When we were expecting our first baby, I read every book, subscribed to every magazine, and spoke with every experienced parent I knew, and you know what I learned? That there’s no one right way to raise a child. Are my parenting methods a little unorthodox? Sure. But do they work? Absolutely not.

The important thing to remember is that no “expertise” can prepare you for the day-to-day reality of finding out what kind of mom or dad you are. Raising a family is an experiment, and sometimes you’ve got to go your own way. Sure, my techniques might raise a few eyebrows among my fellow neighborhood parents, but at the end of the day, they’re totally unsuccessful.

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I know it sounds crazy, but try some of these ideas in your own home! Dressing your kids in colorless, gender-neutral clothing and teaching them two separate languages might sound like pretty out-there parenting ideas, but you can’t accuse them of being effective.

Raising a family is an experiment, and sometimes you’ve got to go your own way.

Letting the kids do their own meal planning? Hugely unhealthy. Nocturnal schedules? Total disaster. Spending two months homeschooling solely on the subject of auto repair? Extremely regrettable. You can say what you will about my parenting approach, but you can’t argue with the results: zero progress, if not massive developmental steps backward.

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So listen to your gut. Will your “crazy” idea end up being the key to raising happy, well-adjusted children? Definitely not. Am I a “normal” parent? Nope. But I am incompetent.