I left the comment below on Mrs. G's blog, but I wanted to put it here to remember. It fits in with a certain theme I'm vibing on. The comment was left in response to Mrs. G's request for thoughts on this video (which she said was sweeping the web and I had not yet seen-6 million viewers?):
So, Dad is quite angry. And he has a gun. And obviously, he is a parenting teenager newb. As the daughter of an angry man, I can tell you that public rants and humiliation do not forge strong parent/child bonds, healthy relationships,compliance with daddy's wishes, or respect.
We are seeing one angry dad's response to his child's teenage angst. Teenagers do that. They diss their parents. They feel "put out" by the demands their parents make. The are embarrassed and even disdainful of their parents. They can frequently be over-the-top asshats, cruel, thoughtless, and pissy mean.
This is normal human development. Normal = Not a shooting offense. Fear has no place in parent/child relationships. It is destructive to that which is most essential-trust. And, if handled correctly, (I liked to use long words about individuation and developing synaptic connections i.e. "your brain don't work so hot right now because you have a lot of synaptic connections to forge.") teenage asshatment can be talking points that enhance a teenager's sense of self and self-worth, which helps them develop connection and empathy, which makes aging parental ass-wiping highly probable (one among many of the highly desirable traits we hope to see in our offspring).
I don't advocate being a doormat for a kid, but I do believe we must show our children respect before we can demand it from them. Like all tough skills, becoming a tolerable human is a learned behavior. Takes trial and error and a very committed team routing for you to actually master the complex feat of growing up.
I have 2 beautiful adult children who at times did equally stupid, insensitive things (just as I, too, did when young-probably still do as we save all our best bullshit for those we love and trust. Sorry Mama.). I believe that they have learned how to be remarkable adult people through loving, honest, SAFE, (no cigarettes, anger, guns -heaven help us!) and respectful interactions with adults they could count on to establish boundaries and listen as often as they talked to teenagers.
I feel bad for this family. Where do you go to talk things out when the level of aggression is raised to such heights? And how can a cornered kid make a graceful retreat or attempt rapprochement when they are not shown how to handle disappointing behaviors which, let's face it parents, our kids receive from us as well.
So, that was my comment on the video. It makes me sad to think 6 million people think this is ok parenting. I call shenanigans. This dude is an amateur who could benefit from some education. I can only hope he was arrested for deploying hollow-point bullets in a residential neighborhood and that his arrest taught his daughter a little bit about how not to handle her disappointment and anger.
Lately I've been feeling cranky. Any time I open my mouth someone is there to tell me I am angry. Every alert woman will have this experience almost daily. It's nothing new. Most of the time I just ignore it, sometimes don't even notice it. The offense I am committing is commonly called having an opinion while wearing a vagina. Hearing about how this makes me an angry woman, a wrathful goddess, bitchy, or the perennial "over-reactive" is so fucking boring.
I have opinions. I am an emotional creature. You could be so lucky. You could. And then, if you were, you would stop policing my words. You would hesitate before clamping your hand over my mouth and whispering "shhh!" in fear of the boogeyman who is around every corner just waiting to hurt a girl. You might, like me, occasionally call that boogeyman out. Yell " Bring it!" at him or point out to passers by that he is standing right there and they are walking too close and should tell him to go shower some of the stank off if he really wants to use stealth to scare.
I am not interested in compliance. I believe it is how we got into this mess. I am tired of being told how I feel or that the radical fact that I feel and then express my feelings is a problem.
My life, like everyone's life, will be brief. Too quick a trip to tiptoe around all this bullshit. So, I wear hip waders and get on with it. To those who would prefer I demur I say "Fuck you" and "You should try it sometime." I know that you are afraid that once you open your mouth all that will come out is a scream, but trust me, there is so much more you have to say.
"I am an emotional creature. It's how the earth got made. I love love love being a girl." Thank you Eve Ensler.