I was sent a video today by my #1 fan (who I won’t name because she never comments, as far as I know… and it’s not my wife, who rarely reads my blog… but that’s okay, I honestly don’t mind, because I get to reuse all the jokes that work here at home).
I guess this video is really making the rounds (horrible gun pun), because Dr. Daniel Fincke over at Camels With Hammers did a piece on it. Boy, it’s a small world… wide web.
So I watched it, and I won’t watch it again, because it’s awkward and made me feel uneasy. I will refrain from commenting on his occasional stutter, because that would be p-p-petty.
I don’t even know where to begin… he’s upset about his daughter having a private online life where she can complain about her parents. I grew up before social media (ow, my hip!), but even before MyFace and SpaceBook (or whatever the kids are into these days), we talked shit about parents. This guy talked shit about his parents when he was a teenager, too, he just obviously either forgot or he chooses to ignore that aspect of his own personal development.
There was nothing, and I mean nothing, in that post that was inappropriate. All 14-15 year olds use foul language. Every other word out of my mouth when I wasn’t around adults at that age was “fuck.” He spent a little time being upset about the language, so I thought I’d use this opportunity to point out he’s being a bitch.
You know what would have been inappropriate? You know what would have warranted anger from a parent? If she made false claims, ranging from emotional abuse to physical or sexual abuse. That would certainly warrant a flip-out on his part. That I could see being a serious problem worth addressing. That isn’t what she said, at all.
He seems really pissed off about the idea of his teenage daughter (who I think is 14 or 15, so in high school) getting an allowance for doing chores. He then waxes nostalgic about how when he was her age, he was kicked out the house, while going to high school and college.
Look buddy, I’m going to call bullshit. I don’t know how the education system works in… Alabama, or where ever the fuck you’re from, but you can’t go to college and high school at the same time here in America, at least not today.
This might be his problem: he appears to have aggrandized himself. People of the older generation tend to do this. They’re upset about kids today not living exactly like they did, never mind that kids today learn more in one year of high school than most baby-boomers learned in all of high school. I took Calculus in high school, which was the dreaded college course of my parents’ generation… and it was really easy. I’m not a genius, and I was in a class full of other non-geniuses…we just happened to be better educated than our parents. We did more homework, we were forced into more organized, structured, extra-curricular activities, and we had less free-time to be creative and original, so get off our fucking back, eh?
If this was about bad grades, I would also kind of understand. That can affect your future. But no, this was about one dad’s pride and his view that someone who is a high school student should have a job, like he did, back when black people couldn’t ride in the front of the bus. Everyone knows there’s a ton of jobs right now!
But this is all beating around the bush. What everyone is talking about is the ending. After seven minutes of whining and moaning over his bruised ego, he decides to “punish” his daughter by shooting her laptop, and I mean literally taking out a gun and shooting it, something like 8 or 9 times.
And he wonders where his daughter might get the idea for being a drama whore about family matters online… [I learned it by watching you…]
Personally, if I were her, I would steal his gun, sell it, and buy a new laptop that I would keep at a friend’s house (preferably someone with sane parents). That’s just me, because I was a horrible kid by that age, and I was perfectly comfortable with seeing my parents as imperfect people who essentially just stood in my way from time to time, even though they loved me. For a teenager, parents are an obstacle, especially parents who punish you for any and everything.
But what I found most annoying wasn’t the use of a gun. Yes, that was childish and irresponsible, but what I think people don’t realize is how stupid his actions are, in the context of what is happening. For one thing, if the issue is money (and it appears to be), he just wasted hundreds of dollars on his catharsis, for which he is claiming (as he shoots it) she will have to reimburse him. He even wants her to pay for the bullets he’s using. Yeah, she’ll pay you for that when the sun rises in the west.
Also, he claims to work in IT, but he’s upset about “$130 worth of software” on the laptop. Newsflash: you still have the disks… or you should, anyway. Maybe it was a digital download or something and it’s lost forever… along with her cherished photos and anything personal she may have written… not that this guy seems to care. He’s more interested in trying to make a point… with a gun.
Hey, it was just collecting dust, and people refuse to try to break into his house so he could be a hero, so he had to get creative if he wanted to use that bad boy.
Besides the fact that shooting her laptop won’t make his daughter stop bad-mouthing him (my money is on her doing it more, now), you know what else doesn’t work? Grounding.
Don’t ground your kids, especially for long periods of time. I understand grounding a kid for a weekend, or maybe two weeks if they set the house on fire “just to watch it burn,” but that’s the full extent of the acceptable spectrum.
You know what you get if you ground your kid punitively? You get either a shut-in or an inmate. I got grounded a lot as a kid, and my parents were hard to hide anything from… so I got really, really good at not being caught, hence I became a recluse, not a prisoner.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you ground your kids, you are conditioning them to not leave the house. When I was grounded, I got really good at staying up late, hours past when my parents go to bed, then sneaking downstairs to watch late night TV, which is way more raunchy than primetime TV. Also, for lack of anything else to do, I became a serious masturbator. I had socks I could *clack* together. I sometimes just sat alone in the dark jerking off four or five times over the course of an hour.
So this got really weird, really fast… but that’s the thing about grounding, it warps you. I spent all that time alone, not socializing, not being a normal kid. I just brooded on my own, late at night, dick in hand, and the result is the man I am today.
I’m not sure cutting a person off from other people or the things they are passionate about should be seen as the proper way to punish your kids. I don’t look back on the time I spent being grounded and think, “Well, my parents did it because they loved me,” I think, “Why couldn’t I be part of the generation that just got smacked?”
Honestly, I would rather be shot eight or nine times (preferably in the limbs, away from any joints) than have my hard drive wiped. At least I would have my computer to use during the lengthy rehab.
What’s more, the daughter made a poignant observation that her father just glossed over. One day, our parents will need our help. One day, they will need us to wipe their asses for them.
When I was going through the natural process of maturation, my parents weren’t very understanding. Maybe when they go through their process of maturing into incontinent prunes, I won’t be understanding. Maybe I’ll suggest they just sit in the corner, drenched in their own excrement, and think about what they’ve done.
Maybe, but I won’t, because my parents never shot my laptop. The closest it ever came to that for me was once, I yelled at my sister for throwing my walkie-talkie in the air. I got grounded for the summer and my mom took all of my sports cards away from me, which was my equivalent of a laptop, in that my collection was valuable and meant everything to me. All that, over chiding my sister about not breaking my toy.
My dad came home that night and dug my cards out of the trash and assured me he wouldn’t destroy them. To this day, I remember that act of kindness, that moment of sensibleness, and I love my father and despise my mother. My mother was always over-reacting, and my father was always coming home and trying to set things back to being as normal as possible, without undermining her completely.
I’ll never understand the mindset of people like my mother. I still yell at people when I’m angry, so her stupid little punishment accomplished absolutely nothing (especially given that she reinforced my behavior by yelling at me because she was angry). This girl who no longer has her laptop will not only still talk shit about her parents, but I imagine this viral video will have her talking behind their back even more.
These kind of aggressive, over-the-top punishments not only don’t work, but more importantly, they risk turning your kids into the same asshole you became. So keep this in mind: if you run your house like a jail, don’t be surprised when your kids start acting like criminals.