1. Vamp_fan22
    Offline

    Vamp_fan22 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    California

    qualities of a bad mother

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Vamp_fan22, Apr 7, 2011.

    I'm writing a story about a young woman living with her 10 siblings and their single mother. The mother is irresponsible and a bit unfit to be a mother but I want to know what are some qualities of a bad mom. Like, what kind of things she doesn't do that she should or some bad habits she may have. She's not abusive at all, she never does anything to hurt her kids intentionally
     
  2. minstrel
    Online

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,725
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    If she drinks excessively or takes drugs, that's a problem. Also, a bad mom might always try to blame things on her young children that are really her responsibility. Or, if a child gets in trouble at school or somewhere, a bad mom might try to punish that child by ignoring that child - giving the child the silent treatment. This can be very negative.

    Does this help?
     
  3. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    Oh my gosh... How long of a list do you want? Not cooking for them, not helping with school work, staying out all night, partying all the time, new men in the house all the time, never going to school functions at all, never asking how their day was, being completely self absorbed, expecting the older kids to take care of the younger ones, etc. I could keep going if you gave me ages and a little more detail...
     
  4. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Leaves them at home, unsupervised, while she goes out meeting men, or drinking/drugging, or gambling, or treatinng herself to a makeover.

    Or:

    Gives in to their every wish, even when she knows it's unhealthy for them.

    Or:

    Keeps herself well clothed, fed, and entertained while the kids are running around in worn out, dirty, ill-fitting clothes and living on cheap fast food.

    Or...
     
  5. Anonym
    Offline

    Anonym Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    10
    Neglect, disinterest, lack of support or encouragement, being unreliable, not giving a crap about her kid's interests, ect. - the more obvious ones at least. There's a lot of room for parents to mess up in general.
     
  6. Vamp_fan22
    Offline

    Vamp_fan22 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    California
    She does party a lot, in the beginning of the story she goes to her daughter's friend's birthday party, gets drunk makes out with her daughter's friend's boyfriend. She's also really bad with money and spends all the money she makes from working at a dance studio on herself. One of her sons has sickle cell anemia and is extremely sickly. The son with the sickle cell is one thing I'm a bit stuck on. I wonder how she handles that.
     
  7. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    She either expects the older children to take care of it all, blames him for her life not being better everytime he needs something, takes care of him to the exclusion of all the other children, or she does one of the above and uses him for pity points in any situation available (instead of just sucking it up, loving her kids, and busting her ass to make their lives the best she can).
     
  8. hiddennovelist
    Offline

    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Messages:
    10,256
    Likes Received:
    161
    Location:
    Fabulous Sin City
    You could have her neglect all the children and focus all the attention she isn't giving to herself on the son with sickle cell anemia. With him, you could have her focus too much attention on him, to the point where she tries to keep him home all the time, won't let him get out of bed, etc.
     
  9. Vamp_fan22
    Offline

    Vamp_fan22 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    California
    Yeah, these are great suggestions. Thank you all for the help :) She really does love her kids she just does everything wrong. She's just a bit childish. In one scene she comes home and tells her kids she ran into their father who all the kids hate because he abandoned them and invites him to the funeral of one of the sons who commits suicide even though the father may have played a part in that son's death.
     
  10. Trilby
    Offline

    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,098
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    NE England
    A single mum with ten children - it can't be easy.

    Maybe it is all proving to be too much for her. After reading the last post may be all she needs is some TLC.
     
  11. Vamp_fan22
    Offline

    Vamp_fan22 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    California
    11 actually lol! She's got it pretty hard but she's a tough lady. At least, that's how I want to portray her.
     
  12. Mallory
    Offline

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Messages:
    4,274
    Likes Received:
    191
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    I also think it's really bad parenting when parents are too overbearing - forcing their kid to do a sport/instrument/etc just because the parent likes it and not because the kid likes it; telling the kid who to be friends with and who to date; trying to control what they eat and when they eat it (when they're not super little; I mean like the people who are always harping on their daughters about not getting fat) insisting on knowing everything about the kid's social life, then going around and trying to get all the other parents involved; snooping in the kids' stuff all the time with no reason; not giving the kid any privacy; that kind of thing. I mean, obviously there are exceptions, like if your kid is suicidal or something, but otherwise it's really bad. Thankfully, my parents were the opposite of that and I turned out great. These types of parents might think they're doing a favor, but really I think they're just making the kids dependent on them. Plus, the kids will see them as an opposition force, not someone they can rely on and willingly turn to or confide in.

    But because your MC's mom is neglectful, I'm assuming you're going for the other extreme of bad parenting. What if the mom gives her kids a really flawed moral code? Like if the kid is failing a class, instead of sending the kid to a tutor or helping them with homework, she gives them tips for how to cheat off the smart kid's test paper.
     
  13. Infinitytruth
    Offline

    Infinitytruth Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Messages:
    154
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    In a house!
    Drops kids off somewhere and, forgets where she dropped them off (very possible with 10 kids). One kid almost dies because she accidentally leaves him somewhere where theres a fence of rabid hungry dogs.
     
  14. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Leaves toddlers in a locked car on a hot day while she shops.
     
  15. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,984
    Likes Received:
    5,502
    I realize that this isn't really responsive to your question, but eleven kids is a _lot_ of kids. A _whole lot_ of kids. One kid takes nine months to manufacture, and then some time to recover from. That's about ten years of pretty much doing nothing but being pregnant and recovering. Or twenty years of spending about half her time being pregnant and recovering. That's a _whole lot_ of time devoted to childbearing.

    I suppose you could cut it a bit by adding a set of twins, but even if you declare that she had four sets of twins and one set of triplets - which seems incredibly unlikely - that's _still_ about five years of being pregnant.

    I would assume that for her to have so many kids, she must actively and consciously be trying to have them, must have a very strong urge to have children, to hurry and get pregnant again shortly after giving birth. So I'd find myself wondering, why does she so badly want to have children, determinedly pursuing pregnancy after pregnancy, when she then neglects those children?

    Also, you describe her as a single mother, with the implication that she's always been a single mother. But, well, a woman can't conceive eleven children by herself. Did the father just leave recently? Is there more than one father? Was the big family his idea? Was it hers?

    I feel that a lot of background is needed.

    ChickenFreak
     
  16. Islander
    Offline

    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,542
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Sweden
    I think even a good mother would have serious problems with eleven kids. I doubt there would be time to both take care of them and have any kind of work. If she's irresponsible, on top of that, her home must be chaotic.

    Also, wouldn't she need some serious child support or wellfare to provide for them, even with a job?

    Some more things for a bad mother to do... Being selfish. Using guilt to control her children. Being a bad example, for example, teaching them to act helpless to get help from others (lovers, social security).
     
  17. Trilby
    Offline

    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,098
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    NE England
    Look at the time span it takes to produce eleven children.

    Surely the older ones are at least in their late-teens or early twenties - what are they doing to help their mum? (that has lost a son and her husband has run off and left her with eleven children)

    I repeat; going by what I can deduce from the information given, what she needs is some TLC and it is high time her elder children acted responsible and do more to help- they are no longer children, their father having abandoned the family and a brother whom committed suicide should be more than ample to make them 'get real' and GROW-UP!
     
  18. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,984
    Likes Received:
    5,502
    You seem to be assuming that this was a rationally planned large family, and that something unexpected happened, through no fault of the mother's.

    I, on the other hand, am seeing this as the mother saying, essentially, "I miss having a baby to play with. Time to have another - the kids can take care of him. Yeah, Mary's talking about going to college now that she's graduated from high school, but that's just too bad - I need her to stay here and take care of the baby I want to have. She can move out and have her own life when I get tired of having kids. After all, I'm the person that really matters here."

    I feel that I need to know which one it is.
     
  19. madhoca
    Offline

    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    the shadow of the velvet fortress
    IMO, it's not so much the negative things this person does, it's why she does them that's important. This is for you to decide, since we don't know her--you do. That is what makes the story. A mother can be an alcoholic and still be a good mother if she loves her children and does her best for them. It's all cause/effect/reason etc...
     
  20. Trilby
    Offline

    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,098
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    NE England
    Hi! ChickenFreak

    As you can see from the above post by the author of the op I am not assuming that this was or was not a planned large family.
    What I picked out of the information above was that she had had a husband that abandonded her and their eleven children. ( whether the children were planned or not it does not state and it does not matter, the point is that she was in a marital situation with a large family a 'normal' situation until her husband run off.)
    Well that explains where I got my info from.
    "I miss having a baby to play with.Time to have another - the kids can take of him. etc. - Where did you get that from?

    If you read through the posts you will see I was responding to the op's posts.

    No hard feelings. I just felt the need to explain that I was not acting on assumptions.

     
  21. madhoca
    Offline

    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    the shadow of the velvet fortress
    ^^ That's the problem--we don't know enough about the situation, or this woman's character, so giving random 'bad mother' acts is not necessarily a particularly fruitful exercise. However, there are--sadly--tales in the papers, or if you are less fortunate, life experiences to draw on. As someone has said, the less spectacular acts of neglect can have very far-reaching consequences and rich kids can suffer as well as 'poor'. I had a friend at boarding school who spent one three week Christmas holiday alone in a suite in the London Hilton. Her father was a very well-known business tycoon, and a right bastard, and her mother was a famous actress who hardly ever bothered to make contact.
     
  22. dave_c
    Offline

    dave_c Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2010
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    st helens, near liverpool
    A lack of action is all it takes to be a bad parent.

    Inaction can be used in several ways. it could be an inaction to feed, cloth or provide for them, or it could be the complete reverse. She could be rich and not discipline them in any way shape or form. Don't think this is bad parenting? Take a look at the shining beacon of intelligence which is Paris Hilton.
     
  23. Trilby
    Offline

    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,098
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    NE England
    The loss of a child is tough for any parent. The loss of a child that has committed suicide must be even tougher.

    I imagine for the parents (even if they have no need to) would feel guilty - blame themselves 'where did we go wrong' 'what if I'd done this or that' 'what kind of parent am I? that I never saw this coming' the list goes on.
    They can blame themselves for quite a time if not forever.

    Therefore looking at what this woman has had to cope with - the fact that she is coping - shows she must be tough - a lesser person would have cracked up.
     
  24. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,984
    Likes Received:
    5,502
    Your interpretation is perfectly sensible, yes. Mine is coming from the fact that a woman who is said to be "irresponsible and a little bit unfit to be a mother" devoted at least a decade to bearing children. Is she under the illusion that she's a great mother? Did her husband insist on constant childbearing and then take off? Does she love having a baby around and not care about the consequences? I want details. :)
     
  25. fervish
    Offline

    fervish Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Messages:
    100
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Texas
    If she has an ill child, she could be really resentful of him/her. Maybe her intentions are good but she overextends herself, therefore always letting the kids down by not following thru on a commitment or promise. No matter what, if shes single, has that many kids and that much time to party something is wrong right there.
     

Share This Page