Not all parents set a good example for their children, though. Some parents in the show did downright cruel and unforgivable things like abandoning their child or in Cora’s case murdering her daughter’s lover. In other cases, despite their best intentions, some parents made more complex and highly questionable parenting choices, many of which had lasting effects on their children.
10 Robin Hood Leaves His Newborn Child And Young Son Behind
Robin Hood joined Regina and the other heroes in a quest to rescue Hook from the Underworld. While it was noble to help in this quest, it also meant that he left his children in the care of the nuns/fairies in Storybrooke.
Leaving his newborn daughter and young son Roland behind was not the most responsible parenting decision. Zelena even called him out on this. Robin’s response was that he was setting a positive example of heroism for their daughter. This might’ve been true in the long run, but Robin’s primary focus should have been on being with his children instead of going on an adventure that he might not survive. It also doesn’t look great in hindsight as he was killed shortly after returning from the quest to the Underworld, thus leaving his children without a father.
9 Snow And Charming Constantly Leave Baby Neal Behind So They Can Go On Adventures
In the show’s third season, Snow White gave birth to her second child. She and Prince Charming named the child Neal in honor of Neal Cassidy. While they loved baby Neal very much, they also left him behind on multiple occasions so they could partake in various adventures.
Just like Robin Hood did with his children, they let the nuns/fairies in Storybrooke look after Neal while they went to the Underworld to help Emma rescue Hook. On many other occasions, it was unclear who was watching Neal while Snow and Charming were busy going on quests to save the day.
8 Regina Ensnares Henry In Tree Branches
When Henry tried to run away from Regina, she used her magic and had tree branches ensnare him to prevent his escape. Using the strength of her magic to physically ensnare and control her son was a highly inappropriate way to treat a child.
Regina was, unfortunately, taking after her mother’s parenting and using her power to seize hold of her child and try to dictate his life. Cora’s parenting brought out many of Regina’s worst traits. Regina threatened to continue the cycle by using the same style of parenting on her sweet son Henry.
7 Fiona Severs Her Son’s Savior Ties
Shortly after giving birth to Rumplestiltskin, Fiona was visited by the Blue Fairy and Tiger Lily. They told Fiona that her son was destined to become the Savior and that he would die fighting a great evil. Fiona grew obsessed with a way to save her son from this fate. Eventually, she used the Shears of Destiny to sever her child’s Savior ties.
She robbed her son of his heroic destiny when he was just a helpless child and forever altered the course of his life. This also caused her to be banished to the Dark Realm, meaning that Rumplestiltskin had to grow up without a mother. Her actions did not ruin his life entirely, though, as Rumplestiltskin ultimately learned to be a good man and to make heroic sacrifices to save his loved ones and to do the right thing.
6 Cora Wipes Her Daughters’ Memories
Cora abandoned Zelena as a child and only reached out to her when she needed her to save Regina. After Zelena played an essential role in saving Regina, the two girls grew close with one another, feeling like they were the sisters they never had but always wanted.
When they learned they were actually sisters, they confronted Cora about it. She used a potion to wipe both of their memories so they forgot they ever met. Cora thought this was best for Regina’s future, but it took away a friend that Regina desperately needed and created many problems for both daughters later in life.
5 Rumplestiltskin Flaunts His Dark One Abilities In Front Of Baelfire
After becoming the Dark One, Rumplestiltskin would often use his formidable abilities to hurt and humiliate others. This was inherently problematic and was even worse considering that on numerous occasions, Rumplestiltskin used his nefarious abilities in front of his son Baelfire.
With Baelfire watching, Rumplestiltskin humiliated and murdered knights who had previously harassed them. When Baelfire ran into a peddler’s wagon and hurt his knee, Rumplestiltskin transformed the peddler into a snail and then stomped on him. Rumplestiltskin thought he was protecting Baelfire and showing that no one had the right to mess with them. But by hurting others and reveling in their pain, Rumplestiltskin set a terrible example for his son.
4 Cora Teaches Regina That “Love Is Weakness”
Cora constantly emphasized to Regina that “Love is weakness.” For many years, this teaching caused Regina to cut love out of her life as she refused to be weak. Regina was willing to kill her own parents so she could feel strong and cast the Dark Curse.
For many years, Regina was miserable, hurt the people who actually cared about her, and closed herself off from love. While there are many factors that influenced these choices, Cora’s problematic lesson about love being a weakness was a major factor, a parenting decision that negatively influenced too much of her daughter’s life.
3 Regina Tries To Make Henry Think He Is Crazy
Determined to preserve the life she’d created for herself in Storybrooke, Regina couldn’t risk the Dark Curse being broken. With the help of the storybook, Henry knew the truth and was trying to get Emma to believe in it so she could embrace her role as the Savior and break the Dark Curse.
Regina decided to gaslight Henry and make him feel crazy for believing in these things in order to protect herself and the life she had. Making her son question his sanity and feel like he was crazy–even though he was the only one who could see the truth–was downright cruel and unjustifiable. Thankfully, this decision did not damage Henry in the long run, and over time, Regina and Henry even formed a loving and meaningful relationship with one another.
2 Cruella’s Mother Doesn’t Get Her Daughter The Help She Needs
Madeline knew her daughter Cruella de Vil was a troubled child, but she realized it was much worse after Cruella poisoned her father and looked happy after he died. Cruella also killed the next two men that her mother married.
Instead of getting Cruella the help she needed, Madeline kept Cruella trapped and hidden away from the rest of the world. This did nothing to help Cruella. She eventually murdered her mother as well and would’ve kept on taking lives if Isaac hadn’t used his Author powers to prevent her from killing again. Madeline’s poor choices further enabled her child to become a villainous psychopath.
1 Rumplestiltskin Sacrifices His Second-Born Child To Save Baelfire
When Baelfire was bitten by a lethal snake, Rumplestiltskin and Milah were desperate to save their son. A healer, Fendrake, would only give them an antidote for a hundred gold coins. Rumplestiltskin and Milah didn’t have that kind of money. Milah tried to convince Rumplestiltskin to kill Fendrake in order to acquire the antidote. Rumplestiltskin couldn’t bring himself to kill Fendrake, but he was determined to get the antidote. Instead, he signed a paper in which he promised to give up his second-born child in exchange for the antidote.
While this decision allowed him to get the antidote and save Baelfire’s life without committing murder, the decision had dire consequences. It ruined his relationship with Milah and their family’s future as it meant they could never have another child, along with making Milah feel like she had no control over her future. This drove Milah away from the family and influenced her decision to leave Rumplestiltskin and Baelfire, leaving her son to grow up without a mother. The decision also came back to haunt Rumplestiltskin as it threatened the future of his second-born child he had with Belle.
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