Where do firearms fit in your arsenal of parenting skills?
We admit that we snickered bit over this video clip of a fed-up father taking his teen to task in a very public way with a .45 pistol, but we cringed, too.
The dad in the cowboy hat, North Carolina resident Tommy Jordan, discovers a profanity-peppered anti-chore diatribe on his daughter’s Facebook page. He reads her letter aloud, addresses her accusations, calls her “lazy,” and wraps things up taking a gun to the laptop she used to write the letter.
We’re of several minds about this at CF.ca—we were once teenage girls and see a bit of ourselves in the daughter’s letter. As the parent of a 5-year-old firecracker, I feel a bit like I’ve seen the portent of things to come. And we know that everywhere, parents of teens are cheering.
Guns and giggles aside, this dad made a rotten choice taking this laptop shoot-up public. He’s obviously angry about his daughter’s attitude, and embarrassed that she’s posted the letter to a public forum. But the clip feels like revenge with an undercurrent of shaming, and that’s bad parenting.
I understand the impetus behind his response, but Shoot ‘Em Up Dad missed an important opportunity for teaching and listening. His daughter is entitled to her feelings—and it sounds like she’s upset. A letter signed, “Your Pissed-Off Daughter” couldn’t be clearer—Jordan has an angry kid who is feeling unheard and overburdened. Rather than open up a discussion, he shuts her down with a gun (Seriously? Who does that?), adding to her alienation.
My advice would be to start with family review and possible redistribution of responsibilities. Also, it sounds like Jordan and his daughter both need a discussion of appropriate venues for privately venting frustrations (does anyone keep a diary anymore?). And someone needs to put this family’s laptops and guns into “Toy Purgatory” for at least a week.
I can’t see how this tactic will help things between this dad and daughter duo. On the other hand, who knew hollow-point bullets go for a dollar a pop?
Update: It turns out that Tommy Jordan’s daughter isn’t the only one learning a lesson about posting things online. After his video exploded on the Web, Jordan was deluged by thousands of responses on YouTube and Facebook. Support and criticism poured in, as did interview requests. Jordan took to Facebook to answer interview questions from the Toronto Star newspaper. His response is thoughtful and measured, and doesn’t include a single gunshot.
What do you think? Did he go too far?
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