Parenting is full of split-minute decisions. All of which lead to actions that must be taken. There are no rules, or guidelines that supply concrete parenting answers, or lead to perfect parenting skills. This is why parenting will never be perfect. All parents make mistakes, and others just aren’t fit to have kids. This is also why bad parenting thrives on TV.
It might not be because your mother was a pot dealing suburban housewife like Nancy Botwin from Weeds, but there are plenty of parents that have considered using alternate, or extreme methods for getting cash flow. Your father might not be an alcoholic, narcissistic, drug addict like Frank Gallagher from Shameless, but some parents are. Then there are parents whose actions are inexcusable like Norma Bates (Bates Motel), or the Lannisters and Baratheons (Game of Thrones). These are the fictional TV parents that we really wish nobody could relate to, but unfortunately there are probably a few. It also gives you a chance to laugh at the darkest truths involved with parenting. Everybody makes mistakes. Some are pretty bad, while others are despicable. However, it’s not your family that you’re watching, it’s theirs.
We love their families, get mad at their mistakes, and laugh at their unfortunate mishaps. These are the worst decisions made by TV parents that we all love to hate. Some of their actions are questionable, while others are just plain wrong. *SPOILER ALERT*
15. Cool, But Clueless
Hank Moody probably earned a gazillion cool dad points for the featured scene of Californication above. If you’re not familiar with the show, it followed the life of Hank, an alcoholic writer. Hank often found himself in awkward situations with other women, which always led to problems with the love of his life, Karen. He spent every season trying to get her back, only to lose her again. As was the case when Hank’s long-lost son Levon showed up.
Levon was a huge momma’s boy, and a virgin. Hank tried to help Levon by getting him a prostitute, but Levon had a panic attack and Hank ended up having to calm his nerves. He did get it in, though. Beforehand, Levon was incredibly inexperienced with girls. Did I mention he was also a little perverted? Albeit, in an awkward, misinformed kind of way. The kid supposedly had a ginormous p*nis, which he choose to flop out whenever he saw a lady that he was attracted to. Yeah, he actually thought that would work. This still doesn’t make hiring a prostitute to help your son lose his virginity, any less of a questionable act. Cool, but so clueless.
14. Play Date
Not all questionable acts committed by parents are intentional. Take Desperate Housewives for instance. They all loved their children, but often made bad choices when faced with split-minute decisions. Lynette Scavo was the most tired and worn of the housewives. If you’ve parented more than one young child, you’ll easily understand how stressful four can be. Plus, a childish husband to boot! It’s still questionable to abuse your child’s Adderall, even if it’s to keep up with the other parents.
However, this is just what Lynette did! She got so hooked that when she ran out of her own kids meds, she arranged a play date so she could steal another child’s supply. She eventually broke down, after staying up forever, which made for a good lesson. Lynette did many questionable things as a mom, but mostly because she was just worn out. Four kids, all close in age, including a set of twins and a baby. Who wouldn’t be tired? However, this was still an awful way to handle the situation.
13. Wrong Parental Methods
You would think that Monica could have helped Ian with his descent into the madness of bipolar disorder. Especially, since she was the carrier of the genes that gave the disease to him. However, this is not a perfect world and the show that we’re talking about is Shameless. Yes, there were two people in attendance at the conception of each of the Gallagher children. Believe it or not, Frank was actually the better of the two.
Ian always appeared to be Hurricane Monica’s favorite child. Maybe because they are more alike, or possibly because he came to her with his problems. At least, when he knew how to find her. The problem with this was that Monica’s brand of parental guidance was to help rescue Ian from jail and help him run away to avoid getting help. She had him wait while she sold a truck driver meth to pay for their food. Then she takes him to the run down trailer, where she lives with her boyfriend, Walter, who has a meth lab ran from a van outside. This plan didn’t end well at all.
12. Secret Laxatives
TV’s Weeds is still a great show, despite being off the air. The situation became dire for Nancy Botwin, when her husband had a freak heart attack while jogging. One day she was your average suburban housewife, the next she was pushing pot to support her kids. However, it was her neighbor, Ceilia Hodes, who was actually a heartless, and cruel fictional TV parent.
What really pushed Ceilia’s buttons was when her daughter, Isabelle refused to watch her weight. Her brand of questionable parenting was to put chocolate laxatives in lieu of Isabelle’s real chocolate stash. Her daughter unknowingly ate the candy, but it didn’t hit her until she was at school. Let’s just say it was a sh*tty situation. When Isabelle’s father questioned Celia about the incident she responded that Isabelle “sh*t herself because she’s a little piggy”. Her response was almost worse than the act itself.
11. Bags Make Great Toys
AMC’s Mad Men is another popular series plagued with bad parenting. The show was based on the advertising business, in the 1960s. Its lead character was Don Draper, a talented creative director at an advertising company. The show revolved around Draper, his family, and other acquaintances. Draper was a heavy drinker and philanderer, but wasn’t the worst dad in the world. However, it was the questionable parenting acts committed by his wife, Betty, that became famous.
That’s Betty scolding their eldest child Sally, that you see above. It might appear that she is scolding her child for wearing a dangerous plastic dry cleaning bag over her head, but nope. She is upset that the clothing from the dry cleaning bag might be on the floor. Sally didn’t know she could’ve suffocated herself. She was just playing spacemen! However, her mother’s main worry was the clothes. We’ll just spoil that this was the beginning of a long list of bad parenting priorities on Betty’s behalf, and that Sally had some rocky teenage years ahead of her.
10. Dating Your Daughter’s Ex
DeDe Pritchett is the most questionable parent on Modern Family. She is Jay Pritchett’s ex-wife, and the mother of both Claire and Mitchell. She appears to be mentally unstable at times, mainly due to her oftentimes inappropriate and aggressive nature. She has a reasonably close relationship with Mitchell, but a strained relationship with Claire. This really came to light when she came across Claire’s old high school flame, Robbie. Not only did she invite him along for her granddaughter’s birthday party, but she also conveniently failed to mention Claire’s husband, Phil or their children to him.
Later, Claire spotted DeDe kissing Robbie outside and things took an unexpected twist. Robbie admitted to Claire that he had always had a crush on her mom. Of course, everything unraveled from there. It’s already tough realizing that your mom is dating someone your age, but for it to be your ex-boyfriend, yikes!
9. Father Of The Bride Wisdom
If you’ve ever watched Shameless, then you already know how selfish Frank Gallagher can be. The show depicts the life of the Gallaghers, with Fiona acting as her sibling’s guardian. Frank is an alcoholic, and drug addict. Their mother, Monica wasn’t much better, if not worse. They selfishly left Fiona straddled with four kids, neither of them helping financially, physically, or emotionally, unless there was something in it for them.
However, none of this softened the blow for Fiona’s wedding day disaster. Frank barged in, just as the preacher asked who was giving her hand in marriage. He ranted about all of his children’s flaws, including hers. “You’ve had so many men drive up the freeway between your legs that you’re going to have to put an exit sign on your vag*na”, he told Fiona. Frank was high as a kite as he called out Fiona’s intended husband, Sean, for his drug relapse. His intentions were not good. In fact, he was so selfish in that moment, that he wouldn’t have said anything. At least, had it not been for Fiona’s refusal to let him walk her down that aisle. Could selfish parenting get any more questionable than that?
8. Raising A Psychopath
Having watched Psycho, we already knew Norma Bates wasn’t the ideal parent, based on Norman’s portrayal of her. Then came the A&E series Bates Motel, which explains how Norman became who he was in the movie. Norma wasn’t dealt the best childhood herself, but that doesn’t excuse her questionable parenting skills. Aka, her desire to cover for her mentally unstable, murderous son.
Norma has covered for Norman, ever since he killed his own father. She also hid the fact that he often had blackouts, which coincided with mysterious murders. She even made him an accomplice to a murder that she committed, although it was in self-defense. As if that weren’t enough, she found a way to justify his unnatural longing for her. Not only did she commit the questionable act of allowing him to sleep in her bed, but she allowed him to spoon her. All the while telling him that his feelings were totally natural. This might explain why he killed her, but also thinks that he is her afterwards. Just saying.
7. Family Business Gone Wrong
Okay, now we’re getting back to Nancy Botwin from Weeds. Remember? She was the suburban, pot dealing mom. She needed a quick way to support her sons, following the untimely death of her husband. She didn’t do drugs. She wasn’t an alcoholic. All she did was try and support her family, only she didn’t think of the conflicts that would arise from selling pot. Nancy’s eldest son, Silas became interested enough to want a role in the family business, but ended up mostly okay.
However, it was her youngest boy, Shane who was constantly looking for attention, and became increasingly protective of his mother. Her family was constantly in danger by the end of the series. She married a shady DEA agent, and mostly left both boys to be raised by her brother-in-law Andy, who she occasionally slept with. Shane was totally messed up by the time she married the drug-dealing mayor of Tijuana and had Stevie.
6. Child Endangerment
AMC’s The Walking Dead is based during a zombie apocalypse, so we sort of get it. It’s kind of hard not to endanger your child in this sort of environment. We understand wanting your child to be able to protect himself, just in case you can’t be there. However, there are some instances of child endangerment that can and should be avoided. For instance, you could avoid allowing your son to tag along so much.
Rick Grimes could have prevented a lot of drama, had he done just that. Are we saying that Glen and Abraham would have survived. No, there was no avoiding that, but Rick did get too sure of himself. Alexandria was already on high alert, and he still took Carl along to transport Maggie to The Hilltop. Negan still would’ve gotten in Rick’s head, but the fact that he was able to use Carl to do it, probably affected Rick a lot more. Negan almost made him cut off his own child’s arm. Could anything break someone faster? We believe not.
5. The Consequences Of Spoiling
Finding a place to begin proves rather difficult, when it comes to questionable parenting acts committed by Cersei and Jaime Lannister. They are the incestuous parents from Game of Thrones. It’s kind of hard to mess up before your children are even born, but these two found a way. They are not married, but are actually brother and sister. Their children were born out of incest. Jaime never really got to be a father to his children, but there are tons of problems with Cersei’s parenting.
However, we’ll stick with their eldest son Geoffrey. That’s him that you see in the casket above. He became king when his “father” passed, but was a mean, sadistic, and immature ruler. This could be blamed on his parentage, or his spoiled lifestyle. He grew up without ever having to face the consequences of his actions. He did what he wanted, when he wanted. There were many who wanted him dead, and consequently was poisoned by both his past betrothed and his wife. His parents might not be the ones to poison him, but they deserve at least some of the blame.
4. An Extreme Cover-Up
Many parents would do anything to protect their children, but sometimes it’s necessary to let them make a few mistakes. This is something that Bree Van de Kamp, didn’t understand. Bree was another parent off of Desperate Housewives. She was the gun toting conservative of the bunch, who also came off like a 1950s housewife. In the event that things didn’t go as planned, she would go to extraordinary lengths to put up a front that everything was just peachy!
This meant that there were several occasions when Bree had to cover up her children’s mistakes. One case that comes to mind was when her son, Andrew ran over their neighbor’s mother. Another, was when she covered up her daughter, Danielle’s pregnancy. Danielle was a spoiled, privileged brat. She didn’t need, or want the baby, but Bree sure did. Bree sent Danielle away, while she pretended to carry her child. You’ve really got to give it to Bree, though. She pulled off the entire ruse, even after pregnant Danielle, dressed up as pregnant Bree for Halloween.
3. A Little White Lie
Can we really be shocked that Jackie’s daughter, Grace from Nurse Jackie, turned out be a manipulative little liar, who also had issues with drugs? Not really, especially when you consider that she learned from the best. Jackie was a pill-popping nurse, a lot like Dr. House, only a nurse with a husband and kids, who chose to snort instead of pop.
Jackie’s friendship, marriage, and job were all in jeopardy, following her theft of Oxy from a drug dealer. She took it as he was brought into the ER. It had also been discovered that she had given her bestie, Dr. O’Hara a fake MRI to get a prescription. Plus, there was the loan from O’Hara to get her youngest daughter, Fiona into private school, which never happened. Yeah, that’s a lot, but still not all of it. Jackie suggested a family vacation, in order to get away from all of this. However, things got spoiled when O’Hara called and asked Fiona how she liked her new school. Let’s just say that Grace learned the art of lying at a very young age.
2. Baby Powder
Fiona might not be a fictional TV parent, but she is the acting parent for her siblings on Shameless. There is nothing that she wouldn’t do for her younger brothers, or her sister. Fiona has worked several jobs, made sure they went to school, helped them with life lessons, found ways to get them back from DHS, and put her entire life on hold. She has done the best she could for someone who first started taking care of them at the age of nine.
The scene above was just after Fiona had slept with her boss/boyfriend’s brother, Robbie, who had told his brother what happened. He also popped up at her house and left behind a baggy of cocaine. Fiona had found out that she wasn’t going to be fired. So, she and her friends had a party. Lip came in with Debbie, who found out that their youngest brother, Liam had found the baggy and ate the contents. None of this would have happened, had she been paying more attention, or not been doing the drugs at all.
1. A Child Sacrifice
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, then this questionable parenting act left you both emotionally distraught, and royally pissed off. The act was committed by Stannis Baratheon. For some reason Stannis believed his priestess, Melisandre when she told him he had to sacrifice his child to win a war. So, he had his daughter, Shireen burned alive. Why again?
Anyway, GoT got tons of hell for this one, as you might imagine. Hey, you were probably one of the ones trolling Showtime on Twitter. I know I was. This is one act that is more than just plain wrong, it’s despicable. How could someone sacrifice their own child, just to win anything. A kingdom, a crown, a throne? There was no coming back for Stannis’ character after that one, even if he hadn’t have died himself. There were probably people jumping up and down, or throwing parties at the mere foresight of his death. Seriously!
Which fictional TV parent is your favorite? Who do you think committed the most questionable parenting act?