Today’s generation of parents face a very difficult decision: how do you define your relationship with your child? With the omnipresence of social media, the dangers of the digital age, and changing social norms, there’s more pressure than ever to be more like a “friend” to your children rather than a “guardian.” Besides, if you drift too far into “Helicopter Mom” or “Domineering Dad” territory, it could be just enough of a push to turn your kid into the Menendez Brothers or even that one Affluenza guy
Now, if you’re like me, you have probably gone through enough parenting books, listicles, and self-help books to make yourself a careful, compassionate parent as well as an understanding and empathetic friend to your little one. However, unlike me, your child is not the Anti-Christ, destined to one day overthrow the hierarchy of Heaven and raze modern civilization with the fires of Hell. But lest you think I’d leave the heavy-lifting to his mother- and yes, it’s 2018, The Devil can be a woman, deal with it – not only do I have to be a father and friend to my little son Melloda, or Mello for short, but I also have to wear the hat of a devoted follower.
Granted, I’ll be the first to admit that I have afforded my son some privileges over which most parents would definitely think twice. If he wants something at the store, like the latest video game system or a serpent-shaped dagger, I’ll take the hit on my credit card bill rather than hours of relentless, multi-tonal screaming and sobbing. If little Mello wants to stay up late to play a while longer with our Rottweilers, who am I to deprive a child from bonding time with his pets? His infernal, immortal, and marauding pets? I know that may seem like an excuse from a pushover parent, but that’s simply what I’m willing to do for the heir to the darkest throne humanity will ever know.
But just because I kiss the ground that my hell-spawn walks upon, lest it burn my lips for every word of good that escapes its maw, that doesn’t make me any less of a caring, considerate parent. Even though he has the power to boil the seas and turn clouds and people into a bloody mist, I’m not going to idly stand by and let my child consume R-rated movies or foul-mouthed music. At the same time, I’m keeping a close eye on my child’s nutrition and health; he can’t lead the War against God, His angels, and the pious, if he drops dead of a coronary at 32.
At the same time, it’s important that your child see you as something more than just an authority figure. Communication is key, especially when you talk to them in a language that they can understand. Or several. For instance, whenever I’m afraid that Melloda is becoming evasive and anti-social, I break out the ol’ Ouija board and we can talk about his feelings without the conversation becoming condescending or confusing.
It’s also paramount that you introduce your children to their cultural roots, allowing them to take a peek at what makes their ol’ pappy tick too. Whether it’s a holiday celebration, a pop-cultural event, or, in my cases, the ritualistic slaughter of newborn farm animals, showing the importance of something within your life and history will make your child equally as excited to participate in yours.
However, if your child seems “not okay” with diving deep into their family traditions just yet, respect their decision, and see if there’s an alternative that they may be interested in, like setting up a backyard bonfire for s’mores rather than the old standard of having blood orgies in the church that mysteriously burned down no more than a few blocks from your own home.
As a parent of someone with such a grandiose fate, I’ve also learned the importance of setting boundaries with Mello. Even though he knows that the world is his for the taking, ripe like a virgin uttering its last breath so that life can bless the wicked, that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t respect his elders or learn basic tableside etiquette. Likewise, if Mello wants to go out to play with friends or violate the laws of nature itself to kill his enemies, I always make sure to check if his homework and chores are finished. Sadly, I can’t expect his mother, who literally wrote the book on sloth and obesity, to be the one driving home the principles of responsibility. Or really to be driving home home at all on most occasions.
Nevertheless, perhaps it’s most important as a parent, friend, and follower of my child to take the time to see things through his eyes. In the off-chance he decides he doesn’t want to bring forth the apocalypse, I need to support his decision, remind him of the weight of his actions, and maybe throw myself off the roof with a noose around my neck, just to show him that he is King, and that the King shall have it, and us, all. It may not be the easiest decision in the world, but I’d go to hell and back for my little devil. I mean, wouldn’t you?