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12 Dads in History Who Will Make You Feel Like an Awesome Parent

I'm sorry to break this to you, but history is full of some pretty terrible dads. Perhaps this is because when a man is a father, he is not defined by his fatherhood as much as women are defined by motherhood. Just because a man is a father, doesn't mean he can't go out and kill a few hordes and wear their skin as gloves, am I right?

But whatever the complicated societal and sexist reasons, whenever you are feeling pretty low because your husband referred to watching your children as "babysitting" just remember, he's not sacrificing them on an altar to a pagan god.

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Here are just a few of the bad dads of history.

1. King David

Sure, he is everyone's favorite Bible character, next to Jesus, of course. But King David was a crap dad. He did nothing after his son raped his daughter. His son Absalom was so angry at him that he started an uprising. He probably would have been successful, except he got stuck in a tree by his hair and King David's advisor killed him. King David also killed a man to steal his wife and as a result, his own baby died. But hey, he was really sorry, you guys.

Image via WikiCommons

2. Peter the Great

"The Great" part of Peter the Great's name does not refer to his fatherhood. Sure, the man known as the father of modern Russia led a cultural revolution, including pushing through much needed scientific and educational reforms. But the man had his own son, Alexei, tortured to death. Alexei was no fan of his father. He tried to overthrow the Emperor and years of living under his father's rule had given Alexei a drinking problem. Peter the Great also had Alexei's mother tried on false charges of adultery.

Image via WikiCommons

3. John Adams

The founding father was not such a great father himself. He wrote very critical letters to his sons. Two of them were alcoholics and one died of it. His third son, John Quincy Adams, became president, but bore a huge chip on his shoulder, placed there by his father. While it is popular to laud Adams as a hero, and indeed, he was a formidable force in shaping our nation, it's also important to realize that good revolutionaries are often bad fathers. Even his contemporaries—Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison—all thought John Adams was more than a little crazy.

Image via WikiCommons

4. Marvin Gay Sr.

The father of the celebrated singer, Marvin Gaye, Marvin Gay Sr. was a difficult man. He was a Pentecostal minister, who saw his own father beat his mother. As a result, Gay Sr. was a tough man. His son wrote, "living with Father was like living with a king, an all-cruel, changeable, cruel and all-powerful king." Like his father before him, he was abusive and an alcoholic. He rebuffed his son's success, noting that he had sold his soul to make pop music. He eventually murdered his son during an argument.

Image via AP

5. Bruce McMahan

Bruce McMahan, a hedge-fund millionaire, seduced and "married" his daughter Linda in a secret ceremony at Westminster Abby. McMahan denies ever having sex with Linda and questions whether she was really his daughter, which flies in the face of DNA evidence.

Image via RexUSA

6. Pope Sergius III

Look, it's bad enough to be an awful dad, but a bad dad and a pope? Well, that's just sinking to new lows. Or old lows really, because bad dad popes have long been a hallmark of church history. Pope Sergius III ordered the murder of two other popes and fathered an illegitimate child, who later became a pope as well. His papal rule was brutal and dismal.

Image via WikiCommons

7. Bing Crosby

Good singer. Bad dad. Bing Crosby's son Gary wrote a memoir of his life with his father that depicted him as abusive and cruel. Gary's brother Phillip disputed this characterization, but Crosby's two other children Dennis and Lindsay confirmed Crosby's abuse. The Bing Crosby website asserts that Gary was influenced to exaggerate Crosby's abuse and later recanted some of his memoir. Whatever the truth, the underlying fact is that Crosby may have massive career success, but it won him no father of the year awards.

Image via RexUSA

8. Adrian Peterson

Minnesota Viking's star running back, Adrian Peterson, was charged with abusing his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch. According to court reports, the boy had scars on his back, arms, thighs and one of his testicles. In 2013, Peterson's 2-year-old son died when he was abused by his mother's boyfriend. However you feel about Peterson, the picture of the home life for his children is dark and heartbreaking.

Image via Instagram

9. Ivan the Terrible

Finally, a guy with a moniker that describes his parenting: terrible. Ivan killed his son in an argument by beating him over the head with a stick. He also caused his daughter-in-law to miscarry when he shook her in a violent rage.

Image via WikiCommons

10. Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin shot to the tops of the bad dad charts when a voicemail he sent to his then 11-year-old daughter hit the Internet. In the voicemail he calls her a rude and thoughtless pig. He apologized, but his epic rant still lingers in our collective memory. I can only imagine how largely it looms in his daughter's as well.

Image via RexUSA

11. Joseph Brooks

The Oscar-award-winning composer of the song "You Light Up My Life" shot himself while awaiting trial on charges of rape. But his past was marred by even more cruelty, he was a distant father. In a 48 Hours interview, his daughter Amanda noted that he cut her and her brother Nicholas out of his life completely. She described him as a cold and distant father. But the family drama doesn't end there. In 2013, Brook's son, Nicholas was convicted of killing his girlfriend Sylvie Cachay.

Image via Ron Galella/WireImage/Getty Images

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12. Josef Fritzl

Of all the bad dads, Fritzl has to be the worst. He kept his daughter a prisoner in her own home for 24 years, forcing her to bear seven of his children. In 2009, he was convicted of rape, incest, enslavement, coercion and murder by negligence of his grandson.

Image via RexUSA

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