The ultimate responsibility for a parent is to ensure their children's safety. Parents are always willing to put themselves on the line to ensure their children’s happiness and their future. However, not all parents can be considered role models. There are many parents in television that use extreme methods to raise their kids. Often, the methods they use cross both legal, and moral boundaries. The parents who have made their way onto this list, were considered for their unorthodox parenting methods that either endanger, exploit, neglect, or cause mental harm to their children, or others.
On the other hand, not all parents who use shady methods, can be considered evil. Rather, they simply use some misguided methods to demonstrate the love they have for their children, or just simply want to take a break from the stressful life of a parent. Unfortunately, their tactics often lead them to using some unorthodox methods that would make many question their parenting style.
It is true that these parents may never end up becoming the most ideal role models. On the other hand, their actions certainly do make for some of the most entertaining, and thrilling moments on TV.
Here is a list featuring some of the Shadiest Things That TV Parents Have Done.
15 Damien Darhk And His Wife Worked Together On Project Genesis - Arrow
First introduced in Arrow’s fourth season, Damien Darhk has proven time and time again to be one of the Arrowverse’s greatest villains. Even though he is a great villain, he also happens to be a great father and husband.
Unlike most villains, Darhk does not keep his work and family life separate. If anything, his brand of evil seems to run in the family. Not only is Darhk's wife aware of what he is capable of, she also happens to be a member of his organization HIVE.
She even takes his place to run for mayor of Star City, proving to be more than just a figure head. Like her husband, she is ruthless and does not hesitate to endanger lives for the sake of Project Genesis, which is to cause the apocalypse, and rule over the surviving humans.
14 Mikael Made His Children Hate Him - The Vampire Diaries
Father and son relationships don’t get more awkward, or ironic, than with Klaus and Mikael. Originally, Mikael had true feelings of fatherhood towards his stepson Klaus. However, after losing his daughter Freya, Mikael grew cold and distant towards Klaus.
Growing up in a dark era, Mikael went out of his way to abuse and make life difficult for Klaus. He then justifies his actions to the family, claiming that he only wishes to toughen him up. However, the rest of his family could see his actions for what it was and loathed him for what he did to Klaus. He even made Klaus and his brother Elijah fight each other.
Their relationships only worsen as the centuries go by, and they become the Original Vampires. Mikael even becomes a vampire hunter, who feeds on other vampires. Talk about a toxic relationship.
13 Zoom's Father Killed His Mother - The Flash
Hunter Zolomon, aka Zoom, has proven to be a dangerous enemy not just to The Flash, but to his allies across the multiverse. Assuming the identity of Jay Garrick, Zoom gets close to Barry for the sole purpose of taking his speed, to add to his own.
Zoom’s identity is later revealed to be Hunter Zolomon, an infamous serial killer from Earth Two. Unlike, his Earth One counterpart, Hunter has led an emotionally scaring life.
As a young child, he witnessed his emotionally unstable father shoot his mother, after she threatened to leave him. What’s worse is that his father forced him to watch the entire ordeal. By killing his wife, Zoom's father also sealed his fate as a murderer, and power-hungry monster., effectively dooming him to become the Black Flash.
12 Homer and Marge Pretended To Fight So They Could Have Alone Time - The Simpsons
Homer and Marge go to great lengths to make sure their children are physically unharmed (except for Bart of course). However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t take advantage of their kids’ naivety every know and then.
In the Haw-Hawed Couple, Homer and Marge come up with the brilliant idea to fake an argument to keep the kids away, so they can finally be alone. At first the kids stay away, believing their parents are in a heated argument.
However, the plan fails after their recorded argument is accidentally replaced with the song A Horse with No Name. Bart’s curiosity leads him to investigate and he walks in on his parents doing the nasty. The next day Bart goes to school, severely traumatized by what he has seen.
Let’s face it, there were probably a million ways they could have handled this without causing trauma to their kids… twice.
11 Tony Prioritizes Mob Life Over His Family Life - The Sopranos
As a member of the mob, Tony Soprano tries to juggle his life as a mobster and his life as a family man. Although, when it comes to being a good dad, Tony does not have the best rap sheet. Most of the time, Tony appears to dedicate himself more to his life as a mobster, than his family. Often, he appears to mix both of his lifestyles with one another.
When it comes to his son, he won’t hesitate to smack him around a little, for the sake of toughening him up. For his daughter, he takes the term overprotective father too far and ends up whacking one of her boyfriends. Finally, while he does show some level of affection to for his wife, this does not stop him from sleeping with other women.
10 Lindsay and Tobias Leave Each Other and Abandon Maeby - Arrested Development
As one of the most dysfunctional families on television, there is no limit to the Bluths incompetence. However, Lindsay, and her husband, Tobias, may be some of the worst members of the family. Despite being accused for several crimes, the family heads, George Sr. and his wife Lucille at least make the effort to acknowledge their children’s existence (at times). Lindsay and Tobias, on the other hand, seem to have a recurring habit of forgetting they have a daughter.
In Season 4, they take their neglect to a whole new level. In addition to leaving each other for new love interests, they also abandon their daughter in the process. While this is not the first time they have forgotten about Maeby, this is the first time they abandon her to fend for herself.
Although with parents like that, they may have done her a favor.
9 Evelyn Harper Manipulates Her Sons - Two And A Half Men
Evelynn Harper is described as many things, an uber-cougar, the devil, a witch, and even death. It should come as no surprise that her sons Charlie, and Alan would not hold her in such high regard. Especially considering that she constantly makes fun of Charlie’s drinking and fooling around with women, and alluding to Alan that he is not her “good son.”
She has even manipulated her sons for her own benefit. Notable examples include having Charlie sleep with a married woman, so she could profit from her divorce, and tricking Alan to be her date to a dinner party.
One of her most astonishing moments was when she advertised that Charlie’s house was for sale, during his funeral. Even though people know she is a manipulative con artist, it is still shocking to see her screw her son over, even in death.
8 Archer's Mother Stole His Birthday Presents - Archer
Despite the love she holds for her son, Malory and Archer’s relationship is highly unstable. Malory is responsible for emotionally scaring Archer several times as a child. In the episode Drift Problem, one of the harshest things she ever did to her son was steal his birthday presents to teach him a lesson.
When he was young, she got him a bike, and then later stole it to teach him responsibility. Not only does Archer breakdown in tears, and it is hinted that she then spanks him with a ping pong paddle.
She does this again with him as an adult, only this time its with a high-tech spy car. After Archer almost gets killed by the Yakuza, she decides to tell him the truth, leaving Archer once again traumatized.
To add further insult to injury, she also reveals that she never gave them back and instead sold them off.
7 Al Bundy And His Wife Put Themselves Before Their Children - Married With Children
Unlike most parents who provide for their kids, Al and Peggy Bundy do the opposite. Al usually spends most of his time resenting his family, and only steps up during times of crisis. His wife, is no better, and instead chooses to use Al’s hard-earned money to treat herself, instead of seeing to the needs of her children.
In many cases, Al has encouraged his kids to steal whatever they need from their neighbors. This lack of supervision and proper parenting has in turn screwed up his son and daughter.
Their son frequently attempts to use get rich quick schemes, which he fails at every time. He also does not hesitate to blackmail and insult his sister when the occasion arises. As for their daughter, she becomes the stereotypical “blond bimbo” archetype. She even dates a politician far older than her, with Peggy encouraging her to wear more revealing clothing.
6 Lois and Peter Choose To Blame Others For Causing Stewie’s Injury - Family Guy
In the history of sitcom families, Louis and Peter Griffin have done a pretty shady job at being parents. Normally, a parent’s job is to keep their children out of harms way. In Peter and Louis’ case, they tend to do the exact opposite.
In Brian Griffin’s House of Payne, Chris and Meg accidentally injure Stewie, putting him in a coma. They attempt to cover up Stewie's head wound, but Peter uncovers their ruse, but decides to help his children. To help them, Peter decides to do what he perceives as the most logical solution. Blame the whole thing on his wife.
He then throws Stewie under Lois' car, making her believe that she was responsible for his coma. However, much to his surprise (and adoration), Lois proposes a similar strategy to pin the blame on someone else.
Just another reason, why Lois and Peter are perfect for each other.
5 Will's Dad Abandons Him Again - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Throughout the entire series, Will Smith is always carefree, choosing to see the positive side of life, often without thinking of the consequences. Thankfully, he has his strict, yet wise and loving uncle Phil to help set him straight. However, the return of his father, Lou, threatens to tear his world apart. Although hesitant at first, Will decides to forgive his father for abandoning him, creating a semblance of hope that their relationship can still be saved.
Sadly, Lou later decides to leave Will all over again. In doing so, Lou destroys any chance at restoring their bond as father and son. What happens next is one of the most heartbreaking scenes in television, as well as one of the best performances of Will Smith’s career.
As Will succumbs to his in anger and sadness, he at least has his uncle Phil to comfort him in his lowest moment.
4 Bert And Virginia Purposely Sabotaged Their Son’s Relationships - Raising Hope
In Raising Hope, Burt and Virginia Chance go to great lengths to help their son Jimmy raise his daughter, Hope.
By no means are they bad parents, but that doesn’t mean that their best intentions don’t always involve using underhanded tactics.
More than once, the couple proves that their love for Jimmy may be too strong. After his feelings get hurt by a girl as a young boy, Burt and Virginia vowed that they would never allow him to feel so heartbroken ever again. They make the decision to sabotage all of Jimmy’s potential relationships, from childhood to adulthood.
While it is natural for them to protect their son, Burt and Virginia also impeded their son’s growth as an individual. It doesn’t help that preventing him from dating one girl stopped him from trying to go to college. Really, not their best moment.
3 Red and Kitty Forman Insult Their Children A Lot - That 70's Show
Like all parents, Red and Kitty Foreman from That 70’s Show face a tough battle in raising their kids. The two can only handle so much when dealing with Eric’s nerdy nature and Laurie’s reputation as a harlot. One of the funniest running gags in the series is how Red is known for constantly insulting Eric. Every time he gets in trouble, Red’s either calling him a “dumbass” or threatening to shove his foot where the sun doesn’t shine.
However, Red is powerless when it comes to dealing with Laurie. Thankfully, Kitty is the Red to Laurie’s Eric. She condones Laurie’s promiscuous lifestyle, and even calls her a spoiled brat. Unlike Red, she lets other people do the talking. Therefore, she lets Eric and his friends get away with insulting Laurie. Sadly, their attempts at parenting may be a contributing factor to their children’s behavior.
2 Cotton Took Advantage Of Both His Wife And Son - King of The Hill
Also known as the guy who “killed fitty men,” Cotton Hill is one of the most controversial fathers on TV. Despite losing his shins in WWII, Cotton is a tough SOB and makes sure everyone knows it. This leads him to develop a habit for taking things to the extreme. In Yankee Hankee, it is revealed that Cotton used his pregnant wife, Tilly, to get close to, and then kill Fidel Castro. The attempt fails after his wife goes into labor, and his son, Hank, is delivered in a woman’s washroom.
Years later, after Hank learns the circumstances of his birth, Cotton takes him out to celebrate as reparation. However, he deceives Hank once again, and sets him up as a patsy in his last attempt to kill Castro.
Unfortunately, due to their old age, Cotton and his unit never made it out of the States.
1 Stannis And Selyse Baratheon Make Sacrifices - Game Of Thrones
Selyse and Stannis Baratheon are not known for being the most reasonable of parents. Especially when it comes to the fate of their daughter, Shireen.
In addition to being mentally unstable, Selyse is also an abusive mother towards her daughter. She not only insults her, but also tries to have her psychologically tormented. Regardless of how kind her daughter is, she always goes out of her way to put poor Shireen through hell.
Though her father prevents Selyse from beating her, in the end he turns out to be no better. After being swayed by a witch, Stannis sentences his daughter to be burned at the stake. The fact that he and his wife would allow a soul as kind as Shireen to be killed, makes them some of the worst parents on this list.
Which parents are the worst on our list? Let us know in the comments!