Respect Your Parents or They Will Follow Through

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image by Cathe Post

You may have heard about this dad who recently punished his daughter through a video on YouTube. Through writers on GeekMom and various social media venues where the event has been shared, I have seen every opinion in the spectrum of possibilities from chastising the father to praising him.

The video was a very timely topic in our house as my husband and I are preparing to hand over my netbook to our almost-6-year-old as part of her Valentine’s Day gift. We have discussed at length what parameters will be set for her when using the computer (out at the kitchen table, ask first, etc.). All of that aside, if and when we allow our kids to use Facebook, they will be required to have Tim and I as friends (not because I don’t trust my kids, but because I don’t trust other people). I would hope my kids would have the sense to either tell me to my face if they had a problem or tell one of their friends over the phone or in person.

The dad was nice enough to work on the daughter’s computer and put money and time into it for her to use in completing school work. The dad found the upsetting status by going to the family dog’s Facebook page – she didn’t block the dog, so it showed up in the feed. Ranting about Facebook’s privacy practices isn’t going to solve anything in this case since the dad wasn’t snooping. If anything, the daughter should have been a little smarter about airing her feelings in a technology-based public arena when her dad works in IT and is working on her computer.

Finally, the shooting of the laptop: I do not own a handgun, but I have been in competitive target shooting. I commend the dad for following through (and, he has responded to his following through on Facebook). He had told his daughter the FIRST time she pulled a stunt like this that if it happened again, he would put a bullet in her computer – and he did! Means of punishment aside, the dad followed through. You have no idea how frustrated I get with parents who let their children get away with stuff by saying, “if you do that one more time, I’ll punish you,” for the fifteenth time in a row. I have to wonder what buttons this girl pushed on her parents to have a parent have to follow through on a threat of this magnitude.

Personally, I would have just password protected the laptop and hid it in my closet with a post-it saying, “You get the password when I get $130.” Good software that was just paid for doesn’t need to be destroyed when it can be used by someone else.

It’s a sad situation all around. Technology is a two-sided coin; it makes our lives easier and harder all at the same time. I’m sure this girl will need a computer to finish school work. Sounds like she’s going to have to beg to use the family computer or huff it to the library. I’ve also seen some opinions wondering if the father just made the video for his own validation and not to punish the daughter, because with destroying her computer, she won’t see the video. Kids have cell phones. She’ll see the video, and hopefully be reminded she needs to follow the rules or suffer the severe and embarrassing consequences. How would you have handled the situation?

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37 thoughts on “Respect Your Parents or They Will Follow Through

  1. My biggest problem with this is that he destroyed usable a computer. Taking it away from his daughter seems fair, but he should have given it to someone who could use it and appreciate it. Like maybe the lady who cleans their house.

  2. I can’t get behind praising him for followthrough on this. He could also have said, “The next time you do this, I’m going to kill you.” Nobody would want to see the followthrough there. Better to think more clearly about the consequences of your actions if you want your children to think more clearly about the consequences of theirs.

          1. Hardly. I’m certainly not the model of perfect parenting, and I do appreciate that he was doing what he thought at the time was the best he could. It was obvious in the video that he was being rash and acting out of anger. Even he’s had second thoughts about his choices.

            I had a long talk with my mother (who managed to raise three teens into adulthood without shooting anything) and we both had similar thoughts on the video.

  3. I liked the follow through too, but would have either sold the thing and blown all the money on something I never allow myself as a luxury (spa day, gamble it all at the track, whatever ;-)). I get that he threatened the bullet, so shooting was the thing he did, but I’m betting that it’s frowned upon in any pistol safety and handgun responsibility course.

    It would have been pretty horrible, but really funny in a totally inappropriate way, if one had ricocheted and gone right back at him.

  4. I agree, personally, I wouldn’t have shot the laptop. I would have sold it, or given it to a sibling – although if it’s still in the house there seems to be the thought that it’s not really gone, you know. I too am glad this parent stuck to the rules and didn’t just ground his daughter again. Reading the follow up was really nice. I like that they talked together about the video. I like that his daughter saw some of the negative Nelly’s who think she will only be a stripper or teen mom. I think this girl is getting the foundation to go far. Parents who react when a kid screws up, don’t have children who lose their job for not keeping their mouth shut on facebook. It’s really that simple. Childhood is a time to learn the how to behave and interact in society. In my mind that’s what the dad showed her. Not what I would have done, but very logical and beneficial to all parties, in my mind, because for the way the daughter is being raised, she’ll get the message.

  5. It’s kind of sad that some people will disregard what is good about his parenting because he destroyed a computer or shot a gun. I’m glad to see that many people appreciate his firm parenting, because I know I do.

    1. Yes. After reading some of the family responses on Facebook, I have been amazed at how well the daughter has taken it versus how some members of society.

  6. I wasn’t ok with his public humiliation of his child. I will never do that to my kid and my parents never did it to me even when I was an awful teenager, and looking back I’m grateful as hell. You do stupid stuff when you’re a teenager, it’s your parent’s job to teach you how to grow from your mistakes. Revenge shouldn’t be part of that. But now Hannah Jordan’s name is all over the internet as a lazy entitled brat and that’s going to suck when she’s a normal, well-adjusted twenty something that we all eventually turn out to be.

    I think people forget that his video wasn’t actually TO his daughter. His audience was anyone who wanted to see it on YouTube. It just smacks of self-promotion and nothing of parenting. And he totally lost the power struggle with his daughter by sinking to her level rather than getting her to act like an adult. I’m not incredibly surprised that she acts like that to begin with, stupid reactions made in anger seem to be the status quo in the Jordan household.

  7. I am all for following through but this was just vindictive IMHO. Instead of teaching her respect he showed her that if she humiliated him, he would humiliate her even more.

    1. Maybe you have to be a guy to appreciate where he was coming from – in order to understand how a father would think.

      She disrespected them publicly on Facebook. He called her out on it – publicly. That should teach her that there are consequences for her actions. He did not intend the video to go viral. He posted it on her Facebook page so the same people who read her post would see his response.

      Public actions deserve public responses. If she had done that to her employer she would probably have been fired. And an e-mail would have gone out stating s/g like “Please be advised that ‘so and so’ no longer works for us”. I’ve seen it happen multiple times. If she ever gets caught speeding, she’ll be pulled over on the side of the road and ticketed. Everyone who drives by will see. If she breaks the law in a way that requires arrest, she will be arrested in public. The world doesn’t care about your privacy and that your feelings may be hurt.

      I don’t think what he did was vindictive at all. We can disagree with his approach or think he might have overreacted but as a father of three boys, two of whom are teenagers, I think I see the bigger picture (Hey, I could be wrong). How she treats her parents will affect how she treats authority throughout her life.

      It’s a better lesson to learn at 15 than 19 or 25 or 40.

      1. You don’t have to be a guy to understand. From some responses I have seen, it has a lot to do with where you live and your history that spur opinions on this happening.

        That aside, it is an excellent point that this is a lesson better learned now rather than later.

        I agree with your points.

      2. Except now the video is a huge Internet thing, meaning it will follow her in college & job applications. It’s the “I’ll show you not to complain in public by complaining in public part and making us internet celebrities” that I would disagree with.

        1. Exactly.

          He could just as easily have tagged her FB page with a text response to the message that explained to all who saw it (and only all who saw it) that she was being punished for her actions.

  8. This is certainly a hot topic on the web and seems to be discussed wherever I turn. I have to admit that some comments make my blood boil

    Computer destruction aside. I think he proves that parenting is a very hard job! We are responsible for molding the next generation of adults and we are responsible for teaching our children how to be adults with high character! I commend his responsibility! Parents who take their parenting seriously mold better children than so many parents I see who look to others to raise their children! Or seem to not realize the consequences of their lack of discipline and guidance! Kudos to all of you who are raising great kids and take parenting seriously – for your kids are the ones I want my kids to be friends with!!! 🙂

  9. Follow through is nice, but the threAt itself seems violent and extreme. Also, I’m sure there’s an economic divide in the responses. In a world where $500 can feed some families for a year, destroying a $500 computer like this laptop or the iPad-in-a-blender seems horribly offensive.

  10. I sympathize with the gentleman in the video. The central issues he is fighting affect us all. The sense of entitlement children have, and for parents, the fact that our society lacks common educational and parenting goals and ideals, affects us all.

    I was startled when I figured out that my son was the only child in his social group that had to do chores (he was 10 at the time, 13 now.) It is indeed frequently more time consuming to do tasks yourself than to teach a child and to supervise the work (and put up with the whining), even after months and years of trying. I, too, feel that the other parents are not holding up their end.

    Would this parent have gone postal on a laptop if other parents in his child’s social group had assigned an equivalent level of home tasks?

    If our society had decided that 7 year-olds didn’t need cell phones and laptops?

    We have accepted technology, everything from dishwashers to cell phones, into our children’s lives without considering what we gain and what we lose. There were no double-blind studies to see what happens when unmonitored computer access (and I include video games and phones here) is given to children. The least attentive parents are seen as the standard, and are setting the agenda. Video games and Facebook are not just a part of the cultural conversation: for teenagers, they seem to be equal to TV, and to have surpassed print media. Restricting computer or phone (or TV) access is seen as cruelty.

    If other parents gave a moment’s thought to the effects of treating their children like pampered pets with the latest toys, rather than the usual “I’m sure that balance and monitoring is the way to go” platitude, we wouldn’t be at this divide.

    There has been no public debate on these issues, and it is telling that this happened on YouTube: the mass media has no interest in examining itself and its effect on society or educational development. I congratulate this gentleman on finding a way to bring this issue to the broader public. My only quibble: this looks like a guy who has a shotgun as well as a .45. One round of double-ougtht buck would have done the job better, for less money. Hang that baby from a sawhorse in front of a berm…shoot from the side in slow motion… what a visual! Perhaps he could have held up the tattered remains like a fresh-caught fish. The slug holes are kind of boring. The end result of a shotgun blast would have been irresistible as a news photo.

    1. I feel the exact same way, I have an 11 year old who has been doing chores since she was 5. Yes she wasn’t doing hard core chores when she was 5, but she was learning responsibilty and good character building skills. Also, none of my kids have any gadgets but an MP3 player to use, and they use the family computer or laptop at the table where they can be seen by an adult. She nows does more and her younger siblings are doing the same stuff she did at that age. Parents of her friends always tell me that I am too hard on my kids for giving them chores. We are a well adjusted family, we have never had to spank or do anything more harsh than getting something taken away, and our kids have more love and respect for us than you see in the kids the same age in their classes. It does make me ill that my husband and I are seen as the bad guys most of the time, and it also makes me ill that these will be their good friends and potential mates in life later on.

  11. If he is an IT professional then he ought to understand the incredible amount of miraculous technology inside a laptop. It is a disgusting thing to destroy such a valuable and beautiful object just to make a stupid point and boost his own ego.

    A thousand years of concentrated human effort and ingenuity were needed to reach our level of technology. Some people should not be allowed to use it. Period.

    1. It sounds like you are one of those people who doesn’t need to use technology, since you glorified it so much T1Brit.

    2. So….you’ve never watched a movie where a car is destroyed on purpose? Or a laptop smashed? Or a computerized security system destroyed? (Examples: Sneakers, Terminator 2, Die Hard, etc.) The only reason that 18 million people watched this and gave the issue some thought is that Mr. Jordan did something he wasn’t supposed to do- put a bullet through a laptop.

      It was a special effect- one that I don’t think he realized would resonate so broadly.

      It was one old laptop- there’s only a billion more. There are 6 in various states of repair in my house, and probably as many in yours.

  12. First off, I’d like to state that I’ve raised four girls, yes, it a lot of work and often dissappointing but well worth the effort.
    Secondly I am a gun owner, and I firmly believe that this right comes with a huge responsibility.
    I can understand this parents position, and even his feelings, but the use of a firearm in a disiplinary action does’nt fly with me.
    The message is not appropriate, using a sledgehammer or the family car would be far better, but destroying the laptop in anger was a waste to begin with. Better he gave it to another person, there are lots of kids that could use a laptop.
    Lastly, I could see another house a couple hundred yards away. While we only see one view, I do not believe this was a safe place to go launching .45 slugs around.
    Whole thing could have been handled much better. I just wonder if this guy is still employed…

  13. isn’t it illegal to change someone’s profile without their permission, it is in england uk. shouldn’t IT people know this or is this allowed in the t and c.

    my mum would hunt me down if i dis-respected her on the internet. And people talk she would find out, even if i did feel like doing something like this

    i don’t agree with his actions (slightly wasteful) or judge his actions (i don’t know his child), sometimes powerful messages need to be seen to be believed, i have a little nephew (6) and a niece (4) that are telling mummy she doesn’t follow thru on punishment, like no tv.

    1. I am fairly sure there are allowances for parents adjusting their underage children’s profiles. However, I haven’t gone over the t&c in depth about that yet. My son is only 6, and so has no interest in the social media world.

    1. 🙂 It’s something my parents started for me a long time ago. What we do for the kids normally doesn’t cost a lot of money, it’s more of a thoughtful gesture to them. The computer is a bare-bones hand me down for homework (yes, they have computer homework in Kindergarten).

  14. I don’t agree with this father’s actions in any way. The daughter acted immaturely, yes. As all kids do, she needs adults in her life who are as examples of that maturity. He’s angry because she publicly shamed him, so he does exactly the same thing except on a much larger scale, along with violence to property. Escalating a conflict only feeds it. Sometimes it seems to solve things temporarily, but he’s demonstrated only that he has power over her, not that he is mature, reasonable, or someone to imitate.

    Watching this, I imagined HIS father showing up to teach him a lesson about airing the family’s troubles in public and using a gun incorrectly, perhaps by running the gun over with heavy equipment and posting the whole thing on YouTube…..

    1. Laura, what you said! Yes!

      “he’s demonstrated only that he has power over her”
      Glorified bullying does not equal good parenting at all.

      And what has he taught his child about respect for fire arms? Good grief?

      As for the sticking to what he said or following through, he missed a HUGE opportunity to admit his own mistake in what he said while also following through on consequences. Just by saying “Okay, so I’m realizing that putting a bullet through the computer is not the best solution and I said that in the heat of the moment so I am not changing that there will be concequences at all, but I am exchanging the ‘bullet through the computer’ to ___________.”(insert appropriate consequence for the situation i.e. take the computer; sell it; require a public apology from her posted via her FACEBOOK page) THAT is maturity rather than imature bullying.

      There are so many better ways to have handled this. I agree the man let his ego get in the way. If you sign up for parenting you sign up for being disrespected and embarrassed at some point because children are human thus not perfect.

      The man just needed to recognize that he made a mistake in the whole “put a bullet through your computer” statement and needed to backtrack and correct HIS mistake. It does not take away from the reality of her mistake but does live out the example that he as a parent is responsible for what he says and does, just like he is expecting her to be.

  15. To me the only problem is the gun.

    He could have just as easily used a sledgehammer on the laptop.

    The implied threat “Behave or your next” is what I find truly disturbing.

  16. I definitely don’t agree with the bullet-through-the-laptop. In her Facebook post, the girl complained (apparently, without merit if you believe the father) about how rough her life was. My response would be: “Ok, here’s what we’re going to do. I’ve just wiped your laptop. I deleted all of your stuff and restored it to a fresh state. Now, you and I are going to go down to a Children’s Hospital or center for abused teens or something and hand it over to some kid. You are then going to fill out a volunteer form to work there for at least two or three months. This should show you just how rough life can be and how good you have it if your only concerns are whether the bed is made.”

    1. this is probably the best response i’ve seen on here. the girl deserved to be punished for complaining about her easy life. i wonder if the dad would like to trade his 15 year old daughter who doesnt want to do chores while getting free rent, free food, free laptop with software updates regularly and she’ll probably get a car for free in the next couple years for a 22 year old son who is tired of having a job and paying rent but will do all the laundry and dishes and probably more to get by with that little girls sweet life

      i would also suggest he should’ve sold the laptop and then made a video montage of him going out and wasting all the money he got for on stuff like candy and laser tag and go karts.

      1. Man, I’m taking notes on
        TechyDad’s and 605Pete’s responses for 5-7 years down the line when I may have a smart-mouth teenager – I like both of your ideas 🙂

  17. When my teenager had done similar acts of incivility I shut down her internet access for a month or two or disabled her cell phone account. When I felt it necessary to get rid of something permanently, I’ve donated it to charity or the goodwill store – and made sure she knew why it disappeared.

    I have no issue with destructive fun, I consider it a hobby. I once set two (completely non-functioning) computers on fire in a video (that were later torn down and processed for scrap through a recycling center). But I’d never use it as a method of discipline.
    I agree with others on here that using a firearm to solve one problem implies that you’d use it to solve others – which is hardly a good message to send.

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