Wow, I'm actually blogging about parenting.... LOL
So I finally sat down this morning & watched the 8.5 minute video from the dad who shot his daughters laptop. Normally I don't watch videos that are over 30 seconds because I have the attention span of an 8 yo when it comes to "internet sensations." But this guy hooked me immediately.
I wanted to hear what his daughter posted on Facebook that would drive a parent to SHOOT a laptop. Really was it that bad? She's only 15, what is the worst she could say and don't you think that's a little violent? Then he read what she posted, and I completely understood. And I wanted to get up and applaud when he shot the laptop.
When the kids are little and don't leave the house much it's easy to keep them sheltered and in a bubble. Hell I didn't even let my kids watch Calliou because that little bald headed brat was SO disrespectful and whiny. But then they start school and they're exposed to so much that you as a parent can't control. So this sweet little child that used to run to you with open arms when they came home from first grade barely acknowledges you when they walk in the door because their head is buried in whatever latest electronic gadget YOU BOUGHT THEM and you wonder where did you go wrong.
You look around their room and see flat panel televisions and various video games systems. They have laptops and ipods and ipads and maybe even an iphone. They lock themselves away (as teenagers have always done) and have access to the internet. On the internet they see things that influence them even more then their friends. And some of that stuff is scary.
And you feel you've lost control of them completely.
They complain... as teenagers have always done... but instead of calling ONE friend and saying "my parents suck, they don't understand" they broadcast it across the WORLD WIDE WEB. Now every one of their 1000 friends know they think you're an asshole and in great detail why. Including maybe YOUR parents, their teachers, your preacher, other various family members, etc. The girl in the video even went as far as being disrespectful to a family friend. I don't even know these people but that made my blood boil for the parents. It's like you can complain about your (spouse, mother, child) but if someone else does it, they've gone too far.
Now you need to step in and stop this before it goes too far. But here is the problem, because you have spent most of their life trying to be their FRIEND and making them happy, they have no respect for you. You've bought them every single thing they've ever wanted and let them do whatever they wanted. Remember I wrote about looking around their room at ALL of their electronics, how much did that all cost you? Are you still paying off the credit card debt?
Was it worth it?
Do they even respect what you GAVE them?
How many times have they lost or broken a phone and expected you not only to get them a new one, but a better one? My husband & I agreed a long time ago that if they kids wanted an expensive electronic, they were going to have to buy it themselves. We bought our older son his first phone, but if he wants something fancier, he's going to have to buy it himself. If he loses or breaks it, he'll have to replace it. Both kids combined the money they got for their birthdays and Christmas and bought their Xbox and most of the games. They also each bought their own Ipod Touch as well. Even though they bought their own things, they know we can still take them away and have. Grades must be kept up in order to keep their electronics in their pockets! Oh and my kids do chores too. And they get laughed at when they say they should be paid for their chores. Pay me for making your dinner & I'll pay you for cleaning the dishes. That usually gets the point across. So does talking about being a team. We all live here, we all make the mess, we all clean the mess, we stick together as a family above all.
How do you stop the over the top disrespect dead in it's tracks, is shooting the laptop the answer? I don't know. I saw someone somewhere mention the dad should have had the daughter hand over the laptop to a woman's shelter. I like that idea. But the dad told her he was going to shoot the laptop if she did what she did. Every action has a consequence. Her action of mouthing off on Facebook AGAIN caused the consequence of watching her beloved laptop get destroyed exactly how dad told her it was going to happen. Kudos to dad!
Again, not what I would have done (I don't have a gun) but he followed through on the promise that if she mouthed off again on Facebook he was going to shoot her laptop. I applaud him for that. He followed through. Over the years I'd hear parents say things like "if you do that again I'm going to do X" and then hear them say the same thing again and again and again. Why should they listen the first time if they know you're going to repeat it 10 times before you're even close to serious about it? Right or wrong, who knows. But I'll tell you what, when my boss tells me to do something, I do it right away because I respect her and MY JOB and I'd like to keep MY JOB. See how it all ties together?
After watching the video & sharing it with my 13 yo son, I went and read the dad's Facebook page and I think you should too.
Why, because not only is he a good read, but he talks openly and honestly about everything. People have called the police on him and child services. ALL think what he did was fine. He refuses to do interviews because he knows his words will get twisted and edited. He's even been approached to do a reality TV show & turned it down. This morning friends & neighbors had to shoo folks from Good Morning America off his lawn.
Why is getting all this attention? Because he stood up to his teenager He told her no. Albeit in a very explosive and public way, but I think it worked. I know it opened up a discussion with my 13 yo son. He's a good kid, but he's 13 and needs a little redirecting at times, he gets mouthy & pushes the line, I did it too and I'm sure my husband and I know our younger son will do it too. If you read the dad's Facebook page the local police dept said they want to use his video for some program. And he's using his 15 minutes of fame to raise money for MDA. He's up over $5k now!
Like I said in the beginning kids don't come with a manual and we all have our own ideas on the best way to raise our children. It's probably best to put half of the money you are saving for their college education in a fund for therapy because no matter what, even if we try our very best, we're all going to fuck up once in a while. Just hopefully not as publicly as this guy did. I can't imagine the scrutiny he's under from the world.
But as a parent who says no to her kids and means it, drowning a world of parents who never say no to their kids, I'd like to say Thank You to him.