...my child sold your honor student the answers to the test...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Extreme Consequences: Thoughts?

I want to bring to your attention this article and video, about a father who offers quite an extreme consequence for a teenage tantrum on FB. It's been sweeping social media like a wildfire since yesterday. The article is short, the video is about 8 minutes long. Please watch if you haven't yet.

So I watched this video on Facebook this morning. And I am still trying to figure out if this guy is my new hero or if he went too far. Here's my thought process:

I am HUGE on consequences with my kids. I teach that every choice made, creates a consequence, be it good or not. If my child makes a wise choice, he reaps the benefit of the positive consequences. If my child does not make a wise choice, he reaps the negative consequences. In this way there is no punishment, per sae. My kids are learning that THEY have the power to determine what happens. In our household, these consequences are well known, so that each child understands what will happen if they choose to go down path A or path B.

For instance. Xavier has the knowledge that if he doe not goof off and focuses on his homework, he will finish sooner and have more time to play on the computer before bed. It's now up to him to decide what to do: does he sit down and get his work done? Or does he goof off with his brothers?

So there is a big part of me that looks at this guy and feels that this is a FANTASTIC example of consequences for our choices. Many times our kids think we're bluffing when we warn of consequences. Many times they might be right. I'm known though, for being a hard ass and I don't back down on consequences if I tell them prior. Doesn't mean they wont test the boundaries (oh they do on a daily basis) but they also know if I say if you do this you lose that, I mean it.


When I watched the video, I noticed as he stated many times how he warned his daughter not to pull this kind of stunt again, he never mentioned that he gave her clear, defined guidelines of what the consequences would be if she did it again. If he had said to her "Daughter, if you pull this stunt again I am going to shoot your laptop" and then he followed through, I wouldn't be having this mental conversation with myself.  Because then he had given her clear, defined understanding of WHAT WOULD HAPPEN if she made that choice. Instead he gave her a very vague idea of doom. That's doesn't hold any weight with a person. It holds no definition, sounds more like a threat said in the heat of the moment, and therefore, forgotten.

Also, because of HIS choices (including the lack of clear definitions on said consequences) what he has done has created not an understanding of consequences to his daughter, but has given her the ability to hold this against him for a long time, possibly even straining the relationship to breaking point. I know I don't know these people, but I've been in situations where I was never given a clear idea of what my actions may create, and I was punished in a manner that did not fit the crime. As an adult, I still remember that feeling of almost betrayal, hurt, and not being able to understand. It happened often enough that it created a gulf between myself and my father, whom I no longer have a relationship with.

This teenager had a tantrum. That's what teenagers do. Hell, we adults have tantrums. I think that's quite clear in the fathers response. To me, it seems like the apple didn't fall far from the tree.

I wish I knew more about this situation. I could see myself doing something like this if it was needed to teach a lesson to my children. But I would have made it VERY clear that if X happens again, I will shoot your laptop on tape and post it to your friends. That way there is a clear understanding on what they could expect if they choose path X.

So what do you guys think?


Anonymous said...

Wow. Not to sure how I feel about this. On one hand I agree.. I mean I wouldn't go shooting up the laptop but on the other he got his point across. LOL

lovejoy_31 said...

I think he might have gone a little too far, but it doesn't bother me. I think that for the most part, today as a whole, there are no consequences for kids. They feel entitled. Once again, don't know that I would shoot a laptop, but good for him for taking a stand.

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SRM said...

Thanks for the thoughtful comments!

Heather Stewart McCurdy said...

I've seen this a couple times now. The pendulum swings is what I think. We went too far in being friends, and now the pend swings the other way again. Parenting is hard, and while my baby is still not talking back, I wonder how I will handle it. Heather from Rockstew.com found you from Make My Morning blog. Following now (follower and facebook) please follow back.

SRM said...

Hi Heather! Thanks for both the thoughtful comment and the follow! I'll head over and follow you now!

Jessica Knorr said...

Well after watching the video and hearing all the stuff she said about her parents on a PUBLIC forum I don't think he went to far. I can understand his frustration and understand how kids feel entitled to EVERYTHING today. Often times there aren't any consequences for kids behaviors and such and it gets old real quick. If my daughters (which are younger) ever did that to me...I'm not sure I would put a bullet in their lap top but I would come really close. I think its great that he took a stand!

SRM said...

Thanks for the comment, jessica! I must admit I did have an internal panic of "NOT THE LAPTOP!!!" when he shot it.

I could see myself doing something like this though. Maybe not shooting the laptop, but something that really made a statement to my kids to know that Im not going to pansy out if they do something they weren't warned about.

in pursuit said...

OK, here are my thoughts. I'm sure you're waiting anxiously;) I think she deserved to have her lap top taken and trashed. What she did was disrespectful and unkind. I think she got a taste of her own medicine when he went public with it. I used to teach middle school and I had a philosphy (this is going to sound awful so let me explain before you think I'm a compelte a-hole) My philosphy was this: a little embarrassment goes a long way.

Here's why: when kids are little they behave because they are afraid of a consequence- losing a privelege or getting a time out/spanking whatever. But as they get older we lose a lot of that stuff as motivators for them. Their currencly is street cred, peer acceptance, and the thoughts of others.

We are not much differnet from our kids. A lot of the time we behave not because we have good hearts, but because we know the way we actually WANT to behave or what we really WANT to say is not socially acceptable. We are really just children with a better veneer.

My point, is that we all need a motivator since innately we won't always do what is right. For teens, the external motivator is fear of embarassment. It's a powerful tool and one we need in our arsenal. I think this dad gets that.

Personally, I think the shooting thing was too far. But that's probably beause there is no farm in the background of any of my homemade videos and i don't have a 10 gallon hat. I grew up in sunny San Diego. We'd probably just pour sunscreen all over it;)

Still loving your blog so much and am so glad we got connected! Thanks.

by the way: I didnt' ask if it was ok if i put my blog link in my signature. i saw a few others did but if you wish I wouldn't let me know and Ill be sure not to do it again;)