Dad Disciplines Daughter Publicly; The Real Lesson - Modern Alternative Mama

Dad Disciplines Daughter Publicly; The Real Lesson

admin February 11, 2012

Obviously (to most), there’s a now-viral video making its way around the internet.  In the video, Dad reads a letter that his daughter wrote (talking about how hard she works and how bad her parents are) and posts it to her Facebook page.  In retaliation, he reads this letter, chews her out, then uses a .45 to shoot several holes in her laptop.  You can watch it below, but be aware there is quite a bit of strong language (which I don’t condone, but there it is):

My very first reaction to this was, “Good for him.  He’s taking a stand and showing her she can’t get away with it.  Kids need more discipline.”  This is the biggest reaction I’ve seen on comment threads all over the place — most people think the girl (who is never seen and never speaks for herself, other than her initial letter) is a spoiled brat, and they side with the dad.

The more I watched, and the more I thought, though, the more disturbed I was by the whole thing.  Disturbed enough to post on it, something I don’t usually do.

Please be aware, through this post, that I’m not intending to criticize this family.  Their family dynamics are their business, and his Facebook page shows that after this video went crazy, he and his daughter sat down and watched it together and had a long, private talk about the whole thing.  I think they are handling the aftermath just fine.  Not to mention that I’m not part of the situation.

Rather, this is intended to speak to everyone who thinks that the dad’s actions were in some way heroic and that getting tough with children in this way is the most appropriate way to handle such problems.  It was the commenters that ultimately disturbed me more than the original situation itself (although both did).

The Video: What Wasn’t Told

The video’s fairly straightforward: girl disrespects family publicly, father gets her back by responding publicly and shooting the laptop she used to disrespect him in the first place.  But it left me with so many additional thoughts and questions:

  1. What is going on in this parent-child relationship that she felt so angry and unappreciated in the first place?
  2. The father seems to need to be “right.”  Her feelings that drove her to this are unimportant; all that matters is that she was rude.
  3. Two wrongs somehow make a right.
  4. The father-daughter relationship contains two people…and it’s quite adversarial.
  5. Destroying the laptop was a temper tantrum that made the father feel better.
  6. The daughter was just recently grounded for three months for doing something similar, but clearly “it didn’t work” since she did it again (i.e. the grounding didn’t actually solve any problems….)

That first point is what was going through my head the whole time.  Several people have said, “This doesn’t reflect on them; she’s a teen and she’ll do as she pleases.”  I’m sorry, but her letter wasn’t about some independently poor choice she made, like taking drugs.  It was about the parent-child relationship and how angry she is with her parents.  That makes it about the parents.  She hates the relationship they have, clearly, which obviously reflects on them.

The fact that grounding her for three months and removing all her privileges “didn’t work” leads people to believe that she needs more punishment, to “get it through her head.”  Hasn’t anyone heard that the definition of ‘insanity’ is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?”  Punishing her further is only going to make her angrier and drive her away.  It is human nature to be angry and fight back, not to be submissive and respond to this sort of bullying with “Oh, I see my mistake now, sure, I’ll turn it all around.”

How would people have felt if, say, a wife had posted a nasty letter about her husband on Facebook, and his response had been to read it, chew her out, and take her laptop and shoot it?  I don’t think people would have been very supportive of the husband, and I can imagine the comments would have been along the lines of “this belongs in a marriage counselor’s office, as this relationship is clearly in trouble.”  But it’s just fine for a parent-child relationship?

We don’t have any idea what this girl is really like.  All we know is one letter she wrote in anger and posted in public.  Have none of the rest of us ever done something like this?  We don’t know what she is like day-to-day.  We don’t know if she is grateful or ungrateful or if she works hard or doesn’t.  She never got a chance to speak for herself, outside of this one unfortunate letter.  Yet we judge her, harshly.  (No — the letter wasn’t excusable and definitely did require a reaction.  But there’s just so much more to this story than we actually know.)

 The Underlying Lesson

The underlying lesson I get from all of this — the video, the people commenting on it, and even messages I got that line up with this at random times — is that parents are always right, and children ought to fall in line.  A parent is right because he or she says so, ultimately.  Isn’t “because I said so” really “Because that’s how I feel right now and I do/don’t want to do this?”  It’s about a parent’s feelings and whims rather than what may be “best” in the situation.  I say it too — because I’m human.  Does that make it right, though?


Parents are not always right.  And I’m so tired of this adversarial relationship that the entire world has with children.  We do not teach someone respect by “beating it into them.”  We teach it by modeling.  It is possible to train children and have expectations for them without lashing out in anger and shaming them, or stooping to their level.  If my 4-year-old snaps at me or throws a fit, should I snap back or throw a fit too?  Would the proper reaction be to stand in the middle of the room and scream, “I don’t like this and you had better stop it right now!  I’m the mom and I said NO!  Now you stop it right now because you are making me so angry I can’t stand it!  SHUT UP!”  …I don’t think anyone thinks that’s ideal.  At least I hope not, because it’s not particularly mature.

Everyone thinks that children are so bad these days.  And I don’t.  You know what?  I think it’s the parents who are bad.  I think the parents are lazy, and they are rude.  I think they expect children to cater to them.  I think they expect children not to have feelings and needs, but to simply behave.  I think they are easily frustrated by their children.  I think they medicate behavior that doesn’t fit their ideal.  And I think they can see immaturity and fault easily in their children, but not in themselves.

You may be the problem if:

  • …your children are behaving wildly and your immediate thought/reaction is “Why can’t they ever just stop?!  They love to make me miserable.”
  • …your children are whiny and you say, “Stop that already!  I don’t want to hear it.”
  • …your children are acting out and you can’t think of enough punishments to stop the behavior.
  • …your child is often sassy to you, and you respond by yelling ‘sassy’ things back and punishing.
  • …your child hits you and you immediately smack him back.
  • …your child throws something at you, so you throw something back.
  • …your child has an accident (bathroom, spilling something, whatever) and you spend 10 minutes berating the child to be more careful.
  • …your child does something wrong, and you bring it up frequently and use it to shame the child into “being good.”
  • …your child behaves badly in a store (even though you did not expressly lay out expectations) and you respond by punishing because “they should have known.”

Yes, we all do these things sometimes.  We are human and we can’t get away from that.  We will have a bad day, be in a bad mood, say and do things we shouldn’t.  What matters is that we recognize that these are not the most appropriate responses and strive to do a better job next time.  The problem lies when a parent thinks that these are appropriate responses and intends to parent this way.

Instead, in the above situations, parents should strive to:

  • …realize the children have pent-up physical energy, and provide them with a more appropriate outlet (and explain this to them and expect them to wait until they can get to the more appropriate location, if they are old enough)
  • …realize the children may be tired, hungry, ill, and look to solve the underlying cause.
  • …realize the children are desperate for your attention or having some physical/mental issue and look to solve the underlying problem.
  • …realize your child is only speaking to you the same way you speak to him/her.
  • …realize your child can’t possibly take you seriously when you just did the thing you said not to do.
  • …realize that accidents happen — to us, too — and don’t require any punishment, just a simple “please clean up.”
  • …realize that shaming people makes them angry and hurt and does not create a positive behavior change. (If an adult did this to another adult — husband/wife, boss/employee — we would call this “verbal abuse.”)
  • …realize that unless your child is psychic, no, they do not know your expectations unless you told them.  And even then, young children have little self-control.

It’s our goal as parents to treat our children respectfully (not to be their friend, but to speak to them gently).  It’s our goal to train them in love.  It’s our job to meet their needs, even if it inconvenient for us to do so.  It’s our job to always look at their underlying behavior and help them when they are crying out for it.

I just cannot get behind the idea that we ought to “make” children fall in line, and that if we need to be extreme to do it, that’s okay.  Somehow, it’s entirely inappropriate for a child to “act out” to get a parent’s attention; but it is okay for us to act out to get our child’s attention?  I am not okay with that double standard at all.  It’s fine to be harsh on a child…but not for a child to be rude to a parent.

Families have to live together.  And they have to deal with a wide variety of attitudes, thoughts, feelings, moods, and other things that may or may not mesh.  Children have as much right to their own thoughts, feelings, and bad days as the rest of us do.  We set firm, reasonable guidelines for them and we do so because it is in their best interests.  But we don’t need to legislate or punish their feelings!

As an example, it is perfectly okay for a child to say, “I’m mad!  That makes me so angry when you do that!”  The child has a right to feel that way and express his anger in this manner.  The child does not, however, have the right to follow that up by smacking you or another person, and doing so would require redirection to hit a pillow or go to a safe space until the temper is calm.  (I’m trying to get the point across that allowing a child to feel what he feels and be respectful does not mean that you are not parenting him.  You are.  You still make the rules and you still expect the child to follow them.  You simply allow space for the child to express his feelings and preferences along the way, and you don’t punish as a means to get obedience.  Discipline, yes; punish, no.)

Watching that video and seeing the reaction really shook me, because I don’t ever want to find myself in that position.  I don’t want to get to the teen years and realize that my children feel so angry with me and the way that I treat them that they write a nasty, angry letter about it and post it to the internet for everyone but me to see.  I’d be hurt that my child didn’t come to me first and share his or her feelings, so that we could work on it together.  I’d be embarrassed that I had been such a poor parent that my child felt overworked and abused.

And no, I don’t think she was necessarily overworked — I don’t know.  I believe in hard work and we teach our children that it’s not okay to be lazy.  I will call out lazy behavior when I see it — but I don’t tell the kids that they are lazy, I tell them a particular behavior or attitude is lazy.  I stay after them to clean up their bedrooms and their playroom, multiple times a day if we need to.  I talk to them about being respectful and caring for their things.  I let them earn money for doing chores (which will change as they age to “extra” chores).  I don’t buy them everything they want, and when they break things, I don’t replace them.  Breaking things comes with the consequence that you no longer have that thing.  I’m saying all this so that no one thinks that I believe the girl ought to get away with this, or have the right to own all of the things she wants at her parents’ expense.  It doesn’t work that way, either.

Everyone feels a sense of entitlement.  Don’t we, as adults, feel entitled to have nice things?  Once my son threw my (expensive, new-to-me, DSLR) camera down the stairs.  I freaked out.  I felt entitled to have that nice camera and not to have it broken.  But, I’d left it on a table he could easily reach, so wasn’t that really my fault?  He is only 2.  And yes, even though I bought it with my own money, that I had earned by working…I still left that camera where he could reach it.  I didn’t treat it perfectly just because I had earned it.  The idea that children will learn the value of hard work and care for an item perfectly because they paid for it is simply false.  We make mistakes — we don’t think.  My camera was on a low table, but it was in my bedroom.  I didn’t think my kids would go in there.  But, as they were getting a toy from their bedrooms, they saw the camera in my room and grabbed it, which I knew was a remote possibility when I left my door open.  I wasn’t reckless, but I didn’t care for it “perfectly,” either.

My kids often say that if they lose or break things, we’ll just buy another one, or someone will fix it for them.  We have never done things this way.  We have taken things away when they have treated them disrespectfully, we have refused to replace items they have broken.  I don’t think we have even once repaired or replaced something that was destroyed willfully.  They still think this way.

Because we all do.

When my son got into my bag of groceries once and spilled my cocoa powder everywhere, I felt angry that he had wasted it and made such a mess, and I felt like I was entitled to it, and someone ought to replace it for me.  That someone “owed” me because it was mine, and someone other than myself had ruined it.  I know it doesn’t work that way.  But I still felt it.  I think children feel the same way too.

The only way to stop “entitlement” is to slowly, patiently teach them that we must work for what we have, and to be an example of that.  When it is our fault, directly or indirectly, that something was ruined, we take responsibility for it.  But we don’t.

What happens if you’re in the kitchen and your child is talking to you a lot, and you lose your concentration and spill something?  Do you blame the child for distracting you?  …I bet, at least your head, you do.  It’s human nature not to want to accept the blame for things.

Our biggest problem is that we see the worst case scenarios on TV all the time: the children whose parents really did give in to their every whim as they were growing up, who truly are “spoiled” and simply do expect everything to be given to them, without regard for cost or need.  I do not believe most children are like this.  I believe most simply wish it were possible to have everything, yet understand it does not really work this way.

A Middle Ground

I believe a better reaction to her letter would have been to remove her Facebook account and her laptop privileges, then talk to her about what’s going on.  Listen to her and find out why she felt overworked and disrespected, and possibly come up with a plan to help her feel better about the chores she has to do.  If she is really pouring their coffee everyday, they ought to thank her each time she hands them a cup.  Little things like this.  As the parent, I may have chosen to write my own, private letter explaining how her initial letter made me feel, so that she could read each word and realize the hurt she had caused.

And then I would have asked for a written apology letter, and posted that to Facebook for the world to see.  It would have accomplished the same goal — to show that the girl would not “get away with it” — without throwing a temper tantrum.  Not to mention that the conversation and the act of writing the letter would show her just how disrespectful she’d been, and give her a chance to honestly apologize for it.  Her behavior needed to be addressed, there’s no denying that.

If she did this to a boss, she’d get fired.  But her boss would not publicly humiliate her, and if he did, she’d be able to sue.  That’s not how the world works.

Yes…you can tell by the length of this post that I have a lot to say about it.  It really struck a chord in me because I am still struggling to treat my children in a more positive manner, and I could see myself ending up in that position in 10 or 15 years if I don’t get a handle on my temper and my attitude right now.  It was a wake-up call to me that I don’t want to be that parent.

Ultimately it’s up to everyone how to parent their own child.  But please do so thoughtfully.  Choose something because you believe it to be right, and not because you are angry and reacting to how parenting or a child makes you feel.  Love the disrespect out of the child.  I’ll let you know how it went in about 14 years. 🙂

What do you think about this whole situation?

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  1. I am so glad you wrote this. Everyone has been singing this guy’s praises and when I turned on the video last night, I ended up being more disgusted with him than with her. The Marriage and Family Therapist (I have a M.S. in it) in me saw the same things you pointed out and I just left thinking: “Boy, there is a girl who is never going to express herself again. Congratulations, dad. Censoring complete.”


  2. I appreciate your very well-thought out perspective — you are right – the underlying issue was/is a poor relationship between parent and child or parents and child — I felt very bitter growing up toward my parents because at 12 I was expected to have dinner on the table for my father and siblings and help them through homework because my parents worked opposite shifts. Whenever I expressed my anger or defiance I was viewed as ungrateful, hateful and unhelpful and so I grew up thinking that’s who I was, for a very long time… until counseling and heartfelt apologies from my parents came. —- Even though my initial thoughts were – controlled and mild-mannered Dad destroys laptop – kudos — there was something bothering my spirit about this and I couldn’t put it together. You did that beautifully. It was retaliatory, there was clearly issues going way beyond this — and my oldest is only 8 – but I’m going to have at least 5 go through the teenage years — and I want my relationship to be better with them then mine was (or clearly this girl’s is) with my parents. I’m not saying I want to be their best friend – I want them to respect and love me as their parent – but respect is hard to come by without a carefully planted relationship from which to harvest. Thanks for this.


  3. I’m not sure I agree entirely. I do think his reaction might have been a bit over the top, he could probably benefit from reading “What Angry Kids Need”, but I suspect they are somewhat past that point right now (and ultimately, I don’t think it would’ve changed the consequence, just perhaps the delivery). On the other hand, until you have been in this situation, it is difficult to understand. My kids are a bit older than yours, five years old was a tipping point where some very difficult behaviors began. I found that I as a parent I acted in a way that I never thought I would act (please note, not in an abusive way, just not in the calm, contemplative way that I’d normally act, and that I’d read in all the parenting books, right?). And it tortured me. All this yelling, screaming, disrespect. I worried. I thought about how to do it differently. I thought about what people would think if they heard what was going on in here (lots of carrying-on on all sides). And ultimately, I thought about what my objective was. I decided that I wasn’t doing it all wrong, I was actually pretty close, but that the kids weren’t going to “get” it until I discussed why I was doing these things and letting them know that this is the way it is going to be. You do X, Y happens. And also remind myself, regularly, to calm down and not yell *first*.
    There comes a point in every parent’s parenting career, I believe, that the kids realize the parents have a soft spot. And they exploit it. It is an evolutionary given. So the parents need to reassert their authority. Yes, we should all be respectful, but parents do NEED to be in charge, and “because I said so” is a legitimate answer in a pinch. We can’t overuse such platitudes, but kids need to know that their parents are in charge, we are the absolute authority, and we won’t negotiate or back down.
    If that family is having a recurring problem with this type of behavior, while I don’t love the very public aspect of it, the public punishment does fit the crime. And it will give her an understanding of how it feels, even if she feels it was unjust, she won’t care to experience it again, and perhaps she will rethink doing it to others. And to be honest, the public comments may well help her to realize that her parents are not alone. Often I think it helps to see that your peers aren’t truly allowed any more privilege than you are, and that your parents have peers too. My kids often yell, “you’re so mean.” To which I respond calmly, “I’m not mean, I am your mother, but if you would like me to be mean, then I could certainly try to be meaner.” Sometimes I list some options… 🙂 They usually change their minds, even though they know I’m a little tongue in cheek, because they do know that I could start removing privileges if they continue to be disrespectful…
    But following through on consequences is important, and a consequence that fits the infraction is also important. And while you don’t want the relationship to be as adversarial as it looks, we have all been in a BIG FIGHT with our parents at some time, at least once. Once, when I had one as a teen, I went to stay with my dear, calm, wise Grandmother. She told me about a similar fight she remembered having with her mom! Some fifty plus years earlier! The parents setting firm limits, and explaining those limits (and any consequences earned) without negotiating, is important. And while I know there is a movement to avoid “punishing” our children, there is a consequence to everything we do, and if we protect our children from all consequences, and just TELL them that what they are doing is wrong, they will eventually have to learn the hard way, in the real world.
    So while I guess this guy could have toned it down a little, I don’t think he was off the mark. A public rebuttal and the removal of the laptop and FB account are reasonable consequences, as long as he discusses with her his reasons for doing it the way he did at some point. And I was glad to see, although there is clearly a divorce here, he had discussed it with the girl’s mother, and they agree on the consequence (at least enough for her to ask him to put one bullet in for her). That is something, too.
    Thanks, Kate, for all you do and share with us.


    • Dawn,

      I’m not suggesting no discipline or no natural consequences. If my kids say I’m mean (and they do), I say “That’s okay” and keep right on going. It is entirely possible to be firm and unwavering in the rules without being harsh. Gentle discipline does not equal wishy-washy parents. I’m going to post on this further since there is a lot of confusion about it.


  4. Having worked with a lot of teenagers I just want to mention that most teenagers go through an angry at mom or dad phase; even the ones with great parents. There are a lot of hormones and emotions that are going through teenagers and it means that many of them make mistakes in how they interact and communicate with others. They are in the process of becoming independent human beings and part of that process is for them to establish their own identity away from their parents. There is a lot of trial and error in that phase. I think that it’s always a good idea to look at yourself as a parent first whenever your child does something to upset you, it often is a reflection of something you need to take care of in yourself. However, I think that having your own identity so wrapped up in your child’s decisions and mistakes that you blame yourself for every wrong they commit is very unhealthy. We are all sinful people and make bad choices at times. Sometimes my child’s temper tantrum is a reflection of his own sin nature, not something that I did to him or taught him. The trick is to deal with that in grace and love while allowing them to come to terms with the consequences of their actions.


    • Jennifer, I don’t think it is healthy either for a parent’s identity to be wrapped up in how a child does. They ARE separate people. But when a child is crying out because of the parent-child relationship, or a behavior is repeated on several occasions, that’s a cue for the parent to look at him/herself. It seems that many parents don’t, because they believe that the majority of a child’s behavior is independent and doesn’t reflect on them, and that’s not true either. There is a middle ground, and parenting requires reflection for sure.


  5. You make some really good points. I initially saw the video and thought that the shooting of the laptop was intimidating. To me, that shows how big and scary he can be. Even if that wasn’t his intended point, that was the feeling I got. You are right, if this was a husband people would be fearful for the relationship. I asked my husband what he thought (he didn’t actually see the video), and he, too, said that taking out the gun crossed a line.

    The more I think about this situation, the more it bothers me. Publicly humiliating a child is never okay. The dad may have thought HE was being cute and teaching her friends a lesson, but that isn’t his job. Obviously the girl has something she needed to get off her chest. I got the impression, once the man mentioned the stepmother and the mother wanting a bullet to be put into the laptop, that there could be something happening with that dynamic.

    Yes, I do believe children have a sense of entitlement, but you are right that the parents are the ones feeding into that. They seem to want to give kids “stuff” rather than guidance then don’t know how to handle when something goes wrong. This man said over and over how much time and money he spent fixing the laptop the day before. Did he want an award for that? We do things for those we love.


    • Don’t we all have something to “get off our chest” at times? We can’t just go around ranting and raving to everybody and anybody who will listen. What would this teach our kids? Maybe that they aren’t required to exercise self-control and respect. No thanks…I’d probably shoot a hole through my kids computer too before letting them get away with such nonsensical behavior.
      Gotta love the daughter’s response to people acting like her father is a monster because he destroyed her laptop and taught her a hard, public lesson!


  6. I think you wrote a great response and I agree with your approach! Did you see his update here:

    I don’t think he totally redeems himself but I am glad, if it is truthful, it sound like they had some good conversation afterward and that maybe HE learned something through this as well. Apparently kids who “need” drastic measures to learn a lesson are created by parents who learn through drastic measures.


  7. I believe public humiliation is a great tool to teach a lesson. After all, the daughter didn’t see a problem with publicly humiliating her parents. The punishment fit the crime. When adults do things wrong in/to the public they get publicly humiliated in the news where everyone knows who got that DUI last weekend or, if it’s more serious, they get judged by a panel of their peers.

    I think teenage years are very difficult. Hormones rage, you are trying find out who you are, and a lot of kids “show off” for their friends by rebelling against even the best of parents. Heck, sometimes the kids are simply acting like brats because they are buddies with a bad influence who actually does have horrible parents.

    Sometimes giving a child a good dose of their own medicine is just what the doctor ordered. To me, the dad pulling out his gun is nothing short of a good parent following through. He warned his daughter if she ranted on FB about her parents again he would put a bullet through her computer. Done! Lesson taught. Will it be learned? I’m sure she won’t be publicly disrespecting her parents in such an outright fashion again.

    As far as dealing with why she is an angry child about chores, must we look so deeply? She is a teenager. Most teenagers have phases of being angry with their parents. Mainly because of what I mentioned previously about hormones and showing off, but it is also a time in which more responsibilities are expected because it is the transition from childhood to adulthood. Most kiddos aren’t too thrilled about having more responsibilities but soon they learn that that is exactly what they needed to be high functioning and thriving adults. They’ll appreciate these hard lessons when they get older.

    This daughter will probably brag about her father when she has her own kids saying that he was serious enough with discipline that he shot holes through a laptop that he just spent a lot of money on just to teach her what she needed to know. Now that’s a parent who takes his role as father very seriously. Better than absentees and workaholics that have little or nothing to do with their children.

    In general, we don’t need to be so quick to over-react and judge. Not a single one of us have ever been in this family’s shoes.

    Kate, I loved how you posted on this. You watched it, took what you felt you needed to learn from it, and shared that with us. I like your take on parenting as it is probably more in line with how I am a parent. However, this daddy’s way of handling things is probably more in line with my hubby’s parenting style and that’s quite alright with me. 🙂


  8. I was that type of teenager. This daddy’s reaction is similar to what my daddy would have done in that situation…the only difference is that he would have tacked on “Now, I love you, but…” That one phrase always made the punishment “better,” in that (at least in my mind) I didn’t do that “crime” again. Like you said, we don’t know the situation/circumstances surrounding her letter. My hope is that she and her daddy had a heart-to-heart, with apologies from both sides, and have a better understanding of what’s expected from each other (since she is part of a split family, having divorced parents and possibly 2 step parents, there is bound to be some underlying cause of “misunderstanding.”)


  9. I just wanted to say, thank you so much for writing this post. I’m so glad you did.


  10. I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. I currently have 7 children between the ages of 13 and 22. They are good kids. Sometimes they hate me. I remember hating my mom – who was a wonderful woman – at their age. It is a very normal part of being a teenager and the push and pull that goes on. A teenager is a lot like a toddler – pushing to see how far they can go but like a toddler they truly need to know that their parents have limits, that they will do what they say. In this way they can count on their parents. Would I have shot the computer – no, I am too cheap to ruin a perfectly good computer. Would I have wiped it clean and given it away – heck yes. Would I have posted the whole thing to facebook? If I thought it would teach my child the lesson that they needed. Sometimes you need to do “drastic” things. Did he overreact – maybe. Was she out of line – absolutely. After reading the follow up post from his facebook I think his relationship with his daughter is good and normal. I guess what I am trying to say is that while I wouldn’t have handled this the way he did I believe he did what he thought was best. That is all any parent can do.


  11. I agree with you, Kate. Consequences are important, but so is setting a good example. This might have been a fine consequence, but it was a terrible example. He’s trying to teach her, “When you’re mad, you don’t lose your temper, cuss, and make a public scene.” But what he’s really teaching her is, “It’s okay to do those things, but only if you’re the grownup.” I remember feeling very upset about this as a child, when my parents would insist on things like no bad language, saying please and thank you, or certain table manners issues and then do the opposite themselves. I couldn’t wait to be a grownup so I could do whatever I wanted, because I honestly thought there were no rules for grownups.

    Luckily, when I was a teenager, my parents and I had a very good relationship. They encouraged me to grow in responsibility and trusted me with a lot of independence. Sure, I complained about them to my friends sometimes. But that wasn’t a big deal to them; they didn’t read my email and they didn’t monitor what I said in public.

    I probably would have made the daughter write a public retraction of her own, confessing to her friends that some of what she said was untrue. That’s just as public, just as embarrassing, but keeps the parent as the parent, not the fellow child lashing back.


  12. I think what troubled me most about this video is that I don’t see any action setting out to deal with the “heart issue” the daughter has. Dad wants to rant and rave, shoot things, and humiliate his daughter – and people laud this as appropriate punishment.

    Clearly, there is a sin issue going on in both daughter’s life and dad’s (as we all have) – but as a father who wants to raise his child to be respectful and polite and to do what is right, he should be focused on the things that motivate her actions, not on the actions.

    It grieves me we’ve gotten so far from the meaning of discipline. The word discipline has multiple meanings – at least five that I’ve found. Only one refers to punishment. The other four refer to appropriate training and behavior. When did discipline become about spanking and grounding and time-outs, and loose its focus on training correct attitudes and behaviors?


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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