The Facebook Dad Who Shot His Kid’s Computer Is Wrong.

Myriad friends who are parents shared this video on Facebook.  I tried commenting in one of the threads, but there’s not enough space to say all the stuff I want to say about this douchebag, and frankly, I found it to be completely disturbing how many people believe that this passes for good parenting.  I got a little bit sicker every time I read some wrong-headed parent reacting with some gleeful platitude about how “kids today” need to learn respect and how this dad is doing a great job.

I beg to differ.

First of all, parents have to model respect.  The easiest kind of respect to model–and the one so many parents get wrong–is self respect.

My mom, who’s preternatural about parenting (really–it’s admirable) said, often, that getting embarrassed by us was giving us power over her that we should not have.

I extrapolate that letting your kids’ behaviors cloud your judgement to such an extent as you proceed to be boobish in your actions or manner is also giving your kids power they oughtn’t have.  Tell me, what is more boobish than shooting a gun at a $500-$2000 piece of equipment with recently installed software valued at $130, in a video, on Facebook?

Parents have to be parents.  They cannot be petulant, and should maintain a healthy sense of confidence and humor at all times.

Like when your 4-year-old says, “I hate you,” you can’t hit her or say, “I hate you, too.” She doesn’t even know what the hell that means.  You can’t tell her it’s okay, but you have to remember that you’re her guide to the world, and she needs you to say, “I know you’re not very pleased with having to pick up your toys, but you should not say ‘I hate you’ to mommy, ever.”

My friend Sue gave me a really wise piece of parenting advice: Always consider your kid’s developmental stage when explaining things or selecting a punishment.

Here are some things, because I’m still so amped up over this that I can’t form prose, plus people who give advice about blogging say that people like lists, so here’s one for you.

  • Doesn’t this guy remember being 15?  Seriously, we all said ridiculous things about our parents and had an inflated sense of ego and persecution.  It’s part of the crisis of being a teenager.  It’s normal.
  • In what universe do parents get to be self-congratulatory about providing a home and life’s necessities for their children?  It’s our obligation.
  • Shooting expensive stuff is wasteful.  The dad was so hot-headed about his daughter’s public display of normal teenaged angst, that he failed to reason the whole way through his actions.
  • Putting her in a position where she has to earn enough money for a laptop quickly, when she should be doing the work of being a student, is irresponsible.  Teenagers are still children, even if they have a different idea.
  • What message does he want her to get from this video?  That when you are wronged, you make yourself a public display of self-righteousness?  That it’s okay to be wasteful and disrespectful of yourself and others if you’re angry enough?
  • A parent’s job is ALWAYS to take the high road.  Letting your kid’s mouthy nonsense drive you to your own mouthy nonsense, in video, on Facebook is completely insane.
  • It seems to me that he has a pretty good kid if she is doing her chores, which you’ll note he never says she doesn’t, he just says she exaggerates the scope.  I’d be willing to bet that dad bitches about his job just as much as anybody else.  Giving a kid chores is good parenting.  Not letting her express normal, human displeasure–on pain of public displays of absurdity from dad–is not.
  • What’s the big deal if the daughter smears the dad on facebook?  A bunch of 15-year-olds know that a kid is pissed at her parents. So what?  Is her dad going to lose clients?  Is he going to be arrested for poor parenting?  No.  Any other adult who would encounter his daughter’s note would think to themselves, “Ah yes.  I remember those days.  Good luck Bob, I don’t envy you your willful teenage daughter.”
  • Parents need to explain (and provide) appropriate venues for bitching.  She was trying to keep it from her parents, her dad sought it out.  I’m sure on some level she knew that she was being ridiculous.  I feel like a lot of the purpose of the video was so that everybody would know a) this dad works in IT, b) this dad knows how to fix computers, and c) this dad owns a handgun and knows how to identify exploding bullets d) this dad has $130 laying around for software updates.

Okay, okay.  I know some of you are saying, “but that kid was wrong, she shouldn’t have posted on Facebook those disrespectful things about her parents.”

Maybe not.  But children need to be allowed to have their own private lives that are sacred, safe, even from their parents.

Yes, I am talking about frustration and anger and lust and sorrow and romance and masturbation and all of it.  Kids need to reckon all of that out for themselves.

Teenagers need this especially. They are battling with the responsibility of autonomy and the tandem frustration of helplessness–I would venture that 15 is the age at which this is most intense.  And of course they’re going to get it wrong sometimes!  They should be allowed to!

They should also know that they can count on their parents to listen to them if they’re in trouble or worried about something or considering doing something more adult than chores, like sex or drugs.

What kind of teenager will feel safe going to her loose cannon of a pubescent dad for advice or guidance or birth control when he flies off the handle at her for being a normal, healthy, developing teenager?

I will now propose some healthy, responsible responses to that angry, teenaged note on Facebook.

  1. Increase her roster of chores to match the one she described on Facebook (all floors, all laundry, etc).
  2. Express disappointment and sorrow to an extent that child notices.  Ask child what she thinks her punishment should be.
  3. Explain that she will need to repay the $130 of software from a summer job, or work off that value in additional chores since she clearly does not understand the value of work.
  4. Restrict access to phone, friends, computer, for a specific amount of time.
  5. Restrict access to some other big deal event or some other activity, or if she takes lessons of some sort, have her work off an exchange rate in chores.
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Author: April Line Writing

Writing about whatever the f*ck I want.

10 thoughts on “The Facebook Dad Who Shot His Kid’s Computer Is Wrong.”

    1. Here’s what my friend Fiona says:

      Nobody seemed to notice that the father
      a) Snooped on his child, which is disrespectful.
      b) ranted the whole time, whilst smoking a cigarette (what sort of example is that?)
      c) then littered the garden.
      Now THESE things offended me!

  1. Love this. I love when you put into words what I’m thinking.

    I felt ill equipped to comment on the original video becuase I have a 2 year old and wouldn’t consider myself a parenting expert and becuase I ultimately try not to judge other parents because Lord knows we are all doing the best we can. Despite the fact that there’s absolutely nothing productive about teaching your children to act in anger, I won’t pretend like I haven’t yelled or acted in frustration a few times myself. What irritates me, however, is that this idiot then posted his blunder to Facebook like he was expecting some kind of award for teaching his daughter the following:

    1. That her feelings don’t matter. And expressing them is wrong.
    2. That acting childishly and irrationally is somehow cute and admirable and solves problems.

    Then somehow the whole world applauded, which is even more appalling.

    Agreed and agreed. Well said x100.

    1. Aw gosh, Brooke! Thanks.

      And certainly–I have made my share of parenting blunders, too. And I feel like I continue to make them. But also have the good sense and questionable fortune to be a thinking person who is in constant self-analysis mode! So yes. I’m sure I will continue to blunder. But my blunders won’t be on facebook, and even now, when I fuck up, I apologize to Pearl. That demonstrates accepting responsibility for one’s choices and expressing regret when they’re wrong. 🙂

      I keep trying to imagine the afternoon when this ridiculous petty man printed the facebook note, got his video camera, set up his tripod, chose a comfy lawn furnishing, made sure to have his cigarette ready (to then be discarded in the grass, classy!), got his gun, at least partially planned what he was going to say, loaded his gun, put the laptop in the grass… I can’t believe he didn’t chicken out. I would’ve maybe made it to the tripod closet and then been like, “whoa. What’m I doing? This is crass.”

  2. I’ve been THAT mad at a teenager before. 🙂 Seriously. But I’d remind myself “he’s a teenager” and it would pass pretty quickly. This guy had a LOT of time to think about what he was doing. HE PREMEDITATED, and then he MURDERED…a computer, sure, but it makes me wonder.

    Honestly? I’m surprised Child Services hasn’t been out there.

    Maybe they have.

    1. I agree with you, Jamie. And am glad to hear someone who actually HAS been through the teenager thing saying so. I am also baffled by the amount of planning that went into his little facebook video. It strikes me as bordering on the psychotic. I would like to think or hope that we live in a world where Child Services would and could do something about that horrid man, but I sort of doubt it. Bad Parents can get away with a LOT of B.S.

      Somebody on facebook made a good point, though. I wonder if he was shooting his gun somewhere it was legal for him to shoot a gun…

  3. All this nattering about murder and child abuse is hyperbolic hysteria and a load of nonsense. Dad was over the top but, really, we should be congratulating him for actually caring enough about his daughter to be as involved as he has been. The kid needed a serious attitude adjustment and I would have handled it differently but the rest of us need to butt out of their business. If you need to, build a fence so you can be a better neighbor but you gossiping biddies need to untwist your dainties and tend to your own.

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