I have totally screwed up my kids. I'm the first to admit this. When we had our first, we got lots of free advice on how to raise them from family and "friends". As with all free advice, it was worth every penny. Eventually, over time, I realized that my kids were mine, and not anyone else's.
So wne other new parents would ask me for advice I would always tell them, "the best advice I can give you about raising your children, is to not listen to anyone's advice.
It's not that kids don't come with a manual, it's that there are too damn many manuals that have nothing to do with your particular model. You are on your own, because you have created something unique. At least that is how I justify my shitty parenting skills. I do everything wrong.
I am sure I tried to do everything right at one point, but either I really didn't have that skill, or I just decided at one point that everyone else was full of shit. Either or..it has the same effect.
I do lots of the opposite of what you might think is the right thing. For instance, when I drive around with my teenaged son. I crank the stereo with my CD that my kid calls "Death metal". I am a child of the 80's heavy metal, Metalica style psycho rock and roll. Then I drive like a maniac. Hard fast turns, and jumping off the start. His friends think it's awesome, but he is terrified. as a result, he drives like a grandmother.
Another example, is when I took him into a head shop. I picked out a few bongs and water pipes, then explained how they work, and how you can put crushed ice and creme de' minth in them to give your pot a menthol taste. I showed him some one hitters, and pointed out that "Zig-Zag" was the preferred wrapping paper. After that I explained how pot smelled and what it felt like, and how you appear when you are stoned. This was so that he would know that he could never get away with getting high around me. He did tell me later that the message he really got from that day was when I told him that drugs don't actually kill, like they say on the anti-drug commercials, I said, "look at Ozzy Osborne or Keith Richards, the truth is that you may actually live, and be a total veg."
I let him drink with me, on very rare occasions. But only Guinness extra Stout. I say, if you want to drink a beer, drink a fucking beer. He has since told me that I ruined him for Bud. He can't even stand the smell when his friends try to offer it to them. Also, I have had sushi and saki with him, and a few shots of Jameson.
These were rewards for losing weight. He had become a very big boy. He asked me to help him lose weight, so I put him on a low carb diet, and with every milestone of weight loss, he got to have a celebratory drink with his dad.
We homeschool. And by "we" I mean my wife has been home schooling. But now that he is High School age, I have had to get involved. It's quite a bonding experience. We are two guys, getting it done. he stays out of trouble and is a good kid.
My daughter? Well, I dote on her like she is a princess. My wife says that she is such a total pain in the ass now, that no man would ever want to even try to pull any load of crap on her, let alone ask her out on a date.
She is 11.
My work there is done.
I could go on and on with story after story of how I am screwing up my kids. But frankly, they are not over scheduled, they have good friends, they don't get into trouble, nobody is pregnant so far, and we are almost done... In a few years they will be out of my friggin' house! Woo, hoo!
Will they be a success? I don't know. Will they be over acheivers? I don't know. Will they have a good head on their shoulders with a good sense of right and wrong, and a bit of a sense of humor about the world and their place in it? That's what I'm shootin' for.
That's all any of us are shootin' for really..... plausible deniability, if their life goes to shit.