I briefly saw something about this on FB yesterday, but I'm stick stuck in Rescue:Special Ops vortex, so I forgot to actually check it out until today.
This story, it seems has gone viral, so I'm not entirely sure how behind I am or whether everyone has blogged about this already. But I'd still like to chat about it, see where others stand. I'm in two minds (kind of) on this one.
So. This is the original video. Daughter publicly and pretty bitchily (that is so a word, so shut up!) has a go at her parents on FB. Does the sneaky thing (Pfft...don't pretend we haven't all done it) and hides it from the people she doesn't want to see it, including dear old Mum and Dad.
Dad finds it. And has a little something to say about it.....(cue Jaws music)....
What say you? Do you think he was completely out of line? a) reading her computer status and b) responding to it in this way? Or do you agree with him, that she had it coming? Reading the responses on FB, other sites and parenting forums, there seems to be an incredibly mixed bag of responses (as is so often the case when discipline is the topic). There is a further response a day or so later found here.
I'm going to cut and paste & paraphrase some of what I wrote elsewhere. Mostly because it hurts to type today. A little bit because I'm lazy.
I noticed a LOT of people reacted negatively and said that he was childish and angry and bullying her. And in some respects, I don't disagree. I think he was slightly rash, and do think there might have been other, more appropriate ways of handling things. Initially (other than the gun), I was inclined to think I agreed with him. But having listened to other people, I can see their points. I'm not sure that this wouldn't just have made me escalate my behaviour when I was her age.
But, in his defence, I don't think he was only angry. I think he was hurting. I think you could hear it in his voice and see it in his body language. I think that his hand was shaking and he was hurt that she showed such disrespect and humiliated him.
I think there's a huge disparity between what she says she has to do every day and what he says she has to do every day. If she IS washing floors, doing dishes, making everyone's bed and doing everyone's laundry, then Yes. It's a lot to do while carrying a Year 10/11 course load. But if it's what HE says she has to do then she can suck it.
I would not have shot the computer. It was stupid, pointless and childish (though again. Clearly he was hurting, badly). But I think I WOULD have given it away - probably to the 'cleaning lady'. I certainly think she deserved to lose the computer.
But it worries me that he owns a gun and is prepared to use it in anger. That is the kind of thing that goes all kinds of wrong. Now, to be fair. I make no bones about the fact that I think the 2nd Amendment is a crock, and needs to be torn up. I think it was for a different time and a different place.
Don't give me "guns don't kill people, people kill people". I'll take that and raise you a "No. People with GUNS kill people. People with easy access to guns and the type of ammunition this man own (hollow points are illegal in many states, nicknamed 'cop killers' for the fact that a)they piece body armour and b) they are designed to blow apart and make maximum damage once they enter the body) kill people. Countries that don't enforce strict gun laws kill people. Ok. Sorry. Another rant for another time.
I cringed at the gun. I know it's judgemental of me, but it made me look at him differently, the second he said "I came so close to putting a bullet through it last time". It made me think 'stupid, southern rednecks'. But that's just me.
I think going on FB and giving her a taste of her own medicine was warranted. I'm not sure I could do it it to my boys (am pretty sure I couldn't), but I don't think he was wrong. I think giving the laptop to someone who really DOES have a hard life would have been better though.
I think more than being focused on whether his response was appropriate, I really feel that his point was spot on. I think my generation had it far easier than that of my parents. Who had it far easier than their parents. But this generation we're raising? It's insane how easy they have it. The sense of entitlement they seem to feel. How easy they think they should have it. How little respect they have for their peers (I'm not going to lie. I was the worst, most horrible teenager. I argued and screamed and yelled at my parents a LOT. But I never, ever said any of those things to anyone outside of the family. I didn't go to other people and bitch about my parents. I would never have wanted anyone to think ill of them).
I don't think many of the children and teens at the moment have an idea of earning anything, the fact that money doesn't grow on trees and the concept of working for things. My own son not that long ago put his iPod through the washing machine (it was a cheap one, one of the earliest iPods, and it was given to us) and rather than be upset, as we had expected, he shocked us by shrugging his shoulders and saying "Well we can just get another one". My jaw dropped. He had NO clue whatsoever that these things can cost a lot and that it wasn't a given that he would simply have it replaced.
Something I want to fix. I'm trying, hard, to talk to him and teach him about responsibility and that he has chores he has to do. It's not something that sits well with him. He resents them. I have to ask him every single day to do the (very small number of) chores he is expected to do (at this point he is responsible for : keeping his room clean, filling up all water bottles belonging to him and Sam and putting them in the fridge and emptying out his lunch box each afternoon and putting the ice pack and drink bottle back in the freezer. He also has to put away his clothes after I've folded them for him. It's really not a lot. (Is it?). I want him to understand that as a part of a family, everyone has to pull their weight. Even Sam has chores (he has to tidy the living room with his brother, tidy his room, though with help and put away his lunch box and water bottles etc).
What I noticed though is how many people were upset that he accessed her facebook account - crying her right to privacy. I've seen it before when people have checked their teenager's mobile phones as well.
This comes to mind.
It's trite, I know. I know it's doing the rounds so now we're seeing it everywhere. But to a point, this holds true. I have no problem being honest with Alexander (I have already had this conversation with him) that while he is still a minor, I reserve the right to have access to his internet accounts. I reserve the right to see who he is talking to, and who is contacting him. He's only 9 (TODAY!!), so he doesn't have a FB account. He isn't allowed on any websites that have chat sites attached to them (even the 'kids' ones). He wants a FB account (a lot of kids do), he wants to join game sites that have chat functions (he wants them for the games, not the chats, but that won't always be the case). He trusts everyone. He has his own email account, but I have the password and he usually sits with me while he emails the few people (family members, mostly) that he is allowed to correspond with.
I know it sounds heavy. But Alexander is our responsibility. And it's one we take seriously. And to me, that isn't just about ensuring his safety, though of course there's nothing more important. But I also think we're responsible for his behaviour. As far as it is possible, I want to know the kind of person he is, the way he speaks and acts. The number of children suffering (some going to the extremes of suicide) as a result of cyber-bullying is becoming a real problem. I think as parents, we have a responsibility to be that involved in our child's internet use. I don't just want to know if my kid is being cyber bullied by some little turd on the internet. I want to know if he is that little turd on the internet.
Anyway. I know I strayed a little off point (something new for me, right?) but I really am curious about what you think about this. The video, the follow up responses. Would you have done it? Would you have posted a response online where her friends could see it? Would you have taken her computer away (I'm not even going to say shoot it. I don't want to know if the answer is yes).
And what are your thoughts about our child's right to privacy Vs our right/need to keep them safe and know what they're up to? Where is the line? Is there one? Where is yours? Or at least, (for those of us not at that stage yet, with younger children) where do you think yours might be?
*I'm not saying I agree with everything he said or did. Clearly from his FB page he is a gun-toting republican who is blaming the current President for everything,lol (Damn Tork. Now I can't write LOL without thinking you're growling at me! For those who don't know Tork, he HATES the term Lol - can we call it a term?). But Child Protective Services and the Police have been to his home, interviewed him and his daughter and are apparently satisfied that there is no problem in that household. So while I have issues with the gun, I'm more interested in your thoughts about the rest.