“Laptop Homicide” – A Post on Discipline

There’s a new viral video in town, perhaps you’ve seen it?

In this video, a frustrated and angry father uses tough love to address his daughter’s immature rant against her parents on Facebook. Throughout the reading of her note you can hear his voice quaver and shake, a likely mixture of extreme anger, throbbing hurt and deep disappointment.

His daughter had done this before and had suffered consequences for it, but apparently they didn’t stick. So for all 452 of her friends to see, she essentially called her parents jailors, slave drivers and harsh, unloving lords over what she deemed was an unfair lack of freedom.

At the end of the video, the father stands up and points to his daughter’s laptop sitting in the grass, which, as he had earlier explained, he had just the day before spent $130 cleaning up and loading with new software. He then pulls out a pistol and proceeds to put 9 bullets through her laptop, a definitive sign that when he said the consequences the second time around would be worse, he actually meant it.

Parenting at its best? Or at its worst?

For those who immediately jump to conclusions that this man is obviously disturbed and he has forever and irreparably damaged his relationship with his daughter, just hold onto your judgement for a second and read this from Tommy Jordan, the father in question (this was taken from his Facebook page and is his response to questions from a reporter named Anita Li of the Toronto Star):

Q: Why did you decide to reprimand your daughter over a public medium like YouTube?

A: Well, I actually just had to load the video file itself on YouTube because it’s a better upload process than Facebook, but the intended audience was her Facebook friends and the parents of those friends who saw her post and would naturally assume we let our children get away with something like that. So, to answer “Why did you reprimand her over a public medium like Facebook” my answer is this: Because that’s how I was raised. If I did something embarrassing to my parents in public (such as a grocery store) I got my tail tore up right there in front of God and everyone, right there in the store. I put the reprisal in exactly the same medium she did, in the exact same manner. Her post went out to about 452 people. Mine went out to about 550 people… originally. I had no idea it would become what it did.

Q: How did your daughter respond to the video and to what happened to her laptop?

A: She responded to the video with “I can’t believe you shot my computer!” That was the first thing she said when she found out about it. Then we sat and we talked for quite a long while on the back patio about the things she did, the things I did in response, etc.

Later after she’d had time to process it and I’d had time to process her thoughts on the matters we discussed, we were back to a semi-truce… you know that uncomfortable moment when you’re in the kitchen with your child after an argument and you’re both waiting to see which one’s going to cave in and resume normal conversation first? Yeah, that moment. I told her about the video response and about it going viral and about the consequences it could have on our family for the next couple of days and asked if she wanted to see some of the comments people had made. After the first few hundred comments, she was astounded with the responses.

We agreed we learned two collective lessons from this so far:

First: As her father, I’ll definitely do what I say I will, both positive and negative and she can depend on that. She no longer has any doubt about that.

Second: We have always told her what you put online can affect you forever. Years later a single Facebook/MySpace/Twitter comment can affect her eligibility for a good job and can even get her fired from a job she already has. She’s seen first-hand through this video the worst possible scenario that can happen. One post, made by her Dad, will probably follow him the rest of his life; just like those mean things she said on Facebook will stick with the people her words hurt for a long time to come. Once you put it out there, you can’t take it back, so think carefully before you use the internet to broadcast your thoughts and feelings.

This is only a small piece of his response. The rest is up for you to read if you want and for now I’m going to finish the post with a question.

Update: Tommy Jordan has posted a new note to his Facebook page and I have to say, I like a whole lot of what he says. While this man’s reaction to his daughter’s public temper tantrum is not something I agree with, I have deep respect with the way he is handling the fall out. It says more about him as a father than the short video he posted did. I hope we all won’t be so quick to judge without knowing the full story.

What are your thoughts on this situation?

I will be back next week with my own, but I’d love to hear feedback first.

Comments

  1. My thoughts are now just what they were when I saw it. Good for him.

    • In some regards, I agree with him. He followed through and he made sure his message was taken seriously. On the other side of that, I think his reaction was fueled by hurt and anger and it caused him to not really think through the ramifications of putting this video online. I wouldn’t have handled the situation that way, but I don’t judge him for what he did.

      I do, however, have a lot of respect for the way he’s handling the fall out now that it’s gone public and for that I find him to be rather inspiring.

  2. it made me uncomfortable, but it reminded me of my own dad (cigarette, boots, jeans, gun and all)…..and i refuse to allow my almost 3 and 4 year old to not give respect to us, each other, and everyone around them. if they EVER did that to me at that age, i would wonder what my own reaction would be – plus, you don’t know the kind of hell she might’ve been raising for quite some time before. i respect everyone around me and i was raised to do so – even tho’ it wasn’t always roses growing up. BUT i have the UTMOST respect and love for my parents now – i adore them – but if we threw a fit at a restaurant or didn’t behave, we promptly were escorted to the car (after he left money on the table) even if we had only gotten our water glasses. hell was paid. i think moms (especially moms) and dads these days don’t require obedience and respect from their children. they give in to their own emotions too often and don’t like to feel bad or to make their child feel bad (for a hot second). all this is leading to is quite simply, anarchy, amongst today’s children. they are ridiculously misbehaved, overly emotional, (don’t get me started on ADD), and disrespectful (not only to their friends but to their mothers (especially – bc their mothers haven’t demanded respect), fathers, and everyone in authority. (poor teachers). all of these things to me also, equals, unloved. do i agree with every way he went about it? no. but am i going to criticize a parent doing what i wish EVERY parent would do (hold their child’s fanny to the heat when it needs to be burned a little)? heck to the no. kids these days run the roost. it makes me scared for my own boys’ futures.

    • Whitney, you’re so right that kids feel very entitled these days. It’s almost epidemic. I, too, don’t feel like I can criticize him for how he reacted just because he handled a situation differently than I would. I get very weary of all the judgment passed on parents online. People jumped to a lot of conclusions in this instance without knowing the full story. Part of that was his fault for making such a dramatic video. But part of it is the nature of the video and people’s immediate need to judge every little thing.

  3. I can see this both ways… yes, he needed to follow through with discipline, but seriously, wasn’t there a better way to go about it, like donating the computer to charity?

    Here’s a perspective that someone posted on another friend’s site… “If he shot up his wife’s car because she drove it to a guy’s house, would you think he was worthy of praise or incarceration? Be honest… because he is not teaching anything except I am armed and will get my way.”

    At the same time, I love that a charity he was already supporting (MDA) is getting great donations because of all the media attention!

    • Yep, I agree, Anna. I see this both ways. I think the father is doing his best to make this a positive learning experience not only for himself but also for his daughter. It’s unfortunate that it was birthed out of such a negative thing, though.

  4. I appreciate his sentiment but I disagree with his tactics. I love that he took her laptop away permanently and is making her earn her own. I love that he is trying to hold her to a higher standard of respect for people and work. I even love that he expressed his anger about her disrespect. I hate that he matched her misbehavior and upped the ante. This public rant did nothing to teach his daughter about her behavior, except to say that it’s wrong if you do it and right if I do it.. The intent seemed to be retribution and humiliation, just like his daughters original letter. His job is to teach and protect but he threw her to the wolves by posting this for the whole world to see for the rest of her life. I agree that her apology should be in the same forum as her misbehavior but his correction should not be. Someone needs to be the grown up.

    • This I agree with wholeheartedly. It’s also why I really respect how he’s handling the fall out. He has acknowledged the foolishness of his actions and he’s also trying to protect his daughter from the limelight. If he really were a terrible father, as many people have labeled him, then he could very easily be deflecting all the negative press he’s getting to his daughter. He could be pointing at her and saying she deserved it.

      But he isn’t. He knows he didn’t handle the situation well and in retrospect he’s admitted he would do it differently. He’s also allowing his daughter to see first hand the consequences of being rash online. He is suffering those consequences and is taking full responsibility. I admire that and I think his daughter will learn more from that than she will the punishment of losing her computer.

      In the end, though, you’re right. His public matching her did not cast him in the best light. It was apples to apples and that’s never a healthy parenting technique. I think everyone’s learned a valuable lesson from this and it’s also been a great example of what can happen when public rants go viral. May we all, teenagers and parents alike, take heed.

  5. I came over here because of your well written response on another blog talking about this. I agree with you. I have respect for him. He gave her a lesson she won’t forget and she had it coming. No one got hurt and she isn’t irreparably damaged. If parents stood up to their kids once in a while we wouldn’t have a nation of entitled teens. And I love that he refuses to be on talk shows or radio shows or anything else – that shows some integrity.

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