hen a grown farm boy returned home early one morning too groggy to plow a straight furrow after another night of fiddling for a country dance, his exasperated father grabbed the fiddle and jumped on it.
Unfortunately, the father was standing on the trap door to the root cellar at the time. Both father and fiddle crash-landed on turnips and spuds. But the father’s message was unequivocal.
Recently a father in North Carolina delivered his own unequivocal message.
He shot up his teenage daughter’s laptop with his .45 after discovering she had defied his rules and posted on Facebook another expletive-filled rant disrespectful of her parents. Previously she had been grounded three months for similar misbehaviour.
He had spent six hours installing $130 of hardware to upgrade the laptop to her specifications before he came upon her latest Facebook entry. She had blocked it from Family and Church thinking her parents wouldn’t see it.
Her father works with computers, knows them backwards and forwards. He was about to post some photos on the family dog’s Facebook page when he found her angry entry.
With cuss words flying, she complained her parents treated her like a slave, making her do most of the housework (you’d think they had a six-bathroom mansion).
The father said she had only to get up on time, catch the school bus, make her own bed and do her own laundry.
After school she was to sweep the kitchen floor and wipe the kitchen counters if needed. Far from an exhausting list of duties. Yet she expected her parents to pay her.
Her dishonest entry disturbed him so much he was still shaking as he set up a video camera in the backyard and began reading her post aloud to the camera, never expecting more than 500 of her Facebook friends to see the video.
But within four days his video had been viewed more than 4 million times. As of February 27, the views totalled over 30 million. Up to 81 percent of viewers (some teenagers) applaud the father’s actions, calling him Father of the Year.
“Way to go Dad!!,” wrote one. “We need more parents like this rather than the pushover parents we have today who raise these zero respecting teens.”
Some viewers said he was wrong to destroy the laptop; he could have donated it to a school or library, or sold it.
Others objected to his use of a gun. They would have been fine had he jumped on the laptop, smashed it with a rock, driven over it with his pickup, or thrown it into a swamp. They felt the gun intimidated and threatened the safety of his daughter.
Police and Family Services were called, but found no laws had been broken.
In fact, since the incident, the daughter has acknowledged her father had good reason to do what he did, and she is unlikely to ignore his rules again.
Her father says she can have another laptop when she gets a job, saves her money, and buys her own as well as pays him back for the $130 hardware and the $9 for hollow-point bullets.
The father refused all interviews, even Dr. Phil’s invitation. Appearing on TODAY, Dr. Phil laughed, then said, “You never, ever humiliate your child publicly.”
Vancouver parenting coach Lisa Bunnage advises, “You simply have to stop trying to be friends with your kids and be parents, leaders, mentors,” she said.
“They respect adults who discipline them. Discipline is rules, manners and chores. Without that structure in their lives they’re sort of left to raise themselves.
It’s OK to have your teens mad at you and even hate you from time to time. Of course, you’re going to need a thick skin and not care what they think – just focus on how they act and that they’re safe.”