Parenting Tariq St. Patrick From ‘Power’ Isn’t Rocket Science
Photo: Starz

Parenting Tariq St. Patrick From ‘Power’ Isn’t Rocket Science

What would you do if this criminal were…

I hate Tariq St. Patrick with my whole heart.

While still a teenager, the Power character has done everything from sell drugs to steal drugs. He’s been pushing prescription pills and packing heat in his private school. He is the living embodiment of doing too much. His parents can give him access to the whole world and he wants to risk his life instead of making the most of it.

Part of the problem is that Tariq is brilliant. He tests off all academic charts. But Tariq is in a game that requires more than smarts.

Yes, he’s killed someone, which probably makes him think he’s built for The Life. But killing someone in self-defense is not the same as the killers who are raising him. He’s not Ghost and he’s not Tommy. And he has no idea what it takes to get to that level. This kid is a half-step above selling weed and meth hand to hand. He might be able to make things happen in the spaces he’s being raised in, but he’s not ready for more than that.

His actions are so reprehensible that it’s hard to even think about what I would do if he were my son.

He was directly responsible for the death of his sister. He got Kanan killed even though he was the only person who truly loved him. (And Kanan killed his own son!) Tariq even orchestrated his own kidnapping in order to secure a ransom from his own father.

We still have a few more weeks before we know for sure, but I suspect he’s going to be the reason that everybody ends up dead.

I’m a married father of three kids. I have a daughter who is 10 and two boys, ages four and three. My wife and I instill in our kids a sense of right and wrong. We pray before we eat and everybody wears their seatbelts. We lead with love and do our best to watch our tempers. And everybody is allowed to be a work in progress (though lessons must be learned). At our core, we are a typical Black family trying to make it in America.

Parenting means being there in whatever way possible and advocating for your kids when they don’t have the language, authority, or voice to do so. All parents think this way. And I hope that instills in my kids the means and strength to stay on a righteous path. That’s my job.

I’m proud of who I am as a father. So, if Tariq were my son, the first thing I’d need to do is sit back and think about how I helped to create him.

Next step: a man-to-man talk.

Ghost has never kept it completely real with his son. Part of the reason why Tariq is wilding out is because he doesn’t know the truth from his father’s mouth. Kanan and his mother have told him more than his father has about anything.

I know part of it is plausible denial. I wouldn’t tell my son too much, so that he could be protected if I went down. But it’s too late for that with Tariq. I’d have to tell him everything.

He’d have to know that his mother and I got Kanan sent to prison because his recklessness was starting to threaten our growing drug trade. He would need to know that even though I’m one of the most successful club owners in New York City, beneath that very club I’ve killed more than a few people. He’d have to know that our family’s entire existence is built on a bed of lies that we all must maintain. He’d need to know that sometimes that includes your mother having to pull the trigger and then go take care of other people’s children as the owner of a daycare.

I would chloroform that kid and throw him in an unmarked car. He’d wake up one day with no cellphone, no money, and surrounded by counselors.

He’d need to know that we aren’t good people. But we’ve built a life and it’s one we’re not ready to lose, so we will protect it all costs.

Then, I would give him options. What does he want? How can I invest in him? Does he want a clothing line? A teen nightclub? I have the money. What the hell does he want to do with it?

If that doesn’t work, the next step would be to get him out of town. I would chloroform that kid and throw him in an unmarked car. He’d wake up one day with no cellphone, no money, and surrounded by counselors.

Back in 2010, rapper Earl Sweatshirt’s mom had to make a similar decision. At just 16, his life was spiraling, and she sent him to Coral Reef Academy in Samoa to get his life sorted.

Although he continued to have issues over the years, the hard reset seems to have done him well.

If I sent him away and he escaped (likely), or just returned and started more nonsense (also likely), the next step would seem unrealistic. But it does happen.

I’d stay in the game solely to freeze Tariq out. As long as I’m as relevant as Ghost is, I can keep Tariq from becoming a true kingpin. The idea of staying in the game just to keep him out is insane. But stranger things have happened — and it would work. At least temporarily.

But here’s the thing: No matter how many times a plan doesn’t work, Ghost would never kill his son. Neither would I. It’s just inconceivable. I can’t even imagine getting to that place.

Back in the 1980s, singer Marvin Gaye’s father shot and killed him with a gun his own son had purchased for him, after Gaye became physically abusive toward his father while under the influence of drugs. At the sentencing, Marvin Gaye Sr. said, essentially, that he was sorry it happened. But there are limits. He once told his son a line that Bill Cosby made famous in his stand-up: “I am your father. I brought you in this world. And I’ll take you out.”

Tariq doesn’t respect his father. And once your son doesn’t respect you, there’s nothing you can do to change their behavior.

I could not take my son out. Ghost will never take Tariq out.

The only thing I could do is not give up. I’d ship him off again and again. I’d talk to him again and again. I could only hope that I could eventually get through to him.

But honestly, I know it wouldn’t work. Because Tariq doesn’t respect his father. And once your son doesn’t respect you, there’s nothing you can do to change their behavior.

My boys are just babies. And I’m still working as hard as I can to earn their respect and trust. It’s the only way I can ensure that if they start down the wrong path, their respect for me might help save them.

But once Ghost put his hands on Tasha, that was it. Tariq will never respect him, and Ghost can spend the rest of his life trying to get through to his son.

While Ghost is running a million-dollar empire and trying to keep all his moves in motion, he’s literally being controlled by his son. An enemy he can never annihilate.

No one man should have all that power.