Last week, police entered Charlie Sheen’s home and removed his twin sons, according to Sheen, after a court granted a restraining order to his estranged wife, Brooke Mueller.
This is not surprising. Among the many bizarre statements Charlie Sheen made to the media this week — calling himself a warlock, claiming he’s cured his drug addiction by closing his eyes — one stands out if you’re a parent. It’s this:
NBC reporter: Are you embarrassed that your children will read about this one day?
Charlie Sheen: God no. Talk about an education. They’ll be like, ‘That’s the guy and we can get all the answers and the truth? Wow!’ Winning!”
Perhaps his children will be proud of dear old dad, who has been linked to shooting his girlfriend, overdosing on cocaine, leaving his kids with porn stars and destroying a New York hotel room.
But Sheen brings up an interesting question: Might there be “answers” found in a parent’s addiction or erratic behavior? Could a child learn how to live better, if only by learning what not to do?
“Parents make mistakes and kids sometimes end up doing the exact opposite, which is sometimes true. Not for me,” says Nick Flynn.
His acclaimed memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, chronicled his estranged relationship with his alcoholic father, who he re-met while working at a homeless shelter (the movie version, starring Robert De Niro as dad, starts filming this week).
“I did similar things that my parents did. And addiction tends to get passed along unless something interrupts it — the cops, maybe.
“That said, all the attention that Mr. Sheen is getting right now seems to fuel him. And that’s a lesson that we’re passing on to his children.
“That this engine is a benefit of this behaviour. So I think we’re also part of it. The spectacle is part of it.”
That makes the observation of Dr. Richard Warshak, author of Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing, all the more painful.
“We can hope that children will identify with their parents’ good traits, and learn from their parents’ errors,” he says, but it’s the attention that adds to the sting: “Children are embarrassed when their parents’ flaws become public.”
Sheen, for one, says he plans to rededicate himself to his family.
“Dude, you’re 45 with five kids,” he told NBC. “Let’s do something different. Because this thing is
boring.” This “thing” might also be instructive — at least to other parents.
Next time you party, behave yourself and be careful what goes online. There are easier ways for your kids to learn lessons than reading about you on TMZ. Good parenting, warlocks: Winning!