Whether Han and Leia were “bad parents” or not is really irrelevant to the fact that Snoke was grooming and preying upon Ben Solo canonically since he was in the womb. I think they had their failures, but they loved their son. Parents make mistakes, period. Sometimes GOOD people do the WRONG things that end up affecting their child in irreversible ways. Saying maybe Han and Leia had a hand in what happened with Ben is not shitting on their characters – it’s trying to look at the interesting story that’s being told and finding out the “whys” and “hows” of it – and recognizing the realities of our real world and how this story could help us reflect on that. Good people fuck up. Good parents fuck up. Kids with good parents can still be preyed upon by horrible people and lose their way.
Edit: Also, Leia was apparently aware of Snoke and didn’t know how to handle it… which is another factor here. It’s understandable… but as an allegory, it seems a lot like how parents aren’t equipped to deal with their mentally ill child and so they do nothing or put it off on others. Again, understandable, but still… a mistake and deficit in parenting.
Also, while Han was sometimes present during Ben’s childhood – he was also sometimes an absent father and husband. Leia OPENLY thinks on this in the extended canon novels – she thinks about Han and Luke when she’s pregnant with Ben, and how she just wished they were there and not traipsing around the galaxy when she needed them sometimes.
And Han was sometimes absent not just physically, but EMOTIONALLY, ok? The man wholeheartedly never feels he can connect with his son at the level Leia does because of Ben’s Force sensitivity, and that DOES affect their relationship. He admits he isn’t sure if he’s cut out for being a father. While, YES, he took Ben to the races and all that and OF COURSE he loved his son… he didn’t connect well with Ben. He actively mentors OTHER young kids and forms attachment to them as replacements for Ben because of this lack of connection between them [[as he did with Rey in TFA ]]– that is canon, too, so… I dunno, says something about how Han felt as a father to Ben, imo.
Add on top of this Leia, Luke, and Han all neglecting to tell Ben his TRUE heritage – all the while probably telling him how GREAT Anakin was. He was this Jedi, and so is Luke! WOW! Meanwhile, Ben is wrestling with this darkness inside him, and this creepy old, rumpled up piece of chewed up gum is sticking his tendrils into Ben’s mind and warping his view. Ben almost certainly felt like a total failure in the face of this unachievable legacy before him. And it WAS unachievable, because Luke and Anakin BOTH had gravely faced the Dark Side at different points – although Anakin fell, while Luke did not.
Yeah, you know, lying to your child their entire life so that they feel like the struggles they face must make them “broken” and “wrong” sounds like a really healthy foundation for a relationship. **ROLLS EYES**
Also, we don’t know the reason yet WHY Ben was sent to be with his uncle and if it WAS because of some big Force accident… like, to bring it to a personal level, I dunno about you but if my parents had been like, “sorry kid, you’re a crazy autistic and we can’t handle you – best if we send you over to your auntie because it’s too much for us to handle… I’m sure you can understand”… well, as a CHILD I’d be heartbroken. I would have internalized that. It would have broken my spirit and soul. Kids don’t realize that kind of behavior can have logic to it – they internalize things like that and make it about rejection.
Like… I’m sorry, but that’s the whole POINT with Anakin, too. That the Jedi Ways™ advocate this detachment from family and loved ones and force kids away from their family and those they love to “condition” them into using a part of the Force and SHOVING DOWN the “dark” parts – anger, frustration, fear, love, attachment, passion.
Also, Ben Solo did not cut off contact with Leia just because he felt like being a dick to his mother. Luke and Ben were traipsing around the galaxy in unknown regions and sometimes transmissions were lost – that’s why he didn’t interact with her for long periods of time. I am seeing a stupid ass post float around about how Leia and Han could NEVER HAVE BEEN PARENTS WHO EVER MADE MISTAKES because… people don’t want to believe that good people can be bad parents.
Ok, to add a FINAL note to this rambling vaguepost, I also want to mention that there are more ways than one to have a “bad” or traumatizing childhood. Trauma is not a blanket experience. While Ben had two parents who loved him and who he loved, and he had an uncle who was probably eager to teach and train him… that doesn’t mean they couldn’t make mistakes or that he could experience no trauma outside of his family’s influence. That Snoke was grooming him since INFANCY should be a BIG ASS CLUE that he was traumatized.
Speaking as someone who was also groomed and abused by an adult as a child, it haunts you your whole life. You can never let go of the things that person says and does – they hang over you like an eternal dark cloud. It’s traumatizing, so don’t reduce that kind of trauma just because society likes to sensationalize different kinds of trauma, like extreme poverty.
Wow, this post is fucking long, but I’m tired of seeing that damn post float around like it’s all a one-dimensional, flat story that you can make sweeping statements about. I didn’t even cover every bit of what I wanted to say but this is long enough as is and probably won’t be read by many people anyway.