Unaccompanied Minors
All the parents on 'Outer Banks' are bad, but one ranks as the most terrible.

Ranking The Outer Banks Parents By How Much They Suck

The daddy issues are off the charts.


Kids run wild in the world of Outer Banks, and it’s easy to see why. The teen drama has some of the most cartoonishly terrible parents imaginable, and they only got worse in Season 3. From abandonment issues to straight-up violence, the bottom-of-the-barrel moms and dads on Outer Banks have truly caused some deep-rooted issues for their offspring. But only one can be the actual worst, so let’s rank the Outer Banks parents to see who takes the title home.

Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers from throughout Outer Banks Season 3. Maybe there’s something in the air on Kildare Island that makes every adult awful. Pretty much all of the roadblocks John B, Sarah, JJ, Kiara, and Pope have faced in their adventures have been evil grown-ups trying to manipulate and steal from them... and most of the time, it’s a relative causing these issues. The parents in this world have very few redeeming qualities, and Season 3 made things all the more complicated by throwing John B’s presumed-dead father Big John back into the mix.

While there are some characters who make decent, if flawed, parents on the show, most of these Outer Banks lowlifes should be prohibited from procreation after being actual living demons to their own kids. Here they are, from the subpar to the sublimely awful:

9. Mrs. Heyward

Pope’s mom doesn’t even have a first name; that’s how little she appears on the show. The few times she is in the background of a scene, she seems to kind of just nod along with what her husband says. So, by default of basically doing nothing, Mrs. Heyward is actually the least toxic OBX parent. Maybe the kids would have been better off if she had a bigger role.

8. Bobby Heyward


Pope’s dad, on the other hand, is very involved in his son’s life, and he doesn’t approve of it at all. Like the other parents on the show, Heyward can be very confrontational with his kid and is almost always in a yelling match with him, but unlike the other parents, his rage and disappointment is mostly understandable. Pope has the chance to really make something of his life with a college scholarship, but as Heyward sees it, he’s squandering all his opportunities by hanging out with the local lowlifes. While Heyward’s approach may not always be the most nurturing, his intentions are good, and he does come around to supporting his son’s adventures in his own way.

7. Anna Carrera

Like Heyward, Kiara’s mother seems to genuinely care abput her daughter as she keeps putting herself in dangerous positions. It makes sense that she wants Kiara to stay safe and focus on her future, and she has moments when she connects with her daughter emotionally and trusts her enough to go hang out with the Pogues. However, Anna’s intentions are usually not as pure as Heyward’s. One of her main concerns is how Kiara being around Pogues will affect her reputation and status as a Kook. And although she was visibly distraught by the decision, she did agree to send Kiara away to the prison-like nature camp Kitty Hawk, which was really not OK.

6. The Missing Moms (John B’s, JJ’s, and Sarah’s)

Kiara’s mom may not be the best, but at least she’s around. That’s clearly not the case for most of the rest of the moms on the show, who literally never appear at all. John B mentioned his mom ran off when he was a child, similar to JJ’s absent mother. Sarah’s mom remains a mystery. It’s easy to see why these characters may have serious abandonment issues.

5. Mike Carrera

His wife seems to have a genuine connection with their daughter, but Kiara’s dad is a different story. Maybe it’s because, having been raised as a Pogue, he had to develop a tough exterior to make it through hardships, but that doesn’t make it any less infuriating to see him callously disparage JJ and insist on sending Kiara away over and over again. While Anna broke down in tears when Kiara was taken to Kitty Hawk, Mike seemed content to have finally gotten his way.

4. Rose Cameron

Rose may not be the devil incarnate like her husband, but she’s totally fine going along with his evil schemes, which is almost as bad. She’s not exactly present enough in her stepchildren’s lives to be overwhelmingly terrible — she’s mainly content to just sip some wine in the corner — but she did do one of the most unimaginably terrible things on the show when she drugged Sarah to kidnap her own stepdaughter in Season 2.

3. Big John Routledge


Big John was built up as a tragic hero for the first two seasons of Outer Banks, but he didn’t live up to that reputation at all when he revealed himself to be alive in Season 3. It didn’t take long to realize Big John cared more about the hunt for El Dorado than he did about his son’s wellbeing. He constantly put John B in mortal danger in order to get the next clue, and to make it even worse, he manipulated his son into thinking each move was out of love, rather than the truth: his greed. Sure, he got a big redemption moment in the end, sacrificing himself and his dream to save John B, but it was too little too late at that point.

2. Luke Maybank

There’s nothing to like about JJ’s abusive father. He consistently attacks his son both mentally and physically, steals thousands of dollars from him, and coerces him into helping him escape an arrest warrant. It’s a miracle JJ can still trust anyone he loves, because Luke really did a number on him.

1. Ward Cameron

It’s hard to imagine a worse father than Luke Maybank, but Ward Cameron manages to be even worse than the serial abuser. At least JJ’s father isn’t constantly chasing him down — Ward seems to make it his life’s mission to make his children’s life a living hell, all while deviously declaring his love for his daughter Sarah in the process. Not only has he tried to kill Sarah and her best friends multiple times, he’s also stooped to unfathomable lows, like faking his own death and kidnapping her, ensuring she’s scarred for life. Not to mention his bad example and clear favoritism turn his son Rafe into a remorseless killer too.

Like Big John, Ward also got a redemption moment at the end of Season 3, but it definitely did not do enough to erase the murderous terror he rained down on pretty much everyone in Outer Banks up until then. He better be really dead this time, because nobody wants to see him pop up again in Season 4.