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Playing With / Promotion to Parent

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Basic Trope: An older sibling or another person that the child knows (another relative, a family friend) takes on parental duties if the actual parents are unwilling or unable to do so.

  • Straight: Alice and Bob die in a car crash. Their oldest son, Charles, recently turned 18, and he is named as a legal guardian for his younger sister Diane.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed:
    • Charles takes care of Diane when Alice and Bob are at work, which is a lot.
    • There is a sizeable age gap which means - Charles was 24 by the time he has to take care of his younger sister.
  • Justified:
    • If Charles didn't take care of his sister, she would be placed with another family, splitting the siblings up.
    • It's the law in their country for orphans to be placed with their closest adult relative as their guardian, exceptional circumstances notwithstanding.
    • It's a poor developing country where Social Services Does Not Exist. It's normal for elder siblings to take care of the younger ones when the parents die.
  • Inverted:
    • Charles takes in Alice and Bob when they reach old age and can no longer care for themselves.
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    • Charles and Diane are sent to an orphanage or placed into foster homes.
    • Raised by Grandparents (Demotion to Parent?)
  • Subverted:
    • Charles takes care of his sister because their mom is dead… but then their Disappeared Dad comes back and starts taking care of them.
    • Charles takes care of his sister Diane, but then they're sent to live with their aunt.
    • Charles takes care of his sister Diane because their parents are dead, but then they're separated and sent to different foster homes.
  • Double Subverted:
    • When he's not working, that is. Being a single father is hard, and Bob had to take on a second job in order to keep the house afloat, so Charles is the one that makes dinner and watches Diane a lot of the time.
    • Their aunt is barely out of high school, and very Maternally Challenged.
  • Parodied: Bob leaves Alice in charge of Bob. Alice is 16 months old and Bob is a newborn. Nobody thinks is is odd or blatantly irresponsible.
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  • Zig Zagged: Alice is left in the care of Bob despite him being five years old - however he is a Half-Human Hybrid who ages very quickly and is actually the equivalent of thirty. Unfortunately by the time Alice is fourteen she is taking care of Bob as he is dying of old age.
  • Averted: Alice and Bob are alive and well, and they're Good Parents.
  • Enforced: Rule of Drama
  • Lampshaded: Charles's best friends are teen parents, because they're the only ones who understands what he's going through.
  • Invoked: Take Care of the Kids
  • Exploited: Charles becomes the guardian of his sister Diane after their parents die. Diane uses the opportunity to attempt to get away with things Alice and Bob wouldn't let her do.
  • Defied: Charles refuses legal guardianship because he knows he isn't ready, and because he wants to go to college, so Diane is sent to live with another relative.
  • Discussed: Charles and Diane are the children of a Alice, single mother who has cancer. When Alice is diagnosed, she sits down with Charles and talks to him about taking care of Diane, if she dies.
  • Conversed: ???
  • Implied: Alice and Bob are never mentioned, and Charles takes care of his younger sister Diane.
  • Deconstructed:
    • Charlie might be of legal age to take care of his siblings, but he's not emotionally mature enough to handle that amount of responsibility. As a result, Diane is injured in an accident and Charlie blames himself.
    • The younger siblings start to resent their older siblings for acting too much like their parents and being too bossy.
    • Since some older siblings were promoted to parenthood too early in their childhoods, they get a good glimpse of how it would be like if they themselves were to ever have their own kids. They also never get to have a childhood because they are too busy being parents. This results in them vowing to stay child-free for the rest of their lives due to not having much of a childhood.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Charlie's friends notice how stressed and over worked he is and step in to help take care of Diane, lighting the load for him a bit.
    • The narrower age gap allows the older siblings to understand the youngers' point-of-view better than an adult typically could. They use this to help their younger siblings understand that they are not trying to be bossy and just want to take good care of them.
    • Despite this, as the older siblings grow and mature, they come to realize that the rewards of raising kids are worth the trouble, and decide to have their own kids when they are old enough after all.

Back to Promotion to Parent.

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