Saturday, February 11, 2012

Daddy issues

Want to see a truly reprehensible human being? Look no further.

Chances are, you’ve at least heard about this video in the past couple of days. Most reports emphasize the fact that the father shot out his teenage daughter’s laptop, after he found a Facebook note she posted complaining about her parents.

But it’s so much more than that. SO MUCH MORE. And it’s my genuine hope that the people who are cheering this instance of fine parenting have not watched the whole video. Because this guy digs his own hole the entire way. Watch:

The short version: While the dad was installing some software on his daughter’s laptop, he discovered a hidden Facebook note from his daughter. In the note, she complains that her parents are running her ragged with chores. Pretty typical, benign even, teen stuff. He reads the note, then proceeds to rebut it with the equivalent of, “Shut up, you ungrateful leech.” Then he pulls out a gun and shoots up the laptop on which he spent hours and $130, dedicating one of the shots to her mother. He then insists she pay him back for both the laptop and the ammo. Then he announces he’s going to post the video on her Facebook wall so all her friends can see what a benevolent, loving father she is so unfairly maligning.

Along the way, he explains how when he was her age, he went to both high school and college, lived on his own, worked two jobs and was a volunteer firefighter. Gosh. Sounds like he had some terrific parenting! I wonder if he harbored any resentments toward them for making him do all that at 15? I guess we won’t know, since his generation had the good sense to have manners, respect and not Facebook. And he turned out fine! Kids these days.

If anything, the dad is the one acting like a teenager. She’s 15 going on 16. Girls that age are required by federal law to be drama queens. Being that way on Facebook is about as tame as it gets. He should be grateful she isn’t doing more grandiose things to get his attention. Hell, if anything, she was trying to spare his feelings by sharing that note with her friends, and not him. That’s not the most noble thing to do, but it’s certainly nothing worthy of this drastic overreaction. This is a petty (and unsettling) act of revenge by a blowhard father. If he really cared about her issues, he’d talk to her one-on-one instead of resorting to embarrassing and pointless theater, which he posted on Facebook too! So add hypocrisy to the mix. And irony. I mean, talk about proving his daughter’s point! He multiplied it too. When she was complaining about chores, was she even thinking about his loose policy regarding firearms?

He reminds me of those obnoxious parents who make a big production of disciplining their kids in the middle of a department store. Fewer things are more grating than a showoff parent, especially if their only mode of parenting is doling out punishment. Like that’s all being a parent is. It becomes a point of pride, regardless of how much it’s actually warranted. They act as if I should be impressed that they’re harsh to their children. I’m not.

(And don’t tell me I don’t understand because I’m not a parent. I don’t have to have kids to understand the basic emotions at play, nor do I need to reproduce to understand the dynamics of emotional abuse. That understanding isn’t handed out exclusively in the maternity ward. If you’re trying to sell me on having kids, implying that I’ll become a sourpuss disciplinarian isn’t the way to go about it.)

No one, parent or otherwise, should cheer a video like this. What this guy did isn’t good parenting, an act of sweet revenge or an effective cautionary tale. If anything, it will make things worse. Much worse. It shows a dangerously unstable man who thinks nothing of using anger, petulance and bullets to solve problems. And that reflects poorly not just on him, but on everyone who holds him up as a person worthy of raising youth. Far from being Father of the Year, he strikes me as a possible target of investigation.

I can’t wait to read his daughter’s follow-up note. Should be some real juicy tidbits in that one. Not to put too fine of a point on it, but I can understand why she’d complain about her father. I’m just surprised that she has the courage to do so.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This guy has to be glad that Whitney died over the weekend to get some of the heat off of him.