Ugh, this just makes me sort of sick. I obviously am in no place to judge the whole situation, but I can judge the side of it shown in the video. If your child treats you with disrespect and breaks your heart (or at least embarrasses you publicly), you do not respond in kind. That is irresponsible, immature, and objectively morally wrong. Seeing people applaud the man fills me with sadness. Why would you ever applaud someone hurting someone else? Even if this punishment was just, it would be a tragedy for it to be needed.
According to posts made later by this man, everything is OK, the teen is not scarred for life, the computer wasn’t that important, etc. That’s good, but it doesn’t excuse the objectively bad parenting, and him claiming “because that’s the way I was raised” as justification seems to imply baseless judgment. Do you think you were raised perfectly?
I’m not saying that I think parents can be perfect all the time, but they do have the higher position in the relationship, and they should at least try to use that position to admit their imperfections, ask for forgiveness when necessary, love unconditionally, guide with behavior, and keep themselves from descending into petty shouting matches or games of revenge. Easier said than done, of course, but they should at least agree that that is the standard they should hold themselves to. If this father doesn’t realize what he did was wrong, what will the child learn? How will the vicious cycle break?
Finally, here’s Inigo Montoya to sing you a song…
Scott · February 11, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Agreed… I couldn’t even get through the whole video, it was just so stupid and terrible. 1: Teenagers are the most repugnant humans alive (and this parent doesn’t seem to understand just how bad HE was when he was that age); 2: Teenagers are disrespectful and vent anger… it used to be in diaries, then in public electronic diaries, now on Facebook and twitter (why it’s important for everyone in the world to know the intimate details of the kid’s psychosis is an entirely different issue…); 3: Chores are universal… unless you are Cinderella and have to clean the chimney and steal food from mousetraps, you have no room to complain; 4: Parents should be above creating a public embarrassment, as they know that this type of things is around 75% why the kid acts out in the first place; 5: A parent who stalks their kid on Facebook is stupid and creepy at best… if you sense a problem, ask. Kids can clam up, but often if the problem is any of the parents’ business in the first place, the kid will open up. Even if they clam up every time, nothing good can come from monitoring them; and 6: Kids need to be taught… in school perhaps… that anything and everything posted online is there forever. Maybe this would alleviate some of this non-sense, and it would certainly cut back on the number of naked and drunk/drugged up pictures that high schoolers post… I mean, that’s common sense.
Scott · February 11, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Personally, I would have been happier with the guy’s parenting if he dispensed with reading the letter and instead just pulled her in front of the camera for a serious spanking… that would be preferable to this nonsense.
S P Hannifin · February 12, 2012 at 12:11 AM
What the teenager wrote in her anger-venting didn’t even seem like it should be that embarrassing for an adult. It seemed pretty typical. While a good number of teens probably wouldn’t lash out publicly on Facebook like that, I’m sure most teens can relate to that sort of anger. I do not want my teen years back, as I’m sure most parents don’t (despite them always saying “you have it so good!”). You’re in school all day, where adults give you all this work without bothering to tell you how it applies to the real world (if it does at all), and then you come home to parents who feel completely justified in asking things of you on a whim. You have so little control over your life. I’m not trying to justify the teen’s actions (and, in the case above, there was apparently more trouble than just this one incident), but parents should at least try to understand where that anger is coming from. If anything, they should understand that anger better than the teen. But, as in cases like the one above, it’s all too often that parents just respond to it with their own anger, and no one really gets anywhere. At the very least, if things get emotionally heated and both sides hurt each other, the parent should be the first to apologize when the emotions die down to set the good example. (I think perhaps some parents imagine their future children will be like pets… “Oh, we’ll love each other so much! And I’ll be the boss of them and they’ll do what I say.” And then they get confused and angry when that naturally doesn’t work out so well. Of course children will question why they have to do something they don’t want to do, and parents should have good answers.)
A side note on chores: I almost posted a small paragraph on this, but erased it because it’s really a different issue and I can’t tell how much it applies to this particular case, so I’ll post it here in the comments. While chores may be universal, I do think sometimes they are completely unjust. Something like washing dishes or counter tops make sense: the whole family dirties those things, so everyone should pitch in to help clean them. What I can’t stand is when parents think they’re justified in asking their children to do things “right now” on a whim, as if the child is a part-time slave, especially if it’s something the parent should be responsible for. Like getting coffee for himself. I think this parent did mention having a schedule of chores or something, which is how it should be handled, as long as no nagging is involved and the chores are justified. That way, the child can plan to do those chores, instead of planning to watch a TV show and then being interrupted. If an adult would not want to be treated that way, having been treated that way when he was a teen is no justification for continuing the trend. Overall, chores should be handled diplomatically, not dictatorially. No parent should ever utter “because I said so.”
Anonymous · February 12, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Can I have a cup of coffee?
S P Hannifin · February 12, 2012 at 10:46 PM
OK, here you go…
Anonymous · February 13, 2012 at 1:04 AM
Well, being a parent is not easy. Assume no one is 100% great at it… And that the normal distribution is hard at work here. While I agree that both parties in this case were out of order, the elder should have shown a modicum of maturity… And he did not. But the real abuse cases would break your heart.
S P Hannifin · February 13, 2012 at 2:17 AM