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Lisa: We've come to talk to you about your son.

Rabbi Krustofski: I have no son! [slams the door]

Bart: Rats. We came all this way and it's the wrong guy.

Rabbi Krustofski: [opens door] I didn't mean that literally! [slams door again]
The Simpsons, "Like Father, Like Clown"

Sometimes, what parents want for their children differs from what the children want to do, especially if the parent has plans for the child to Follow in My Footsteps. Sometimes the child wants to be himself in a career the parent dislikes. And sometimes, the parent struggles with this, but eventually comes around and supports his child.

And sometimes he doesn't. And if the child (often a son) doesn't step into line quickly, the offending parent quickly disowns him, disavowing all knowledge that this "son" ever even existed.

Cue the sad violin music — it looks like the kid is going to have to learn to make his own way in this harsh, harsh world all alone.

This doesn't mean that reconciliation is impossible further on down the track. But it usually happens years later, when the kid's a success and often when the parent is on their deathbed, and it's a long, bitter road until that happens.

Rest assured, however, that the chances of this happening are far higher than one might expect. The initial I Have No Son sequence typically takes place in flashback — we only learn the story because the now successful disowned son is giving us a sob story about how much he wishes his father would approve, or at least acknowledge his existence. If we see the event unfold in real time, then usually it gets wrapped up much sooner.

Bear in mind that the parent doing the disowning might not be entirely a jerk; sometimes, the kid just crosses a line they shouldn't cross (especially if they've grown up wrong) and deserves being kicked out with all ties severed. Again, reconciliation isn't an impossibility, but since this kid's bitter and twisted anyway don't expect it happening any time soon. And rest assured that the parent is going to have to justify their actions to the audience explicitly anyway, since the act of disowning one's own flesh and blood for any reason is well, pretty harsh. A justification commonly seen in a Crime and Punishment Series is when the parents essentially disown the child due to a crippling drug habit that the child has plunged into; this is often accompanied with a justification about how "there's only so long you can watch or enable them to destroy themselves before you have to sever all ties."

This trope has various roots — most obvious is the tendency of many writers to be of Jewish descent. Orthodox communities could be particularly unforgiving when it came to children (particularly males) who decided to try and make their way outside of the Jewish community.

Of course, overuse of this term has caused the words themselves to be considered a Dead Horse Trope, if not the entire plot itself. As a result most modern examples tend to skew toward the side of comedy.

See also: Changeling Fantasy and Where Did We Go Wrong?. Not to be confused with That Thing Is Not My Child.

Examples of I Have No Son include:


  • One advert for Oak milk uses this.

 Downright Weird Guy: I wish I'd given Oak to my son when he was a child...haha, just kidding, I don't have a son, well technically I do, but he's in real estate.


Anime & Manga

  • "I have no Daughter" when it comes to Alluka from Hunter X Hunter. The Zoldyeks were notably known for, among many things, having only sons, & Alluka was presumed to be one as well, but she is "not to be thought of as human or as family."
  • Genma has done this to Ranma a few times. However Genma does this for petty reasons, like Ranma stealing his food, or being beaten in a sparring match.
    • Or if, y'know...he's a girl at the moment.
      • This is Genma's default threat and response for all petty grievances, although in something of a subversion, whenever Ranma really is in trouble or needs help Genma is the one that he always turns to and has gone to lengths to help his son.
      • Taking anything in Ranma 1/2 seriously leads directly to Nightmare Fuel, but Genma is a hideously abusive parent, and probably the main reason Ranma relies on him at all is that with the long training trip he's never known anyone else long.
      • He's not abusive. He's so stupid that it's a miracle he can put his pants on in the morning.
      • So THAT'S why he spends so much time as a panda! No pants!
  • In Code Geass Lelouch gives up his claim to the Brittanian Imperial Throne in outrage after his father (the Emperor) shows complete indifference to Lelouch's mother and sister, who were killed and crippled, respectively. The Emperor then verbally demolishes his ten-year-old son with a particularly harsh declaration of this trope, before sending Lelouch and his sister to Japan to serve as hostages, meant to be killed if Brittania ever invades. Less than a year later, Brittania does invade, and (as far as the Emperor knows) condemns his children to death.

 The Emperor: You are dead. You have always been dead to me, dead from the moment you were born. Who gave you the fine clothes you wear, a comfortable home, the food you eat, and your very life? All of those, I have given to you. In short, you are nothing to me because you have never existed!

    • This trope is more directly inverted when Lelouch accidentally forces princess Euphemia to commit genocide against the Japanese population, an act which causes the Japanese people to rise up in open revolt, giving Lelouch the chance to drive Brittania out of Japan once and for all. His father's reaction to this? Ha! Finally, an act which proves him worthy to be my son!
  • In AIR, Minagi's mother does this, although to be completely fair this was after the dream she had about the time she miscarried Michiru caused her to ever forget she had a daughter, and they make up later.
  • Uptown Girl Nadeshiko Kinomoto was cut off from her highly wealthy family after she married a poor, humble student-teacher (and protagonist's father) in Cardcaptor Sakura; more hatred was directed at the husband (both for being of a lower class and because she was a school student when she married him), but she was disowned anyway. Interestingly, she wasn't upset with this, and her living family, especially her cousin, talk of her as if she were a saint.
  • Inverted in One Piece with Portgas D. Ace and his father. Ace disavows his father so completely that he uses his mother's surname, Portgas, and says that "my only dad is Whitebeard."
  • Played straight and just a bit literally in Wandering Son. Cool Big Sis Yuki is shown to have a tough time with her mother, whose visits are just stressful, and her father, who's more or less told Yuki not to come home, because she's a Transsexual. The fact that she's "Mama" of a gay bar probably doesn't help, either.
  • Sibling version in Saki: Teru constantly denies that she has a sister (Saki).
  • The Cain Saga has one played for both comedy and drama during the Red Ram arc, when Oscar is introduced initially as one of Emmeline's suitors. He takes Mary off on a trip fairly late in the story, when it's become pretty clear Jack the Ripper is one of the people in the story, and when Cain telephones the baron Oscar said was his father to ask if he knows where his son is right now he gets "there's no one called Oscar in this household." Cain understandably freaks.
    • After everything is sorted out with the real culprit and Cain has lost another Love Interest, Oscar's line when confronted is the spectacularly unclear "Aargh! That old bastard denied I was his son?"
    • Turns out Oscar was pretty-much-disowned for being useless and dissolute and getting kicked out of college repeatedly after his fiancee died. No reconciliation is ever shown, but then apart from coming under suspicion over the Rose Scar thing Oscar is a comic relief character for the rest of the series.
  • Gendo Ikari is the unholy godfather of this trope. He never flat-out says this line, but it's pretty clear that he sees his son as a tool, and refuses to acknowledge the fact they're related. In the end, it becomes pretty clear that he actually feared his son, making it a simultaneous subversion.

Comic Books

  • The Marvel Comics character Cable once had an evil clone named Stryfe. This evil clone captured Cable's wife Aliya and raped her, leading to her having a son that, while genetically the same as if it had been Cable's, was not his son. Cable had a lot of issues with the boy; it got so bad that Professor X (who was halfway into his Manipulative Bastard turn then) called Cable on it when Cable referred to him as "Aliya's son" at one point.
  • In X-Statix, Vivisector's father insists that the fact that Myles is his son is "a matter of opinion". Why? Simple — Vivisector is a gay mutant. Joining the X-Force was evidently the last straw, because by becoming a celebrity daddy couldn't pretend he didn't exist anymore.
    • Supporting character Lacuna actively tries to get this reaction from her parents after discovering she's a mutant. When they accept her mutation with open arms, she tries to join the X-Force... and they're supportive of that, as well. Finally, she becomes a talk show host, squandering her incredible gift by chatting up celebrities. All she ever wanted was for her parents to be disappointed in her. Because how else do you know you're doing the right thing?
  • In Magneto Rex, Quicksilver is captured by a rival faction and Rogue asks Magneto to organize a rescue. Magneto flatly tells her that since Pietro keeps refusing to join him in ruling by his side, ¤t=scan0031.jpg he has no son.
  • Renee Montoya's parents disowned her when Two-Face outed her as a lesbian and she admitted it to them in the Gotham Central arc "Half A Life."
  • In the initial "Moon Knight" series, Marc Spector (Moon Knight) has this in his background. It happened after he one-punched his father, which should count as some sort of justification.
  • In V for Vendetta, Valerie brings her girlfriend and tells her parents she's a lesbian. The parents were furious and scream at their daughter to leave the house. Then, the father, in tears, grabs a picture of her daughter when she was young and throws it in the trash.
  • Iron Man: Tony Stark's verbally and emotionally abusive father, Howard Stark, is brought back in spirit while Tony is trapped in Mephisto's Realm in the Iron Man: Legacy of Doom run. After cruelly and viciously castigating Tony, Howard sneers, "You're no son of mine."

Fan Fiction

  • In Nine Months, April's father disowns her after he finds out that she's pregnant.
  • Brilliantly subverted in an Evangelion fanfic where someone takes advantage of Asuka in a party and she gets pregnant. Upon hearing this, her father immediately comes over from Germany with intentions of taking her back with him and performing an abortion to restore family honor, entirely without her consent. Her resistance results in the man flipping out and hitting her, causing Shinji (who proposed to her shortly before) to go berserk on his ass and almost kill him. Sohryu disowns Asuka and proceeds to take the family property for himself... only for Gendo to inform him that not only Asuka and Shinji are under NERV jurisdiction and therefore untouchable but she's also the sole inheritor of the entire family fortune, as per her mother's will. By disowning her, Sohryu forfeited his beneficiary rights. Oops! And that's even before Gendo threatens Sohryu that with Asuka and Shinji engaged, he considers her family so Sohryu will better back off or face the consequences.
    • Link Please.
  • Endrin practically says he's given up on Trian and Bhelen in Dragon Age: The Crown of Thorns, only it's the dwarven noble protagonist that he tells it to, just before the whole kinslaying happens (or does it?) and he sweeps the second son under the rug while passively watching Bhelen get things going his way. It's no wonder the DN takes matters into his own hands and manipulates the entire city-state, including Endrin, Trian, Bhelen, you name it, the way he does.
    • Later, it is revealed that Endrin played it straight with Bhelen, although the fact he didn't do it publicly allowed the guy to take control of House Aeducan after the king died.

Animated Films

  • In The Book of Life, after Manolo refuses to kill the bull, Carlos disappointingly tells him he is "not a real Sanchez."

In How to Train Your Dragon, Hiccup is told this by his father Stoick. Fairly predictable though, given Stoick's personality and Hiccup's actions. Unlike many other examples of this trope, Stoick is hurt by his words as badly as Hiccup is—he physically staggers when he leaves the room and realizes what he's said.

  • Kung Fu Panda: When Tai Lung, who was all but a son to Master Shifu, confronts Shifu at the temple with "I'm home, Master." With barely restrained grief, Shifu retorts to his "son" with "This is no longer your home. And I am no longer your master."
  • Kung Fu Panda 2: Lord Shen was also essentially disowned by his parents when they banished him from his ancestral home. It's rather hard to blame the parents in this case as this was in response to Shen committing genocide. Despite this, it's later revealed that Shen's parents truly did care about him as the pain of having to do this to their son literally killed them.

Live-Action Films

  • Famously done in the 1980 version of The Jazz Singer, with that very line delivered by Laurence Olivier in full-on Large Ham mode.
    • Slightly more underplayed in the 1927 version, with the title card "My son was to stand at my side and sing tonight — but now I Have No Son."
  • Justified in There Will Be Blood: As it turns out, the father in this case has a very valid reason to make such a claim.
    • The son, by the way, is glad to learn that there's no genetic connection between him and Daniel.
  • In The Karate Kid Part II, Shozen refuses to help Daniel rescue a girl from a hurricane, and when his uncle Sato helps Daniel instead, Sato declares Shozen dead to him...thus setting up the final climactic battle between Shozen, Daniel, and uncle issues.
  • In Shanghai Knights, Chon Wang's father has disowned him for staying in America and abandoning his family.
  • Happens in any number of Bollywood films. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham is a good example.
    • Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham adds a twist since the disowned son is actually adopted and states that if his father had not specifically said "You're not my son", he may have actually tried to mend bridges sooner.
  • The Lord of the Rings- In a marvelously hammy yet tragic scene, Denethor tells this to Faramir.
  • Lord of War — An unusual example, in that it happens towards the end and isn't reconciled. The main character's brother is killed after being dragged back into an illicit business for "One last time," and the main character is arrested. He calls his parents from jail to tell them what happened to him and his brother, to which the mother's only response is "Both my sons are dead."


  • The first murder victim in Catherine Aird's The Religious Body is a nun in her forties who converted to Catholicism and entered the convent at eighteen-and-a-half. The police have to visit her mother in person to inform her of her daughter's death, because they can't get her to acknowledge that she had a daughter long enough to get to her via telephone.
  • This is the main character aspect of Barty Crouch in Harry Potter. Though in this case it's less "went into a career his father didn't like" and more "joined a fascist dark wizard cult and helped torture two dark-wizard catchers (who were also parents) into incurable insanity".
    • Also Sirius Black, who was disowned by his parents and burnt off the family tree after he ran away.
  • In Arrows Of The Queen by Mercedes Lackey, a traditional note is sent to Talia's home after she arrives in the capital and discovers she is to be one of the Heralds of Valdemar. Talia ran away after hearing she would be married off at thirteen, dishonoring her family. The letter receives the reply, "Sensholding has no daughter Talia," triggering an opportunity for some angst and subsequent Character Development.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Han Solo says this to his son Jacen after the latter turns to the Dark Side.
  • The Dragonlance series does this twice with the elven king. First he disowns his daughter, (and declares he has no daughter when someone tries to talk to him about it), and later he does the same with his younger son. (This time there's a line that goes along the lines of "He made a gesture as if to indicate that he had only one child now").
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Tywin tells his son Tyrion: "You are not my son," while dying, murdered by Tyrion.
    • Earlier, Tywin disowns his other son Jaime when he refuses to go along with Tywin's plans and quit the Kingsguard. Tywin's not exactly Father of the Year material.
      • Ironically enough, another character states that Tyrion is Tywin's only true son, due to their extremely manipulative natures.
        • Tywin refuses to speak with her for a very long time after she makes this observation.
  • This was actually the title of an early-1970s-vintage Doonesbury paperback; it quoted the punchline of one of the included strips, an exclamation by "Marvelous Mark" Slackmeyer's father.
  • This happened to Courtney Thane in Quills Window. It is not until late in the book, however, that we find out what the cause of estrangement was.
  • In the Vorkosigan Saga, General Count Piotr Vorkosigan has no grandson, because Miles was born handicapped. Physical deformities are reviled on Barrayar, and Piotr sees Miles as a mutant. He refuses to allow a deformed boy to become Count Vorkosigan, tried to kill the boy at least once (three times if you count when he attempted to have the Uterine Replicator dumped), and forbids Aral and Cordelia from using his name as Miles's given name, as is Barrayaran tradition. Miles (who would have been Piotr Miles) is renamed Miles Naismith, and gets the last laugh — growing up to become not only Lord Vorkosigan, but a soldier, spy, and the first Imperial Auditor in the Vorkosigan family.
    • The only reason Piotr did not try to disown his son Aral over the matter was because doing so to a confirmed heir to a Countship requires permission from the Emperor or Lord Regent (the former was four, the latter was Aral). As it stood he threw Aral and Cordelia out of his homes and stripped Aral of his incomes from Vorkosigan district; they did not even begin to reconcile until Miles was five.
      • Although Aral said that if Piotr had petitioned him for permission to disown him, Aral would have granted his request.
  • In Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, Mrs. Ferrars first disowns her eldest son Edward when he refuses to break off his engagement to the eminently unsuitable Lucy Steele; later she disowns her younger son Robert when he steals Lucy's affections away from Edward and marries her himself! She eventually is persuaded to accept them both back into the family, but never restores to Edward the inheritance that she took from him and conferred upon Robert.
  • Played with in Eoin Colfer's Airman. The villain arranges for the protagonist, Conor, to hear his father declaring "I no longer have a son". Conor believes that his father has disowned him, but his father said it because he believed Conor to be dead.
  • The sibling variant occurs in New Frontier, soon after Captain Calhoun discovers that his Manipulative Bastard little brother has contrived to get him into a Duel to the Death. All the more powerful for its calm, flat delivery.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Lost, when Miranda appeals to Theo on the grounds his brother is poisoned and dying, Theo says he has no brother.
  • In Gone with the Wind, middle daughter Suellen has been brow-beating her dementia-stricken father into signing a document proclaiming his loyalty to the Union, thus enabling the family to receive restitution for loss of property. This would be a major affront to any hard-core Southerner, but Suellen is taking advantage of her father's weak mind in order to accomplish this. However, just as he's about to sign the papers, she slips up, revealing what they are. This is enough to snap her father out of his dementia, confront her over what she's done and declare, "You're no daughter of mine!" before storming out.
  • Legacy of the Force: after Jacen tortured to death Boba Fett's daughter, Han Solo tells him he is no longer his son. Later, he will state that Dath Caedus is not Jacen Solo, in the "That Man Is Dead" sense.
  • Done twice in Warrior Cats:
    • Rainflower renames her son Crookedkit and disowns him after he badly breaks his jaw, because she can't see past his disfigured face.
    • When it is revealed to Crowfeather that Lionblaze, Hollyleaf, and Jayfeather are his (illegitamite) kits, he refuses to believe it, saying in front of the whole Gathering that his only son is Breezepelt.
  • In Gene Stratton Porter's Freckles, his grandfather's attitude. When he gets a letter telling him that his disobedient son and his wife are dead, leaving an infant grandson, he files the letter away. Nothing is done until he dies and his other son finds the letter.
  • Inverted in the Horus Heresy novel "Know No Fear", when the primarch Lorgar responds to an invocation of his father, the Emperor, with a whisper of "I am an orphan".

Live-Action TV

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 used this line when they riffed on the educational short film "A Date With Your Family". To hear Mike and the bots describe it, all three kids were disowned by the end of the meal.
    • Really, they use it all the time, especially in the shorts (one boy got disowned for driving before his license came in).
  • Parodied on The Daily Show with the "Jew-o-meter". The lowest score is "I have no son!", the highest is "My son, the doctor."
    • Another episode had an Even Stevphen segment deteriorating, as they so often did, into a highly emotional revelation about one of the Stevphens' personal lives. The question is whether Elian Gonzalez should be sent back to Cuba to live with his father, and they start out agreeing that he shouldn't, which obviously won't do as the basis for a shouting match. While Stephen's argument is the typical anti-communist one, it soon becomes clear that Steve's "reasoning" is based on his fraught relationship with his own father. Stephen immediately engages him in therapeutic role-playing to "work through these feelings," until Steve breaks down in his arms sobbing, "I love you, Daddy!"

 Stephen: Shhh. [strokes Steve's hair] Hush, little baby, don't say a word... Papa's gonna buy you a mockingbird.

Steve: He should go back with his daddy! Elian should be with his daddy!


Stephen: What?

Steve: Elian should be with his daddy!

Stephen: [pushes him away] I raise some kind of commie pinko?

Steve: But... Papa!

Stephen: You're weak! [slaps him] Like your mother! Why don't I get you a bra and some panties, and you can dance around, you fairy?

Steve: Not again! [begins to rock back and forth]

Jon: Guys...

Stephen: Not now, Jon, I'm making a breakthrough here! [turns back to Steve] "Ohhh, my daddy doesn't love me! Ohhh, boo-hoo-hoo!" Well, MY SON IS DEAD! [turns brightly to camera] I'm Stephen Colbert... [pause where Steve would normally say, "I'm Steve Carell"; this time it's filled only with wordless keening] ...and this has been Even Stevphen!

  • An episode of Head of the Class had Arvid Engen's father come to teach the class. He's a genius but, even though he makes an effort, he's a lousy teacher. Arvid tells him this, and concludes with, "But I still am your son." To which his father stands up and says, "Son? I have no son!" Arvid is taken aback, and then his father laughs and says, "Sorry, I Always Wanted to Say That."
  • Parodied on How I Met Your Mother where Robin's father utters this line with full pathos after he sees Robin kissing a boy. It would be a perfectly straight example if not for the fact that Robin is a girl, and her dad literally has no son. He just spent most of her childhood trying to pretend that wasn't the case.
  • On Glee, after Finn (awkwardly) announces to Quinn's parents that she's pregnant, her father disowns her. The line is never said, but it's obvious what happened.
    • Happens again in season three when Mike's dad finds out he wants to be a dancer instead of going to medical school.
    • Santana's grandmother pulls an I Have No Granddaughter when Santana comes out as a lesbian.
  • The Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Journey to Babel" reveals that Spock has one of these in his past, thanks to Ambassador Sarek's disapproval of Starfleet as a career.
  • In House, the father of a Chinese girl with a mysterious brain aneurysm claims to have no daughter when told of her condition, while the mother just looks confused; Wilson assumes that the father has just disowned her, but House deduces that the girl's biological parents literally attempted to murder her so they could try having a son without being penalized by China's one child law.
  • Subverted at the end of Fresno. When Charlotte disowns her son, she says this, but then amends it because she has another son.
  • In one episode of The League of Gentlemen, sleazy newsstand owner Pop berates his younger son for failing to prevent a handful of chocolates from being stolen. He then leads away his other son, saying "You are my son. My only son."
    • "Pop will have a daughter, as well as sons! ...I mean, a son." *spits on the floor*
  • Firefly: Simon Tam was disowned for his (correct, as it turns out,) belief that the "academy" River was sent to was actually performing horrific experiments on her. In this case it was fortunate as it cut away any further leverage the Alliance had on him.
    • Not so much disowned as on the run.
  • Variant used in a Narm way on 7th Heaven. When the entire family reveals to matriarch Annie that they won't be home for Thanksgiving, she announces, "You are not my family"--her minor-aged children included, no less.
  • Happens to the traitor Daniel in V: The Final Battle. One of the few cases where the claim is made and the audience accepts it without even blinking.
  • Subverted in Law & Order: Criminal Intent, when a man initially suspected of being an infamous serial killer testifies to Goren and Eames that his father is actually the one guilty. In fact, the son's life has been made hell, growing up in fear that he's a sadist like Dad. When his father declares, "You're no son of mine!" as he is being dragged away in handcuffs, Eames comments, "That's the nicest thing he could have said to him."
  • Atia to Octavia in the second season of Rome: "I have no son."
  • King Henry VIII throws one of these against his sister in The Tudors when he learns that she has betrayed him by marrying without his permission.

  "How dare you look at me? I am your Lord and Master; not your brother! You are both banished from court. You will relinquish your London houses. You will remove yourself from my sight. [...] And Margaret! I have yet to decide whatever to make your bed-mate a head shorter."

    • Of course, he forgives them later. (In real life, it was his sister Mary who pulled this stunt, not Margaret.)
  • Rickie on My So-Called Life comes out to his uncle, his adoptive parent. Said uncle immediately kicks him out of the house. Onto the street. At Christmastime. Then his uncle moves away without him. Bear in mind that this is a 15-year-old kid we're talking about; this is Kick the Dog at its worst.
  • Anybody remember this story from an old TV Western series (or possibly movie)? Setup: A young son is intrigued when a native policeman from an Indian Reservation rides into town looking for some outlaws from that reservation. It turns out that he is actually his half-brother; their mother was abducted by Indians in her youth and lived as part of the tribe for a few years before being rescued and returned to "Western Civilization", in the meantime having given birth to a boy. But to her white husband and later children she pretended that she had been rescued mere days after her abduction. When confronted with the Indian lawman, she tells him that she may have given birth to him, but that he is not her son. Only when he comes close to being killed by the outlaws does she acknowledge and show that she cares for him.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus spoofed this by having an playwright express disapproval of his son for pursuing his dream of becoming a coal miner.
  • True Blood. 15-year-old Sam Merlotte's shapeshifting powers manifest, to his adoptive family's horror. Shortly thereafter, he comes home one day to find that the entire family has moved away without him, leaving the house completely empty except for Sam's bedroom, which was left untouched.
  • Inverted in Fringe, where Peter Bishop tells his father Walter, "I am not your son." Subverted because Peter is from an Alternate Universe, and "Walternate" is his father.
  • Married... with Children: When Kelly started working as a waitress, Peggy was disappointed that she'd get a job instead of keeping the Wanker family's tradition of the women freeloading on men and said that she had no daughter. If she had one, she wouldn't work.
  • In the Twilight Zone episode "And When The Sky was Opened", Harrington, shortly before he is erased from history, calls his parents, only for them to tell him they don't have a son.
  • Duncan Mac Leod got this in Highlander the Series, after dying his first death and becoming immortal.
  • In Peter Kay's X Factor and Pop Idol spoof Britains Got the Pop Factor, the mother of the transsexual Geraldine Mc Queen gives us this wonderful line: "she is no son of mine!"


  • The Genesis song "No Son of Mine".
    • Also, band member Mike Rutherford's solo hit "The Living Years".
  • Victor Lundberg's Vietnam-era spoken-word hit "Open Letter to My Teenage Son" ends with the narrator-father telling his kid, "If you decide to burn your draft card, then burn your birth certificate at the same time; from that moment on, I have no son!"
  • Inverted in the Pearl Jam song "Daughter", where the aloof speaker tells her mother, "Don't call me daughter." Theories abound.
  • In W.A.S.P.'s 1992 concept album The Crimson Idol, the protagonist Jonathan calls his estranged parents one last time after realizing how unfulfilling his life as a rock star is. The conversation ends with "we have no son." Jonathan then kills himself on stage during the concert later that night.
  • The Courtyard Hounds' song "Ain't No Son," which deals with a father disowning his son, directly references this trope.

 He said "You ain't no son to me

You ain't no son to me

Eight pound baby boy I bounced on my knee

No, you ain't no son of mine


Professional Wrestling


  • The early 20th-century musical The Jazz Singer, (probably better known today as being the first talkie) featured this as the central plot: Jakie Rabinowitz wants to sing jazz in blackface and his rabbi father disapproves. No, not for the same reasons we would disapprove of this action today. Actually somewhat Based on a True Story, making this one Truth in Television.
  • At the end of The Lion in Winter, a despondent Henry II makes this remark about all of his sons' collective betrayal.
    • Well, in the next line, he acknowledges that he had offspring; what he seems to be saying is "My children aren't real men" rather than "I have no children".
  • In Fiddler On the Roof, Tevye agonizes over his first two daughters willfully opposing tradition and marrying men they choose rather than ones chosen for them by the matchmaker. The first begged for permission to marry her childhood friend, which Tevye granted; the second married an itinerant tutor who had been teaching her, and they made clear that they would be marrying, permission or not, but would be grateful for his blessing. Tevye eventually came around on that one, too... but when his third daughter marries outside the faith, Tevye can't take it: "if I bend that far, I'll break!" Though it breaks his heart, he disowns her.
    • In the original stories by Sholem Aleichem, Tevye can't ever bring himself to forgive her; in the musical, just at the end, Tevye bends just enough to at least acknowledge her, and her husband, when the husband makes a valid point:

 Fyedke: Some are driven out by edicts. Others... by silence.

  • Subverted in The Music Man when Harold Hill suggests that the Mayor order a fluglehorn on the grounds that his son would be a virtuoso. The Mayor almost falls for it before realizing (loudly) that he doesn't have a son.
  • In Spring's Awakening by Frank Wedekind, after Moritz flunks out of school and commits suicide his father says at Moritz's funeral that Moritz was "no son of mine."
    • Damn that is cold..
  • No literal disowning, but in La Traviata Germont utters a phrase like this after Alfredo insults Violetta by throwing money at her. Alfredo immediately repents, and the two are later shown as reconciled.
  • Played with in The Importance of Being Earnest: Cecily tells Jack his brother Ernest is in the dining room, and he replies "I haven't got a brother". Cecily thinks he's disowning his brother, and the other characters on stage think Ernest has just died, but Jack actually means it literally; he lied about having a brother, and the man in the dining room is his friend Algernon pretending to be Ernest who is later revealed to actually be his brother.
  • Because they abandoned him in favour of seeking power over Thebes and only sought him out once he was useful to them, Oedipus curses his sons to kill each other in Oedipus at Colonus shortly before he dies.
  • Oddly enough, averted in The Merchant of Venice: despite Shylock's anger at his daughter's marriage and conversion to Christianity, he never actually disowns her. Later in the play, he mentions her, saying "I have a daughter..." The Al Pacino film version changed the line to say "I had a daughter", turning the film into a straight example. As a matter of fact, it's Jessica who disowns Shylock: "I have a father, you, a daughter lost."


  • Tatsuzou Sudou from Persona 2: Eternal Punishment went to a LOT of effort to get his son, Tatsuya Sudou, sent to a sanitarium so he could be rid of him and he also worked very hard to eliminate any connection said son had to him. Justified, as he's a politician and his son became a crazy arsonist, and that would not have been good for his political career, among other things.
  • A scene like this kicks off the plot of Metal Max Returns. A more moderate version also kicks off Metal Saga.
  • In Riven: The Sequel to Myst, if you fail to imprison Gehn before opening the Star Fissure, Atrus will show up only to be surrounded by Gehn and his goon. Atrus will react to his unexpected appearance (you were supposed to have imprisoned him before signaling Atrus, after all) with "Father..." only for Gehn to shout "[Y]ou are no longer my son!" before having his henchman shoot him.
  • When Jessica of Dragon Quest VIII stubbornly declares her intent to find her brother's murderer and bring him to justice — at the urging of her brother's ghost, no less — her mother (who wants her to stay at home and "mourn like a proper lady") equally-stubbornly declares that she has no longer has a daughter.
  • In Guild Wars, Adelbern does this in spirit, if not using the exact words, after the Nolani Academy mission. He wants to continue to defend his kingdom from invasion, while his son wants to evacuate to one across the mountains.
  • Inverted in Mass Effect 2. Jacob Taylor's loyalty mission is to rescue his father, who went missing ten years ago. It turns out that his ship crashed on an unknown planet. However, after they find out that Ronald Taylor forced his crew to eat the local food (which causes brain damage) while keeping the good food from the ship for himself long after they repaired the beacon that justified withholding it in the first place, killed the other officers, exiled the male crew, and turned the females into his personal harem, Jacob disowns his father.
  • Happens in the climax of Pokémon Black and White, when Ghetsis storms in and disowns N for allowing the player to defeat him, spoiling Ghetsis's plans to conquer Unova. Rather than saying, "I have no child", the line is "you are unworthy of the name Harmonia", but the effect is the same.


  • Michael Alan Avariss of Gene Catlow is this way about his son, Steven over his associations with anthropomorphic animals, or, as Michael puts it, "beasts".
  • Parodied in Sluggy Freelance in the Oceans Unmoving storyline. Callix sends one of The Greys, aliens with a slim to nil understanding of human social behavior, to talk to his father being held captive in the hold. Hilarity Ensues as the Grey is clearly incapable of understanding that the proclamations of I Have No Son are strictly for dramatic effect.
  • A sibling variant in El Goonish Shive. While clarifying the relationship between Tedd and Nanase (their mothers are sisters) for the Fourth Wall Mail Slot, Amanda phones Nanase's mother to ask why Tedd's mom never gets mentioned. When she gets the reply "I have no sister!", she wonders if her initial explanation was wrong.
  • Played with in this Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.
  • Used in DMFA as part of Pyroduck's backstory: "he [Pyroduck's father] considers me one of the five [of his children] that were 'destroyed' by the cubi" (shown here).
  • Dork Tower Word for word.
  • In Impure Blood, Caspian's father threatens it: If you ever show your face in Turien again, you are not my son.
  • In the Order of the Stick prequel Start of Darkness, Right-Eye and Redcloak always called each other "Brother" rather than going along with Xykon's renaming of them based on visual traits. When Redcloak kills Right-Eye to protect Xykon (since Xykon is needed to continue the Plan that Redcloak has devoted his entire life to fulfilling) , Redcloak says "Goodbye, Brother." Right-Eye says "Goodbye, Redcloak". With his dying breath, Right-Eye disowned Redcloak as his brother and denounced him as Xykon's lackey.
  • Kronar has no son. Until she becomes his son, that is.

Western Animation

  • Parodied in The Simpsons episode quoted at the top of the page.
    • It is a parody specifically of the scene in The Jazz Singer.
    • Parodied again in, when Agnes Skinner learns that the real Seymour Skinner was imprisoned in Vietnam and the man she has raised as her son is an impostor; her dramatic declaration that she has no son is somewhat undercut by Homer rather acerbically pointing out that she obviously has at least one son. She responds by saying "No, I have one stranger, and one fraud!"
    • Parodied in another episode when Patty declares that if Marge doesn't come to her gay wedding then "I have no non-identical sister!"
    • Played relatively straight when Abe blames Homer for dragging him away on his girlfriend's birthday and causing her death by burst ventricle broken heart.
    • Parodied in yet another episode when the Squeaky-Voiced Teen working at the Bowling Alley says that he can't even give a lane to his own mother on League night. Lunchlady Doris walks past and says, "I have no son!"
    • Played seriously with Homer's long-lost half-brother Herbert, who lets Homer design a car that will make or break his company, assuming Homer knows what The Everyman wants. Homer botches it, leading Herb to tell him rather venomously, "As far as I'm concerned, I have no brother." They patch things up in a later episode, after which Herb is never seen again.
  • Referenced in an episode of Arthur:

 Mr. Frensky: If you win, I'm taking you out for ice cream. If you lose--

Binky: You'll take us to the outskirts of town and leave us there?

Mr. Frensky: No Binky. If you lose, I still take you out for ice cream.

Binky: I'll never get to see the outskirts of town...

  • In Rocko's Modern Life, Ralph Bighead's decision to become a cartoonist results in his being disowned by his father, and he isn't particularly interested in reconciling. It requires intervention by Rocko and friends to restore the family relationship.
    • The title of the episode is, "I Have No Son!" Ed Bighead even says it word-for-word a couple of times.
  • One episode of Pinky and The Brain has Brain giving this treatment to a clone who has decided that he doesn't want to take over the world — "I have no clone".
  • Clone High has this happen to Gandhi and his foster father.
  • Family Guy lampshades this by having Peter gradually admit that even if Chris isn't his son, he still has Stewie and Meg.
    • Another episode revealed that this Death himself

 Death: You know, actually, kid, I kind of fell into this gig. You know, I really wanted to be a wood nymph. But, man, the second Dad found out, he started in with the whole: "I have no son. I have no son," and Mom...Mom just stood there.

  • During a role-playing exercise on Drawn Together where Xandir came out of the closet to his parents (played by Toot and Captain Hero), Toot (his father, for some reason) says "I have no son!", tears her sleeve and recites the Kaddish, reflecting the tendency of this trope to be centered on Jews.
  • American Dad had one episode with Stan and Francene getting roped into a situation with their gay neighbors Greg and Terry when the latter's father comes to visit who oblivious of his son homosexuality. When Stan drunkenly reveals this, Terry's father in a rather calm manner states he has no son. Even when presented in front of a stadium full of people, Terry's father refuses take back his claim. Terry eventually say "Forget him" and gets on with his life with Greg.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender of course has Ozai who clearly had no regard to his son Zuko. Stating he was "Lucky to be born" and even burning off most of his face when Zuko questioned his logic during a war meeting. Zuko at first tries to get his respect for most of the series. But in the end realizes he's a Jerkass and help the main heroes in stopping him.
  • Previously, on Gargoyles: When Angela tells Demona that she is Demona's biological daughter, Demona responds with "I have no daughter!" In this case, though, it's not based on disapproval--Demona honestly did not realize her child (last seen as an egg with people she considered her enemies) was still alive.
  • Parodied on South Park as part of the parents' hysterical, What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous? reaction to the news that the boys have been smoking. Stan tries to bring Randy back to earth, but as soon as he calls him "dad," Randy shouts, "I DON'T HAVE A SON!"
  • Darkseid pulls this in Superman: The Animated Series after sending his son to a slave pit with his Omega beams. His exact words in response to Desaad saying that Kalibak was his son, "A technicality of birth. As far as my destiny lies, I have no son."
    • Of course, in the comics he had three sons: Orion, the competent one who he traded away in a peace treaty and who hated him (he killed him as one of the first moves in Final Crisis); Kalibak, the embarrassing one he let live because he'd loved his mother; and...that one whose name I forget, whose only ambition was to get out of his father's shadow, even though he was basically an inferior copy.
  • On the Broke Episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes, Lucius tells Beezy "You're no son of mine," after he causes him to lose his fortune.
  • Superman on Young Justice has been giving poor Superboy (a reboot in new continuity of the comics' Connor Kent) a very hard time without really meaning to. The whole weaponized clone thing makes him very uncomfortable, and he's convinced himself the kid is better off without having him around to remind him of what he's not. Even though it's killing Superboy that Superman won't at least validate his existence.
    • When Bruce takes him to a diner to talk to him about it, his response to "the boy needs his father" is "I'm not his father. Can I get that pie to go?" And walking out.
  • King of the Hill Played This For Laughs in one episode between Kahn and Kahn Jr.--aka "Connie," his daughter. He said she wouldn't be his "son" anymore if she didn't go through with You Go, Girl!-style wrestling match against her best friend. (As you can probably tell, he wanted a boy. The wrestling thing was her idea, though.)
  • This trope is one of the main reasons Dr. Doofenshmirtz from Phineas and Ferb grew up to be a villain. The worst part was he didn't really deserve it. His parents were so ridiculously negligent, they were never around for any of his birthdays, even the day he was actually born. He was completely ignored when he failed to jump off a high dive at the city pool (which was considered a rite of passage). Heck, his father even named the family dog "Only Son"!

Real Life

  • Josef Stalin, keeping in character as a sociopathic bastard, did not have a healthy father-son relationship with his eldest. Besides the incident where he remarked that his son "can't even shoot straight" after his failed suicide, he used the trope ad verbatim when the Germans suggested they exchange his captured son for a German general in Soviet custody. To be fair to the murderous fruitloop, he had just announced that Soviet Russia would never negotiate prisoner transfers with the Nazis, and it's unlikely that any of the other leaders would or could have acted any differently in his position. It was cold, but not pure spite.
      • He also said that 'all his sons should be released' for the prisoner transfer, showing he would not show favoritism but be equal in treating his soldiers.
    • Another variant on that anecdote tells that Stalin said "A colonel is not worth a general" when the offer came.
    • Not perhaps surprising when you learn about the treatment Josef received from his own father while growing up. "Alcoholic, abusive bastard" is frankly being charitable.
    • Stalin also had some serious Mommy Issues, as his mother was absolutely frightening, and her disapproval--and only her disapproval--could drive him to shame. (Of course, except for oppressing the Georgian Orthodox Church less nastily than other religions, Stalin never acted on the shame, but that's another issue).
    • Stalin also had another son, by a woman either outside of his second marriage or between his two marriages, whom he absolutely refused to acknowledge, probably due to the shame of having an illegitimate child.
  • William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, was disowned by his father when his father learned that he was sympathizing with the despised Quaker sect. Indeed, the name "Pennsylvania" is actually a Take That at the younger Penn; he wanted to call the colony "Sylvania," but Charles II insisted that it be called "Pennsylvania"...after his father. Through the efforts of his mother, however, William was eventually admitted back into the fold.
  • The mother of author/musician/songwriter James McBride was disowned by her Orthodox Jewish family after marrying a black man, even changing her name from Rachel Shilsky to Ruth McBride.
    • Was this because he was black or because he was not Jewish?
      • Likely the latter.
        • Actually it was more that he was black. This was the thirties and forties and in that time a black man would probably be killed for pursuing a white woman romantically, at least down in the south. I doubt it was much better up north and notably this is long before Martin Luther King and Malcolm X and the period of Civil Rights Movements, so it's not surprising that his being black had more to do with it.
          • Malcolm X had many white girlfriends before he became black nationalist, but he was given a harder jail sentence when captured for robbery mainly because his robbery crew was with a white women. This was in Boston/New York City though.
        • There were white supporters of MLK, and they were often treated MORE harshly than the black ones when arrested. Despite stereotypes, not every white man in the south in the thirties was a member of the KKK.
        • Most Jews were in favor of, and participated in, the Civil Rights movement, because many of the same prohibitions were applied to Jews as well. It was just less noticeable because people can't tell if someone is Jewish just by looking at them. Socially, however, Jews were kept from many of the same organizations and subject to strict quotas at universities that would accept them.
  • Osama Bin Laden was disowned by his family for his extremist attitudes. Can you really blame them?
  • There are plenty of parents out there who disown (read: kick out of house and home) for being gay. This phenomenon get the absolute amount of newscoverage it deserves.
  • Prominent banker Amos Kling and newspaper publisher Warren Harding were enemies for several years. To Florence Kling, daughter of the banker, this made Harding irresistible. She pursued him until Warren agreed to marry her in 1891. Amos' reaction fits the trope: he disowned his daughter, and refused to speak to either her or his hated son-in-law for the next eight years.
  • "I have no Daughter": The late actress/model, Sharon Tate, who was brutally slain by the Manson Family, had two sisters: A middle-child named Debra, and a much younger one named Patti. They used to be so close to each other. But after Sharon was murdered, the family was torn apart, and over the years, they have gone on to act like Debra never existed by disowning her.