Parenting by .45

I assume most of you have seen this video by now? It’s shows a dad reacting to his daughter’s ridiculous and profane Facebook rant about her parents by executing her laptop. Literally. With nine .45 caliber hollow-points. Two things I want to say in reaction:

1) I’ve observed that kids rarely do what their parents tell them to. However, they nearly always imitate their parents’ behavior. So this fellow just taught his daughter that the appropriate way to deal with a problem is to aim a pistol at it and pull the trigger nine times. Yeah, I can’t imagine ANY way that lesson could backfire. Can you?

2) If this dad had punished his daughter in some reasonable way and given her a hug, reassuring her that he loves her despite her behavior, would that video have gone viral? I doubt it.

Am I wrong? I hope so. Convince me I’m wrong in the comments, please.

15 thoughts on “Parenting by .45

  1. I haven’t watched the video, but I can’t believe people have been cheering it. (or rather I can, but I’m disgusted by it.)

    Children are going to act like children. Adults are supposed to act like adults. Maybe if he acted a little more mature, his daughter would know how to do the same.

    • I am cheering it! While I found the use of the gun to be shocking, he was actually much calmer than I would have been as he handled the situation.

      He wanted a point that would be remembered by his daughter (and one he had threatened to do if she were to make the same error in judgement again). He ‘shot’ the computer outside, nowhere near his daughter, and not towards anyone that it could hurt. (Would everyone feel better if he would have beat the heck out of it with a sledge hammer??)

      It is a very serious problem with children spilling their raw emotions onto social media. They think there are no consequences. They get cheered on by their friends for being disrespectful or sharing things that can cost them dearly down the road.

      His daughter is actually shocked by the negative reaction her dad is getting. She was mad about what he did, but here we have a dad that actually has conversations with his daughter, and she knew where he was coming from.

      A lesson was learned here by both. He never meant for this to go viral. It furthered his point to her in how he shared something with just their friends and family, and now the world is discussing their family.

      If he were truly immature about this, he would have been cussing and saying damaging things about his daughter. (I’ve seen it done.)

      All those that say just a little love and compassion would have fixed this problem…yeah, he had already “been there, done that” and clearly that did not work. He used a shock tactic, and then returned to the love and compassion of a father who discusses things with his daughter.

      I have a feeling most of the reactions on here come from the video alone without reading further into it. Check out his FB page and learn what a great parent he really is.

  2. There are so many cases where parents should be outlawed. This is certainly one of them. Who owns the behavior issues? Does the apple fall far from the tree? Who is acting maturely? I completely agree…love and compassionate along with logic and reasoning can make the learning experience go along way. I wonder what this guy is thinking about himself these days? Is he proud of the way he looks?

    Peace. Mark

  3. You’re wrong. This Dad, although perhaps a bit melodramatic, showed his daughter that her actions do have consequences. He didn’t act rashly and go off on a tirade… he carefully thought out what kind of consequence might actually have an effect on his teenage daughter, and carried out that consequence.

    If more parents would carry out real consequences for their children instead of just saying “Well, kids will be kids” our world would be a kinder and more compassionate place.

    The idea of “Kids will be kids” should serve to let us understand and love our children even when they misbehave. The key is, when they misbehave, parents must step in and make sure the children understand that what they did was wrong. When my child was 2 and threw a tantrum, I didn’t passively say “Yup. That’s what 2yo’s do.” I gave her a time-out, then talked about why her actions were not acceptable.

    Who cheered at the scene in “Office Space” where they beat up the old copier with baseball bats? Yes, this dad’s gun was dramatic, but essentially no different than the copier/bat scenario.

    • Where I’m from, it’s very normal to shoot things. It’s part of the culture (although I don’t shoot… yankee transplant). He didn’t actually put his daughter in danger and he never threatened her with violence. He only repeated how much he cared about her and how he was desperate to make sure she grew up into a respectable and mature adult.

    • I completely agree with you that the daughter should be punished. I said as much in my post. Nor did I ever argue that “kids will be kids.” You’re constructing a straw-man instead of addressing the actual content of my post. That’s sloppy thinking at best, or disingenuous at worst.

      What I object to is the dad teaching her daughter that guns are a good way to solve mundane problems. I was taught never to fire a weapon except at a range, while hunting, or in a life and death situation. I still think that’s good advice to responsible gun owners. In many jurisdiction, it’s also the law.

      I also object to our glorification of a father using violence to “teach” his 15-year-old daughter something. I suspect that what she learned was never to tell her parents anything again and to use a means other than Facebook to kvetch to her friends.

  4. I personally thought it was a great video. It got his message across and he had taken the lap top away so many times that “reasonable” punishment wasn’t getting through. The man also responded to a lot of criticism on his facebook page and has refused to do interviews, because he is worried about the effect it will have on his daughter. I genuinely think he was just trying to get through to his daughter in a way he hadn’t been able to.

    His response on facebook is worth a read for anyone concerned about his actions.

    • I really like that post. And I like this guy. He seems real and like he actually cares about his daughter. He has a lot of humor, which I expect helps. On one of his posts he talked about joking with his daughter about selling the laptop on ebay for her college fund and she suggested that if it sold well, he should shoot her cell phone, too. I’m sure his actions wouldn’t have worked for a lot of parents, but I think it worked for him, because he wasn’t trying to go viral, he was just being himself and trying to get through to his daughter.

  5. I don’t think that he’s showing her she can just put bullets in a problem. He explains exactly why he’s doing what he is and this is effectively the same as taking the laptop away from her– except with more spectacle and finality. Grounding her and giving her a hug would not have the same effect. I remember it not having an effect on my friends in high school.

    I think I’d agree with you a bit more if he’d whipped the gun out as soon as he’d discovered the post, but he didn’t. This isn’t just an angry reaction. He chose a path that he thought would get her attention and humiliate her. And it’s because he thought this all out that I think the rest of his parenting might be a little less spectacle-ridden. He seems like an okay guy who loves his daughter and that means so much more than one crazy(but, again, intentional) outburst.

  6. I do actually think you’re wrong. 🙂 Yes, children do imitate their parents, but I think you’re insulting the daughters intelligence by saying that her dad making a big showy statement is going to translate into her shooting people. As a 15 year old girl, I never would have gone that route…”oooh, my dad shot my laptop, so I should shoot people that piss me off!” it just doesn’t translate like that. Anyone who has trained with firearms knows the difference between target practice and shooting people. They’ve actually done studies that show children who are brought up in households that are open about weapons and educate about them (vs the dad who hides one in the back of his closet) are far LESS likely to shoot themselves or someone else. The way this guy handled his gun, I’m guessing he’s educated his kids about firearm safety.

    As to your second point, sure, it was a little over the top, but sometimes, you’ve got to go a little over the top to really get your kids attention. This was the second infraction, so it’s not like she made one mistake and her dad just lost it. When my sister and I were younger, my dad couldn’t get us to clean our rooms. We kept getting in trouble, and not getting it done, so one day he drew a smiley face on a coal shovel, stuck it in my sisters room and said, “if your room isn’t clean by the end of today, this shovel is going to be really happy, because it’s going to get to scoop up everything in this room and toss it in the trash.” My sister was pretty upset, but let me tell you…her room was clean by the end of the night. The fact that some people might think this was “mean” or over the top doesn’t mean we didn’t go to sleep every night knowing our dad loved us.
    Judging by how generally calm this gentleman stayed throughout this video, I’m guessing he didn’t scream and yell at his daughter. I’m guessing she did get some very reasonable consequences (in the form of real chores, learning that real life isn’t as easy as being a teenager, loss of freedom, etc.) I say these are reasonable, because these things will happen in the real world. If she speaks this way about a boss at a job? She will lose her job. She will not be able to pay her bills or eat. If she thinks that her chores are hard work, she won’t be able to hold down a paying job. It seems to me, this father cares about his daughter. He WANTS her to succeed. He knows that she will never succeed with an attitude of entitlement, and he wants her to learn that now in the safety of home not out in the hard world…the world will NOT give her a hug and tell her it loves her after mopping the floor with her emotions. I suspect this dad DID give her a hug and tell her he loved her despite her behavior. Even when I got in huge trouble as a kid, even when my dad was really mad, I was always told that.

    Another last thought. As a teenager, I remember complaining to some friends about how strict my parents were, how they wouldn’t let me do anything. I will NEVER forget the moment that a friend turned to me and said in all seriousness, “At least you know they care about you.”

    Yes, what this dad did may have been over the top. But I’m pretty well convinced that he cares about his daughter. And, I think the world would be a better place if there were more parents who cared enough to go over the top now and then.

    • I think your point that I’m not giving the daughter enough credit is true and well taken. And it’s clear from his Facebook posting that this father cares deeply about his kids. I feel a lot better about the video viewed from that perspective.

      I have no objection to strict and loving parents–quite the opposite. But I do believe kids learn from what they see their parents do–far more than they learn from their parents’ words. And I worry about any situation in which firearms are used casually–I was taught to treat them with respect.

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