Chalk this up in the Oddball Observations category, but I’ve noticed that more often than not (and regardless of system or genre), in most PC backgrounds parents are:

  1. Not addressed at all
  2. Dead
  3. Living, but not likely to be involved in the game

Is that just a quirk of my personal GMing history, or have you noticed this too? And if you have, why do you think this is? Do you specifically encourage your players to give you family histories?