My abuse was usually a reaction to an action of hers, but that was no excuse, and it was almost always a huge overreaction on my part. - From When Jonathan Cried for Me, by Carter Lee.
HOUSTON, February 14, 2012 - Last Thursday, a video went viral of a man, Tommy Jordan, lecturing his daughter, Hannah, online. He actually posted it on her Facebook for all of her friends to see.
This at first appeared to be just a dose of her own medicine since the fifteen-year-old complained about her parents on her Facebook; this was typical fifteen-year-old diatribe.
At the beginning of the video, this man states how she was grounded for three months for doing something similar in the past and failing to learn her lesson. This in and of itself is reaching an extreme level of discipline, teasing with humiliation.
Many professionals teach parents not to ground a teenager any longer than just a couple of days. If there is too much time between the behavior and penalty, the message delivered through the punishment actually becomes less clear, inhibiting the child from actually learning from her mistakes. The longer a child is grounded, the larger the risk becomes that the teen will inevitably yearn to rebel throughout the rest of the teenage years.
As if this weren’t bad enough, Tommy Jordan found a way to outdo himself.
At first, the video isn’t so terrible. He is simply verbally correcting her, and it may have acted as just a teachable moment, had he left it at that. As the video progresses, however, this father shares that the last time she did this, when she was grounded for way too long, he was close to putting a bullet in her laptop.
By the end of the video, he takes a gun out, brags about the model of the gun, and shoots her laptop six times stating, “…these are exploding hollow point rounds, and you have to pay me back for these too because these are about a dollar a piece.”
Make no mistake about it: this is an act of violence.
In my book, I discuss how I was violent and abusive prior to my transformation to inner peace. What’s the difference between me, then, losing my temper and punching holes in my wall and what this man did to his daughter’s laptop? Is it supposed to be okay because he was calm?
If I had calmly punched holes in my wall and broken valuables, would that have meant that it was okay?
Instead of this ridiculously cruel act, he could have made her give her laptop, which I assume he paid for, to the poor and said: “Someone more needy and appreciative can have this; someone who will not use it to talk trash about her own parents. When you can afford to buy a laptop, then you can have one.”
Instead, he decided to send a violent message and also teach her that it’s okay to destroy something valuable as though it’s no big deal.
Many parents support this man’s actions; many have also spoken against it. Some have gone so far to say that because of this aggressive video, his daughter will probably end up becoming a stripper.
I think the latter is a ridiculous statement, but it definitely helps validate his daughter’s stance of him acting as an enemy.
Teenagers are bound to rebel. They complain that they feel like slaves and that their parents don’t “get them.” This is nothing new. As parents, we are supposed to be more mature than the teenager we are raising; we are supposed to have behavior that rises above their immaturity, not stoop to their level.
It’s easy to get frustrated at teenagers in this day and age when they can use technology to ignore the family, complain about them, and rebel. It’s one thing for a parent to feel like shooting a laptop, but to do it is a sign of having no control, which a parent should be in possession of at all times.
Jordan recently stated that if he knew this video would have gone viral, almost twenty- three million views now, that he still would have done it again, but, “I’d have worn my Silverbelly Stetson, not my Tilley hat, if I’d known that image was going to follow me the rest of my life; and I’d probably have cleaned my boots. That’s it.”
He also has found a way to make money off of this video and profit from it. Bad parenting, unfortunately, is nothing new. But the support this man has received is what has really astonished me. If this man is a hero to so many parents, what does that say about us as a country and as parents?
Apparently, Hannah and her father have come to some sort of “semi-truce,” but only time can tell how well that will uphold. There are many ways to discipline a child, but studies have shown the prolonged grounding and violence is ultimately ineffective. A real man doesn’t have to destroy belongings or yell to get his point across.
Jordan also said, “She’s seen first meaningful hand, through this video, the worst possible scenario that can happen. One post, made by her Dad, will probably follow him the rest of his life; just like those mean things she said on Facebook will stick with the people her words hurt for a long time to come. Once you put it out there, you can’t take it back, so think carefully before you use the internet to broadcast your thoughts and feelings.”
As immature and wrong as Hannah was, she didn’t make a video; she wrote a letter on her Facebook wall that only her friends could see. Jordan made a video that not only could be seen on her Facebook, but by anyone on Youtube. She may have hurt the feelings of a couple hundred friends versus the millions offended by her father’s video. In return, she is now known as the daughter of this ridiculous man.
In the space around him, Tommy Jordan has decided to return fire on his daughter’s behavior by acting equally immature.
She’s fifteen, so what was his excuse?
Carter Lee is the author of, When Jonathan Cried for Me, President of Innovative Social Dynamics LLC., and is a professional speaker. To learn more about his book visit http://www.whenjonathancriedforme.com . For a personal appearance or speaking engagement visit http://www.innovativesocialdynamics.com
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