "Uncle Bill and Aunt Harriet".
  • Steven Universe: After the death of his mother Rose, Steven is raised by his father Greg and Rose's war compatriots the Crystal Gems. None of them date Greg, though at one point the Gems Fusion Dance into a single being to pretend to be his wife. Luckily, the parents they feared would judge them for their unorthodox family actually don't mind as long as Steven is raised responsibly. It's a Running Gag in the series for a stranger to try and refer to the Gems as traditional family members (calling them "guardians", "caretakers", "sisters", etc) and being given a confused look from Steven.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Rock-A-Bye Bivalve" has Spongebob and Patrick raise a baby scallop (the equivalent of a baby bird) as if it were an infant. Spongebob takes the maternal role while Patrick plays a (very unhelpful) dad.
  • Baloo and Rebecca Cunningham from TaleSpin are not a married couple and on many occasions are at each other's throats, especially when running Higher for Hire, with Rebecca being bossy and Baloo being lazy. Nonetheless, they both act as parental figures to Baloo's adopted son, Kit, and Rebecca's biological daughter, Molly.
  • From season 3 of Young Justice (2010) onward, Artemis platonically lives with her sister’s ex-husband to raise her niece with him.

    Real Life 
  • In many cultures, a child's uncles, aunts, grandparents, and sometimes older siblings are expected to help with their upbringing.
  • In 2017, the Canadian government began allowing people to share legal custody of children without requiring them to be romantic partners. This is thanks to two best friends, Natasha Bakht and Lynda Collins, who fought for two years to have Lynda be legally recognized as the second mother of Natasha's son, Elaan.
  • A Cracked article from a child advocacy attorney (here), mentions a case where a quirk in Louisiana law allowed a child's biological father and the mother's then-husband to both be recognised as the child's legal fathers.

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