Like love triangles, bad parents are a predominant feature in YA books. It’s understandable that hands off parents are going to be a norm in the genre because many of the conflicts that exist in YA could be resolved by mere parent intervention. However, sometimes hands off parenting goes a little too far.
Meet your YA bad parent mascot: Charlie Swan. You all saw this one coming. He is probably the poster child of bad parents in YA fiction. His daughter basically goes chaotic after her boyfriend ditches her and does nothing for months. I had an interesting chat with a few friends recently about this. While I suggested that it would’ve been helpful if Charlie enrolled Bella into therapy after her ordeal, others suggested that Charlie should’ve been questioning why Bella was in the woods in the first place (i.e. it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to think that Edward sexually assaulted her and then dumped her in the woods). Good point. Needless to say, if I were Charlie I would’ve not accepted the Edward/Bella reunion the way he did. But then again, Charlie Swan is essentially a necessary prop in Meyer’s novel like many other YA parents/caretakers are.
Never fear though, bad YA parents, Super YA Nanny is here. She’ll get you back on track on how to parent. Or at least, she’ll make some suggestions on how these lackluster parental units can get back on track.
Like them or not, one thing people can agree about The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy is that the main character has some pretty awful parents.
The Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Brisbane: Self absorbed describes this couple perfectly. They are absentee parents at best. Mr. Brisbane even has a little bit of Charlie Swan going on with him
The Kid: Grace Brisbaine. A girl who is obsessed with her wolf. We’re talking about a girl who is in love with an animal, no joke. I seriously think Grace would make out with her wolf if she could and she sort of does later on in the book but that’s a long story….
What Super YA Nanny Suggests: Get your kid into therapy so that you can deal with any possible issues regarding bestiality. Plus, get her pet cat so maybe she can focus on animals other than wolves. Also, start paying more attention to her so won’t let random boys sleep in her room.
One of my big complaints-and others- with the Secrets of my Hollywood life is the parents. If it wasn’t for them, I probably would’ve enjoyed the series much better.
I wasn’t planning on featuring Blue Bloods again, but if Allegra Van Alen doesn’t qualify as a bad parent in YA lit then I don’t know who does.
I love Meg Cabot to death, but I have to say Pierce’s parents suck. This is actually sort of surprising since I love most of the parental features that Meg comes up with.
There were many things I found to be throw up inducing about the selection. One of them was parental behavior.
Parents to Note:
It should be noted that while their are tons of horrible parents in YA there are a few good parents. I’ve listed a few below.
Mr. and Mr. Nolan from Lola and the Boy Next Door: Lola’s parents try to stay involved in her life, even if that means forcing her and her deadbeat boyfriend to eat brunch with them every Sunday. Plus, unlike most parents in YA Mr. and Mr. Nolan aren’t afraid to ground Lola when need be.
Ali from Raised by Wolves: I really admire Ali from pulling out her foster daughter from an abusive situation. In this day and age abuse is often fluffed over in YA especially when it’s a paranormal, so kudos to you Ali.
Prince Phillip and Helen Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries: Princess Mia’s parents aren’t perfect, but they generally do try to take care of their daughter. I think this is really shown in Princess Mia when Mia is sent to therapy for her depression. Bravo Mia’s parents, unlike other parents who let their daughter just sit their for six months catatonic, you take action and that rocks (although, I definitely missed Mia’s Lifetime movie marathons after you took her TV out of her room).
Mr and Mrs. Weinstien from The Magic and Manhattan series. While they have their faults, I do think the Weinstiens care for their daughter. And while Mrs. Weinstien really should’ve informed her ex about her magic powers, it’s obvious that both parents do try to interact and care for their daughters.
Rachel Morgan from The Gallagher Girls. Despite the fact that she’s letting her daughter become a spy, Rachel does try to care for her daughter. Of course, that still doesn’t keep her disappearing for three months….but nobody’s perfect.