Thursday, February 16, 2012

YouTube Video - Facebook Parenting for the Troubled Teen

Warning: If you are a survivor of childhood abuse, the following video may be triggering for you. At the very least, the video should be disturbing to more people that it is. This video shows that we are still a society that doesn't always recognize emotional abuse, especially when it is abuse of children.

Have you seen the YouTube Video entitled "Facebook Parenting for the Troubled Teen"? If you haven't here is the link for it:

Please go watch this video and then return to read my views on the video.

When I visited YouTube this video had over 276,000 Likes and over 25,000 Dislikes.  I will share with you why I disliked the video below.

Here is my comment when I posted this video on my Facebook page:
"Warning: This may be triggering for some survivors. In order to be respected by your children, you need to respect them too. If she disappoints her dad enough, is she going to be the next thing he shoots? Have you never had a rant in which you said things you later regret and did things you wish you hadn't? In this instance posting the rants to FB (Facebook) might not have been a good idea for either of them. For many years I didn't respect my children or my husband because I didn't respect myself. I wasn't given or taught respect as an abused child. I had to learn it as a recovering adult."

As an adult, I am taking the side of the child. Yes, at 15, she is still considered a child. She may be a spoiled brat but who made her into that? I know that as an abused child living in an adult's body that I gave my two children more that they probably needed because of my own neglected inner children. Spoiling them was my fault. Many of us in trying to meet our own needs do this to our children.

(To my two children, I am not calling you spoiled brats. You weren't. Amazingly, you took some of the good that your dad and I were able to give you and you became adults that I am proud to call my children. You are both blessings to me and your dad. That is not to say you are perfect. I have never expected you to be perfect. I know that I am far from perfect as I know you will both agree.)

As I said above, the teenaged girl's rant on Facebook probably wasn't a good idea. Her dad's public rant didn't make the situation any better. He is supposed to be an adult. I know that he spoke out of frustration and he is an adult.

Two things about the video disturbed me as a parent and as an incest survivor. The dad's public humiliation of his daughter and his bringing a gun into the video. Humiliation is emotional abuse whether you are a child or an adult. Humiliation isn't about discipline. That dad was showing that he controlled his daughter, her possessions and even her life. Controlling her life is what the use of the gun represented to me. That gun said to me, "This time I will destroy your laptop. Next time it could be you." The gun was a silent threat but it was a threat. The dad may not have recognized it as such but it was. My dad did the same kind of threats when I was a child. 

The idea that this is the way his dad would have reacted when he was a child doesn't hold much value with me. This kind of activity was wrong then and it is wrong now. We should all learn from the mistakes of the generation before us. Continuing to make those same kind of behaviors is how we develop generational abuse patterns.  Incest has been a generational abuse pattern that I and many survivors are determined to stop. Emotional abuse of our children is another of those patterns that we need to stop. Parental bullying needs to stop.  Bullying is such an epidemic because so many parents use it and teach it to their children. Fear and humiliation shouldn't be used to discipline children.

My dad was a dictator who had to control his children and wife with a firm hand. Because I grew up that way, I did some of the same controling behaviors when my kids were small. As I grew and healed, I was able to stop some of those behaviors. I hope that this dad will take a look at his rant on this video and see that his own behavior isn't healthy. I do believe in giving children responsibilities but I don't believe in taking advantage of them either. I don't think that teenagers are entitled to everything that they want. I do believe that they have the right to express their feelings. Her dad needs to be more interested in what the girl is trying to tell him rather than how he or she looks on Facebook. The dad's reaction shows that he needs to do some growing up of his own.

The dad did a follow-up video that I haven't seen. I hope that he and his daughter have both been able to sit down and talk to each other, privately. I hope that he has been able to listen and to really hear what she is saying. Both need to let go of the anger and talk honestly with each other. Both need to feel valued. What neither of them seems to understand is that value comes from inside, not outside. I didn't do a very good job of teaching my children that because I didn't learn it until I was an adult. 

When two people are ranting, they both lose. Listening is the only solution for either of them. Listening has to be on both sides. I know that the dad is acting out his frustration. So is the daughter. I hope that they can talk and learn from each other. Children and adults both are entitled to their feelings. They aren't entitled to use that anger to hurt each other. That is where responsibility comes into the picture.

You don't have to agree or disagree with me on this post. These are just my own observations and my opinion. Your opinion is just as valid as mine. My opinions come from the filters of my own experiences just like yours do.

I want to address the matter of the gun again before I close. The gun brings out fear in me. Guns represent violence, even when the words aren't said. Guns kill. Guns represent the threat of killing. I grew up fearful that if I told my mother about the incest that she would kill my dad. That fear came from a story that I remember from sometime in my childhood. I don't remember how old I was the first time that I heard the story.

Sometime in the first year of my parents' marriage before I was born, my dad hit my mother. I don't remember being told why he thought it was okay to hit her. What I do remember is that she said she picked up his rifle, pointed it at him and pulled the trigger. She was so angry that she didn't think to load the gun first. I am assuming that she thought it was loaded. She pulled the trigger. That is the important thing in this story. She intended to kill him because he hit her. Because of this one incidence, I assumed that if I told my mom that my dad had hurt me sexually that she would kill him and then she would go to prison and I would have no parents. That story was a very real threat to me. As a child, I probably thought that I would die too without my parents. Either way, as a child I thought it would have all been my fault if I told my mother about the incest.

That gun that the dad pulled out in the video represents a very real threat in the mind of his child, even if she is 15 years old. Threats can be just as damaging to the mind of a child. Fear of violence is a valid fear.

Thank you to Darlene Ouimet of the blog Emerging From Broken for making me aware of this video. Here is a link to the blog post from Darlene on this video. Remember that Darlene and I both write our blog posts from our own experiences of healing from incest. Emotional abuse and physical abuse are both parts of the abuse of incest. Here is the link to Darlene's blog post entitled, "Facebook Parenting for the Troubled Teen ~ How Kids are Devalued":

I ask that any discussions here be respectful of all concerned. Thank you.


Shattered said...

I was shocked to see the clip on the news. I was even more shocked to see how glib the reporters were and how many people thought it was funny. You are right in each one of your observations and I hope that someone reached out to the teen and her family.

If he will do that in public, on video for the world to see; what does he do behind closed doors??

Patricia Singleton said...

Shattered, thank you for your comment. It is disturbing to see so many people react with humor and encouragement of the dad's behavior. It shows how much work we still have ahead of us to stop child abuse.

Susan said...

It is always sad to see parents using their children to meet their own needs....and more so for me because america so enjoys things like this....this video was a trigger to many of us who survived parental neglect and abuse....thank you for sharing your learnings:)

Patricia Singleton said...

Susan, you are very welcome. Yes, it is sad to see parents getting their needs met through their children.

darlene ouimet said...

I am most disappointed by society's judgement of the daughter, that judgement made only by what the father alone said. Our world is not going to change when parents are HARDER on kids... it is going to change when LOVE is the foundation that parent child relationship is built on.

You are so right Patricia, humiliation is not love.

Thank you for sharing my blog post in your blog post Pat,
Hugs, Darlene

Patricia Singleton said...

Darlene, you are very welcome. I didn't know the video existed until I read your blog post about it. My dad used humiliation and intimidation to control when I was a kid. It is definitely not love.

Anonymous said...

Patricia, I followed your link from EFB/Darlene's blog. I agree with you in all aspects. That inappropriate use of the gun bothered me so much. All my "red flags" went up. I hope that the young lady and her family gets/got some help. We don't know about how Dad treat's the Mom, if there are other children in the home, or how they are disciplined.

Patricia Singleton said...

Marge, thank you for following me from EFB link. Welcome. I agree with you that we don't know all of the details of this family, only what the dad says on his video. He or the letter mentions a step-mom so it is a combined family which may or may not play a part in the teenage girl's rebellion. Instead of speculating, I stayed with just what was presented to us on the video. There is so much more that we don't know. I too hope that the family gets help.

Alene said...

What we need is a viral video of a mature, respectful parent's response to the same so-called "problem".
The bullet from the mother put me over the edge. All I could think was, speak for yourself, you (expletive deleted).

Patricia Singleton said...

Alene, there are a number of videos out there as responses to this one. I haven't watched any of them because according to others most of them applaud his actions or tell him that he isn't hard enough on his daughter. He reminds me so much of my dad. That is not a good thing.

Learning how to do videos is on my list of things to learn how to do over the next few years.

Amy said...

That video isn’t funny at all. It is an act of violence and a form of abuse which I know that not so many could understand because they are so pleased how the video was delivered. No parent wants to have a troublesome kids but no kid also want a troublesome parent. It only shows where she got that kind of attitude.

Patricia Singleton said...

Amy, I agree that there is nothing funny about this video. I was horrified by the behavior of the dad and by all of the people who agreed with him. I also agree that parents are role models for their children. Children learn from the behavior of their parents.