9 responses to “Facebook Parenting: Using Social Media to Teach Your Kids to Bully”

  1. Jackie Dishner

    So I can’t watch these videos more than once. I couldn’t even watch them in their entirety the first time.

    The first one looks amazingly dangerous for the child. If that parent isn’t headed to jail on child endangerment charges, I’d be surprised. Enough said there.

    And I couldn’t stand to hear the dad in the second video go on and on, trying to rationalize what he was about to do–use a gun to shoot bullet holes through his daughter’s laptop. Really? That’s good parenting??? OMG! And to think how calm he was through the whole thing. Wow. Just wow.

    He really thought he was making an effective point? Maybe, but only if he wanted to do exactly as Jen says and teach his daughter and other teenagers who might have seen this video (and you can bet they are rolling THEIR eyes at it, or laughing out loud at the stupidity) that if you get pissed off enough you can use a gun to take care of the problem. Nice going, dad. That’ll teach ‘em.

    And, Jen, I can’t say I’m surprised by the responses on your FB page that condone that dad’s behavior. My guess is they find some sense of familiarity with his parenting style. Certainly that’s the only reason anyone would applaud him, and that just makes me sad…that they find humiliation, intimidation and passive-aggressiveness familiar. Sad.

    What I hope that video does for parents of young children who’ve watched is illustrate how NOT to parent your teens.

    For starters, it’s not healthy to read your teenager’s FB page, especially if you’re going to take what’s on it personally. The only reason you might need to read a child’s FB page is to watch for lewd behavior that might get the girl in trouble somehow, or something that might affect her safety. That’s a good reason. Other than that, you’re just asking for disappointment–and you’re going to get it, because for any parent who thinks their teen is NOT going to feel angst toward them at some point in life–and verbalize that somewhere, anywhere–I say: Get over yourself! It’s not about you. It’s about them trying to find their place in a world that doesn’t always seem to make sense. Sorry, you’re going to be a target.

    And clearly this guy’s daughter’s world doesn’t make sense to her. After watching just a part of this video, maybe you can see why. And the dad acts like she owes him something because he installed new software on her laptop. He doesn’t say if she asked for it. But if he didn’t want to do that for her in the first place–and it sounds like there’s probably more to that story then what’s on the video–he shouldn’t have. What? No thank-you? Then uninstall it. Simple. Problem solved. You can make your point much clearer that way. Otherwise, the gun thing. Yeah, that’s just confusing, humiliating, embarrassing (to you and her), intimidating, and downright scary. So, what’s the point?

    And then there’s posting your response to your daughter’s angst on YouTube. OMG! Seriously, that is deranged. Why does anyone else besides the immediate family need to know any of this? That part made me uncomfortable. Um, voyeurism comes to mind. My guess is this is not the first time this dad has expressed his anger in really odd ways. But clearly he doesn’t see that this is odd, or he wouldn’t have done any of it all.

    What he might consider next time is to address his anger with his daughter in private, try to listen to her, encourage her to listen to him, to talk it out, and together try to uncover some solutions for their personal challenges. In private. Without guns. Maybe a therapist on board if things are that serious.

    As a parent who raised her teens, survived the angst, and lived to see her teenagers grow into remarkable, achievement-oriented parents themselves, I remember how tough those teenage years were. There were times I hated being their mom. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to run away. I wanted to scream. I didn’t always respond adequately. They didn’t give back as much as I gave. But I knew that wasn’t their job. They were not here to satisfy my needs. They were here to grow up, just like me. So I had to make room to let them. I had to be the adult. That was my job. So I stepped back, gave them space to make their own mistakes, and I tried like hell not to get sucked into their drama.

    Parents, seriously, if your kids are fighting you on every chore, debating you on every decision, and yelling at you when you’re saying no, let them. Just don’t engage them. They are pushing you to see how far they can push. So what? Set the curfews, build the boundaries, give them responsibility. And then make room for them to show you they can live up to that. The minute you let them see you think they can’t, they won’t. So it’s your job to be the adult. They are the kids right now, but they are going to outgrow that. You want them to know you believe they will. That’s your job–to have faith in them, to believe in them. If you can do that, they will believe in you–and you will get the respect you think you deserve.

    But a gun? A mean-spirited YouTube video? Neither of those are going to solve your parenting problems. They will only make things worse. And how do you erase that? It’s something to think about, for sure, before the next time you decide to push RECORD.

    Good luck!

  2. Wolfmother

    No behavior happens in a vacuum. If a child is ‘acting out’ it is always due to an unmet need and an immature emotional response to expressing that need. How it is socially acceptable to rejoice in humiliating, harming and essentially bullying others (even to children who are also people worthy of respect and compassion)is beyond me. I think that many parents don’t look to themselves and notice what they are teaching their children by their own words and actions (because it is from them that their children learn how to behave towards themselves and others) and so feel justified in ‘punishing’ them in sadistic ways to exert dominance. It is sickening. It also illustrates perfectly how those parents are immature psychologically themselves to think that it is acceptable to behave this way towards those that depend on them for their very well-being.

  3. Kristin

    Comparing the second video to the first is like comparing apples and oranges. Maybe he overreacted by shooting the laptop but I certainly would have taken the laptop away as well and she wouldn’t have gotten it back. Maybe he feared he would give in and give it back if he didn’t destroy it. I have had to stand my ground with my own children, even during times when it was humiliating for them. My own daughter was grounded from soccer for mouthing off and not doing her school work. She had been given multiple opportunities to correct her problem. I had no option but to take her with me to the ballpark because I have other children who play and no one to watch my daughter. So of course, she was humiliated when her friends ran up asking “why isn’t Piper playing?” and they had to be told “she’s grounded for a week” Yes, it humiliated her. She thought I would change my mind when we got to the park but I stuck to it. Playing is a privilege that she must earn by doing the things required of her, like her schoolwork

  4. Jenn

    anyone that thinks this man did a bad thing by calling out his kid on fb is very wrong. Clearly you have never lived with an entitled child, clearly you have never dealt with a willful child. Now with that said, he absolutely needs to follow through with everything he has said but I don’t think he will. Pretty much guaranteed the daughter will have a new computer in the next year. He waited WAY to long to take a stance and be a parent. An entitled child is taught to be an entitled child and this father needs to take a real good look in the mirror and take responsibility for the things he did to contribute to his daughters behavior because pretty sure he & mom are responsible. Starting with letting the child have a phone, laptop, & fb page fromthe beginning.

  5. Christie Haskell

    I’m with you, Jen. The first one, I can’t even WATCH for more than a couple seconds here and there because it makes me want to cry!
    The second, I watched today, and found it childish, wasteful, and also? It didn’t teach his daughter a damn thing.

  6. Jennifer

    I’m just sick over this. I grew up with a parent who kept threatening to throw me out of the house. To have me declared an emancipated minor — against my will — so I could be tossed out on the street. I wasn’t doing drugs. I wasn’t committing crimes. I wasn’t pregnant at 16 or cutting class. I was a straight-A student who was super-responsible, and I did all of my chores. But I was also a teenager and sometimes had a tendency to talk back. Because that’s what teenagers do.

    Maybe Facebook would have helped my situation. Maybe it would have made it worse.

    (And I honestly paused before posting this, in case my parents might see it, even though I’m in my 40s now. Threatening a child’s security has a lasting impact.)

    I understand the father’s anger, but not his actions. Kids are kids. They do stupid stuff sometimes. There do need to be consequences. Using a firearm to solve domestic conflict is out of the question. I would hope that if someone recognizes this family, that that person has called Child Protective Services.

    To hear that the young child in the snow was begging his parents for comfort while they goaded him to run practically naked in the snow just turns my stomach.

    There are no perfect parents. But I hope the vast majority of parents in the world routinely show greater compassion and exercise better judgement than those here.

  7. Jennifer Fink

    Oh my God. I have been in tears, off and on, all week as I’ve followed the fiasco that is the Josh Powell case. (You know, the guy that blew up the house with his two little boys in it.) And now these! I am in tears because in all of these cases, there is an adult that is showing clearly abusive characteristics, and somehow, we as a society keep ignoring them again and again and AGAIN! This is NOT OK. It is not OK to keep a crying toddler out in the snow in his underwear for any reason. It is NOT Ok to terrorize your 15 yr. old daughter by shooting her laptop. Put yourself in this daughter’s place. The dad has just shown that he’s willing to use a firearm to solve a problem. He clearly expects complete obedience and respect, as defined by him. And if you listen carefully, he must have had one hell of a messed up childhood if he was out on his own, working and going to school at age 15. These are all characteristics of abusers! My one hope is that someone in authority will see these videos and take steps to protect these children.

    I’m not hopeful, though. As evidenced by the many positive comments this man has received, too many, including our justice system and child protective agencies, still turn a blind eye to behaviors that are indicative of an abusive personality.

    Thanks again for a great, thought-provoking post.

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