You can do everything right, and then see them go to prison as adults for some heinous crime. You can do everything wrong, and end up with your adult child becoming a pediatrician and being a gentle person.
The only thing you can do, is to make sure that you don't have to put up with any shit while they live with you.
The wife gave Nat her old watch when she bought her new one she needed for work (more functionality) and I just released her from her room after she sat on her bed for a half hour for pinching Johnny. I called her in when she told me her time was up, and I hugged on her and loved on her, and told her she was better than the puncher and pincher she has been acting like. That this wasn't her. She sobbed a bit, held me for a bit, then scampered off to watch TV.
Will it work? Will I have to repeat it?
Yesterday, I was upstairs on the landing, the front door was open, she was outside on the sidewalk, and I teased at her, and she turned and screamed at me to 'Be Quiet!', and the wife reached out and snatched her by the nape-hair and slung her into the house with the admonition that her outside play (it was a beautiful day) was over for the day, and get your little ass upstairs to your room.
The wife had to go pee, so I commanded John to sit on the bench on the porch where I could keep an eye on him while the wife pottied, and Nat moaned and begged from her room behind me, offering her soul if she could just go back outside.
As the aggrieved (yelled at) party I felt like I could modify the decree to my satisfaction, so I did.
I told Nat she could go back outside, as long as she would consent to a good hard belting, a 'put my back into it' belting, if she ever yelled at me like that again. She winced and squirmed. She's been there.
And then she agreed. I repeated the contract, and described all it entailed, and she agreed again. And then I asked her if she was sure, and repeated the terms of the contract, and that she was quite literally betting her ass. She agreed.
Last night, I pushed all the right buttons on her, on purpose, and she started to yell, and then clapped both hands over her mouth until her eyes bugged.
She remembered. My eyes began to narrow, and she choked her own self off before she could bellow.
The other night, the wife was teasing her, and as the wife came towards her there on the couch, Nat kicked out repeatedly at her, and I heard one of the wife's finger knuckles pop, and in about a millisecond, I swept the wife aside, reached in and grabbed my big seven year old up off the couch, held her up off the floor, an inch or two from my face, and snarled, quite seriously, that I would reach down her throat and pull her little asshole out up through her mouth if she ever struck her mother again.
I smelled pee.
Good parenting? Dunno. Don't care. Life's too short to let yourself, and your life be dominated by short people. You already give them, and give up so much, that the truly dumb shit has no place in your life. Especially as it impacts that life, and the lives of other family members who are doing just fine.
I remember, back when I was ten or eleven years old, playing over at a friend from school's house. Now, he had this little brother about three or four years old, and he was an unholy terror. He ran around in his underwear all the time, and would attack, physically, anybody, any time, anywhere. And they coddled him. Dad was a doctor, and they all just lived with it.
Well, this one day, the little monster went into the garden shed, and fetched a hand sickle, and because of some real or imagined slight, he ran over and cut one of his brother's hands off.
I remember watching the whole thing unfold, and people trying to corral this little bastard without hurting him, and the ambulance coming and hauling his pale, unconscious by now from blood loss brother off to the hospital...
I remember thinking the ten year old equivalent of this thought: 'Why doesn't someone crush this little cocksuckers head in with a rock? Or a bat?'
Every evil-ass cocksucker you all complain about after having seen them on the news, was a kid once.
Think about that.