OK, I get it. Teenagers are hard. Teenagers today are even harder than teenagers were 10, 20, 30 years ago. Oh, and they have WAY more methods to get into trouble and to be caught getting into trouble.
Take, for example, the 15 year old who hates doing chores somewhere in the South. (Texas, maybe?) The video of her father responding to her Facebook post is is going viral so you have probably seen it. If not - here it is. I warn you, it is not pleasant. I found it through more than one of my friends. All of them with kids, mostly younger than the child in question, and all of them seem to think the father's response is:
c) really good parenting
I am going to seriously disagree.
I can see where the father is angry. His 15 year old child blocked him from her Facebook account hoping for a bit of privacy then trashed her parents online. According to the video she more than exaggerated her issues at home - being responsible for making your own bed is not making every bed in the house - and it seems that she has been in some serious trouble just a month or two ago as well. On top of that, her father had just spent $130 to upgrade her computer as a favor, and honestly, a gift only to find that his daughter had stabbed him in the back.
The thing is, this is nothing new. What is new is that now parents can find out about the things children say about them behind their backs. And it hurts to know that the child you are working so hard to raise in the manner you deem correct is not too happy about your parenting methods. It's even worse when the language your child uses is violent, there are threats involved and said child is being applauded by her friends for standing up to the man - namely you.
So the appropriate thing is to take your child's computer - which, let's be honest, is an extension of a person these days especially when they are practically required for school - out into a field and fire 7 rounds from your .45 into it, tell your child she is grounded for the next 3 years and that she has to get a job to pay you back for the software you just uploaded and then shot the hell out of, that she isn't allowed to have a computer until she moves out of the house and post it on her Facebook wall so you can humiliate her in front of all her friends and show up all the parents of her friends.
And you wonder why she wrote that letter.
Let's step away from the fact that I am not a big fan of guns. Yes, I am a military brat. Yes I have been around guns. I have also had a gun shoved in my face, been held hostage (along with my entire school) and feel that unless you are in the military, an officer of the law or a hunter for survival you do not NEED a gun. And if you have a gun either from need or want that you need to be responsible with that gun. That means you do not threaten your child with that gun. EVER.
SHOOTING YOUR CHILD'S COMPUTER, AN EXTENSION OF YOUR CHILD'S PSYCHE, IS THREATENING YOUR CHILD WITH A GUN.
So, my dear friends, this was not good parenting. In fact, I can absolutely see how and why this child is disrespectful and angry at her parents. They treat her like crap. I don't mean the chores she has to do or the grounding she just went through recently. I mean the threats they aim at her on what seems to be a daily basis from this video. Here is what they threatened:
a) Her education - by taking away her computer they have taken away her method of doing her homework and turning it in. Here in Fairfax County all high school homework is turned in using Blackboard. My guess, most of the homework where this girl lives is probably turned in via a computer system as well. Or at least required to be typed on a computer. Also, all the research she has to do for school is probably required to be done on the Internet not in the school library. He not only shot her computer, he told her she wasn't allowed on a computer for the rest of her high school career. Without a computer not sure she really has one these days.
b) Her access to friends, support systems, etc. - One of the first thing someone who is an abuser does is takes away support groups. This father has taken away her computer (Facebook), cell phone and grounded her for 2 years. He did this online.
c) Her pride - Yeah, the best way to raise a respectful child is to humiliate them in front of all of their friends and in fact the entire world. Yep - that's the best way to do it.
d) Her sense of safety - A gun? Really?
If I were this daughter the first thing I would do is call the cops. The second thing I would do is pack a bag and run away. I don't say these things lightly. Those of you who know me well know how I was raised and what my home was like. It was never this bad but it wasn't great. I stuck it out and am glad I did, but if this guy was my father I would be gone in a heartbeat.
Yes, I would rather live on the streets than with a guy who would humiliate and threaten me publicly then shoot my computer. I would be scared for my life if that happened.
So all you parents and friends out there who think this guy rocks the parenting world, take a look at his video again. Look at it from the point of view of someone who lived with a dad who was angry all the time. At least my dad didn't have guns and I will always be grateful to my mother for that.
This is a video of a father abusing his child, not disciplining her.