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Facebook & the Laptop Shooter

February 22, 2012

In case you have not seen it (28 million others have), two weeks ago father Tommy Jordan recorded a rant that he posted on his daughter’s facebook page (see video).  The rant finished with him shooting holes in her laptop.  Jordan was upset with a disrespectful post that his daughter had put on her facebook page.  The video is a lot of things:  bizarre, funny, angry, but mostly sad.  The thing that struck me most in the video was the level of venom coming from the father.  Clearly, the daughter’s post was out of line and she sounds like she is a handful.

But, here’s the deal Dads:  When our relationships go south with our children it is on us.  We need to be the bigger person and lead with sincerity, boundaries and forgiveness.  This can be tough when our kids are total brats.  The real question is how did they become total brats?  Here is the formula for bratty kids:

*Unclear, inconsistent or mixed messages coming from the parents

*Small bratty behaviors are excused or ignored

*Unreasonable perfectionistic expectations from the parents

*Secret lives on cell phones, computers that go unchecked

I felt for Mr. Jordan as he read the post from his daughter, but I also wondered how things had gotten that bad.  Shaming our kids publicly is never a good idea, but holding them accountable is reasonable.  We have two teenagers who both are into social media.  My wife and I are “friends” with our kids on facebook.  We told them to enjoy facebook, but if they are writing things that would be embarrassing for us to see, then maybe facebook is not such a good idea.  Frankly, I rarely go on their pages, but it is fun to communicate with them through social media.

I know there is a lot of stuff about this new generation being totally coddled and self absorbed and I think there is some truth to it.  But, our kids need the same thing kids have always needed:  Identity, Security and Belong.  A good relationship with their father goes a long way to providing all three.

Patrick Donohue is a Life Coach in Oak Park, IL specializing in partnering with fathers and students.

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