I agree that what his daughter posted was COMPLETELY out of line and there needed to be immediate and meaningful consequences to this "public post." It is another one of my "soapboxes" how teenagers need the catharsis of expressing these things, but public forums such as Facebook and Twitter are NOT the places to do that. I love that he took what she wanted to be selectively public and made her sentiments completely public. But there are some flaws, too.
The true meaning of "discipline" needs to be considered when deciding upon the best approach. Discipline is not limited to punishment. Discipline, at it's heart is "teaching." So a good parent needs to ask himself/herself, "what do I want to teach my child?" as well as "what is the best way to teach this lesson?"
These are the values this father seems to want to teach and instill in his daughter:
- Respect and appreciation for parents and the lady who barters house cleaning for other services.
- A valid and strong work ethic and the joy of earning your own money and manage it for yourself
- A sense of contribution and ownership to the family and home through chores
- Personal responsibility
How does he seek to instill these values? What is his educational method?
Teaching respect by being himself, disrespectful.
Not the best choice. We as parents are to model what we expect from our children. We are not "above the law" and our actions give authority to our words. I agree with the stance he is taking. I agree with 98% of what the man said to his daughter. I do not agree with the way in which this is communicated. Now, I have to be honest and note that sarcasm is a second language in my home. We all use it and use it effectively without hurting one another. I am not saying all children need to be handled as fragile and we need to be ultra-sensitive, because that is not teaching our children survival skills for the real world. This man crossed that fine line. Making this a public post and keeping it on YouTube for all the world to see crosses that line. I know and understand that his daughter made it selectively public and therefore it seems "fair" for the dad to make it public. Remember we are ADULTS. We are to act as such and not answer adolescent angst with adolescent angst.
Motivating a work ethic by insulting and not allowing for complaint
The latter part of that statement is inferred. It seems by the very nature of her original post that Hannah does not feel safe enough to complain at home and the father's response doesn't seem to give any indication that he tolerates complaint. Teaching and shaping our children "how" to verbally express their dissatisfaction is a needed dimension to discipline. However, many parents simply opt to "ban" any sort of exclamation as "disrespectful". If there is not a valid outlet in the home, then kids will resort to other means of expression -- hence the original FB post. What he seems to be teaching his daughter is to keep her mouth shut, bottle up your emotions, and it's OK when you are a parent to let your emotions drive you to make outlandish claims (such as never using a computer or internet until college) that are virtually impossible in this day and age to be consistently followed-through.
Battling against a sense of entitlement by indulging and then trying to fight off the consequences of that indulgence.
This statement is completely inferred. But logic seems to indicate that this girl has been given all these things and her chores around the house are to be her contribution to earn these things. Somehow the "connection" between those two have been missed. It is my guess that there were symptoms of this prior to this post and parents need to do more than simply ground a child for offenses or symptoms. We need to be actively teaching them using immediacy and labeling. When the new computer is purchased, verbally label this not as a "gift" but as a "well-earned thank you" for the work you do around the house and at school. When asking for new items directly link a new responsibility or more consistent compliance with responsibilities as "earning" the new item prior to purchasing it.
Teaching responsibility by being irresponsible
Is taking a perfectly good and recently upgraded laptop and filling it full of expensive hollow-point bullets really the most responsible way to handle this? I read a suggestions by a person on Facebook noting that donating that laptop to a child/family who doesn't have one is probably a more responsible stewardship of resources and I have no idea why someone needs hollow-point bullets unless they are law enforcement or military (but that's another blog post).
One of my favorite quotes about parenting is, "It is our job as parents to love and nurture our children, and to frustrate them often." I agree that if our children are frustrated that means they are not always getting their way. They need to be taught this experience in the context of a home that will help shape their expression of that frustration and is consistent with the limits set. There is a fine line between that sentiment and the sentiment of the Apostle Paul who wrote: "Father's don't provoke your children to anger." This father crossed that line.