By now, you’ve likely seen the viral Internet sensation Facebook Parenting for the Troubled Teen put up by frustrated parent, Tommy Jordan, on his daughter Hannah’s Facebook wall. (If not, open YouTube in another tab, search for ‘Facebook Parenting…’ I’ll wait).
You’re back? Awesome. What did you think?
On the one hand, I gotta give it to the guy–he’s got huge stones. I mean big brass ones. I get the fact that his daughter publicly shamed him, and “every adult in her life,” by slandering him on Facebook.
But what’s not so cool is the tit-for-tat, I’ll shame you back thing he does for the whole world to see. I mean good parenting is all about shaming your kids into submission, right? Right?
I think you know what I’m saying: there’s more to shepherding your kid’s heart than mere compliance. Heck, we can lay the smack down all we want, but does it produce a changed heart? I submit to you that Mr. Jordan may indeed see an outward compliance from his daughter, which merely masks a seething inner rebellion.
What he fails to understand is that her attitude has its genesis in him. The parents set the tone of the home. If he wants change, it starts with him.
Not with nine hollow point rounds shot into a laptop.
You know, I’ve seen the video a few times now, and each time the word, “stepmother,” stands out to me. Not that all stepmothers are bad, mind you, just that this implies a divorce occurred at some point. And that, friends and neighbors, is a whole ‘nother level.
Having been a child of divorce, I can attest to the simple fact that anger is indeed a common reaction to a parent’s divorce. Especially from a teen. Teens have enough going on in feeling their way(s) through this awkward time of life that adding a divorce into the mix… Well, you get my point.
I was 13, 14, when my parents went through their divorce. My dad dropped the bomb on my brother and I after taking us to see Return of the Jedi. Yeah, rebel triumph to the agony of defeat in about, oh, 0.002 seconds.
I hated my dad. His paramour–later wife–hated my brother and me. I’m not saying this is necessarily the dynamic that’s going on with Hannah, but… I’ll betcha dollars to donuts she’s a little angry with her old man. <--based on her Facebook post, understatement of the year, I know. Like I was with mine. And, boy did I have a boulder-sized chip on my shoulder. All I did was demand things from him, and subsequently resent him at those times when I had to go see him. Truly, though, he chose to leave, and wasn't what you would call an involved dad (we saw him twice a year; he called even less). Unlike Mr. Jordan, who at least seems to care about his daughter's behavior. It just seems to me--and take this with a boulder-sized grain of salt--that with the divorce, and remarriage, there's an unresolved element here. Which brings me to Valentine's Day: I think Mr. Jordan should, in the interests of relational harmony, take his video down, humble himself before his daughter--confessing his part in his divorce--and then simply listen to her. There's something there he needs to hear. And I think the best way to do that is to make his daughter his Valentine this year, taking her out on a daddy/daughter date. I would suggest some family counseling as well. Yeah, I get that he feels unappreciated, but he's a man, and can take the hit. He needs to set the tone for communication in his home. God abases the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Moms, and dads, in your home this starts with you. Sure, you can make your kids tow the line, but does even God do this? Yes, he disciplines, but he doesn't force compliance. What do you think? I'm I off in my assessment? How would you have handled a similar situation?