Jump to content
Forums forums
PRIMETIMER
Spartan Girl

Worst Book Parents

Recommended Posts

I vaguely remember flipping through that one in the bookstore. After an entire book of being horrible, doesn't she finally cave at the end and allow him to live with Jo?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Just about every parent in Little Fires Everywhere.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
7 hours ago, Crs97 said:

Just about every parent in Little Fires Everywhere.

To be fair, I think the McCulloughs would have made decent parents, but, alas, we'll never know

Spoiler

(thanks for that, Bebe).

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, Crs97 said:

They were my lone exception, Wiendish!

Yeah, Little Fires Everywhere is the type of book I enjoy as I read it, but have tons of issues with after the fact (Where'd You Go, Bernadette? had the same effect on me). I think Elena was a smug, smarmy hypocrite, as was baggage-ridden Mia (who I felt, in retrospect, got too much of a free pass because she was "artistic"). Izzy and Pearl are going to need a shit ton of therapy somewhere down the road.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
15 hours ago, Black Knight said:

I vaguely remember flipping through that one in the bookstore. After an entire book of being horrible, doesn't she finally cave at the end and allow him to live with Jo?

Yes, but it still doesn't make up for the way she acted.

Share this post


Link to post
On ‎7‎/‎25‎/‎2015 at 8:25 AM, raezen said:

This might be stating the obvious but the parents in Angela's Ashes should definitely get a mention.

But was it bad parenting or merely extreme poverty?  I know the father was a raging alcoholic and spent money on drink, but I think the mother did the best she could with what seemed like depression.

Edited by Oosala
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
On ‎7‎/‎21‎/‎2015 at 2:15 PM, Avaleigh said:

I flinched at the way Scarlett O'Hara would treat Wade. Ella too but she was just kind of put on ignore. (Which is in itself damaging but in a different way.) There were times when I felt like she actively loathed her only son and I always appreciated that Rhett would go out of his way to be nice to him. 

Yes to this.  It seems the only child she had any sort of feelings for was Bonnie Blue (because Rhett forced her to), and then of course that's the child that dies.  When I was a young girl, I read GWTW every summer.  I say this with mixed feelings because of the whole KKK BEING THE GOOD GUYS thing.

Edited by Oosala
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

One thing I do like about GWTW in that regard is that Scarlett doesn't ever magically turn into a good mother or someone who wants children, not even through the power of twue wuv or through experiencing the actual reality of pregnancy/motherhood. Today she would have other options for avoiding pregnancy besides not having sex with her husband, and would have been better off.

I mean, it'd be nice to have a female character who feels that way and doesn't change her mind who isn't an anti-heroine/villainness, but I'll take what I can get.

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice are two examples of what NOT to do when parenting. Their failure to keep Lydia in line very nearly destroyed their family, and in the end, the three of them never really learned anything or mended their ways.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, catlover79 said:

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice are two examples of what NOT to do when parenting. Their failure to keep Lydia in line very nearly destroyed their family, and in the end, the three of them never really learned anything or mended their ways.

Well, Mr. Bennet did learn to do better for Kitty and Mary. Mrs. Bennet and Lydia definitely never learned a thing which is very frustrating. It was realistic but it would have been nice if they learned their lesson too. Or were told off at least once. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

As fun as Mr. Bennett was as a character (he does have some the best lines), his parenting skills were definitely sub-par: way too detached, remote, and self-involved, made Mrs Bennett do most of the parental heavy lifting (terrible idea), and was a bit too blatant in his favoritism towards Lizzy (I love her, too, but, dude, that's not cool).

And Mrs. Bennett? Yeesh, no wonder Lydia, Kitty, and Mary (whom I believe became a prudish prig as a form of rebellion) turned out the way they did. At least Lizzy and Jane emerged unscathed.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
5 hours ago, Wiendish Fitch said:

As fun as Mr. Bennett was as a character (he does have some the best lines), his parenting skills were definitely sub-par: way too detached, remote, and self-involved, made Mrs Bennett do most of the parental heavy lifting (terrible idea), and was a bit too blatant in his favoritism towards Lizzy (I love her, too, but, dude, that's not cool).

And Mrs. Bennett? Yeesh, no wonder Lydia, Kitty, and Mary (whom I believe became a prudish prig as a form of rebellion) turned out the way they did. At least Lizzy and Jane emerged unscathed.

Yeah, that sums both up pretty well. He had clear favoritism towards Lizzy, and did zero parenting. He left it all up to his wife who he already hated, openly mocked and treated crappy.  Its probably more surprising that only three of the girls ended up messed up. Mrs. Bennet's obviously openly favored Lydia over all her girls. She openly encouraged Lydia and help create her to be the spoiled, selfish twit she was. She encouraged all of her wild behavior. Kitty and Mary were really left alone. Their mother had Lydia, their father had Lizzy and Lizzy and Jane had each other. Kitty ended up following after Lydia despite being older and probably due to her mother constantly praising Lydia and encouraging her. That was who she need to be or try to be to go get any attention from her. If she didn't then she'd be ignored by both parents. Everyone disliked Mary and she knows it. Her behavior makes sense she tries to be the way she thinks will get her notice while thinking she's better skilled and smarter when she's bad at the piano and be annoying. Mr. Bennet also does nothing to find any of his daughters husbands. Mrs. Bennet goes on forever about it and horrible about trying to marry them off and giving bad advice. But she's the only one trying. Mr. Bennet has known for years that his daughters could be kicked out of their own home when he dies but does nothing about it. He never would have gone to Bingley if his wife hadn't said something. Its funny and a great scene where Mr. Bennet sides with Lizzy to reject Mr. Collins but he is the man who will inherit the estate and marrying off one of his daughters to him is the best way to ensure they don't get kicked. He doesn't even consider any of his daughters. Mary probably would have been a good fit. They could be annoying together. As funny is it to see him making fun of his wife and mocking her. But is that really how he should be treating her? Especially in front of their kids.

Mrs. Bennet is worse of course. Once she hears Lydia will be married nothing else matters. She ignores the how and acts like its the greatest thing in the world and that she was right all along. She learns nothing from it. Certainly not to be a better parent. 

Its really amazing that Jane and Lizzy turned out so well. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, andromeda331 said:

Its really amazing that Jane and Lizzy turned out so well. 

It is, and their parents can't claim any credit for that. It speaks volumes about both Mr. Darcy's character and the depth of his love for Elizabeth that he paid Wickham to marry Lydia and make her "respectable". That he wanted to marry Elizabeth knowing full well who he would have for in-laws...not for the faint of heart!! 😂

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, catlover79 said:

It is, and their parents can't claim any credit for that. It speaks volumes about both Mr. Darcy's character and the depth of his love for Elizabeth that he paid Wickham to marry Lydia and make her "respectable". That he wanted to marry Elizabeth knowing full well who he would have for in-laws...not for the faint of heart!! 😂

LOL! No definitely not. Ending up with Mrs. Bennet as a mother-in-law, Lydia as a sister-in-law and Wickham as a brother-in-law? Even before the marriage its easy to see why anyone hesitated to marry Jane or Lizzy. Who wants to end up with them as in-laws? Mr. Darcy does mention to Lizzy he thinks she would prefer to be further away from her family. Gauging how often he'd have to see his in-laws. Can't blame him her mother and Lydia are enough to want to be in a different country from or maybe further away. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
2 minutes ago, andromeda331 said:

LOL! No definitely not. Ending up with Mrs. Bennet as a mother-in-law, Lydia as a sister-in-law and Wickham as a brother-in-law? Even before the marriage its easy to see why anyone hesitated to marry Jane or Lizzy. Who wants to end up with them as in-laws? Mr. Darcy does mention to Lizzy he thinks she would prefer to be further away from her family. Gauging how often he'd have to see his in-laws. Can't blame him her mother and Lydia are enough to want to be in a different country from or maybe further away. 

It even said toward the end of the book that Jane and Charles Bingley, probably the two most easygoing characters, moved away from Netherfield after only about a year because of the close proximity to the Bennets. Even they couldn't handle it!!! 😂

  • Like 1
  • Laugh 2

Share this post


Link to post
3 minutes ago, catlover79 said:

It even said toward the end of the book that Jane and Charles Bingley, probably the two most easygoing characters, moved away from Netherfield after only about a year because of the close proximity to the Bennets. Even they couldn't handle it!!! 😂

LOL! You know its bad when the two nicest people who will put up with anyone move to get away from them. 

  • Laugh 3

Share this post


Link to post
58 minutes ago, andromeda331 said:

LOL! You know its bad when the two nicest people who will put up with anyone move to get away from them. 

That's right, and Mrs. Bennet probably never had a clue as to why they really moved away. 😂

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
12 minutes ago, catlover79 said:

That's right, and Mrs. Bennet probably never had a clue as to why they really moved away. 😂

LOL! Probably not.

Edited by andromeda331
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
On 6/9/2019 at 1:35 PM, Wiendish Fitch said:

Yeesh, no wonder Lydia, Kitty, and Mary (whom I believe became a prudish prig as a form of rebellion) turned out the way they did. At least Lizzy and Jane emerged unscathed.

And doesn't Austen write that Kitty ends up changing for the better by staying with her sisters Elizabeth and Jane frequently instead of at home with her parents? Proof that it was very much her environment.

I always felt bad for Mary. Sort of the way I feel about how Susan ended up in the Narnia series, shut out forever just because she grew up. Yes, Mary's an annoying prude but in that family what else was she going to be? Why doesn't she also get to improve from her sisters' advantageous marriages like Kitty does? Oh, right, she's not physically attractive. It reminds me a bit of Downton Abbey's Lady Edith, only in that series Edith is actually allowed to grow and she ends up making the best match out of everyone, and it's a love match to boot.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, Black Knight said:

And doesn't Austen write that Kitty ends up changing for the better by staying with her sisters Elizabeth and Jane frequently instead of at home with her parents? Proof that it was very much her environment.

I always felt bad for Mary. Sort of the way I feel about how Susan ended up in the Narnia series, shut out forever just because she grew up. Yes, Mary's an annoying prude but in that family what else was she going to be? Why doesn't she also get to improve from her sisters' advantageous marriages like Kitty does? Oh, right, she's not physically attractive. It reminds me a bit of Downton Abbey's Lady Edith, only in that series Edith is actually allowed to grow and she ends up making the best match out of everyone, and it's a love match to boot.

Yes, she did. Kitty changed for the better with Lydia gone and being around Elizabeth and Jane. Lydia kept trying to send for Kitty but her father never allowed it. But I think Kitty's not interested in visiting either. But Austen also did write that Mary improved too. Without her other more prettier, accomplished sisters around she didn't feel like she had to try and complete. She ended up doing very well as her mother's companion or whatever that was. Which is surprising from Mrs. Bennet but with Lydia gone, Jane and Elizabeth so far away and Kitty mostly hanging around them she had no one left but Mary. I do feel sorry for Mary. Really until then she had no one. She had no sister or parent she was close too or liked her. She had no talent or skills in anything. That had to be hard.  

  • Like 2
  • Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post

Elizabeth showed better parental judgment than her father when Lydia got the invitation to go to Brighton. She warned Mr. Bennet that letting Lydia go would be a disaster and potentially scandalous for the family (and Elizabeth, of course, was right on the money). Mr. Bennet knew it, but still relented just so he wouldn't have to listen to Lydia whine.

For all his caustic comments about his wife and her dismal parenting skills, he was no better. He would just escape to the peace and quiet of his library (much like many fathers today, sadly, escape to the garage, football game on TV, etc.), and the Bennet parents are lucky that Mr. Darcy saved their necks.

Even though Mr. Darcy's parents had long since passed on before the events of the book, it seems that they were excellent role models for their son. The proof that Georgiana Darcy turned out so well from her brother's care gives us some idea of how the elder Mr. Darcy might have influenced his son to be an excellent parent. Of course, the younger Mr. Darcy had Lady Catherine de Burgh as his aunt - but hey, no family is perfect. 😅

Edited by catlover79
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
31 minutes ago, catlover79 said:

Elizabeth showed better parental judgment than her father when Lydia got the invitation to go to Brighton. She warned Mr. Bennet that letting Lydia go would be a disaster and potentially scandalous for the family (and Elizabeth, of course, was right on the money). Mr. Bennet knew it, but still relented just so he wouldn't have to listen to Lydia whine.

For all his caustic comments about his wife and her dismal parenting skills, he was no better. He would just escape to the peace and quiet of his library (much like many fathers today, sadly, escape to the garage, football game on TV, etc.), and the Bennet parents are lucky that Mr. Darcy saved their necks.

Even though Mr. Darcy's parents had long since passed on before the events of the book, it seems that they were excellent role models for their son. The proof that Georgina Darcy turned out so well from her brother's care gives us some idea of how the elder Mr. Darcy might have influenced his son to be an excellent parent. Of course, the younger Mr. Darcy had Lady Catherine de Burgh as his aunt - but hey, no family is perfect. 😅

She really did and she was right. Had Mr. Bennet been doing any parenting he wouldn't have let Lydia go. It was obvious to everyone else that she would get herself into trouble. It is really bad that the only reason he lets her go is to get her out of the house. Yet not until after Lydia runs off with Wickham does he realize that its his fault (and his wife's) that she turned out the way she did. He's always in his study or retreating to his study to hid from his wife, his younger daughters and in doing so completely avoids is duty to them. Then there's when he's talking to Lizzy about how he expected to father a son. I understand why that was so important. But when he didn't and instead produced 5 daughters he seems to have simply stopped right there. He did nothing to try and improve their money or standing (if there was such a way), he did nothing to raise them, or to find suitable husbands for them despite knowing the entire time when he died they'd probably be tossed out. He owes so much to Mr. Darcy for what he did. If not for him. Their family would have been ruined. Despite what he and their uncle seemed to think there really wasn't much they could do. They were in no position to force Wickham to marry Lydia or did they have the money or connections. He most likely would have just blown town after they showed up and left Lydia ruined. Out of all his daughters you'd think he would have listened to Lizzy but nope. 

I agree Mr. Darcy really seemed to luck out with his parents. They both sounded wonderful and did a good job with both their children. Darcy too turned out to be really good big brother. I love that scene after he throws Wickham out after learning of his plan and hugged his sister. 

Edited by andromeda331
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I love P&P a lot and Mr. Bennet gets a lot of great lines, but yeah.  Not only is Mr. Bennet checked out as a husband and parent to the younger girls in any meaningful sense, but he's also failing them as a provider.  The entail and the financial devastation that looms for these five girls isn't any great secret.  He even says as much to Lizzy after everything's gone to hell, that he had expected to father a son to head it off and after that master plan failed he didn't do anything to rein in the family's spending habits to be able to set anything aside to make sure they had something if they hadn't married by the time he died.  Mrs. Bennet is largely played as an object of ridicule but in her own ham-fisted way she at least sees the financial danger looming and is trying to wrangle the only socially acceptable solution to it.  Lizzy and Jane really lucked out in attracting Darcy and Bingley's attentions that ultimately led to Darcy cleaning up Lydia's mess for them or they all would have been screwed.

I have an annotated copy full of notes that puts everything into period context and offers a fair bit of commentary on how all of this would have been perceived in their own time period.  The word "indolent" is used repeatedly to describe Mr. Bennet's behavior and handling of the situation.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Staying in the Austen universe, Sir Walter Elliot is high on the list of worst parents.  He is the cause of their financial straits and his disdain for his only sensible daughter is palpable.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
19 hours ago, nodorothyparker said:

I love P&P a lot and Mr. Bennet gets a lot of great lines, but yeah.  Not only is Mr. Bennet checked out as a husband and parent to the younger girls in any meaningful sense, but he's also failing them as a provider.  The entail and the financial devastation that looms for these five girls isn't any great secret.  He even says as much to Lizzy after everything's gone to hell, that he had expected to father a son to head it off and after that master plan failed he didn't do anything to rein in the family's spending habits to be able to set anything aside to make sure they had something if they hadn't married by the time he died.  Mrs. Bennet is largely played as an object of ridicule but in her own ham-fisted way she at least sees the financial danger looming and is trying to wrangle the only socially acceptable solution to it.  Lizzy and Jane really lucked out in attracting Darcy and Bingley's attentions that ultimately led to Darcy cleaning up Lydia's mess for them or they all would have been screwed.

I have an annotated copy full of notes that puts everything into period context and offers a fair bit of commentary on how all of this would have been perceived in their own time period.  The word "indolent" is used repeatedly to describe Mr. Bennet's behavior and handling of the situation.

Yeah, he does nothing. When he announces Mr. Collin's is going to visit he says he's the man who may turn them all out of the house when he's dead. He's done nothing to stop it and doesn't bother to try and set Mr. Collins up with any of his daughters which would be the easily solution. Its Mrs. Bennet who is all over him to pair him off to one of her daughters for that reason. He's unlikely to throw his in-laws out of their house. When you think about it Mrs. Bennet is also the reason Jane and Bigley met along with Elizabeth and Darcy. She was the one who told Mr. Bennet that he had to go over and introduce himself because they had 5 daughters.  He never would have gone if she hadn't say anything. Also didn't really seem to mind making a joke of it and his wife that'll offer all his daughters. He had no problem joking about it but never once stopped to think seriously about it or do something? Not even for his favorite daughter Lizzy does he do anything to find her suitable husband. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Yep, Mr. Collins is a ridiculous figure to be sure, but Mr. Bennet sets out to make him a subject of family ridicule before he ever even sets foot through the door instead of appreciating that gee, if he's coming here in good faith to try to provide the solution to the entail mess maybe we should at least hear him out first and see if any of the girls is inclined to accept him if they're not immediately prejudiced against him.  For all her faults, Mrs. Bennet at least sees that much.

Later, Mr. Bennet still isn't willing to do anything when Lizzy is counseling him against letting Lydia run off to Brighton, indirectly using as evidence the hard truths Mr. Darcy laid on her in his disastrous proposal and followup letter about how the family is perceived.  Because while Darcy may have been something of an ass about it, he's not off the mark.  She's all but spelling out for dear old dad that hey, I know maybe you don't much care what people think of you or your younger daughters you so love to disparage but it's also making us all look bad and ruining the potential futures of the two older daughters you claim to care about.   He'd rather let them do whatever they want so they'll leave him alone to sit in his library.  (Which, having kids I can sympathize with, but seriously, my kids aren't likely to be left living P&P: The Jane Eyre Edition or worse if I finish my book first.) 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

 She was the one who told Mr. Bennet that he had to go over and introduce himself because they had 5 daughters.  He never would have gone if she hadn't say anything.

 While I agree with almost all of your post, andromeda, I had to copy this part because, for all of his faults, we do find out that Mr. Bennet had always planned to introduce himself to Bingley and Darcy.

From Chapter 2:  “Mr. Bennet was among the earliest of those who waited on Mr. Bingley. He had always intended to visit him, though to the last always assuring his wife that he should not go; and till the evening after the visit was paid she had no knowledge of it.”  

Doesn’t take him off the worst parents list, but I will throw him this particular bone.

  • Like 2
  • Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post
36 minutes ago, Crs97 said:

 While I agree with almost all of your post, andromeda, I had to copy this part because, for all of his faults, we do find out that Mr. Bennet had always planned to introduce himself to Bingley and Darcy.

From Chapter 2:  “Mr. Bennet was among the earliest of those who waited on Mr. Bingley. He had always intended to visit him, though to the last always assuring his wife that he should not go; and till the evening after the visit was paid she had no knowledge of it.”  

Doesn’t take him off the worst parents list, but I will throw him this particular bone.

He did? I don't know how I missed that. Thank you for posting the whole part. I'm glad at least he was going to do that. So be doesn't have that against him. So many other things but not that.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

It increases his worst husband status so I don’t know that it’s quite the defense he might have hoped for if he were real.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
8 hours ago, nodorothyparker said:

Yep, Mr. Collins is a ridiculous figure to be sure, but Mr. Bennet sets out to make him a subject of family ridicule before he ever even sets foot through the door instead of appreciating that gee, if he's coming here in good faith to try to provide the solution to the entail mess maybe we should at least hear him out first and see if any of the girls is inclined to accept him if they're not immediately prejudiced against him.  For all her faults, Mrs. Bennet at least sees that much.

Yes, he does. It really was big of Mr. Collin to come considering the falling out the two families had with his father and try to make nice. He really didn't have to. He could have remained at Lady Catherine's beck and call until Mr. Bennet died and swooped into take the house. He does actually come looking for a wife. That would have solved the problem immediately. He happy to ridicule him and to have his family do too. But as Charlotte points out he's not bad man. He's an idiot, annoying but he's not bad man.  Mrs. Bennet encourages him of course she knows what the stakes are. Although why she didn't think to steer him to Mary I don't know. Sure he picked Lizzy, but he could have been steered towards Mary since he originally picked Jane until Mrs. Bennet steered him away because of Bingley no reason he couldn't be steer towards Mary. He does nothing not even encouraging his family to be nice to him and being nice to him also so that maybe if no marriage happens he might consider not throwing them out after how nice they were to him. Him siding with Lizzy over turning Mr. Collins is a great scene but Mr. Collins now has even more reason to throw his wife and daughters out of the house when dies. Mrs. Bennet does but not him. Its fine that he's happy but it would be nice if he realized how bad that still could be for his family.

Quote

Later, Mr. Bennet still isn't willing to do anything when Lizzy is counseling him against letting Lydia run off to Brighton, indirectly using as evidence the hard truths Mr. Darcy laid on her in his disastrous proposal and followup letter about how the family is perceived.  Because while Darcy may have been something of an ass about it, he's not off the mark.  She's all but spelling out for dear old dad that hey, I know maybe you don't much care what people think of you or your younger daughters you so love to disparage but it's also making us all look bad and ruining the potential futures of the two older daughters you claim to care about.   He'd rather let them do whatever they want so they'll leave him alone to sit in his library.  (Which, having kids I can sympathize with, but seriously, my kids aren't likely to be left living P&P: The Jane Eyre Edition or worse if I finish my book first.) 

Nope, he's not willing to do anything not even listen to his favorite daughter who's right. He doesn't see how Lydia's behavior effects the rest of the family at all. He's not bothered by it. When Lizzy tries to point out without giving details of one man already turned away because of their family, all he does is ask if Lydia stole a few of her lovers. He knows she's wild but somehow thinks other families will over look that when looking at Jane or Lizzy. That might be true if the family more money and a better position but they have neither. As hard is Mr. Darcy's letter was he is right. That is how other families look at them. Anyone can see Lydia will get herself into trouble except Mr. Bennet and he knows what she's like.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×