Though the first person to ever parent or, p’rent as they might say in Superfluous Abbreviationville, is not known to the academic world, we do know a few things about the very first parent:
- They tried really, really hard not to fuck up their child somehow.
- They fucked-up their child somehow.
How do I know this? Because, well…I can’t hide it anymore. I am a parent, or p’rent for our Superfluous Abbreviatians. I have been a parent for almost nine years now. In those nine years I have lived by one very simple parenting philosophy: Try Really, Really Hard Not To Fuck Up My Children. And you know what? I actually think I have managed to not fuck them up in most ways. I’d say that I’m batting like .900 or so in terms of fucking them up, really.
That still means one time out of ten I strike out though, doesn’t it? And that’s when I end up fucking my kid up. The thing is, I don’t even have any concrete examples of how I’ve fucked them up yet, but I know have in some tiny way. I could have already fucked them up in a fantastically terrible way too, and won’t know it for many years and many thousands of dollars in therapy later. That’s the tap dance of inevitable failure that every single parent does, and the tempo ramps up to 89,000 BPM by the end of it.
Don’t misunderstand — I’m mortified by the idea of screwing my kid’s psyche up in even the tiniest way. Kids are all born essentially empty vessels, and they become what we make of them, at the same time developing into the fully autonomous beings they have every right to be. We want them to eventually wrest control of their lives (from us) and become fiercely independent, not even needing parental guidance — just counsel — anymore as they navigate the Sea of Life. The thought of filling those vessels with our own toxic shit terrifies me, so I make every effort not to do that.
Fucking them up somehow is still absolutely on the menu. Because life is messy. It’s not going to take them forever to see that you are a flawed human being yourself. And how you decide to deal with that de-cloaking is going to determine a lot about how fucked-up your kid’s transition to adulthood is, with of course the unavoidable “benefit” of that learned behavior passing on to your progeny’s progeny as well. Isn’t life grand, with all it’s perpetual cycles of diarrhea?
All any of us do is try our best to make the ways in which we hose our kids over are as small as possible. That’s it. That’s the only advice we should ever give to one another as parents: try to make the ways you fuck them up small, not big. We will screw our kids up, that’s going to happen. The question is how badly.
It’s not that hard to figure out you’re going to do some kind of emotional, spiritual, or psychological damage to your child at some point in your parenting career. But listen, I’m not about to give you carte blanche to be an asshole to your kid. No one has that right. There’s a big difference between mental abuse and accidentally slipping on a parental banana peel an maybe kinda, sorta making your kid hate green beans his whole life because he accidentally walked in on you and his mom eating green beans out of each other’s assholes because you forgot to lock the bedroom door.
Really, you don’t need to do much investigation to find clear-cut examples of parents who obviously made a complete cheeseburger pizza out of their responsibility as parents. Think about it. Mr and Mrs. Bobby Hitler probably thought their little boy Adolf was the picture of kindness and compassion and tons of Jewish friends. Betty Pol Pot probably thought Junior was going to be a car mechanic like his daddy. Herbert and Nancy Stalin I am sure didn’t have a clue about the fate that awaited little Joey. And if you thought for one second that the very first Bush parents had even an inkling that their familial bloodline would become synonymous with skull-fucking the economy and pissing contests in Iraq that cost trillions and killed scores and scores of thousands of human beings, think about it; foresight has never and will never be that family’s strong-suit.
So go forth, parents of the world, and fuck your kids up with confidence. You don’t have to be an abusive asshole about it; in fact don’t be an abusive asshole. Just be a parent. Be the best parent you can possibly be and sleep soundly knowing that your kid will blame you for some aspect of their life at some point down the line, but that as long as the good stuff outweighs the bad stuff by a good enough margin, chances are they’ll still come to with advice on how they can best fuck-up their children.
And so the beautiful cycle of life will continue until the Sun grows so large it incinerates the Earth and everyone on the planet dies in a horrible apocalyptic Hellscape.