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Zoethe

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That dad on Facebook [Feb. 10th, 2012|07:59 pm]
Zoethe
Unless you live under a rock, you have at least heard about the dad talking about his disrespectful daughter and then shooting her computer to get back at her for some nasty things she wrote about him and her mother and stepmother on Facebook. And many people are applauding this dad for his treatment of the girl.

To me, it's a horror story of bad parenting.

It's not that the daughter should just get away with writing terrible things about her parents on social media. There should be a serious discussion with her on the consequences of writing things on social media and the possible repercussions, and some serious talk about respect, and appropriate discipline.

But this dad didn't make this tape to accomplish any of these things. This dad made his tape as a kind of showboating show-off of how cool and awesome he really is.

And that's a problem.

Maybe it's because I grew up with a dramatic parent, but I was immediately put on edge by this tape. This is a dad who is about control, and getting his way, and obedience at all costs. His reaction is not a measured response, but an overreaction on a scale that speaks to me of abuse.

Here's the thing: teenagers blow off steam. They say HORRIBLE things about their parents on a regular basis. I know I did. I know my kids say them about me. But you know what? Wives say them about husbands, husbands about wives, siblings about each other, employees about bosses, bosses about their subordinates, friends about friends. We all have those moments when we blow off steam about the things that rub us the wrong way--and things DO rub us the wrong way, because we are human and solipsistic. This kind of complaining is kind of like plate tectonics: if we let off a little pressure now and then, it's only a small rumble; if we have to hold it all in, then when it comes out it's cataclysmic.

So, yeah, it's different in the age of social media where instead of it being a rant in the school cafeteria it's a rant written down that has staying power. And kids need to be warned about the dangers of writing things down and how it can follow them for the rest of their lives. But seriously, does an adult read, "OMG, they are so lazy and make me do all the work" and really think that anyone is going to take it seriously? How childish does a parent have to be to go that far into orbit over a teenage rant? Sure, you get on their ass about their disrespect, but you have to have a kind of self-awareness and not take it all too seriously.

And the father's reaction just screams to me of disproportion and control-freakishness.
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[User Picture]From: merle_
2012-02-11 01:15 am (UTC)
Wow. Apparently I do live under a rock. I hope the rock will serve as a good defense against zombies but doubt it.

And I will openly admit, always, to being just like that as a teenager. It was more rants to other kids in person than Facebook, but it's the same idea.

They also need to have grade school classes that teach about privacy and password security but that is only a mildly related rant.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 01:52 am (UTC)
It's hard to make kids understand the danger of social media's long-term effects. It's all very new, and we have to keep learning.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 01:43 am (UTC)
The number of people who are applauding this guy just horrifies me.
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[User Picture]From: roaming
2012-02-11 01:21 am (UTC)
Which is probably where his daughter learned it in the first place.

The whole thing is icky. I'd bitch about this dad on FB too.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 01:44 am (UTC)
Even if she didn't, the reaction is like hunting fleas with a hand grenade.
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[User Picture]From: sapphirescarlet
2012-02-11 01:44 am (UTC)
While I found it amusing at first, the more I think about it, and the more I read about it, the more I see your point. Over-reaction on the part of a parent is detrimental to the relationship with the child. There are times when I'm angry enough to do something over the top like that, but I am far more controlled, and I'm glad to say so. I still say things I wish I could take back once in a while, but I don't allow my child to feel unsafe with me. And if my dad had used his gun to shoot my computer? I'd really feel unsafe with him. And that lack of security with a parent is not something you can get back right away - if ever.
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[User Picture]From: mariadkins
2012-02-11 01:54 am (UTC)
this!!
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[User Picture]From: mariadkins
2012-02-11 01:52 am (UTC)
imho he's a total dick.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 01:55 am (UTC)
The showboating, and the need to justify himself, just really got to me.
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[User Picture]From: tylik
2012-02-11 02:00 am (UTC)
What you said about having a dramatic parent hit home for me - my mother was (is) all about the drama, but she kind of oscillated between being actually abusive and kind of pathetically ineffectual. (Like once she decided that my sister shouldn't be watching TV. So instead of asking her to turn it off, she threw a fit, then grabbed the scissors and cut the power cord. To her own TV. Except then it turned out that it wasn't even the right power cord, and she'd just destroyed the cord to her VCR.)

I suspect being so ineffectual some of the time just made her want to be more controlling.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 02:04 am (UTC)
I think you are right. It's frustrating how hard it is to parent these days, no doubt. But this is way out of line.
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[User Picture]From: cinema_babe
2012-02-11 02:04 am (UTC)
Wow, this is the first I've seen that.

If I didn't know how the video ended, in the beginning at least, I thought, "OK, this is reasonable. He's mad and reading her letter and scolding her in public.

He gave her the whole, "I walked up hill to school in the snow both ways speech", typical parent stuff.

The moment he pulled out the gun he lost me completely. It's one thing expressing anger and disappointment, it's one thing to administer discipline. I'll even say that if you're child is under age a parent has to exert a certain amount o control (be it curfews, house rules, etc).

that wasn't parenting, I wouldn't even call it anger. That was intimidation, instilling fear and violence. It was as much of an show of power and dominance as if he had burned her clothes or taken her bedroom door off of its hinges.

Just wow. How inappropriate.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 02:17 am (UTC)
Like you, I started out thinking he was being a bit outrageous but sensible. It was well before the gun that I had flags flying in my head. It feel for her, because she is not going to have an easy life.
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[User Picture]From: autographedcat
2012-02-11 02:09 am (UTC)
I'm glad it wasn't just me.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 02:18 am (UTC)
Definitely not just you. But the number of people who are all, "yeah, go for it!" is terrifying. Where are the adults???
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[User Picture]From: heathrow
2012-02-11 02:33 am (UTC)
I was horrified.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 02:34 am (UTC)
Glad I'm not alone.
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[User Picture]From: ldygwynedd
2012-02-11 02:35 am (UTC)

I agree

I thought it was a mistake, too.

He wasn't looking to changing his daughter's behavior or attitude, he was angry and was reacting to his mortification, not the fact his daughter needs calm guidance.

At that moment was a pissing contest and he was determined to win.

Well, he won this battle but if he keeps on like that, he'll lose the war.

If I had been in his place, I would have sat down with my daughter and my spouse, shown her the letter I was able to access and asked her what she thought was fair. We'd discuss this and her role in the family.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 02:43 am (UTC)

Re: I agree

A much better and more measured a response.
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[User Picture]From: aiela
2012-02-11 02:40 am (UTC)
Your post is making me very glad I hadn't watched it yet. Growing up in an outright abusive household with a parent who reacted like that (she couldn't find her lingerie bag once. She was convinced I had it, and made me tear apart my room while she watched and screamed at me. Six months later I found out through my cousin that it had turned up at my aunt's house, where she sometimes did our laundry so she wouldn't have to pay for the quarter machines in our apartment complex. She never apologized, of course.)

I couldn't have gotten through that video. Just your description of it is making me uncomfortable.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 02:44 am (UTC)
Ferrett was playing it in the living room while I was doing dishes. I don't know that I could have made it through if I had been sitting and watching it. It's horrifying to me.
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[User Picture]From: mplsindygirl
2012-02-11 02:48 am (UTC)
I don't even want to watch that video. My eldest and I are at odds, to the point that I called the child crisis team today and they sent someone out. We should have therapist from family crisis stabilization services here to work with us within a week.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 02:59 am (UTC)
Good luck. We had difficult times with our eldest. My thoughts are with you.
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[User Picture]From: dragondances
2012-02-11 03:41 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for posting this. I had to stop the video around when he was saying that she'd have to pay him back for the super-expensive bullets, and thought it was just me. This is literally the only place on the internet I've found where people aren't congratulating him for "parenting done right" and saying she deserved it. It makes my skin crawl almost worse than the video itself.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 04:03 am (UTC)
That disturbed the heck out of me--that people think this is an appropriate response. Yes, a response was needed, but wow, this is NOT the right one.
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[User Picture]From: tormentedartist
2012-02-11 03:51 am (UTC)
Good point. I agree with you. Although I do think that maybe the Dad should have taken the computer away he brought himself down to her level by shooting the laptop.
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[User Picture]From: kuangning
2012-02-11 04:01 am (UTC)
... That's not "down to her level". Destruction of property and deliberate attempts to intimidate with a weapon, public humiliation by reading something she meant to be semi-private (she tried to lock it down) in public on the Internet -- these are not on the same level with some bad language and teenage bitching. Daughter definitely has the high ground.

Edited at 2012-02-11 04:08 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: sparkfrost
2012-02-11 04:04 am (UTC)
I could understand his anger about her post, and was with him on scolding her in a public manner. But shooting the laptop was way too far. Not only is it bullying and fear-inducing, it is stupidly wasteful. He just spent 10 minutes complaining about how much work he'd done on that computer and how much money he'd spent on it, and his next "logical" step is to shoot it? Stupid. Very, very stupid.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 04:08 am (UTC)
Bully. Scary bully.
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[User Picture]From: cathubodva
2012-02-11 04:08 am (UTC)
I think it's horrifying. If an adult acted that way toward another adult, it would be considered abuse. Destroying inanimate objects in retaliation for perceived slights is classic abuser behavior.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 04:09 am (UTC)
It speaks of a whole childhood of abuse for this girl. It's sad.
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From: anonymousalex
2012-02-11 04:35 am (UTC)
I really like it here under my rock. I still have the first computer I ever got (well, okay, the identical replacement I got when it died), and nobody's shot it yet.

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: roniliquidity
2012-02-11 04:47 am (UTC)
Don't forget the implied violence by shooting the laptop! Honestly I haven't even watched it for just this reason.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 05:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah, I think it speaks to his entire parenting style. I feel bad for the girl.
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[User Picture]From: mystic_savage
2012-02-11 06:41 am (UTC)
Thank you. You've nailed exactly what bothered me about it. The narcissism of the parent involved.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 05:44 pm (UTC)
Very good word for it.
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[User Picture]From: soberloki
2012-02-11 08:04 am (UTC)
THANK YOU.

Of the people I've spoken to who've seen the video, all but one of them thinks it's awesome to go out and showboat and destroy the kid's computer, rather than having a serious talk with her and, y'know, cutting off her internet for a couple of weeks as a reminder of what rude public rants get you.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 05:44 pm (UTC)
And they don't see the irony. Which kills me.
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[User Picture]From: pachamama
2012-02-11 08:21 am (UTC)
I was horrified by this. Using a gun in any disciplinary setting is beyond outrageous. In fact, I think it may be criminal (would be in the UK). I do wonder, though, if there isn't a little Jerry Springer syndrome in the response -- seeing people act out our private secret revenge fantasy is somehow cathartic. I have been apalled by children who complain how difficult their middle-class white privileged life is, how normal expectation of civil behaviour is impossible parental abuse, etc etc etc. I suspect the "you go, dude" responses are in part born of this frustration. But really? Does he wonder where she gets the outrageous public grandstanding from? Discipline, yes, but also compassion and good example, not ranting like an 8-year-old bully. Everyone in that household needs to grow up, it seems to me.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 05:47 pm (UTC)
Teens always think their life is SO HARD. They lack perspective. It's part of their immaturity. They grow out of it, eventually.

Unless they are like this dad, who may have had a harder life, but still has no sense of perspective or proportion. The violence is out of place.
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[User Picture]From: andrewducker
2012-02-11 09:30 am (UTC)
Just in case you want science to back you up:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120210105901.htm
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 05:51 pm (UTC)
Yay for science!
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[User Picture]From: teague
2012-02-11 10:23 am (UTC)
I'm glad to see others who feel roughly about it the same as I. Did you know there was a follow up in which he attempted to soften everything with a practically tropish bit about, "I never expected so much (negative) publicity. I want everyone to know that after this was over, I had a long talk with my daughter, and she's perfectly ok! I offered my daughter the chance to respond, but she decided not to." Hey, maybe all that is true. He also explained, and I can kinda believe this, that the way he found out wasn't by hacking. It was because their dog has a joking facebook of it's own, and after posting some pics as the dog, he went to look at comments, and his kid had forgotten to take the dog off her list of viewers. That's so dumb it's probably true.

But in any case, I too have seen the back patting, and rahrahing, and found it worth a face palm. I don't believe though that the world is full of would be abusive parents. It's really the same sort of cheering one does when a woman who's been cheated on burns all of her soon to be ex's belongings. Women, most of whom have been there, cheer. They cheer because it's cathartic, in spite of the fact that it's positively crazy pants, and to do it yourself in real life never makes the situation better. For that reason I choose to try and blow off the comments in support of Dad. Those are people who've probably been through a lot of teenaged guff, and have fantasized about doing something similar.

Teenagers are rough, especially if you're doing your job *right*. If you're lucky, you'll just get a know it all smartass who suddenly wants to dress like an alien. That's an ideal. It means the kid wants to grow up, and possibly leave the nest on schedule. And believe you me, if I had a kid who actually made her bed 4 times out of ten, and did half her other chores competently, she could bitch on Facebook to all her little friends all she wanted.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 05:56 pm (UTC)
The followup is frightening to me, because it redounds of abusive relationship patterns. I fear what this girl will believe is an appropriate relationship with a man. She is a prime candidate for being abused.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 05:57 pm (UTC)
At least you are willing to rethink your position. Most people remain entrenched.
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[User Picture]From: brujah
2012-02-11 02:21 pm (UTC)
When I saw this video, I wasn't shocked, nor did I find it funny. The kid I used to be saw this as completely normal. I was raised by this sort of all-or-nothing type of parenting, so it wasn't until I mentally switched gears to a parent that it even struck me as extreme. I guess that means I've properly broke the pattern of abuse.

I will say that he redeemed himself (in the follow-up stories) a bit in my eyes by his refusal to sell the story to the media/talk show crowd.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-11 05:58 pm (UTC)
He's at least that smart.
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