Talk It Out Thursday – YA Parents


4talkitoutthursdayTalk It Out Thursday is a discussion feature here at The Printed YA Word that takes place every Thursday.

I feel like this is a topic that has been discussed often, but not nearly enough (if that makes sense). What exactly is that topic? The topic of parents in young adult literature. Now there are three points that I want to make about parents in YA. The first point: parents in YA literature are absent. Seriously, where are these parents? More often than not, you pick up a YA book to read and discover that the parents are just not there…or they’re there, but rarely mentioned. I don’t get it, where are they? I understand that maybe it isn’t necessary to have parents be there all the time, but don’t just get rid of them. I can see if the MC is an orphan or is under the custody of someone else or things of that nature, but there are some instances where the MC is obviously under the care of an adult, but we never see that adult. What is up with that?


The second point: if the parents ARE present in YA literature, they (usually) are awful. Why? Why is it always necessary to have parents be terrible parents in YA? They can be terrible in several ways, such as they don’t parent their child (or children) in an appropriate manner, they ignore their duties as a parent, they pick fights with their family members, they don’t act like a parent, the list can continue for some time. I haven’t come across many books where the parents are actually decent human beings and care for their child and actually conduct parent like duties. Why is this so hard to come across?


The final point: if there are parents present in YA literature, why are they always divorced/single/separated? Now, I’m not saying anything is wrong with this, as that may be the better option for some. But why are there more of those instances than parents who are together? I come from a family where my parents are still together and love each other, so that’s what I know. The same could be said for someone who has parents that are divorced, that’s what they know. But it sort of makes me feel like an outcast when I read books where the parents are not together (just like I would assume it might make someone who has divorced parents feel like an outcast to read a book where the parents are together). Does that make any sense? Probably not, but in my mind it does.

audrinaPerhaps I’m just clueless to the whole dynamic of parents in YA, but then again, that’s why this is a discussion. What do you all think? Am I on to something? Am I way off? Let me know!


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