I saw your video – the one where you emptied your .45 into your daughter’s laptop because you didn’t like her Facebook post. Maybe you’re hoping I’m one of the thousands of people who shared it, usually with a comment like “I love this guy!” or “This is my new hero!”
I didn’t, I don’t, and you’re not.
Oh sure, as theater, it was fine. But it wasn’t supposed to be theater. It was supposed to be about disciplining your fifteen-year-old daughter, Hannah. (And the fact that I know her name is part of the problem. I suppose, since you posted this to her page, if I wanted to work back through all the shares, I could find her last name, too. I could find out where she lives. I could find out lots of things about her. But you’re an IT guy right? You know that. I guess you just don’t care.)
Discipline was called for. Her post was rude. It was disrespectful. It demonstrated considerable immaturity and seemed to have been written by a spoiled kid with an unhealthy sense of entitlement. But, when you get down to it, her offense was this – she wrote a Facebook post complaining that you made her do too many chores, a post seasoned with some bad language, and she blocked you from her page so you wouldn’t see it.
What troubled me was your response. Your opening salvo was that, because you work in IT, she should have known you would see the post. She should have known you were smarter than her. She should have known she could never get away with it. How old are you, 40? Shouldn’t you be a little smarter than a fifteen-year-old? That’s not a criticism of her behavior, that’s a criticism of her intelligence. You just want to prove how smart you are. She thought she could post something insulting about you on her Facebook page and you wouldn’t know about it? You sure showed her. You posted something insulting about her on her Facebook page. Nyah Nyah Nyah. By the way, half a day to upgrade a fifteen-year-old’s laptop? Some hot-shot IT guy you must be.
Your logic sucks. You say “you may never see this” because you’re about to destroy the computer and, evidently, ban her from Facebook and any other technology you can think of ”maybe until college.” If she’s not supposed to see this, then what’s the point? This isn’t designed to discipline her, it isn’t designed to modify her behavior, it’s designed to humiliate your own daughter without her knowledge – one of the things you accuse her of doing.
Maybe one of the reasons your logic sucks is because you can’t remember the premises on which you are basing your argument. You say you grounded her for three months for doing something “stupid and childish” like this before, that you almost put a bullet through her computer that time, and that you’d warned her to never do it again. Then you admit that you can’t even remember what the “stupid and childish” thing that she did was. So you can’t remember the specific behavior the grounding was intended to correct the first time, but you’re sure this another example of it? I think what you’re sure of is that your daughter pisses you off from time to time, and every time she does, you are going to by-god teach her who the alpha dog is in this household, by Gumby.
But whatever it was she did, it was stupid and childish, right? The kid is fifteen. Stupid and childish goes with the territory. If you can’t deal with stupid and childish, then you shouldn’t have had, well, children. If you’re going to shoot your fifteen-year-old’s laptop when she puts up a Facebook post you don’t like, what are you going to do if she cuts school? Gets drunk? You find a joint in her room? What are you going to escalate to when she actually does something really bad? Shoot her?
You claim that one of your complaints about her post was that it contained foul language. OK, I suppose everyone has their own standards, and if I caught one of my kids posting language like that at fifteen, I’d have a chat with them about it. But you use the word “pissed” in your video. That’s OK, but shit isn’t? You make some kind of qualitative linquistic distinction between references to solid and liquid waste? And then you turn around and call you own daughter a “lazy ass.” On video. In public. For the whole world to see. That’s not discipline, that’s bullying.
As you repeatedly pointed out, she doesn’t have a job. So she didn’t pay for that laptop – you did. She might have been the one using it, but it belonged to you. Depriving her of its use teaches her a lesson. Destroying it just costs you money. You could have locked it up somewhere. You could have donated it to a school or to some kid in the area that couldn’t afford one. All you did by destroying a relatively expensive piece of your own property was teach the kid that you have anger management issues. It does make for better video though, right? Oh, you also taught her that you like to shoot stuff. By the way, the people n the red house behind you? Did you give them a call and warn them that you were going to empty a clip? Or do you just like to scare the shit out of your neighbors? Lucky you didn’t catch a bullet fragment or a chunk of computer in your foot.
Has it occurred to you that most of what was wrong with her post is your own fault? She complains that “at least once a day you tell me I should get a job.” Then why doesn’t she have one? You’re the parent – you’re supposed to use encouragement and consequences to generate the behaviors and character traits you want. You’re supposed to teach kids, with love and consistent rewards and punishments, that they do have to earn their way, that they do have to do chores, that they do have obligations to their families, their communities, to the world. If the kid is fifteen and hasn’t learned that yet, either she’s a sociopath, or she hasn’t been taught. If she has learned that, if this letter was just a teenage temper tantrum that’s out of character for her, then you are a monster. I think she’s learned, though. Based on your video, she’s learned exactly what you’ve taught her – you get your way in the world by humiliating people, complaining about people, bullying people.
So what was this really about? Discipline? Cleary not. You blowing off steam? This wasn’t you losing your temper. This was no act of passion. You had to set up the camera, get her computer, get your gun, head to wardrobe for your cool hat.
I’m pretty sure it was about this. It was about going viral. It was about trying to become the latest web sensation. At your own daughter’s expense.
You know how to do that, right? After all, you’re an IT guy.
Shame on you.