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.