Feb. 10th, 2012

innocent_man: (lingling)
So, a buddy of mine linked (on Facebook) to a charming video about a man upset with his daughter. You can go here and watch it if you want, but I'll give you the quick-n-dirty summary.

The dad sits down in a lawn chair, apparently filmed by a tripod, and reads off a post that his daughter (14, I think) made on her FB wall. She's complaining about her parents. More specifically, she feels that she since she does a lot of chores (and indeed, the list of chores is daunting - it's more than I do on a daily basis for my own house), she should be paid for her efforts. She also mentions that she has to lock her door on weekends, else her little brother wakes her up at 6AM, which the dad acknowledges is accurate.

The dad takes exception to the daughter airing family business on Facebook, with how "disrespectful" the girl is being, and chastises her for giving him her laptop to upgrade (one which, he says, he spent $130 in software) but not thinking he'd see the post.

He then puts her laptop on the ground, pulls out a .45, and empties the mag into it, telling his daughter that she owes him for the software he put on the computer and the bullets he used to shoot her computer. Oh, and if she's ever not grounded, she can buy her own computer.

This was presented as an example of "tough love" or "parenting for the Facebook generation" and the comments on the page where I watched the video (which wasn't the mashable.com link above; I can't get to FB here so I can't find where I watched it) talk a lot about how "entitled" and "spoiled" the girl is and how she deserved it.

OK, first of all, I have no way to verify any of this. I have no idea whether it's fake or not, and I recognize that there are people on the Internet who think it's funny to produce things like this and then yell "Gotcha!" when people respond. So fuck those people, first of all, but I'm going to proceed as though the video is genuine. If it's not, well, you GOT ME! I suppose now you get to say "lulz" a lot or something. Good fer yew!

Anyway.

I think the father, here, is utterly and completely in the wrong. I think what he did was monstrous, childish and shameful. Here's why.

Let's assume that what the girl said in her FB post was accurate. If it is, she's doing at least a couple of hours of chores every day, on top of her schoolwork. That she's not getting paid for the work isn't relevant - she's doing the work, and to me, the amount of work seems inappropriate for a teenager (especially since, she says, her parents also hound her to get a job). I don't know what things are like in North Carolina, but teens are often overburdened with homework, and they need sleep. Asking for a bit of leisure time is not unreasonable. Likewise, on her FB post the girl (who's 15, sorry) complains that when he folks track mud into the house, she's asked to clean it up. Seems to me that, if all this is accurate, she's living in a tightly controlled and somewhat unreasonable environment, and her family justifies that by saying, "Oh, it's much better than when I was a kid!"

But let's go the other way. Let's assume that things aren't really this bad for her, and that she's inflating the work she's asked to do or that she doesn't do it and she's defiant (which seems to be what the dad is suggesting). Let's assume that dad is really frustrated and has tried to communicate with the girl in other, more appropriate ways, and that he's really feeling hurt and disrespected by what she wrote.

So he reaches for his gun.

Does anyone else see the problem, here?

It looks great on a video because we get to say, "Oh shit! It's a gun! Oh-ho, that snotty teenager is in trouble now!" But let's look at what this guy did. He took his daughter's property, which probably included all manner of pictures, files, music and so on that she can't replace easily. He took it out and destroyed it. He didn't seem angry, he seemed utterly controlled. He shot the computer and then calmly insisted that she pay for the ammunition. Now, what exactly does that say to you?

To me it says, "I am strong because I am armed. I will do what I wish with your possessions, and make you financially responsible for my actions. You will do as I say, or I will use force and violence to control you." (And if you don't think shooting a computer is an act of force and violence, then I don't know what to tell you.)

What exactly does he hope to gain by this? Is this going to open up lines of honest communication with his daughter? Will she see what he's done, and that she's been humiliated on the Internet, and think, "Oh, geez, I must really have hurt my father's feelings, I should endeavor to keep things like this to myself in future."? No. I think, more likely, she'll lash out, or else she'll think, "Shit, he shot my computer. What if I bring home a boy he doesn't like? What if I get angry and say something that pisses him off? What's he going to shoot then?"

Message to dads: Yes, you can rule through fear. I hear it doesn't work well. I wouldn't know, because I treat my children with more respect than that. And I have no idea what they'll be posting on FB when they get old enough, but you can bet that if my kids complain about their parents online (because complaining about parents isn't exactly new, just the medium is), my first response is not going to be, "Ooh, do I get to shoot something?"

Now, points. )

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