Being a parent is tough. This is true whether your child is 5 and in pre-K or 15 and has a fish tail instead of legs. Raising a Disney princess isn’t all tiaras and fancy balls. There are some real parental struggles and missteps, whether on land, sea or in a whole new world. Moms and dads who are forced to watch these god damn movies can learn a thing or two from the catastrophic and often nearly fatal mistakes that their cartoon counterparts make.
Disney princess parents can be separated into 4 categories: (1) practically perfect in every way; (2) dead as a doornail; (3) evil stepmother and, the one I will be focusing on, (4) just ordinary demi-guys and gals. These parents are well-meaning and want the best for their children, but always seem to screw shit up…until happily ever after.
I hesitate to put Aurora’s parents on this list because they’re pretty much the worst. Even though they have the means and the knowledge to keep their daughter safe (if not a little sleepy), they ship her off to live with three bumbling fairies in a cottage in the woods. I get that they’re trying to protect her, but they miss Aurora’s entire childhood. And she ends up in the exact predicament they were hoping to avoid.
Parental Lesson: Your child will get hurt at some point. The best thing you can do is be there for them. Kiss that boo-boo, pin prick or broken heart.
The Little Mermaid
King Triton wants what’s best for his youngest daughter, but his parenting style can best be described as MY WAY OR THE WATERWAY! He tries to force Ariel to swim with the tide and be just like her older sisters. Ariel, however, is her own mermaid; she is adventurous, inquisitive and has a much different idea of an ideal mate than her father has in mind for her.
Parental Lesson: All children are unique; foster their individuality and creativity. Accept them for who they are and who they love. Also, teach them what the fork a fork is. If you don’t, some dumb pelican will.
Beauty and the Beast
Belle’s dad seems like a nice guy. He loves his daughter; he’s got his inventions to keep him busy; he certainly doesn’t mean anyone any harm. But come on, dude! Haven’t you ever heard that song “the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh…” If crazy old Maurice stopped and listened to knowledgeable Philippe, he could have avoided a tale as old as time. It’s his fault that Belle was locked in a castle where the candelabra was trying to bang the duster and, due to a tragic case of Stockholm Syndrome, she fell in a love with her captor, a giant buffalo creature with anger issues. (You know, that old yarn!)
Parental Lesson: Know your limits, your strengths and your weaknesses. I guarantee that you rock at some of this parenting shit, but your partner (or horse) is better at some of it. That’s the way it’s supposed to be: you’re a team. Listen to each other and work together. And, whatever you do, don’t get lost in the dark woods and wander into an enchanted castle. It’s bad news, bro.
Jasmine’s father, the Sultan of Agrabah, shows why monarchies are doomed to fail. I don’t believe this guy has the wherewithal to run a banana stand, let alone a fictitious kingdom. He puts his trust in Jafar and values this goateed snake’s opinion over that of his daughter. He even agrees to force Jasmine to marry Jafar despite the fact that he’s “so old,” super creepy and is best friends with Gilbert Gottfried (red flag!).
Parental Lesson: Don’t try to make decisions for your children that they can and should make for themselves. As parents, it’s up to us to teach our kids how to be independent. When they’re ready, they’ll fly on their own and probably rub a magic lamp or two. Have the uncomfortable talks before they’re already on that magic carpet.
Before their sad and untimely deaths, I thought the parents in Frozen sucked icicles. I know I shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, it’s just, what was with all the secrets and mystery? They kept their daughters apart, ruining both of their childhoods. How about an attempt at an explanation? “Anna, honey, your sister has crazy magic freeze ray powers. It’s kind of awesome, but tough to control. Don’t let her build anymore snowmen.” BOOM! Done.
Parental Lesson: Certain topics will be difficult to discuss with your children, but a little honesty goes a long way. Withholding vital information will sow discord in a family and may motivate the villagers to grab their pitchforks as they chase your mutant powered child into the mountains.
All Moana wants is to explore the sea. It calls to her. Literally. Her father, Chief Tui, however, is so focused on the mistakes that he’s made that he refuses to let his daughter make her own. Even without her dad’s help, Moana figures shit out. She learns how to sail, makes friends with a demi-god and returns a magic stone to a giant mound of anthropomorphized moss. It’s a helluva first voyage!
Parental Lesson: Kids can’t learn from their parents mistakes, not really. They need to make their own. Give them the tools to succeed, to fail, and, perhaps most importantly, how to deal with failure.
General Lesson: Chickens are really dumb and not at all helpful out on the ocean. Also, Heihei should have been named Jar Jar and Moana or Maui should have eaten him. You’re welcome!