Actually on the thing about Aang 'being a bad father' Bryke has said he wasn't. They said in an interview or something that he was just very busy and to make time for airbending training he would take Tenzin with him at the same time. The idea of him being a bad father was the other two exaggerating his time less spent with them because of those things. They said he tried to be the best father he could and loved all his children but repairing a broken world and destroyed nation is hard work.
Bryke really love to tell us what things mean while showing us something else, don’t they?
Rant time! Thanks for giving me the opportunity, anon.
Okay, first off, Aang. You guys remember Aang, the sweetest, most well-intentioned, fun-loving, adorable, moral, peaceful child that ever lived.
I can’t think of a single time he ever hurt anyone’s feelings on purpose.
I also can’t think of a single time he hurt anyone’s feelings at all—other than out of character moments like him hiding the letter from Hakoda to his kids, or accidental moments like when he burned Katara with his firebending.
I’m sure they exist, but it is very significant that I can’t really think of a time that he truly hurt someone emotionally.
He’s very careful to speak kindly and gently, even when, for instance, Toph is mistreating and beating up his staff, a handcrafted airbending relic by the monks that must have been his most prized possession.
He’s careful to include people and be kind to them—he tries to befriend Zuko back when Zuko is still trying to capture him (The Blue Spirit), and after he realizes Zuko has changed, he’s quick to make a friend of him and help him join Team Avatar (The Firebending Masters & so on).
All this to say that Aang is one of the most kind souls ever.
If he is kind enough to rescue essentially his archenemy from his other enemies (Zuko in The Blue Spirit) and try to befriend him, he is kind enough to love all of his children.
“oh but he loved all his kids he just had stuff to do with Tenzin”
If he could bring Tenzin “to Kyoshi Island to ride the elephant koi“ and build ”amazing sand palaces“ on Ember Island [x], then he would have brought his other kids too (he would have brought the whole family). Tenzin was the freaking youngest; there is no reason that the older kids couldn’t have come too since they could have easily occupied themselves when Aang and Tenzin were doing airbending or whatever.
Furthermore, Aang’s culture was so important to him that I’m sure he would have taught all his children about it. If Bumi and Kya didn’t care to learn all about it, then I guess he wouldn’t have forced them to learn, but I have a strong feeling that they would see how important this was to their dad and they would listen.
Aang took freaking nonbending strangers with him everywhere (The Rift) to become air acolytes and learn about his culture; I’m sure he would have done the same with his children—provided they wanted to. And from Bumi and Kya’s resentment, they obviously wanted to.
That brings us to another thing: in the episode we find out ”Aang was kind of a sucky dad" (Civil Wars Part 1), Tenzin is 52 freaking years old. According to the family picture, Bumi looks at least seven/eight years older than him, and Kya maybe two years older. That means Bumi and Kya are ~60 and 54, respectively.
THEY ARE FREAKING 54 AND 60 YEARS OLD.
IT HAS BEEN ALMOST TWENTY YEARS SINCE THEIR DAD DIED.
IT HAS BEEN FORTY YEARS SINCE ANYWHERE NEAR THEIR CHILDHOOD.
AND THEY ARE STILL PISSED AND UPSET AND HOLDING RESENTMENT ABOUT HOW AANG TREATED TENZIN DIFFERENTLY.
THAT IS NOT NORMAL.
THAT DOES NOT MAKE AANG A NORMALLY FLAWED PARENT.
THOSE ARE SOME DEEP EMOTIONAL WOUNDS IF THEY LASTED THAT FREAKING LONG.
If Bryke wanted to reveal stuff like “Aang was as good a dad as he could be, but sometimes he paid a little more attention to Tenzin” (which I think would still be a bit out of character, but maybe not if they explained it properly) then they should’ve shown it in a flashback or something, not made characters during The Legend of Korra still upset about it fifty years later.
Finally, not only does this throw Aang’s character out the window, it also destroys Katara’s.
Katara. The girl who directly challenged the sexist Northern Water Tribe master and called him a “sour old man” to his face. The girl who told Toph and the others exactly what she thought of their scams, even when they teased her about being a mom for it. The girl who THREATENED TO KILL ZUKO SHOULD HE MAKE ONE WRONG MOVE WHEN HE JOINED TEAM AVATAR.
Even if Aang DID become a completely different person, there is NO FREAKING WAY she would let this damaging favoritism go on and not give Aang a piece of her mind and straighten him out.
And THAT. is why Aang was a good dad. Why the narrative says otherwise. And why I’ll never accept that part of the narrative as canon.
[Not upset at you anon, just to be clear—just upset about the writing! Feel free to shoot me any more asks for further discussion/explanation if you like!]