Frozen, did Elsa's parents mess up big time?

The trolls tell Elsa’s parents she must learn to control her powers, and that fear will be her enemy.

They rather stupidly assume this means Elsa has to hide and repress her powers, and basically set up a situation where Elsa is under so much stress she cracks mentally. They don’t teach her to use and control her powers at all.

I finally watched the movie and it occurred to me Elsa’s parents really dropped the ball.

Yep, this is the craziest part of the movie, although I also give the trolls some of the blame, because they gave the king and queen ominous, but not very useful, advice, which goes against how the trolls are presented as being very wise. Also, when the parents’ approach is clearly not working at all, maybe they should have gone back to the trolls to get an actual lesson plan. I can see why it works with the plot – that part is over with quickly and then you get to the actual story.

It might sit better with me if her parents had a more positive approach, but the girls were orphaned as younger children so that there was no one to guide Elsa as her power grew.

A combination of best of intentions with an extreme, but quick, carrying of the idiot ball by the parents. They die off too quickly to realize the problem. Yeah, it’s a plot shortcut, but real parents use rearing methods that are similarly stupid.

There’s 10 years or so between visiting the Trolls and their accident - it’s the span of one song for us, but it’s almost the entire lives of Anna and Elsa. And Elsa’s powers are getting stronger and harder to control the whole while. Plenty of time for them to remember ‘fear is the enemy’ (one of the few parts of his warning Pabbie made explicitly clear) and stop making Elsa into a panicky little ball of nerves.

Funny, this morning I was thinking about what horrible parents they were and, if it wasn’t a Disney movie, they’d be arrested for child abuse. What kind of loving parents lock their child away from human contact and drum into her head what a freak of nature she is?

This occurs like five minutes into the movie and I hated the rest of it from that point on. I just couldn’t get past it. The fact that the entire rest of the movie hinges on this one plot point really ruined the whole thing for me. And the standard, crappy Disney “LOVE is the answer!” resolution really didn’t improve my feelings about it at all.

Stop saying ‘soooo’…! Every time you say that you say the wrong thing!”

Disney parents OFTEN mess up (although perhaps not quite so badly as FROZEN.)

Stepmothers probably don’t count as “parents” officially, we don’t know about SNOW WHITE’s real father but her stepmother is a pip. The opening of CINDERELLA shows her father re-marrying, so bad decision on his part. The Darlings have no clue in PETER PAN, nor does LITTLE MERMAID’s father. Mrs Jumbo throws a temper tantrum and so can’t protect DUMBO, and SLEEPING BEAUTY’s parents think that burning the spinning wheels and giving their baby up for adoption is a good plan.

The only really good parent I can think of is Gepetto, and he’s way too trusting of a wooden-headed boy, but that’s not as bad a screw-up as the others.

Note: Not Frozen experts in this house.

I asked my wife about this the other day and she told me the one with ice-powers chooses to be reclusive and avoid her sister, not that the parents locked her up. I thought it was odd that they bring her back out for coronation after locking her up.

Are we sure it wasn’t self-imposed?

The father’s voice over is the one telling the plan to shut out the outside world and keep the powers secret. Elsa isn’t locked up, so part of it is voluntary.

The parents got punished for their mistake, harshly. And Disney hardly has a monopoly on useless parents.

I think they did a terrible job. Not only with Elsa, but with Anna and the sisters’ relationship too. Sit Anna down, tell her Elsa has a condition that they don’t want her to catch. Let them talk through windows or curtains or something. Have them write notes to each other or something. You don’t have to be completely honest to a child about stuff, but give them an explanation that they can understand.

Yep, I think I realized why this plot point so annoyed me in Frozen which is because it reminded me of Trident in The Little Mermaid. The whole plot was pointless, all Trident had to do was not be an abusive asshole and a really stupid one to boot(trades a massively destructive weapon to the villain for turning Ariel back normal, shortly the villain is trying to kill Ariel with it).

[Nitpick]Triton. His name is Triton.[/nitpick]

Doh I knew that, I think.

And why did Elsa’s parent the king not pass the future queenship to Anna, they could just say Elsa was having emotional problems or something.

Of course the parents messed up. They thought they were helping, but they made things worse. I think that’s the point. If they were doing the right thing but it backfired, it would have been shown differently, and the ending wouldn’t have involved undoing everything the parents did.

Thing is, expecting everyone to be rational 100% of the time severely limits fiction, and lacks verisimilitude. It isn’t “realistic,” in the sense in which fiction is realistic despite departures from reality.

Maybe they thought what they were doing would ultimately help Elsa control her powers? Anna does seem a lot more naive, and thus might be assumed not to be good for the throne.

Plus, are you sure they have the ability to do so?

reality is not always rational too, but a work of fiction needs to be… sensible? supposedly good, well-meaning parents do not imprison their daughter her entire life and expect her to rule the kingdom after that.

I get it, it was a plot device to cause an emotional blockage that could be relieved in the finale.

But it is so, so obviously foolish it beggars belief. Why even erase Anna’s memory of being injured? Wouldn’t letting her keep it result in them both being more careful?

Here is a better plot, after the king and queen who tried but failed to help Elsa die in a shipwreck, a top royal court official starts evilly manipulating and isolating Elsa in a bid to cause her to crack and make a scene or hurt people so he can use it as a pretense to steal the throne(and maybe marry Anna). Make someone with evil intent gaslighting Elsa and making her look like a villain the source of the problem.

(Not picking on you in particular, but yours is a good, short quote that provides a good launching pad…)

But this is EXACTLY what parents, real parents, do all the time. They drive them to school, they triple check their homework, they do their science fair projects for them, they plan play dates and extra-curricular activities, they supervise them every single second of every single day, they never allow them to make a mistake, and when the kid manages to screw something up anyhow, the parents rush in and try to fix it for them instead of teaching them how to fix it themselves. It’s endemic. It drives me batty.

As for the fear thing…how many times have you heard a parent shouting at a kid having a tantrum, “If you don’t stop that right this second, I’ll give you something to cry about!”? We’re constantly making kids afraid because they’re afraid, instead of teaching them how to control their fear (and themselves).

To answer the OP, yes, Elsa’s parents screwed up. But I don’t think the idea that they uniquely screwed up has any merit. Elsa’s parents and their overprotectiveness and fearmongering - and its backfiring - are exactly perfect for a movie that came out in 2013.

Oops, forgot the punchline, and it’s too late to edit.

And then the kid turns 18 (or 20 or 25) and is sent off to college or gets their own apartment, and they somehow expect the kid to know how to handle life, the universe and everything. How to pay rent, do laundry, cook meals, hold down a job. They’re expected to run their kingdom when they’ve never been taught to control themselves. Just like Elsa. And when they can’t, when they mess up, we villagers blame them and tell them they’re worthless, selfish, lazy, entitled brats. Okay, we don’t literally send torches and pitchforks up a mountain to kill them, but…