So by now, you’ve seen the video. It’s gone viral …. nearly 3 million views on my last check. A father, angered by his daughter’s rant about him on her Facebook page, video-taped himself berating her, laying out her punishment, and ultimately taking his gun and shooting nine bullets through her laptop.
I don’t want to talk about that man. All I can do is feel sorry for him. Happy, well-adjusted people don’t go around taping themselves shooting holes in other people’s property.
I don’t want to talk about his daughter either. I feel sorry for her too. Being a teenager can be hard, and I can’t imagine that having a father who publicly humiliates you is helpful in that regard. She obviously has an unhealthy, broken relationship with her parents. And knowing first-hand what it’s like to have a GOOD relationship with my children… my heart breaks for her.
But no, the people I want to address aren’t the father or the daughter. I want to address the people, the tens of thousands of people, who lauded him as father of the year. Here are just a couple of remarks from his recent viewers:
This father ROCKS! Parents need to enforce more discipline with their kids these days instead of trying to be their friend or act their age.
This guy should be voted FATHER OF THE YEAR in the US and Canada!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
DAD OF THE YEAR! I think this is amazing!
Dude…you are my HERO.
Seriously, I applaud you. A parent who is a parent and not the subjugated slave to the child. Love it.
Awesome! Well done.
You’re my new, best friend!
Has the world gone completely mad? I don’t mean that facetiously either. I am quite literally shocked and sickened that this is the behavior we as a society hold up as model parenting. I hear people crying that kids today are too entitled, too spoiled, too disrespectful…. and this is going to help with that?! If this girl IS in fact acting too entitled, spoiled, and disrespectful, where might she have learned that?
Yes! Let’s strive to be more like this man! Let’s belittle and humiliate our children. Let’s destroy their property. Let’s respond to hurt and frustration with violence. Let’s throw discussion and mutual respect and love out the window and grab our gun when it’s time for conflict resolution. And let’s tape ourselves doing it!! Let’s make parenting into nothing more than a schoolyard fight, a tit-for-tat war of words in which NO ONE wins, in which we stoop to the lowest common denominator, and we see who can throw the biggest tantrum. Yes, let’s look to this man in awe. What a hero. What a father. What a MAN.
In all sincerity, I want to ask you this: If you agree with this man’s actions, if you think this is something we should emulate… how would you feel if you were his daughter? For that matter, how would you feel if he’d taken this action against you as a co-worker, or a relative, or a friend?
And if you tell me it’d make you see the error of your ways, if you tell me it’d make you have new respect for him… you’re lying.
All of us – as parents, as children, as friends, as citizens – respond to kindness, not to cruelty. We respond to gentleness. We respond to patience. We respond to feeling that we are being heard.
This man was no doubt hurt by his daughter’s words on Facebook. Was she wrong in posting them? From the little that I can tell, this was a child venting to her friends, not unlike something one would write in a private diary. Her words were strong, yes, which only shines light on how deeply she was feeling when she wrote them. I saw many comments that said something to the effect of, “Oh she was just trying to get attention.” And I agree! She probably was. It was a probably a last-ditch, desperate attempt to say, “Hey. Mom. Dad. I’m hurting here.” If that were my child writing that letter, I would first take a good long look in the mirror. Then I would TALK TO MY CHILD. I would try to heal that relationship before it was too late. I would not put the final nail in the coffin (or the bullet in the laptop as it were) by publicly humiliating her, mocking her, and destroying her things. I would not act with a knee-jerk reaction that would almost certainly ensure that she’d be pushed further away, possibly for the rest of my life.
Our job as parents is to protect our kids. To love them, to guide them, and yes… to model appropriate behavior for them. This man called his daughter disrespectful. Were HIS actions respectful? He called her immature. Were HIS actions mature?
Parenting is hard! I won’t argue that. Just as with any other worthwhile relationship, there are bumps. There are ups and downs. There are tough spots, and sweet spots, and every-other-kind of spots in between. It takes a lot of heart, a lot of patience, a lot of listening, and a lot of give-and-take. What I saw in that video wasn’t heart. It wasn’t patience. It wasn’t listening. It wasn’t give and take. It was a bully of a man having a public meltdown, and making sure he took his daughter down with him.
His behavior is not something to emulate.
It’s not something to aspire to.
It’s not something to praise.
It’s a sad, angry spectacle by a sad, angry man. It’s a cautionary tale about what not to do if you ever want to have a close, mutually respectful relationship with your child.