Terrible Parents in TV Shows: When Family Life Goes Wrong

TV shows, a long-standing entertainment staple, often feature relatable characters. Yet, not all characters are equal, as some shows portray terrible parents, leaving audiences questioning their parenting skills.

One of the most common traits of terrible parents in TV shows is neglect. Neglectful parents fail to provide their children with the love, attention, and care they need. They may be absent physically or emotionally, leaving their children to fend for themselves.

Identifying Terrible Parents in TV Shows

Case Studies of Terrible Parents

"Shameless" follows the impoverished Gallagher family in Chicago, led by alcoholic and absent father Frank, and his drug-addicted wife Monica. The children, left to navigate life on their own, often turn to illegal activities for survival.

The Gallaghers In Shameless

"Riverdale" portrays high school students in a small town, where the wealthy Lodges, led by patriarch Hiram with a criminal past, manipulate and seek power. Hermione, Hiram's wife, is complicit in their schemes, often prioritizing her interests over their daughter, Veronica.

The Lodges In Riverdale

"The OC" focuses on affluent families in Orange County, California, with the dysfunctional Coopers taking center stage. Matriarch Julie prioritizes her desires over her children, while her husband Jimmy, a financial advisor, embezzles money and eventually abandons the family. Their daughter Marissa battles addiction and depression.

The Coopers In The OC

"One Tree Hill" depicts high school students in a small North Carolina town, with the dysfunctional Scott family at its core. Dan Scott, the patriarch and former basketball player, is abusive to his sons Nathan and Lucas, and has a strained relationship with his brother Keith. The brothers grapple with personal challenges, including addiction and mental health issues.

The Scotts In One Tree Hill

"Stranger Things" with a 1980s set-up TV series following kids investigating supernatural events in their small town. The Wheelers, Mike's family, are depicted as neglectful. Parents Karen and Ted are often absent, prioritizing their interests, leading to a strained relationship with their daughter Nancy, who feels ignored and unimportant.

The Wheelers In Stranger Things

Impact of Terrible Parenting on Children