In The News
Dad Shoots Disrespectful Daughter’s Laptop
A video has been floating around about a dad who, in response to his teenage daughter’s disrespectful behavior and post on Facebook, took his .45 and shot about 8 bullets into it.
Parents everywhere are responding. Some think that video is “awesome”; others criticize the level of violence and use of a weapon to deliver the message to his daughter. “Why didn’t he just take the laptop away?” asks one parent.
I’m not going to sit here and say I was never disrespectful. And I know there were times I got so angry with my own parents that I probably told my friends some mean things about my parents and behaved in a way that was bratty too.
But I also know I would have never disrespected my parents the way this girl has. Granted, we didn’t have Facebook or texting, or the communication medium available to teens now. We all know that as teens we lacked the ability to stop and think, to consider the consequences of our actions, to pause and consider. Maybe my adolescence was sparred some turmoil because of it.
But as a parent raising a teen in this world of fast and furious social media, I still look at this video and can’t help but feel both sorry for this dad and angry with his daughter for him.
Though the use of a firearm is scary to me, I applaud the way in which this father calmly and clearly set out to send a message, not only to his daughter, but also to her friends, and on behalf of the adults she disrespected in the process.
I get the frustration. I get the anger. I get what it feels like to have reached a point where you literally would shoot a laptop.
A laptop was killed in my house just last year. Not with a gun, but it was not pretty. We had a rough year with our teen. He had his first girlfriend and was hanging with the wrong crowd. He began lying to us and his grades were dropping. Discipline both at home and at school took a turn for the worse. After a visit to the principal’s office, I told his girlfriend and his best friend to stay away from my son, at which point his girlfriend called me a Bitch on her Facebook wall and despite talking to her mother, the behavior didn’t change. It was horrible.
We spent hours talking to our son. I spoke calmly, I yelled, I punished, I cried, I pleaded, I threatened. Nothing was working. Then, one day, after seeing inappropriate behavior online, I went into his room, grabbed his laptop as he typed away on it, and I threw it across the room smashing it to pieces.
It was a low, low moment in our lives to say the least, but smashing that laptop, seeing the screen explode into tiny glass pieces brought me peace. I think back at that night and I don’t regret one second of it.
Parents will read this, judge and wonder why I didn’t just take it away. I am not concerned with that, because like with this father, no one knows what we did before I got to that point.
As I sat watching the video all I could feel was a sense of sympathy for him and his family. Raising a child - a teenager especially - is not easy for most of us. Doing so in an environment where they have so much access and freedom to express themselves so freely and publicly makes it even more of a challenge. There is an element of respect, self-control, and discipline that is null and void in this space that we, as parents, are fighting so hard to instill and foster.
It’s easy to judge and criticize until you are standing in the shoes of a parent with a child so disrespectful, so rude and ungrateful, so crass and mean that you do something like shoot a laptop just to regain a sense of control.
Good for this dad. The calm and restraint he demonstrated, even in reading what I know were painful words to read written by his daughter and posted in a public forum, is admirable. Yes, admirable. Parents like us who have struggled with our own teens can understand what he is going through.
I sat and watched the video with my son. He laughed when he saw the dad shoot the laptop.
“Why is that funny to you?” I asked him, annoyed.
“Why would he do that?” he responded.
“Did you not listen to what his daughter wrote? Can you not see how painful her words are? How disrespectful she has been and how incredibly wrong she is?”
He paused and thought about it, slowly nodding.
“It’s like when you threw the laptop and smashed it, ”he replied, his face now serious.
“Yes. Because it hurts that much. It is that painful to us, your parents.” I said.
He sat silently. It was obvious he was finally taking it all in.
“I get it mom, “ he said. “I get it.”
I know that all this dad wants is to hear his daughter say the same thing one day too. Hopefully she will.