I know there’s a lot of people who don’t like Goku because they say he’s a shitty dad, and from their perspective, he might be. I personally don’t think he is, not really. Not intentionally. It’s a flaw in his character that even he doesn’t realize, and I like it.
That episode when Gohan is first fighting Cell and he’s in trouble and Piccolo has to remind Goku that, “while Gohan may be the strongest person on earth, he’s still just a scared 11 year old boy who’s probably wondering why his father isn’t helping him”
And that hits Goku so hard. Like he was given a new perspective. I kinda like that sometimes his judgment is clouded by his love for challenges and fighting. Personality wise, he’s very different from the ruthless Saiyans he descended from, but he’s still a pureblooded Saiyan through and through and some of those characteristics remain a part of him whether he likes it or not. Putting his son on the front line because he knows he’s powerful wouldn’t be out of the question for Saiyans. It’s like an instinct. He’s giving his son a challenge and believes in his abilities.
To a normal person, that’s fucked up. But Goku doesn’t know any better. He grew up mostly alone and was more than capable of taking care of and defending himself from the moment he could crawl. A good fight got him pumped. It’s all he knew. He’s always had a Saiyan’s passion for fighting and that really fucks up whatever common sense he has sometimes.
I wasn’t really going anywhere with this, not defending Goku’s actions here, he does realize what he does wrong. But it’s like he can’t help but continuously make this mistake because he does it again with Goten, sorta.
I just really like that flaw in his character. It stands out because Goku is so kind and lighthearted and an overall goody-goody but then there’s THIS. And it’s like, damn. He’s got nothing but good intentions but… Harsh.
That being said, while his parenting skills are a little… off, he very clearly loves his family and they very clearly know that he does, they understand and love him too, even though it drives ChiChi nuts.