When you think Darth Vader, the odds are good that the words parenting skills don’t come to mind. But sadly, he is the best parent in the Star Wars universe. Lets go other the other options.
She dies giving birth, no matter what reason you ascribe to for that event. So her parenting skills are a technically unknown. Though, she did go to an industrial molten lava planet late in her pregnancy. If we know that’s unsafe, so much so that the state of Hawaii recommends against pregnant women being near the fumes, then surely a space faring species knows this. At least the use of some personal protective equipment would have been a reasonable precaution.
Yes, you could make the argument that she was trying to save her children’s father, which would have been good for them. But I’m then going to make the counter-argument that their father had just killed a whole bunch of children! He was having a very violent episode (not his first) and she knows from prior incidences that when he’s in that state he just kills everything in front of him. Oh, and lets not forget, she knows that she’s going to a fight. Obi-wan doesn’t want to bring her because he fears for her safety. That’s why she stowed away.
Leia Organa and Han Solo
Gave their child up to his uncle to raise when it became apparent he was strong with the force. And we’ve all seen how that turned out. Patricide.
Lots of us don’t get along with our parents. Homicide is not usually the result. As it turns out murdering your parents in harder than you think, and killing them requires a complex psychological mix of contributing factors. Usually, some kind of negative parental behaviors (abuse or neglect) are involved in those situations. Children who have killed their parents almost universally report feeling like they had no other option. Child bonds to fathers in mammals that stick around after birth can be surprisingly deep, despite that fact that child-mother bonds have a lot more research behind them.
Allows her child to engage in very high risk sport, pod racing. Its obviously possibly fatal and suffers from a number of other problems that basically make it a death sport. Then she gives her child to relative strangers, and when she’s set free makes no effort to contact him. Despite that fact that in that period in time the Jedi are making no secret of their location, so sending a message to him would be very easy.
Those are our “Light Side” main character parents. Now, lets talk about our bad boy.
Yes, he tries to kill Luke. That is until he realizes that Luke is his son. Then he stops trying to kill him, and starts trying to get him to come with him. This is what any reasonable parent would do upon discovering that they have a teenage they never knew existed. Doubly so if that child has decided to join a para-military organization engaging in dangerous assaults on the government.
Yes, he does fight Luke, but if you look at the fights, he pulls his punches. The fights are far less aggressive then before he knew. Finally when push comes to shove and he can’t get Luke to convert he kills his friend and mentor in order to protect his son, and dies himself in the process. That’s his act of redemption, a sacrifice that real life parents do make for their children. Because that’s one of the basic parts of being a parent, keeping your children safe.
As for his treatment of Leia remember, he didn’t know she was his daughter when they met in the first movie. Or when he tried to attack the base on Hoth she was inside.
So given that he didn’t willingly abandon his children, wanted to take care of them once he knew that they existed, and gave his life to protect one, we can see that he is far and away the best parent in the Star Wars universe*.
*This is current movie cannon only. I love the books, but there are just too many to deal with them all, and only a select group of fans of the films have actually read them.