Hard-boiled detective novels and police procedurals rely on alcoholic divorced men who are hard to get along with, obsessed, and have some specific taste, like jazz or late-Medieval altarpieces. Books and movies that have adolescents as protagonists have usually killed the parents off.
These are not "content" choices. That is, the writers of these novels don't actually favor alcoholic loners or dead parents in some abstract sense. They make these choices for mechanical reasons. They make the books easier to write.
The divorce and hostility eliminate tiresome spouses, children, and friends. If the cop had those, they would have to appear in the story. If they appear in the story, you then have to have a psycho threaten them or kidnap them, and that's not appropriate to every story, and certainly not for a series. Otherwise the family just takes up time for no purpose.
Non-hardboiled detective books can certainly allow spouses, as in Rendell's Inspector Wexford books, or Reginal Hill's Dalziel/Pascoe books. There, spousal life serves as counterpoint to the relationship-oriented crimes.
But that's "literary", death in a more bare-knuckle book. What about the alcohol and the outré hobby? Just as overprocessed grain products will be "fortified" with vitamins and minerals, these are ways of adding back in the personality that got milled out during plot creation.
This is on my mind now, because I am writing a novel with adolescent protagonists, what is known in the trade as YA: Young Adult (working title: Timeslip). It involves travel between alternate universes. And the parents are still alive.
How can my character, Doug, and his two friends go on a rescue mission to an alternate world where the Cuban Missile Crisis went hot? What parent would allow that? And how can they be back before curfew?
I did have to incapacitate Doug's parents in certain plot-significant ways. But what about the parents/guardians of the other adolescent characters? I'm the parent of an adolescent. I'm sure I don't know everything he does, but he gets in trouble if he's home late, or goes somewhere unusual without telling us. Now, my son claims that the parents of his friends aren't concerned about these things, so maybe those kids get to travel to worlds with steam carriages and spend several days there with no difficulty. Somehow I doubt it.
Now, in an extraliterary way, you know something of the arguments we have around our house. Without the steam carriages, unfortunately.
Anyway, it has been an adventure, maneuvering the plot while not eliminating the parents. Do I get points for degree of difficulty? And do my proposed adolescent readers even see this as positive? Maybe, like many kids that age, they wish their parents dead or vanished anyway.
I just found it too often the default position, and thought I'd give it a shot.