Lost's 12 Most Terrible Parents

Lost said it better than I ever could: "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues." Since the beginning of the series, we’ve seen enough troubled parent-child relationships to make Freud’s head spin. Sure, there have been a few reconciliations, but those pale in comparison to the series' neglect, resentment, and interfamily murder attempts. Here are 12 of Lost’s most flawed parents, graded on their child-rearing skills.

Christian Shephard (John Terry)
Children: Jack Shephard, Claire Littleton
Major Transgressions: Christian’s rampant alcoholism put Jack in an awkward position; there's nothing like ending your dad’s surgical career to spoil a relationship. Christian was almost entirely absent from Claire’s life—not to mention the fact that having a secret Aussie family on the side is a big no-no.
Redeeming Acts: He helped Jack become a better surgeon, even if his tactics weren’t always the kindest. When Claire’s mother was injured in a car accident, he paid the medical bills. And he did eventually reunite with both his children on the island. Unless, of course, that’s more Man in Black trickery.
Grade: C+

Claire Littleton (Emilie de Ravin)
Son: Aaron Littleton
Major Transgressions: She left her baby alone in the jungle. Just because some manifestation of your dad is leading you away doesn’t mean you can drop Aaron in the middle of nowhere. Did she expect Smokey to babysit?
Redeeming Acts: Up until she abandoned him, Claire was fiercely protective of the son she never even wanted to keep. Without pacifiers or parenting books, she managed to be a pretty decent mom for a while. And hey, there’s a decent chance she was possessed into wandering away—if she's not actually dead—so let’s not judge her too harshly.
Grade: B

Anthony Cooper, AKA Tom Sawyer (Kevin Tighe)
Children: John Locke, likely others
Major Transgressions: Where to begin? Leaving aside the fact that he’s directly responsible for Sawyer’s parents’ murder-suicide (see below), Cooper made Locke’s life hell. He conned him into giving up a kidney, then told him to get over it. Of course, nothing tops sending his own son flying through a window—and into a wheelchair.
Redeeming Acts: He died.
Grade: F

Benjamin Linus (Michael Emerson)
Daughter: Alexandra Rousseau
Major Transgressions: Hey, Ben, when the big scary mercenary has a gun to your daughter’s head, maybe don’t call his bluff. That the last thing Alex heard before dying was Ben denying that he cared about her is just the icing on this “bad dad” cake. Ben also imprisoned Alex’s boyfriend Karl, whose only crime was being kind of dumb.
Redeeming Acts: Let’s not forget that Ben was under orders from Charles Widmore to kill baby Alex; taking her in was a surprisingly compassionate move. And like so many other flawed parents, he had his reasons for everything he did—letting Alex and Karl date might have led to her pregnancy and death. Too bad she died, anyway.
Grade: C

Roger Linus (Jon Gries)
Son: Benjamin Linus
Major Transgressions: Ben learned from the best when it came to bad parenting. Sorry your wife died after childbirth, Roger, but blaming it on the innocent baby is more than a little unfair. Roger was, at best, neglectful; at worst, abusive. I can’t really blame Ben for killing him.
Redeeming Acts: For a guy who didn’t like his son much, Roger sure tried to get justice after Ben was shot. I suppose shooting Sayid in revenge was, in his mind, a noble act; but for us Sayid fans, it was a death wish.
Grade: D

Charles Widmore (Alan Dale)
Children: Penelope Hume (nee Widmore), Daniel Faraday, Desmond Hume (son-in-law)
Major Transgressions: To be fair, Desmond wasn’t yet family when Charles maneuvered him into a monotonous button-pushing stint on the island. But he wasn’t exactly there for his beloved Penny either. Is it any wonder that the two halves of this father-daughter pair have never had a scene together on the show? Lastly, where’s the love for Dan?
Redeeming Acts: Although he seems more concerned with the island than anything else, Charles did plead for Penelope’s life when Ben was about to shoot her. And maybe he was only looking out for her best interests when he thwarted her attempts at marital bliss.
Grade: C-

Mr. Ford (unknown)
Son: James Ford, AKA Sawyer
Major Transgressions: We don't know much about Sawyer’s dad—we’ve only ever seen his feet—but what we do know ain’t so pretty. After Anthony Cooper conned Sawyer’s mom, Mr. Ford shot his wife and then himself, making little James an orphan. You think that’s bad? His kid was in the room at the time.
Redeeming Acts: None. Yet.
Grade: F

Eloise Hawking (Fionnula Flanagan)
Son: Daniel Faraday
Major Transgressions: The only thing worse than accidentally shooting and killing your son is sending him back in time with the knowledge that you’re going to do just that. Eloise was also really snotty to Dan’s girlfriend, which is just plain uncool.
Redeeming Acts: She has her reasons, even if she’s not willing to share them with the rest of the class. It seems as though Eloise did always want what was best for her son, but it’s hard to understand how killing him could possibly be a good thing. At least 1977 Ellie felt somewhat torn up about it.
Grade: D

Wayne Janssen (James Horan)
Daughter: Kate Austen
Major Transgressions: Look, it’s another alcoholic. He beat his wife (see below) and apparently hit on Kate—a lot. The fact that he didn’t know he was Kate’s biological father doesn’t make it much less creepy. Is anyone else bothered that she’s on the run for killing this jerk?
Redeeming Acts: Like Anthony Cooper and Mr. Ford, the best thing Wayne did was die. So, thanks for getting blown up!
Grade: F

Diane Janssen (Beth Broderick)
Daughter: Kate Austen
Major Transgressions: I’m not going to fault Diane too much for staying with Wayne, because that’s a tricky moral area. But I can definitely hate on her for turning Kate and planning to testify against her. Yeah, she killed your man, but she had some pretty compelling reasons.
Redeeming Acts: Diane ultimately decided not to testify. But that was only after she bribed Kate into letting her see Aaron, so it doesn’t exactly reflect a mother’s love. Maybe a grandmother’s?
Grade: D+

Dr. Pierre Chang (Francois Chau)
Son: Miles Straume
Major Transgressions: Yet another absent father, Dr. Chang didn’t have any relationship with his son until Miles joined the DHARMA Initiative in 1977. He was also really grumpy, but that may be what happens when you time travel.
Redeeming Acts: He only sent his wife and son away to save them from “the incident,” not because he wanted to. And before that, he was seen reading to baby Miles and—get this—smiling. Dr. Chang may be the best deadbeat dad on this list.
Grade: B+

Mr. Paik (Byron Chung)
Children: Sun-Hwa Kwon (nee Paik), Jin-Soo Kwon (son-in-law)
Major Transgressions: Mr. Paik rules his company with an iron fist. Turns out he parents that way, too. Aside from being overbearing and restrictive to Sun, he forced her husband into a crooked career that turned Jin into, well, a tool. Oh, and he had Sun’s lover killed.
Redeeming Acts: While both of Sun’s parents claim to want a good life for her, Mr. Paik seems a lot more concerned with his own reputation. As with many others on this list, the best thing he ever did was entirely out of his hands—when he was forced to relinquish control of his company to Sun after she bought him out.
Grade: D-



Did we leave out your favorite deadbeat dad or murderous mom? Who do you think is the worst parent on Lost?


Follow TV.com writer Louis Peitzman on Twitter: @LouisAtTVDotCom

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Mar 03, 2012
Kate should be on this list. One, she wasn't a real parent. She was only a parent via kidnapping. Two, she kept Aaron Littleton for herself, due to selfish reasons. And when she found out that his grandmother existed at Christian Shephard's funeral, she continued to pretend that Aaron was her son.



She used an innocent child for her own selfishness. That's just awful.
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Feb 03, 2011
Diane Jensen DOES NOT belong on this list. She had every right to turn Kate in to the law. Kate had NO RIGHT killing Wayne Jensen. She didn't kill Wayne for her mother's sake. She killed him out of her own selfishness and insecurities. She had WRONGED Diane. And she was lucky that Diane was willing to forgive her, while she was on trial for her crimes.
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Mar 10, 2010
Agree with the list. Also right below me someone mentioned Sabrina Carlyle (Boon's mother and Shannon's step mother). She managed to turn Shannon from a nice normal girl into a **** once Adam Rutherford died. That's not much of a mother. I also blame her for raising a loser like Boon, so more parenting fail points. Also, I think Michael Dawson needs to be on there, he's probably the most complex example of parenting we've seen on the show and would probably get a solid B from me. Also, Jin's biological mother is easily as bad as Anthony Cooper. How about Horice and Amy Goodspeed? You know, Ethan Rom's parents. Surely they didn't do a good enough job with him in his formative years, he STILL turned out to be a psycho.
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Mar 04, 2010
Definitely Shannon's step-mother (Boone's mother). After Shannon's father died, she completely cut her off financially and left her out in the cold, with nothing - parentless, penniless.
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Mar 04, 2010
Definitely agree that Sawyer should be on that list - I've never liked him from the beginning but abandoning and denying your child is perhaps the lowest act a man can do in his life what a JE*K.
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Mar 01, 2010
Sawyer should have been on that list. He gets Cassidy pregnant, then denies its his kid. When he finally acknowledges that Clementine is his, he doesn't have the balls to see her himself. He just tosses some money her way and hopes that makes up for his absenteeism.
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Mar 01, 2010
Locke's dad is the worst.
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Mar 01, 2010
Well, at least Jack isn't on the list...
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Mar 01, 2010
shannons step mom!
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Mar 01, 2010
Mr Ford? He barely even counts as a character. Fun list though. It's yet to be seen if Sawyer will ever meet Clementine. For now, leaving her a pile of cash is noble, but hollow. Kids need their Daddys- not anonymous money.
Also, Shannon's stepmom. What a B.
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Feb 28, 2010
@ frenioz00 totally agreed Cooper is officially the worst father.
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Feb 28, 2010
Anthony Cooper
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Feb 27, 2010
Claire deserves to be on the list , first of all she put her baby for adoption , and then she left Aaron alone in the middle of the jungle . yes she is bad parent .
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Feb 27, 2010
Yeah Cooper is definitely #1 here. He burned multiple people in multiple ways so...
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Feb 27, 2010
You forgot Sun, she just left her baby with who knows who, albeit, she didn't have that much time to get to know it and in her defense you might say that leaving the kid was the only way to protect it but she definatly doesn't get an A+
And what about Kate...and Jack? They left poor Aron with the same woman you gave a D+ to in your list.
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Feb 27, 2010
All the best cowboys have daddy issues.
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Feb 26, 2010
I'm sorry but doesn't anyone else feel like Sun was being a bit of a bad parent running back to the island where she may end up getting killed and just leaving her Daughter behind without either parent? I admit she did it to get her husband back so her daughter could have a father but still that always rubbed me the wrong way.
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Feb 26, 2010
john's dad and kate's parents are definitely the worst
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Feb 26, 2010
What a stupid List? How is Claire that bad? It's not her Fault Kate just took her kid.
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Feb 26, 2010
Claire shouldn't be on this list. We have no idea what happened between her and Aaron. Four seasons of her loving and protecting Aaron overshadow the mysterious circumstances by which he was alone in the jungle. Judging by what we saw in "The Lighthouse", I'd say that she didn't even realize that she'd left her baby in the middle of the jungle.
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Feb 26, 2010
Cooper is the worst and Ford isn't far behind
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Feb 26, 2010
Well, Claire isn't that bad!
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Feb 26, 2010
Cooper and Mr. Ford were definitely the worst parents, don't know about Wayne Janssen as quite simply it doesn't equate to what these two had done.
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Feb 26, 2010
Mr. Cooper (Locke's dad) by far it's the worst parent of them all!
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Feb 26, 2010
I am glad they did not put Michael on this list. He really loved Walt. Sure, he wound up as a murderer, but he did it to save his son from being kidnapped by a bunch of freaky Island worshippers.
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Feb 26, 2010
You forgot that Widmore funded all of Faraday's weird ass time travel studies. While it's possible that Faraday's work may have benefited Widmore in the grand scheme of thing, I'd still bump him up from a C- to a C. A little funding goes a long way, and in this case i get the feeling it was a butt load of funding!
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Feb 26, 2010
Sayid's father wasn't all that great either.
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Feb 26, 2010
Ok as annoying as Michael was I dont think he deserves to be on the worst fathers list. He was thrown out of his sons life and after the mother died the jerk of a step father sent him away. Now Michael may have done some really messed up stuff but he did it so he can get his son off the island. Now if there was a loser of the island contest Michael would be a great person for that category. But he doesnt belong on the bad parent list.
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Feb 26, 2010
you have forgot Walet's Dad and Hugo's dad . they were bad parents tpo .

The worst dad is Mr.Cooper , he was absent in Locke's life and he conned him to get his kidney . he conned him again and almost killing his son by throwing him from the window ending John being in the wheelchair . and he conned him third time causing John to lost his love of his life Helen ,not to mention to she denied his proposal because of his dad .Dr.Pierre chang is the best daddy and Hugo's mum is the best mother .
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Feb 26, 2010
How about Walt's step-father? His wife dies and he basically gives the little boy he raised to a stranger? That's cold!
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Feb 26, 2010
Chang*
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Feb 26, 2010
um...definitely between Anthony Cooper and Mr.Ford. Ford...well messed up his sons life for a really..really long time. (mentally)

and Cooper..well...did the exact same..meantally..AND physically..so..

I guess Cooper's the worst..although Ben is right here with 'em I'd actually say it's a triple threat tie.
Alex's death scene is one of if not the most disturbingly good scenes of tv i've ever watched.

Change doesn't really belong on the list.
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Feb 26, 2010
At first i thought Michael, but technically he never really did anything terrible. He had his son taken away from him, it wasnt his choice. Sawyer is tough to choose as well since hes simply not a part of his daughter's life and thats the way both parents want it. Plus, Sawyer left a hefty sum of money for his daughter.
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Feb 25, 2010
I definitely wouldn't want any of them to be my parents. I think Mr. Ford is the worst.
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Feb 25, 2010
i really don't think dr.chang (mile's father) belongs on here. He was an excellent father. He sent them away so they would live and if he hadn't they'd be dead like him.
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Feb 25, 2010
helllllllo remember michael? he was obessed with saving just himself and his son? duuuhhh
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