A Londoner has shared his heartfelt story about growing up with an abusive father and how it made him the best father to his nine-year-old son. Han-Son Lee, from Barnet, decided to create a website for dads to help navigate fatherhood because his own upbringing lacked a positive father figure.
Sharing his story, he said: “I was raised by a single mother, a person I consider the first hero in my life and my parents divorced when I was around three. I only have two core memories of my father , and unfortunately all of them are bad.
“He told me my mother had died aged two – that’s actually my youngest memory – and I remember sitting by the door, crying, waiting for her to come home. She did, and I can still feel how it felt like the moment she walked through the door.
“She was the parent who went to work, and my dad stayed home — not because he was in any way the primary caregiver, because my mom did everything, but because he was unemployed, he and I would sometimes have to take the same seat.
“You might ask – why did he say such a thing? My crime – was walking in front of the television – so he decided to tell me that my mother had died.
“My second memory is not much better. I was nearly three years old, and he took me to be his mistress, and said that this woman was now to be my mother. He was everything I despised in a man—deceitful, selfish, cruel, and more.
“For a long time I struggled to have 50% of his DNA and wondered if I would ever be a father, if I was meant to be a father like him. But it’s actually the opposite. I wasn’t meant to be that kind of man at all.”
“He loves his solo time too, but I always make sure we do things together and actually talk and understand each other. In a lot of ways, I treat him like he’s already an adult.
“It’s really the kind of parenting that’s completely at odds with the shows he’s been watching and has grown up with – where dad characters have tended to be kind of unfortunate, unbelievable and absolutely secondary parents,” he added.
Bringing together other dedicated dads
After his son was born, Han-Son decided to create DaddiLife eight years ago – a parenting platform for dads. He also wrote his own soon-to-be-launched Book, as well as a cartoon called Dadda Panda – to feature the first stay-at-home dad who is in a relationship with a Mumma Panda at work.
The Dadda Panda series, which can be viewed via its official YouTube channel, aims to address how fathers have previously been portrayed in children’s media (lazy, useless and incompetent) and represents a more modern view of fatherhood.
It’s supported by research – carried out by DaddiLife and Deloitte – which reveals the vast majority of millennial dads are now heavily involved in day-to-day parenting: since lockdown dads have risen to a third, and UK dads are doing 18% more childcare than in pre-pandemic times .
Dadda Panda activates “super dad” mode by going into his “man cave” to figure out how to complete each mission. His AI-powered “smart” plant Bot-Zai provides disastrous and comical ideas that fuel Dadda Panda’s more believable solutions.
Han-Son Lee says: “Dadda Panda offers a much-needed new positive father figure that children will love and parents will be inspired by. He is memorable, distinctive and represents fathers in a way that makes children do something positive. We are offering a unifying figure with an entertaining entry point, provide guidance and support.
“Daddy Panda is in many ways the father I wanted growing up, and that’s the father my son has now. He’s the stay-at-home parent who’s not only there for his twins (Bamboo and Blossom), he’s always there to solve different tasks in true dad style.
“He is the first of his kind to have a working partner, and he is representative of what are now 250,000 stay-at-home dads in the UK (increasing by 40,000-50,000 in the last 4 years alone), to mark the next wave of children’s entertainment that finally represents what real fatherhood looks like – as a beacon for the future for families and children alike.”
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