Boy, howdy! Did that video of a father shooting up his daughter’s laptop for mouthing off on Facebook get around the internet quickly or what? It almost happened so quick we didn’t see the point in covering it outside of the 24-hour meme-cycle of the internet. But we did want to go ahead and put it up on 8BitDad.com for those of you who have either been doing something productive with the last day or so, or those of you who deeply rely on our expert fatherly opinions (trust us, we’re a doctor…well, one of us is).
First a little background. The video you are about to see is of the father of a teenage girl named “Hannah.” Recently, Hannah put her parents on blast, using Facebook to vent three paragraphs of her teenage frustrations about chores. She was able to conceal the post from her parents using Facebook security settings, but Hannah’s father discovered the post during some expensive “software upgrades” that he performed on her laptop. With a lot of agitation, Hannah’s father reads the post aloud on video, and then shoots up Hannah’s laptop with his .45 pistol. He promises to post the video on Hannah’s Facebook immediately before grounding her for the rest of her childhood.
So what we’ve just seen here was somebody who was really upset and frustrated with a member of their own family. Instead of approaching their family member directly in a mature fashion, they overreacted by posting some inappropriate and probably hurtful material on Facebook. If you think I’m talking about Hannah, you’re absolutely right. If you think that I’m talking about Hannah’s father…you’re absolutely right.
It seems very clear to me where Hannah learned how to react in such a passive-aggressive manner towards her parents. She seems to be emulating the type of behavior that she has been shown by her father. Her original Facebook post, and his video response, are mirror images of the same type of behavior. This shouldn’t be any sort of surprise to parents. I noticed that my children emulated my behavior as well, when I discovered that my little ones were more physical with each other, and hitting each other, the more I gave them spankings in front of one another. You show your children that a particular behavior is okay, and they repeat it.
Discipline is probably the hardest part of parenting, and my approach has always been to tailor any acts of discipline to the situation and the likely response of a child. For example, it would be impossible to have a rational discussion with my toddler about electrical sockets, so when she gets too curious about them, I’ll clap my hands loudly behind her to surprise her, and forcibly remove her hand. She understands this. If you’re dealing with a teenager, this technique would be silly and unnecessary. With a teenager, you have an opportunity to reason with them, and you no longer have to resort to violent beatings or forced sword duels for discipline and punishment techniques. You certainly don’t have to resort to shooting up your daughter’s laptop with .45 exploding hollow-point rounds. Your teenager should be old enough to understand you when you use your words.
Parenting teens is probably the second largest challenge that parents face. At that age in their life, teens are emotional, self-centered, narcissistic, and rebellious. They will tend to lash out when they feel like their parents are being too tough on them. They are even likely to make embarrassing posts on Facebook, in order to achieve a cathartic moment. I am not excusing Hannah for her misbehavior. I am simply saying that this exactly the kind of thing that teens do. It can be expected, and it can be dealt with maturely.
Can you guess who we should NOT expect this type of emotionally-charged misbehavior from? That’s right, grown-ups! In these instances, it is important to demonstrate maturity, not only to resolve the conflict between teen and parent, but to demonstrate mature methods of dealing with disagreements or displeasure. At the least, I think we can agree that once you’ve brought a high-caliber pistol to the parenting process, you have lost the moral high ground, and a great deal of your credibility.
A lot of Hannah’s father’s follow-up remarks to this incident have shown a much more rational response. Perhaps the kind of response and explanation that he should have given Hannah face-to-face, instead of responding to her behavior in-kind. He has portrayed Hannah’s response to the video as light-hearted and somewhat apologetic. But, of course, I would attempt to be as light-hearted and apologetic as possible too, if my father had just demonstrated the intent to use lethal force in the discipline process.
All in all, I rate this guy as a childish prig, and will add my sternest label of “parenting FAIL.” Gunfire in a rural neighborhood and parenting just don’t mix.