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The Facebook Parent: A Response

The Facebook Parent: A Response

How to really help your troubled teen.

by

The Facebook Dad got over 28 million views on You Tube.

He sits on a lawn chair, his smoking cigarette dangles at his side, looks straight into the camera and speaks to us all.

“This is for my daughter Hannah and all her friends who think that her rebellious post on Facebook is cute.”

This father spent six hours and $130 fixing his daughter’s laptop only to discover her secret post on Facebook, cursing him out. [The following quote has been cleaned up for this family site.]

“To my parents: I am not your slave….It’s not my responsibility to clean up your garbage...You could just pay me for all the stuff I do around the house…I am tired of picking up after you…. I need to clean, do work around the house, chores, and school work. I’m tired of this garbage. I have no life.”

Dad takes a moment and then responds to his daughter’s obnoxious words.

“Pay you for chores? Seriously? We should pay you? Are you out of your mind? You are 15 years old. You want a new phone, iPod, stuff for your laptop? You’re too lazy. When I was your age I worked two jobs, went to school and was a volunteer fireman. You need to wake up in the morning and get to school. You don’t have that hard a life. But you’re about to. I’m so disappointed. And it’s all getting harder for you today. All the kids in school will see this. All the parents will get an idea. I want to put a stop to this right now.”

And with that, dad places the laptop on the ground and takes out his revolver.

“Here’s my 45,” he says and then shoots the laptop with his exploding bullets.

“Oh yeah. And you need to pay me back for these too. Hope you enjoyed your little fiasco on Facebook. Have a good day, ya’ll.”

How many times do we get back disrespect and an acid mouth?

I asked a few parents why they believe this video got so many views. Most said that this dad is really expressing it for all of us. How many times do we give and give only to get back disrespect and an acid mouth? What’s with the attitude?

Others said that the way this father handled his daughter’s discipline was out of bounds, and people could not believe the extreme he went to.

“Why not just give the laptop away to a teen that has none?” one mom asked. “Why the need to shoot and be violent? What exactly does he think he’s teaching his kid?”

I bet if I’d have the chance to interview Dad and Hannah, they would each have a very different story to tell. The only force I see uniting them is rage. They are so angry at each other, and usually hiding behind all this anger is an incredible amount of pain.

I don’t know how or when their pain began. But what I do know is that the wounds will continue to fester and create hurt and anger for many years to come. Maybe even forever.

Watching this video ignites within me a passion to speak to parents everywhere. Please, don’t allow your relationship with your child to reach this point of almost no return. (I say ‘almost’ because one prays that the bond between parent and child remains alive despite the pain.)

It is obvious that this father has tried to teach his daughter responsibility and good work ethics. But she has reacted in explosive animosity. Where did he go wrong? Here are three crucial steps the can prevent an escalation like this from happening.

Disciplining Without the Tzuris (aggravation, eating up your insides)

1. Build your relationship

Relationships don’t just happen. We need to work on bonding with our children. It is not enough to hand them responsibilities and high expectations. From the moment a child is born we are here to nourish and cultivate. Sing to your babies. Read to your toddlers. Play ball and ride bikes with your tweens. Find out what your teen loves to do-and then find the time to do it with him. Even if it’s not something you enjoy doing, just taking an interest means that it’s important to you because it’s important to me. That’s how we forge relationships. Once children learn to trust us and feel connected, it is easier for them to accept our ‘no’s. Especially if they don’t like what we have to say, they appreciate our love and do not want to disappoint us.

Remember that a child who feels wanted feels the warmth of love. Now that the love is felt, the discipline can be accepted. But when a child feels that a parent only cares about his own needs, his name, or what people will say, this child will purposely do the opposite.

2. Discipline without Shame

Taking your discipline onto Youtube for millions to see is the ultimate embarrassment. The only direction for this relationship to go now is below ground. It doesn’t matter if you are 100% right and your child is 100% wrong.

Never, ever, discipline through humiliation.

Never, ever, discipline through humiliation. Whether you are at your Shabbos table, in front of friends, eating in a restaurant, or at a family gathering-you need to take your discipline to a private place.

If you scream at your child or shame him in front of others, your message will be lost. He will be so furious at you, he will only think about his anger. He will refuse to hear your words. And you cannot make up for the trust broken by your disgracing him. You will find that the more you humiliate, the more brazen he will become.

If your goal is to teach character and good behavior, this road will only lead to failure. We must remember to always treat our children with dignity.

But sometimes it takes more than love and good thoughts. There are times that we are faced with a child who just pushes our button. It seems as if every day brings more explosive confrontation. Life becomes chaotic. This child refuses to connect. There are emotional head on collisions. Drama lurks behind every doorway.

You, the parent, feel drained. Now what?

3. Dos and Don’ts of Rebellious Kids

These are the children who seek power through misbehavior. They feel validated when they are noticed; negative attention makes them feel important. Too many rules frustrate them and are disregarded.

Antagonistic kids and parents who are very commanding clash. They don’t know how to work together and find solutions. They are too busy waging war. You will find that the more you demand, the more the child pushes back.

How can we reach this child and discipline effectively?

  • Don’t have hostile exchanges
  • Don’t give angry ultimatums
  • Don’t lecture, go on and on, and talk about "when I was your age”
  • Don’t use harsh tones
  • Do take time to listen
  • Do reflect your child’s words and emotions so that he sees that you hear him
  • Do speak calmly but firmly
  • Do find opportunities to bond and spend enjoyable time together
  • Do give clear and direct discipline

Hear your child. If he has something to say, don’t make him feel afraid to voice his ideas and thoughts; as long as he speaks respectfully. These children also enjoy leadership roles. If you can give this child some opportunities to shine, he will feel greater self-esteem and be more comfortable with himself. Also, keep in mind that when your child thinks that something was his own idea, he will want to make it happen. Real self-esteem is built when a child feels vital, necessary, and valued.

I ask all parents to take a few moments to sit down with your child and help him feel loved. Share your dream, your hopes, and your visions. Tell him how much you believe in him. Lift him up instead of digging a hole for him to fall into. He will reach for the stars.

And one day he will ask to sit down with you and thank you with all his heart.

Published: February 25, 2012


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Visitor Comments: 35

(27) Sara, March 4, 2012 5:31 PM

I disagree with your assessment of the face book parent who put several bullets into his child computer. I have raised six kids in the manner you describe and more. When they become teens the story changes. They want to out smart you, they think they are just as grown as you are. Today with the Internet, TV, peer pressure, etc. they are hard to control. My children were the same way, they didn't think they needed to do anything around the house although me and husband were working and trying to maintain everything. In your article you seem to be listing everything the parent should be doing and not the child. You didn't mention what to do if the child don't want to obey or listen. Kids are killing their parents!! They join gangs, run a way from home if the parents don't bow to them. Girls are sometimes jealous of their mothers if they think they are not as beautiful, or are unable to get everything mom has. Even when you think you have raised what I call, Wall Street, college educated kids you later find they sometime can't cope. They become involved in so call "white collar" crime. Why do you think so many parents are putting their kids on drugs? The parent is on drugs and the kids are on drugs because they both can't cope. I don't know what world you live in, but things are not that simple and drawn out.

(26) Jane, March 2, 2012 9:31 AM

Parents are supposed to be adults and role models

When your teen starts throwing a tantrum and acting like a toddler, it's important that you act like an adult and provide a positive role model. The fact that the father acted just like the rebellious teen, did not set a good example. He also did not talk and work out a solution to the problem, but resorted to humiliation and violence. His behavior suggested that when someone disrespects you, you should grab a gun.

(25) Laya, March 1, 2012 10:28 PM

that dad has a website

for more on the dad, he started a website because he didn't want to get this bigger and on national tv even though he was offered a lot of money. He does regret it. And I'd like to slam my son's computer against the wall so a little part of me loved seeing him shoot his daughter's computer. Of course he was being reactive and didn't have the benefit of Torah to guide him through the rough spots of parenting. Nice advice from the rebbitzin. :-)

(24) Rafael, February 29, 2012 10:40 PM

Redneck parenting!

Mrs. Jungreis-Wolff: You piqued my curiosity, I watched the video, and all became clear. Welcome to redneck country! I can imagine that you didn't come across too many of them in the Long Island community where your father was a rav. (Maybe a few geirim who'd gotten lost on the way to Laramie...) A bit of background: A redneck house without a gun is like a Jewish house without a sefer. Note that the father reefers to is gone as a 45, implying that he has more at home. note also daddy spells out the type of bullets he uses. ditto ditto. note also that his wife seems to be of the same mindset. A few more observations: First, he mentions offhandedly that he works in IT; he probably isn't dumb. He is obviously bothered by his daughter's posting, but he is in control of himself throughout. He obviously loves his daughter. I found an article on this video which noted that after it went online, the local social services went to this house to check for abuse and found that everything was going on just fine. To summarize, if he had reacted as you spelled out, he probably would have caused more damage to his daughter than by doing what he did. The reason why 30 million people watched this video is probably because it is the redneck equivalent of an emotional burp.

(23) Susan Booker, February 29, 2012 3:33 PM

friends

The parent/child reationship may not be the cause of this mans or daughters actions at all, here's why. My son, honor student in honor roll classes, went through a real rebels stage not long ago. It was like a light switch went off on day. We couldn't figure out what was going on and why he was refusing to the most basic chore, same ones he's done for years without question or why he started rolling the eyes and just being a little an overall sassy, mouthy boy, until speaking with one the parents in my sons school. Long story short, our son became friends with a very disrespectful child, as was put to us by the parents who's son was forbidded to have communications with this boy. After, limiting our sons contact with the other boy and praying over the situation, seems the friend was transfered to an alternative school for misbehaving kids. It took a few months of rebuilding and praying to get our child out of this rebelious stage. Now all is good, thanks Yahovah! So see, its not always the parent/child relationship it can be a bad friends influence.

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