Monday, April 11, 2011

Parents just don't understand

I'm a young adult write, or I try to be. Lately my current project was called out because I was spending too much time on the parents. Having the kids relate to them, having the parents drive the action a bit. It will change more later, but I believe that the parents (the father especially) needs to drive it a bit because he's the mayor and something he says sets things in motion in a bad way for the main characters.

My question is, what is too much parental involvement? I've read books that the parents are there and you only get a small sense of them, basically you know they are the mom and dad and that's about it. Then I've also read books where the parents are there the entire time, almost like a pseudo-antagonist. Always getting in the way.

What do you think is the job of parents in Young Adult fiction?


  1. Oooo, good question. I always like to see SOME involvement with parents in YA, otherwise it just doesn't feel genuine. At some point, though, the kids must break away to act on their own, doing whatever it is they do. I think there was a good balance in books like The Dark Divine and Paranormalcy (off the top of my head). :-)

  2. I will have to take a look at both of those books as I have heard good things.

  3. This is why the whole orphan thing is so popular, isn't it? Because, in real life, parents would be there getting in the way and preventing the kids from getting in too much danger. That's why absent parents crop up so much as well, those involved heavily in their work, or the ones that just don't care. I think it would be really interesting to see more YA with more involved parents. You'd just have to be careful not to tip the balance too much so that it becomes the parents' story.

  4. That's a difficult balance as well. Because I'm a parent so my inclination at times is to protect my teenage characters.