Bad Parenting Gone Viral

It has now been two weeks since Tommy Jordan became famous by shooting his 15-year-old daughter’s laptop and posting the video on YouTube and Facebook. His actions came after his daughter Hannah posted a message on her Facebook page complaining that she was tired of picking up after her dad and that she should be paid for her chores.

The video has been viewed 26 million times on YouTube and tens of thousands of times on Facebook. As a parent and an educator, I am incredulous at the overwhelmingly positive response Jordan has received from parents across the country.  For example, NBC’s “Today” polled viewers on the incident and reported that 74 percent agreed with Jordan’s actions.

I’m glad that Child Protective Services and the police paid him visits, but it has been alleged that the social worker merely reviewed parenting tips with him and that the police officer congratulated him.

While Jordan believes his daughter has not been hurt or scarred by his public display, a majority of those who participated in a Mashable poll believe Hannah will continue to be resentful. 

What’s wrong with Jordan’s actions?

  1. He is the parent, the adult in the situation. He acted out of anger and rage, which makes him a poor role model.
  2.  He publicly humiliated his daughter, never a good way to start a conversation or teach a lesson.
  3. He used a GUN! When his anger gets out of control again, what will stop him from shooting a person next time? He apparently made no effort to understand where his daughter was coming from. 
  4. A child of divorce, she had only come to live with him and her stepmother six months ago. Of course, there were issues. Before he resorted to violence, how about a little counseling?
  5. Teenagers are notoriously rebellious, and often disrespectful. A parent does not teach respect by being disrespectful to his child. Respect is a two-way street. By embarrassing his child in front of the whole world, he cannot expect her to respect him.
  6. The “when I was your age” argument does not resonate with adolescents. It’s meaningless. Anyway, there was no Facebook, YouTube or laptop when Jordan was Hannah’s age, so maybe he would have had to sit down with his daughter and have a heart-to-heart conversation.  

What should Jordan have done in a private conversation with Hannah?

1.    He should have used an “I” message with the focus on understanding Hannah’s feelings and expressing his own. He should have said to her: “I have tried to be a good father to you, spending time and money on fixing your laptop, and I feel deeply hurt and insulted that you would complain about me to your friends on Facebook. What were you thinking?”

2.    He should have described how and why her Facebook message upset him.

3.    He should have actively listened to what she had to say, and then summarized, paraphrased, questioned, and brainstormed solutions with her.

4.    He and his daughter might then have come to a solution that met both their needs. It’s not about right or wrong, but about understanding and respect. And if you’re a parent, your job is to help your child learn and grow.

5.    If the situation had gone too far — which it likely did — he should have brought additional people into the discussion. Not 26 million YouTube viewers, but a counselor, a clergyperson, or an objective and impartial relative or friend.

Police visit Facebook dad who shot daughter’s laptop – CNET News
URL: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-57376595-71/police-visit-facebook-dad-who-shot-daughters-laptop/

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2 Comments on “Bad Parenting Gone Viral”

  1. Lauren Budd says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Communication is the key. We can’t lose our composure especially as a parent. We need to set an example.

  2. theEnguneer says:

    “As a parent and an educator, I am incredulous at the overwhelmingly positive response Jordan has received from parents across the country.”

    Or, perhaps you are just too narrow minded that you can’t even accept the possibility that you are the wrong one.

    Who’s to say what is the correct parenting method? Parenting is not a field in which 1+1=2. Different children and different households require totally different parenting methods. Just as an example, you cited the use of a gun as being inappropriate. Maybe to an city-dweller, the use of a gun is more shocking. But folks in rural areas may use guns on a daily basis for hunting etc, and the father’s actions in the video may be no less out of the ordinary than simply stepping on it. You did not consider any context before jumping to your conclusions and labeling the father as incorrect, which disappoints me considering you are a well educated doctor.

    I know the folly of following the masses, but I think in this case, the majority may be right.


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