I am grateful for the way I was raised. Some people have called it borderline (or just plain) abusive, but to me it was mainly characterized by freedom and creativity. Even the unpredictable outbursts from my parents had a use, they helped bond me and my siblings together in a way that is still remarkably tight into adulthood. We got along not just because we had to, but because we wanted to -- everyone recognized that it was better that way. We would play music together, play games together, play sports together, and do projects together -- all of which we recognized would have been impossible to do alone. Together we were better, stronger, and happier than we were as individuals. Consequently, my family does certain things very well. We're very good at subjugating our will to the utilitarian needs of the whole. We joke that we're a little like the Borg from Star Trek -- assimilation for the needs of the hive. That might sound like a nightmare for some, but it's really efficient and no one ever feels like they're held hostage to the potential drama and demands of divas and tyrants. Each member of the family has their role and expertise, and the rest of us defer to them on those points when we're together. Because this state is completely voluntary, we're also careful to make sure that no one gets overly disgruntled and opts out completely. If someone is feeling put upon, we address the issue openly and efficiently. People who cheat get informal social sanctions, typically in the form of my sister's wrath. But to make things work this way, no one is really allowed to take things personally or have "unreasonable" emotional reactions and expect to have those feelings validated. Someone can be upset and cry and no one will give him a hard time about it, but unless he can verbalize his problem and propose a solution, no one is really invested in anyone's fleeting emotions.
My sister's family is the only one that approximates this approach with her own children. The results are interesting. Her children are definitely more ruthless, calculating, and calloused than most of their peers (more than they should be?). But they're also really easy to reason with. They understand better than a lot of adults that just because they are feeling an emotion does not mean that it was caused by any particular thing or person -- that they can't control what happens to them, but they actually do have a lot of control over how they feel about things or how they interpret those feelings. They learn this from their parents. When my sister is in a bad mood, she tells her children that she's just "grumpy," so they shouldn't take her reactions personally. My niece picked up on this phrase when she was just a toddler. If you asked her why she was sad, she would frequently say "I'm not sad, I'm just grumpy." She meant that there was nothing in particular that she wanted solved, she was just not feeling happy and to leave her alone about it. My sister's family even plays at emotions, taking "grumpy" family photos the same way that some families take silly photos. They understand that their emotions are labile and often fleeting. The children are not as offended when people don't take their emotions "seriously" because they understand the difference between raw emotional reactions and actual problems that can be verbalized.
I'm sure this isn't the only way to teach children this particular skill and maybe this approach would be impossible for most parents to pull off or would harm most children more than it would help. But I thought that it was an interesting approach, and would be helpful to serve as common ground for parents of sociopaths (particularly if the sociopathic child had normal siblings).