Father Who Used FB to Teach His Daughter A Lesson: A Human Rights Issue


I don’t know if you’ve been following the latest viral feed on Facebook… the one about the dad who shot his daughter’s computer?  I can’t get my mind out of it.

When my husband first described the video to me, I put up my hand. “That’s not funny at all,” I said, “That’s criminal,” and I dismissed it–Until it kept appearing in my FB feed, with updates like “Way to go Dad” and “My hero” and “You rock”–even among my personal friends and family.

I was shocked and appalled that others thought humiliation was an avenue for teaching respect; and in response, I began writing, and writing, and writing.

Men were my most vocal critics, questioning where I got off being so righteous and judgmental about a family I didn’t know.  Curiously, I’d never heard much from men on my parenting blog until now. Approaching 50, I told that them I had earned the right to be righteous–as a mother and as a lifelong educator/advocate for children.

After venting and ranting and illuminating (I hope), I shifted my writing toward compassion with my third post, offering a “How To” on dealing with teens & chores–without a gun. I felt satisfied and complete; until I read today’s paper.

In a seemingly innocent column entitled, A Valentine Without Chocolate, I was enraged all over again; with this ubiquitous thread:

Years ago, when I worked at a battered women’s shelter, Valentine’s Day was observed with a good deal of skepticism. Coming shortly after Superbowl Sunday — a day when shelters around the country brought in extra workers to handle the brutal aftermath of fan disappointment — Valentine’s Day seemed made for the batterer.

The women, who had come to the shelter out of desperation, who had shared their stories with other football refugees, who were beginning to see that another life was possible, were at just that point in their recovery where they had healed enough to forget the pain of two weeks ago. And then came this revelry in romance, the ubiquitous rose and red satin and chocolates everywhere. Even with a restraining order, it was hard to resist the seduction of Valentine’s Day.

(Professor Meg Mott of Marlboro College in the Brattleboro Reformer, February 14, 2012)

This 15 year-old, obnoxious daughter bashed her father to her friends on Facebook just after he loaded her computer with extra memory. Thus he had the right to use his pistol to teach her a lesson. Millions of parents celebrated his courage in a stand in demanding greater respect from spoiled teens.

Does this frighten anyone else?

If you’ve been following my posts on Two Owls recently, then you know I’ve suffered from the rage of my own father.  No doubt this makes me extra tender to the fact that a father took a gun and unloaded 9 bullets into his daughter’s laptop; while millions of people applauded.

Although I am much older than this girl, and my father is well into his golden years, the emotional intimidation of my youth still burns inside me.

I tried to explain this to my brother-in-law when he stopped by with my 13-year-old niece. Though he hadn’t watched the video either, he heard a clip about it on the radio.

“I don’t see it as intimidation,” he said, lightheartedly. “Her father wasn’t pointing the gun at her. It’s the same as a parent yanking the phone out of the wall a generation ago.”

“Ripping out the phone is still intimidation,” I say. “A father is bigger than his daughter. Stronger.  He is in control of her privileges, the money she needs, everything that is important to her.”

“Hmm…” he said, looking dubious as he opened the door to his car.

“Look at it this way,” I said, “How would you feel if your daughter married a man who used a gun to teach her about respect?”

My brother-in-law gulped, smiled slyly, and said, “I get it.”

But it was another father who really got it:

“If this had been Afghanistan,” he commented, “It wouldn’t have been her laptop. It would have been her.”

Kelly Salasin, Valentines Day 2012

I am honored to be among the attendees of the 56th Commission on the Status of Women later this month. Given that this Facebook incident has gained international attention, I look forward to hearing views from women around the world.

Other posts on the father who used Facebook to teach his daughter a lesson:

Part I: Rebuttal to Dad Who Used Facebook to “Teach His Daughter a Lesson”

Part II: Would Father Have Used Facebook and a Gun to Teach his SON a Lesson?

Part III: Dear Mr. Jordan & Other Parents Frustrated with Teens & Chores

Part V. Parenting Without Power (or a gun)

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7 thoughts on “Father Who Used FB to Teach His Daughter A Lesson: A Human Rights Issue

  1. I’ve gotten into discussions recently with my wife’s conservative uncle. He believes that liberals like to negotiate with their children to get results. Neither he or I believe that, that type of childrearing is effective. You job as a parent is to prepare you child to live in a world and solve problems that arise in life. That needs to happen by any means necessary. If it take a talking to, grounding, spanking or a gun then so be it. The daughter sounds like one of the entitled post millenials who believes the world owes her something. She needs to understand otherwise. We aren’t in Afghanistan or anywhere else you seem to have extrapolated this incident out to. It’s a loving father who was brought to this after having gone through escalation of punishment. Using embarrassment to get his point across was appropriate and probably effective. I also never saw you do anything but criticize. As an expert you could have at least offered up your advice on how to handle the situation. I’m not a conservative or a religious nut. I’m a person that believes in respecting my elders.

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    • Hi Mike.

      Thank you for your very thoughtful comments.

      You suggested that I only criticized without giving advice on how to handle the situation.
      Please see my parenting blog:
      Dear Mr. Jordan & Other Parents Frustrated with Teens & Chores
      Parenting without Power (or a gun)
      Thank you for the opportunity to share these pieces.

      As far as “liberal” parenting, I don’t see the challenges of parenting limiting themselves to political affiliation; there are confused parents on both sides. As far as extrapolating to Afghanistan or anywhere else, I did so because what Mr. Jordan did gives permission to so much more as is illustrated not only abroad but in our country.

      You make mention of liberals “negotiating” with the kids to get results. Hmmm. It’s an interesting point. There are areas in my son’s life where I’m willing to listen and reconsider and stretch because I see that as my job in preparing him to be a man. He’s not going to have his Mama around for much longer and the sooner I support him in taking responsibility for his choices and the consequences the better. I imagine if you met my boys you’d say my parenting is rather effective despite our differences.

      “Preparing children” for the world and preparing them to solve problems is exactly what I’m doing. They do need to know how to listen to others. How to consider both sides. How to be firm without violence. How to be strong without abuse.

      I have no doubt that Mr. Jordan’s tactic was effective, but what does it teach Mike? To solve problems with a gun? With intimidation? With humiliation? Last I checked those weren’t very attractive skills to bring into the job market.

      Kelly

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  2. I read your advice. Its novel and I’m sure works in your home. More on that in a minute. The point about being liberal or conservative wasn’t about which side of the political spectrum people are on. As you say there are confused parents on both sides. The point was about values. I have no children, just a lot of experience with young people. I believe in using the carrot and stick approach with young people. If the carrot doesn’t work; if you children refuse to do the chores your system assigns them, then what?? The gentleman mentioned that he had talked with his daughter numerous times about respect, and not posting things on Facebook. It came to head before his video, and he grounded her for three months. Obviously she continued the behavior. So what is your solution for that? Sitting down and discussing things with her had not worked. So he escalated. He created visceral reaction in her to get his point across. He made her feel something so she would understand how her behavior made him feel. I don’t have an issue with it. Bringing Afghanistan into the issue is a stretch. His daughter was never under threat circumcision, forced marriage, or death for disobeying her elders. She lives in the US and with a family that seems to tend to her every want and need. Her father wants the best for her so he’s teaching her the value of hard work and earning her way in the world. He’s also teaching her to respect he elders, and in his way preparing her for the world. I’ll never criticize you for your choice on how you raise your children if it works. What you have said is that it has worked for you. I will criticize you for suggesting that he was wrong in his choice on how to get a point across to his daughter, living in his house, living in their everyday world. As a former military officer, I ran into too many children of parents that were ineffective in getting these very important messages across to their children. It fell on me and Uncle Sam to finish the job that a parent should have done. The lesson that the young lady learned in the situation, has very little to do with his use of a hand gun on video without her present. If she had have been there at the time, our view would be more in line. I had to step between my father and sister as did my mother. The situations were very few, and far between. The message to my father was simple. My sister can never believe it is okay for a man in her life to put his hands on her while in raged, no matter the situation. The situation in this case wasn’t a father in raged, it was a father hurt, disappointed and angry about who his daughter was, and what she did. Your goals and his goals are aligned, you want your children to take responsibility for their actions. Again your children sound well adjusted. What happens when they aren’t?? Last case in point. When I was a child I had a tendency to run into the street without looking both ways. My mother talked, and yelled and screamed at me not to do it. Finally I did it again and she spanked me. I stopped running into the street after that. I didn’t really understand the lesson until I saw someone get hit by a car because they were careless. If the spanking is what it took to prevent greater harm to me, then so be it. If putting 9 rounds of .45 caliber ammunition through a laptop prevents her from putting something else embarrassing on the internet then so be it. I apologize for the block writing, this is all coming out as a stream of consciousness.

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    • Wow Mike. You’ve given me so much to think about.
      Now, where to start…

      I think I’ll begin with your question:

      “If your children refuse to do the chores your system assigns them, then what??

      My 6 year-old niece once asked the same question when she discovered that I didn’t spank my children.

      My answer is the same now as it was then when my teenager was 5:

      “Not listening isn’t a choice. They have to listen.”

      But what if they don’t?

      Well, that looks different at every stage of development. At the toddler stage, it involves ACTION–Physically responding to the child, again and again, until they learn that what you say will be followed up with action. Sometimes that physical response means removing them from some danger. At the preschool stage, it may mean putting my hand over theirs to pick up the toys that they refused to put away. By elementary school, the child is ingrained to listen to Mom and Dad in this way.

      What about kids who aren’t ingrained? Well then, their parents have done them a disservice; and like you, Mike, I have a lot of experience with the fallout of that. Yet, children are amazingly adaptable. They quickly learn to adapt to the expectations of new environments. This is why a child will behave abominably in one class and remarkably in another.

      What does this tell us about the child? The environment? The adult?

      The are myriad of choices available when working with children (and teens) that don’t involve intimidation or humiliation; choices that strengthen the relationship rather than poison it.

      The parental-child relationship is probably the most important factor in determining how a teen traverses this crucial period of development. “Carrots and sticks” are quick fixes but can’t take the place of an ongoing connection to each other’s needs and feelings.

      In this process of maintaining connection, a child learns to “walk in someone else’s shoes.” She learns that there is give and take in relationship. She cultivates the value of the relationship over meeting her every need.

      You said that Mr. Jordan and I share the same goal, but that we simply go about it differently. Well, I think the process matters. Immensely. I don’t think the “end” justifies any “means.” It’s in the process that true learning takes place, as values aren’t taught, but learned. I can assure you that Mr. Jordan’s daughter has learned something completely different than my boys have; which says much more about her father than it does about her.

      My point in writing is not so much to criticize one particular parent as it is to explore the many ways in which his “public” act exposed common thinking around children that is misdirected. “Millenials are an entitled generation,” you wrote. If this is true, who bestowed the title upon them?

      Readers who are interested in pursuing conversation related to parenting may want to click the link to my parenting blog, The Empty(ing) Nest Diary, with these related posts:


      Part I: Rebuttal to Dad Who Used Facebook to “Teach His Daughter a Lesson”


      Part II: Would Father Have Used Facebook and a Gun to Teach his SON a Lesson?


      Part III: Dear Mr. Jordan & Other Parents Frustrated with Teens & Chores

      Part IV. Father Who Used FB to Teach His Daughter A Lesson: A Human Rights Issue

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    • Now onto the Afghanistan connection. Actually, it was another man who made that link; and it hit a nerve with me.
      May I refer you and other readers to this post for a better understanding of my thinking here:

      Part II: Would Father Have Used Facebook and a Gun to Teach his SON a Lesson?


      A word on circumcision.
      .. I assume you were referring to female genitalia mutilation?
      It always strikes me funny how the traditions of one culture are so transparently vulgar while our own remain routine.
      I must admit, I have never studied the issue of female mutilation, but as a woman, I felt very strongly about the practice of circumcision.

      When I gave birth to a son, and refused to have him circumcised, I was criticized by doctors in my family for putting him at risk.
      A handful of years later, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement–no longer recommending the practice as a medical necessity; and one of those very doctors who had criticized me decided against having his own newborn circumcised.

      (Note: I know that for some this is a religious issue and I have deep compassion for the struggle that this legacy implies in the consideration of whether or not to circumcise.)

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    • Lastly, you touch on something that connects to my heart…
      Despite that fact that your father was the head of the household, you stood up to him when he put your sister at risk.
      You understood the vulnerability that a daughter has with her father and the consequences that his intimidation portends for her future.

      One question that I’ve asked men/fathers about Mr. Jordan’s very controlled response to his daughter is this:
      Would it be okay if your daughter’s husband taught her “respect” in much the same way?

      (Keep in mind that the Jordan girl is less than a year from legal adulthood.)

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    • When correcting a child, the goal is to apply light, not heat.
      –Woodrow Wilson

      Mike, we share a military connection.
      My father, an army surgeon, was stationed at West Point when I was a teenager; and his father was stationed in Germany just after WW II.

      Interestingly, this parenting incident with FB and a gun has reaped more response from men than parenting topics have garnered before on my blog or on others. Also remarkable is the fact many of these men reveal a military connection, while Mr. Jordan is himself an ex-Marine.

      This itself is a rich subject matter for another post, but for now I’ll respectfully suggest that running a home is not the same as leading a troop; (though I admit, I do appreciate the hospital “corners” I learned at West Point Youth Camp.)

      Like the military, there are times when a child simply has to listen to a parent, no questions asked, particularly in times of danger. During the flooding in Vermont after Hurricane Irene, my family was forced to abandon our car and hike into our home a mile away. The night was dark, the road was perilously washed away, and my opinionated boys followed orders to stay close and hold the flashlight so that we could all make our way home safely.

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