Okay, I’ve been seeing this whole idea going around for a while and felt the need to address it. A main point in the Boruto movie/series is that Boruto is frustrated with Naruto for not being around due to his Hokage duties. This leads to many fans assuming that Naruto is a bad father by choice. Let’s begin.
Naruto was inaugurated as Hokage after his kids were born. They were both young when this happened, so why is this relevant? Because Naruto had more time on his hands to spend with them, being a father, as he continued chasing his dream. What does this mean? Boruto and Himawari have experienced Naruto’s fatherhood before and after him taking the title of Hokage.
For children who have consistently been ignored by a parent, it’s safe to assume that by the time they are 11 or 12, they’ve become accustomed to it. Why then, would a child who is accustomed to being ignored and neglected, be so upset about that fact when it’s all they know? Let me remind you all of this scene here at the end of The Last:
Does this look like a bad father to you? They both attack him, and he receives them with open arms. He suggests a snowball fight, giving in immediately to their request. Children who’ve been ignored wouldn’t feel so carefree as to run into their parent’s arms, demanding that the parent play with them. Is it really that difficult then to make the connection that Naruto, who wanted nothing more than a bond, a family, someone who would receive his love and reciprocate it, gave his kids all of the free time that he had? This brings me to conclude this:
When all of that changes after Naruto becomes increasingly busy in his new position as Hokage, Boruto doesn’t understand how to cope with these feelings because he’s never felt that way before. This is the best explanation for his behavior then. He’s openly upset because he feels as though Naruto suddenly forgot about them, because he’s not getting the same attention he once was. Let me point you to this scene here, in Boruto the Movie where Boruto is looking at all of the photographs in Naruto’s study.
In all of the photographs leading up to the one farthest right, appearing to be the most recent, Naruto is present and they all appear incredibly joyful. This only solidifies the idea that Naruto had been a wonderful father up until his Hokage inauguration.
Naruto, on the other hand, has finally achieved his lifelong dream, and being someone who puts everything they have into everything they do, he works hard at his job because it was he who worked so hard to create the peace that he now has the task of maintaining. Is he perfect? No. Naruto has never had to balance family life and work life. He’s always been alone, never having to consider others in his decisions. It’s not difficult to understand then, that Naruto genuinely wouldn’t have understood the implications this would have for his family.
Naruto has never learned how to be any type father, good or bad. He has no example to follow or deviate from. When you’ve never experienced something for yourself, how are you to act upon the situation when it arises? At some point, Boruto brought up his feelings to Naruto in some way, probably through an angry outburst. So how does Naruto handle it? He over-exhausts himself, trying to make everyone happy by maintaining his shadow clones all day in order to get the maximal amount of work done possible and keep his kids from totally hating him. For someone who has desired nothing more than the acknowledgment of those around him since day 1, this behavior makes sense.
I mean, the disappointment he feels when he’s messed up again? He’s trying his best with nothing to guide him. He sends Boruto congratulatory e-mails, he gives him a pep talk, he wants Boruto to feel acknowledged. Is this the best way to go about it? Maybe not, especially compared to the attention he must’ve given his kids before his new position. But, I sincerely doubt that Naruto is a bad father, nor does he want to be one. It’s a difficult situation for them. The new Boruto series is currently set before the Boruto movie during their academy days, so this must be during the onset of Naruto’s run as a Hokage. Therefore, that scene in today’s episode where he goes straight to bed after coming home is probably before Boruto brings his frustration to his father’s attention, so Naruto is probably unaware of the way his kids are feeling.
However, Boruto quickly comes to understand Naruto and his struggles when he witnesses him fight the Otsusukis during the movie. Faced with the prospect of losing his father completely, his eyes have been opened to some of the difficulties Naruto faced in his youth. He decides that Naruto shouldn’t have to face more difficulties from the people he loves the most. He comes to terms with the situation by the end of Boruto the Movie, eventually accepting that this is the situation that they are in, and that he’s going to have to make the best of it.
And if his own son can accept that this is Naruto’s new fatherhood, I don’t see why you guys can’t.
TL;DR, Naruto’s fatherhood definitely has some bumps in the road, there’s no denying that. However, his intentions as a father are clear, and those are that he loves his kids and wants them to be happy, like a GOOD father would.