Posted: 11 February 2012 at 9:10pm | IP Logged
@Omnipotent_Taco - I don't think the issue is as grave as you are perceiving it. (It could be, but I don't think so).
Personally, I don't see it as the dad trying to show his daughter who is boss. I see it more as a father putting his foot down and instilling some respect, discipline and gratitude in his daughter.
I'm not sure how it is in other countries, but teenagers in the United States are very insolent, rude and misbehaved. It is almost like an epidemic of disrespectful and entitled behavior. If in India takes discipline too far, it is the exact opposite here - absolutely no discipline in schools, at home or anywhere. Teenagers are sheltered, pampered and allowed to get away with anything. A huge part of this is the parent's fault, teenagers these days don't get enough attention as they ought too. At the same time parents are afraid to discipline. There is so much aura and hype around abusive parenting that people are afraid to discipline their kids. Despite that the behavior was not so bad. Kids eventually would mature up. Those who made it through college would go through a massive change. However, the misbehavior has heightened since the advent of social media. The problem is really high amidst girls who have gotten far more bitchier, cattier, mean and judgmental to everyone for no good reason. They spend hours on social media sites tearing down their parents, teachers and other students they don't like.
To give credit to both the students and parents cell phones and social media have created a whole new world. I don't think young teens are ready to responsibly use technology and parents are don't have guidelines on how to address technology. Back in the day teens would bitch about people, but it stayed within the privacy of a group. Today these comments are public with more far reaching consequences. Back in the day once a kid came home, they were cut out from their friends and it was family time. Today even after coming home, laptops and cellphones expose teens to a communication overload. Their cliques, their expectations, their bullies, their bullying, their social and peer pressures are with them 24/7. Back in the day disciplining was simpler. Today with the misbehavior being in cybersphere it is much harder for parents to find the right way to discipline. Should they address just their kid or the entire social group that is causing problems - because no single kid changes unless the group also is disciplined.
This kid bitched about her parents and since parents have direct authority the dad was in a place to do something. Some of this unchecked online ranting, posting mean messages about others, and getting a whole peer group tearing people down have actually have had disastrous consequences for other victims, including innocent teachers who were made targets of catty behavior. Facebook gives the Mean girls burn book a whole new level of meanness.
That is why I think many people view Tommy Jordan as a hero. Finally a parent who actually saw his daughter stray too far on Facebook and actually do something about it. Finally a parent who decided that even words on Facebook have consequences and you can't do just anything and everything you want because its 'online'. Finally a parent who was not afraid to discipline their kids and set an example for other parents that its ok to be harsh, to be firm and give some very tough love.
Was he 100% right. Of course not. His intent and even the initial part of the video was right. However, his violent method was wrong. There is also the possibility that his daughter is actually a very well behaved and good kid, who is not a misbehaved entitled kid and had a very bad day and lashed out. It could be that this father just overreacted way too far.
I'm against authoritarian parenting and iron fist discipline with no leeway. I've seen friends and others turn to lying and trickery because of overbearing parents. I've noticed how kids with over the top parents have a penchant for breaking rules, getting into trouble and find ways to embarrass or get back at their parents. If this is how Tommy Jordan disciplines his children all the time, if this is how he reacts when they misbehave, if his only solution is destroying things then definitely he is one of those parents pushing his kids away into a disastrous path. If he is one of those parents I can totally see why his daughter could end up being a runaway or some sort of rebel someday.
It is a possibility Tommy Jordan is one of those parents. However, based on things he has said and done since the video went up - I don't think this is what he does all the time. He seems to be a genuinely caring father. The video was meant for his daughter and her friends, it was not intended to go viral. He regrets the fact that it got so much publicity and is trying to shield his family from the media. He has had the cops and social services check on his family and is not bitter or resentful about it. He is merely a parent who is upset with the system in our country where children don't receive a decent education nor decent discipline.
His destructive method was definitely over the top. It can be scarring for a teenager. It can give the wrong lesson to teens on how to deal with problems. It can teach that violence and aggression and acceptable solutions. But again it depends on what type of parents they are rest of the time. Parents are humans too and make dozens of mistakes, sometimes humongous ones. They sometimes hit or punish their kids for no reason, they publicly embarrass them in front of everyone, they ruin their social lives and interfere in their friendships. All these things can really mess a kid up. If parents keep repeating these mistakes, kids will be messed up. However, if they later when things are said and done they can communicate, pass on the right message, explain themselves in a more positive light and come to agreements - then the kids will be fine.
In the end we all saw only 8 minutes of Tommy Jordans life. Its foolish of me to assume that I know enough about him,whether he is a good parent or if his kids will be fine by watching the video or his Facebook. But my perception of the situation is for the better rather than the worse.
@ Dia - There is nothing wrong in teenagers working to earn their keep and fund their expenses. It really instills the value for money, responsibility and discipline. Of course there have to be limitations. Many jobs are not safe or suitable for teens. Moreover, they have better priorities like education and peer socialization before they dedicate time to a job. Unfortunately, some of the laws surrounding teenage employment is ridiculous and sometimes teenagers are far too sheltered.
If I was in Chicago or even Milwaukee I'd think paper routes and many other jobs are risky. But there are several neighborhoods in my town and all across the state that I can vouch are safe. Similarly, I don't think there is anything wrong in a 16 year old hosting or waiting tables at Applebees or Fridays.
As for education in the USA. There are serious issues beyond not being able to graph tangents and equations. Many students cannot do simple math without calculator. They dont know how to write cursive or what long division is. Their reading, writing and comprehension skills are sub par. They lack most nations in math and science. With the 'No Child Left Behind' policies standards were dramatically lowered so they could push kids through the system. IMHO it is better to fail students and hold them back till they are more competent. It is not helping any kid by making school easier so everyone can pass.
@Souro - I guess we actually could have had a debate thread.