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, refusing to cook as usual and splitting a tag for her new dress between her two kids.

In fiction, we have parents who are nice and kindly to the Protagonists. Then we have those who are downright bastards to the kids. Sometimes, they're not there at all. 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 emotionaly 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 an Freudian Excuse. Also an excuse for kids who go off to save the world not 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 retard 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.

Compare and contrast with Parents as People, Abusive Parents, When You Coming Home, Dad?, and Parental Abandonment.

Examples of Parental Neglect include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide]

  • 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 the Yakuza Very Nice People to pay off their debts.
    • They also stole a ring from him when he was a child given to him by Athena. He desperately wanted to trust and love them. He put his place with Athena at jeopardy to argue with her that they were good people, so she put all of her love for Hayate into that ring. His parents smiled, said they would take good care of it, and hocked it at a pawn shop. No wonder she was pissed off like Hell at being proved right, and then Hayate was kicked out of Athena's grace.
  • 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.
  • Gaara of Naruto 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 said uncle 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 can certainly count as neglectful to the point of being abusive. He gets (somewhat) better after their initial meeting, though.
      • If you call spending his godsons life savings on booze and hookers an improvement.
        • Hey, he doesn't spend his godson's life savings on booze and hookers... just whatever Naruto happens to have in his adorable frog-shaped wallet at the time.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, Yusuke's mother clearly cares about him a great deal, but she's also an alcoholic and does almost nothing to actually look after him.
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Oz Vezallius's father in Pandora Hearts, who starts off like this before it's revealed that he said that Oz should never have been born, right in front of him, and is later shown to be one of the people who sent him to the in-universe equivalent of Hell for the apparent crime of existing. Supposedly he has his reasons (if only in his head) but yeesh.
    • Gilbert and Vincent's parents can be considered this since they left the children on the streets where they were abused and mistreated until Jack found them.
  • 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 a 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 hide 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.
  • 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.
  • Mirai Nikki: 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 exhonorated and comes back incredibly nervous, you should be at least a little concerned.
    • Also, his father Kurou. Initially, he appears in chapter thirty 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. And then said kid got fed up...
  • 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 well 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.
  • In 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 his son engages in. Moreover, Word of God stated that the reason his father never shows up is because he's away on business (all the time, apparently). No wonder Yugi was a Shrinking Violet at the very beginning.
  • 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.
  • Yukio Hans Voralberna's Freudian Excuse in Bleach. Being a Cute Psycho, he took revenge via driving his parents to suicide. And then Hitsugaya digs in, and the truth of his badly battered mindset becomes even uglier: Yukio convinced himself that he didn't mind it and he loved doing what he did, but with a little prodding, he explodes in anger and pain.
  • Out of the girls in Gunslinger Girl, Jean's charge Rico, was a victim of this. Her parents simply abandoned her in an hospital due to her very weak health and she languished away there until the Agency took her in.
  • 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 and local Action Girl, Sayaka.
  • Rei's father in Sailor Moon, in the manga and the live-action. Takashi Hino not only is a very highranked 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.
  • 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.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic, Evil Sonic's 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.
  • In the classic Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, the new Robin has parents that are never visually seen, but heard off-panel in a state perpetual drug intoxication (Their dialogue suggests that they may be ex-hippies who just spend their time now commenting on how the world sucks). She leaves them to join Batman.

Unidentified parent(Months after she left): Hey, didn't we used to have a kid?

  • 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 because you're parents don't love you enough." However neither of really experienced parental neglect, Cassie has. Despite that she is the kindest and purest character in the whole cast.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Michael's biological mother Denise in The Blind Side. Not necessarily abuse so much as neglect, due to her addiction to crack cocaine.
  • Tideland
  • 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.
  • 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.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • 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 neighbours and people they work with.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • While Harry Potter's real parents aren't abusive or neglectful (mostly because they're 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. Even 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.
  • In Wicked Lovely, Keenan's mother Beira.
    • In Ink Exchange, Leslie's older brother Ren.
  • Ella Enchanted has Sir Peter, the titular 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Silas and Sarah Heap in Septimus Heap are shown to have amaziong little concern for their children, barely ever helping when they are in trouble.
  • In Needful Things, Cora Rusk practically forgets she even has children after getting her "needful thing" from Leland Gaunt.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In Supernatural, John Winchester was this sort of parent, as he only ever focused on hunting monsters rather than being a parent. 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 favourite. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The final episode of the original Twilight Zone centered around two children of neglectful parents who find a child's paradise at the bottom of their pool.
  • It's implied that Criminal Minds' Emily Prentiss's 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".
  • You don't get much more neglectful than the elder Tams in Firefly. When your son becomes worried that your daughter is being tortured and abused in a government program and presents proof of this, and your response is to threaten to cut him off because he's embarrassing you, you're pretty damn neglectful.
  • 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.
  • Steve Urkel's unseen parents in Family Matters are a serious example. Many times over the series, Urkel describes his parents' mean actions. Example 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It is implied in The X-Files that Mulder's parents became this after Samantha went missing. It is noted that his parents divorced shortly after, 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. In the series, he sees his parents rarely before their deaths, and it is hinted that at least one of them blames him for his sister's disappearance.
  • 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.
  • 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 the 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 an half hour out of his busy day of being evil he might actually know this.
  • Both Al and Peggy from Married... with Children, especially Peggy she isn't just a neglectful mother but a neglectful wife, neighbour and pretty much anything you could imagine. She blatantly refuses to do anything resembling work, including house work, cooking or anything for anyone who isn't herself.
    • Subverted somewhat later on when Seven is introduced and she dotes on him, but only him.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and later Young Hercules demonstrate that while the titular character had a loving mother, his father Zeus was never around. Of course, he was busy being king of the gods and actually considered Hercules his favorite child, but it's still a sore spot for our hero.


Theater[edit | hide]

  • Next to Normal: The song 'Superboy and the Invisible Girl'. Specifically, between the mother and daughter. Mother explicitly states she couldn't hold their daughter when she was born. The relationship doesn't appear to improve.
    • Also, depending on your point of view, father and son. 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.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • 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 are also implied to be distant, but that's more because it's better not to get attached to the lamb needed to save the world than actual contempt.
  • Angela in Seiken Densetsu III; 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 Koren, but still...
  • Maylene of Pokémon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum mentions in Platinum that her father is a gambling addict that wouldn't see her until he hit the jackpot. Yep.
  • 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.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • In MAG ISA Eman's dad is a drunkard and a wife beater, and Eman's mom is overprotective and harsh [dead link]. Both parents are abusive towards Eman.
  • 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 ambulence herself, Hatsune's mother simply telling her to be quiet because she was distracting her. Tom's in tears by the end.
  • Vaarsuvius from Order of the Stick qualifies as a neglectful parent to his/her adopted children, considering how s/he left her/his family to become an adventurer, a fairly dangerous profession, without giving any idea when V would return. And, despite having access to magic that can communicate with them, s/he does not bother to call home.
    • In fact, in over 600 strips, the children are not even mentioned until an ancient black dragon threatened to eat them in revenge for Vaarsuvius killing the dragon's child.
  • Zip's parents in DDG are strongly implied to be examples of the neglect and emotional abuse types.
  • Yuki's father in Ménage à 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.
  • Ash'waren of Drowtales was recently 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 type II immortality, and she's a bit of a Cloudcuckoolander anyway, not to mention that in the above scene she'd clearly been drinking.
  • 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.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Clara, Clara Clara to an almost criminal extent.
  • Uncle Alfon's characterization in 4 Swords Misadventures is similar to that of a neglectful parent.
  • The Nostalgia 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.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Helga's parents, Bob and Miriam in Hey Arnold!!. They're not BAD persons per se, but Helga was The Unfavorite growing up (Word of God stated that her mother Myriam was an alcoholic), and for a while it was her Freudian Excuse to be the school bully.
  • Dr. Venture of The Venture Brothers 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.
    • 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 round 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 Invader Zim, Dib's superscientist father is portrayed as neglectful, 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 sister Gaz seems eager for his company and attention.
  • Timmy's parents in The Fairly OddParents are quite neglectful and extremely selfish. They do love him though; they're more like adult 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 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).
    • They weren't always that neglectful. During early seasons, they genuinely loved and cared for Timmy, despite a few misunderstandings between them. Flanderization of Timmy's parents took the misunderstandings and transformed it into full-on neglect. Then again, who wasn't flanderized in that show?
    • 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 and don't even remember his name. 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 in a desert island so they'd spend time with Remy, they just gathered riches again 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 said 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It's explicitly stated in Metalocalypse 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.
    • Ditto 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.
      • Arguably, though, part of it is because Pickles is The Unfavorite, as they pay more attention and lavish more praise on his deadbeat brother Seth (who actually works for Pickles by season three).
  • Danny Phantom's parents border on neglectful, especially his father, because they're so obsessive about ghosts (with a yearly fight over whether Santa Claus existed or not during Christmas that resulted in various bad luck to 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.
  • 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.
  • The three Ed's in Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy are all implied to have neglectful parents. As mentioned below Ed's mother treats him as The Unfavorite compared to his spoiled sister who abuses him and his father is largely apathetic to all this. In regards to Eddy the movie reveals that his older brother has been physically abusing him, a twelve year old boy, for years most likely during the entire time he lived with his parents. And while his parents may or may not know about this they certainly don't do a thing about it, instead constantly berating and punishing Eddy for his bad grades and behavior at school. And in regards to Edd, his parents communicate with him exclusively through Post-it notes and are hardly shown to be at home for Edd at all, meaning he's responsible for keeping an entire house clean. Also, not just the Eds but every kid in the neighborhood is just violent in general. Pretty much everyone, from the local Brainless Beauty to the girly boy, has beaten up/caused some serious harm to another kid, or vandelized the neighborhood, and their parents do nothing to stop the kids from engaging in such destructive behavior.
  • Pretty much the main point FX's Unsupervised.
  • Scooby Doo Mystery Inc 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 ("Sometimes to shut you up, sometimes just because 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, BTW. Usually, they are the victims of abuse of all four categories (well, all four for Meg, at least).
  • Parents in Futurama seem to be universally neglectful. Then there's Fry's parents, who are shown in flashbacks to be just generally neglectful, and drunks. 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.
    • There's a lovely helping of Fridge Horror in Mom's coinflip comment when one remembers the existance of a parallel universe where all coinflips have the opposite outcome.
  • Vincent and Amanda Lane, Trent and Jane's parents, in Daria seem to be this way. They opt to let their children roam freely, as they put it, and that's if they're even in town at all. Trent even seemed remorseful about it in one episode.
    • In one episode Amanda justifies herself on the old saw about how if you truly love something, you should let it go, blah blah blah etc., but the same episode shows that really it's just that the Lanes in general (who are actually a quite large family, but most of them spend their time Walking the Earth) simply can't spend more than about an hour together before they start getting on one another's nerves.
  • Surprisingly, Superman himself, towards Superboy, in Young Justice. Mostly because he refuses to accept that Superboy (who is his younger clone) is, for all intents and purposes, his son. As a result, he refuses to spend any time with the boy, train him in his powers, or forge any sort of emotional connection.
  • It is necessary for the show to function, but all the parents on Rugrats are terrible at keeping an eye on their infant children, who normally wander off into situations that could kill them. At most they leave their kids with Grandpa, who falls asleep in his chair while watching television.
  • The title of Unsupervised is about two 15-year-olds who are, for different reasons...well...it's Exactly What It Says on the Tin.