Not since the heyday of the desperate, late-season new baby/orphan story lines of our childhood (where are those other Full House twins now?) have there been so many unwanted TV kids trying to stay out of their parents’ ways.
The piece focuses on the children that appear on the television network AMC, like the kids of Don and Betty Draper from Mad Men and those of Walter and Skyler White from Breaking Bad. Though the slideshow doesn't mention this example, I also thought of Jack Bauer from 24 (Fox) and his tortured relationship with his daughter, Kim.
Showing television characters with their children---as parents---is a plot device that humanizes these fictional adults. What are they willing to do for their kids? (For Walter White, who is dying of cancer, he is willing to "cook" meth so that he can provide for his children after he has passed away). How far are they willing to go to protect them? (Jack Bauer is willing to break federal law and threaten national security to ensure the safety of his daughter).
But having their kids around also shows their greatest flaws--one of which is that they are absent parents who have neglected their children. Why are they so absent? In all three shows, the main obstacle to being a good parent is career. Don, Walter, and Jack have demanding jobs--and, therefore, unusual lifestyles--that ultimately tear their families apart. It makes you wonder about the work-life balance and whether it's worth it to have a demanding job--even if it's meaningful and noble, like Jack Bauer's--at the expense of having no personal or family life.
In the real world, careerism is also having an affect on family life. Many couples are having children later and later because they are trying to first establish themselves in the professional world. When they finally do have kids, it marks a turning point in their lives. Prior to that point, career advancement was the main purpose of their lives. After that point, they have a choice. If being a good parent means dialing it down professionally in order to be more available to their children, is that a sacrifice people are willing to make?