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Facebook parenting: For the Troubled Teen

You probably saw this video, “Facebook Parenting: For the troubled teen,” that went viral on YouTube last week. It first appeared on a Facebook page, belonging to a teenage girl. Her dad saw her graphic complaints, full of swear words, about how awful her life was—she hadn’t receive a new iPod, a new computer, a new cell phone and she wasn’t getting paid to do chores around the house, etc. So, her dad decided to respond to her Facebook grumblings with a post of his own. Be warned: his comments are a little bit graphic, but thousands of kids and adults alike have seen his video.

Watch this video:



Some believe he did exactly what a parent should do in this situation. Others think he’s out of his mind. I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle. In any case, I’d like to have a conversation about how to best parent, coach, teach and lead this next generation.

While the answer may lie somewhere in the middle…what is it? May I hear what YOU think?

22 Comments

  1. Jamie Misch on February 15, 2012 at 6:35 am

    I appreciate him not tolerating the disrespectful behavior, but talk in person. Please take awau the laptop, even permanently or give her the buy back option, don’t shoot it. Wish dad would have modeled how to handle conflict directly. So many children I observe today believe that life & disagreements should go like reality TV, dramatic and overtly emotional responses to small situations.

    • Tim Elmore on February 15, 2012 at 8:58 am

      That’s great advice! In our social media culture, we often default to writing on someone’s Facebook wall when a face-to-face conversation would be much more effective. Handling conflict is a crucial skill to learn. Unfortunately, sitting in front of a screen isn’t the best place to learn it.

  2. John R. Miller on February 15, 2012 at 8:04 am

    My parenting comes across as a little harsh to some folks and not harsh enough to others. My biggest concern and stumbling block is to not act out in anger. Too many parents model shows of physical force and anger as resolution to conflict. A parent can make a passionate statement without becoming angry.
    1. Calm yourself.
    2. Know what you are going to say.
    3. Listen, reflect, but don’t waiver in your decision.
    4. Accept feedback on a remediation plan.

    • Tim Elmore on February 15, 2012 at 9:00 am

      Thanks for sharing such great insight, John. Really practical advice. Anger can get the best of us but taking time to really think through a response is a great habit to develop.

  3. Jared V. Ingle on February 15, 2012 at 10:31 am

    That was a little intense, funny, but intense.  It’s not something I would personally do, but I’m not sure I look down on the Dad for doing it.  After all, it was his daughter’s 2nd time posting something totally degrading to the parents.  One slogan we used to use in justice and parenting was “let the punishment fit the crime,” and that seems to be his modus operandi as well.   I believe he did a good job of clarifying her actual responsibilities, addressing her slander, and answering her post.  Whether he should have used foul language or a .45 is up for debate.

    • Tim Elmore on February 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      “Let the punishment fit the crime” – this video definitely provides an example of that. Great insight.

  4. Kaye Sims on February 15, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Seems a little over the top.  I agree with the comments that talk about how he should be talking to her in person and especially that he should set the example about how to handle conflict.  When her previously grounded her, I wonder what that entailed.  Seems like grounding is often an automatic reaction for parents, but I wonder if they take the time to think through the ways to incorporate natural & logical consequences. 

  5. Tis4tammymommy on February 15, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    As a high school teacher and a parent, I believe that giving kids “a taste of their own medicine” can be an effective teaching tool, at times. However, as adults trying to influence their lives, we ought to model the kind of behavior we’re trying to promote–never mind follow the Golden Rule. While I certainly think this man was vindicated in his extreme response and that his using such a public venue was certainly warranted, I believe he was unwise in his use of impolite language, violence, and a video.

    It’s unfortunate that his daughter showed disrespect to her parents on Facebook, but it seems that perhaps her immature, indirect means of addressing her grievances may be the only way she’s been trained to deal with problems. It seems as if her actions are, in some ways, the result of the parenting that she’s been given. Sad.

    • Tim Elmore on March 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm

      Great insights. Thanks for commenting!

  6. AKJ on February 15, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    I wrote things like that when I was about the same age.  The differences are:  

    I kept it private in a notebook.
    I read it days later and realized my feelings were extreme, negative, and self-centered.
    I burned it before anyone else read it.

    There is nothing wrong with venting, but our perspective changes after we get a chance to calm down.  Perhaps we need to encourage children to keep an old fashioned diary/journal.  That way these rants can get out without sharing this nasty version of ourselves to anyone else.

    • Tim Elmore on March 23, 2012 at 3:29 pm

      That is a great distinction! Students do need space to vent and express their feelings. Unfortunately, the internet is forever and not the best place to vent. As parents, it’s important to guide our kids to use technology wisely. Sometimes a good, old-fashioned journal is the best bet!

  7. Tnelson on February 16, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Where is the video that the daughter posted?

    • Tim Elmore on March 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      From what I heard, the original video of the daughter was posted on her personal Facebook page. You would have to be Facebook friends with her to view it (assuming that her father didn’t remove it!)

  8. Jackie Anderson on February 16, 2012 at 11:42 am

    wow, a hurting world out there. This made me cry. 
    We started young with our children earning “screen time” by reading time, minute for minute.  Our 21 and 19  appreciate screens but do not “over use” choosing rather to invest in people and stewarding time.  Our 16 year old lost his phone, in various stages. First a week with no phone (due to excessive texting and talking at wee morning hours on school nights).  Then he had to pay for all texts (although our family plan includes unlimited texting) we charged him so he would learn the value.  He failed and just paid up.  Next step which he was warned of, if he did not keep his texts to a reasonable limit (one month over 4,000) he was going to pay the entire bill which he ended up doing.  The last draw was lesson not learned, phone taken for good.  Two months now of no phone (and we still have top pay on the contract) he bought his own pay as you go.  No fancy nice phone as we had supplied for free! At 16 he is remorseful and apologetic for the ruin he brought on himself and the consequences we have to pay for.  With his new phone we still have rules.  Phones are for communicating effectively and purposefully.  He has to keep it on the kitchen counter after a certain hour of night.  He is allowing me to check and be sure he is not using it during school hours. Our 15 year old daughter is another story. She has no desire to earn money and we don’t give her any. She lives phone-less and penny-less doing her chores and reading most of her life away.  That is another issue!  

    Regarding the video, it seems the drama portrayed may reflect the drama in their household.  That is sad.  The screens are just where it is visual to the world.  

    But I have been guilty also.  Teens are immature and seeking.  We need to capture their hearts desires and direct them to fill those desires with right things.  The balance between control (authority) and expectations is challenging.  I have learned consistency matters and I need to check my motives and be quick to exemplify seeking forgiveness when I blow it. 

    Thank you for your intentional equipping “elders” so that the next generation can survive and flourish in the responsibilities and opportunities that are before them.

    • Tim Elmore on March 23, 2012 at 3:32 pm

      Thanks so much for sharing your personal examples. Great insight for other parents!

  9. Cameron Johnson on March 2, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I think there are 2 sides to this, as there is in any situation, i appreciate him actually shooting the laptop to get his point across, but would have preferred that he made this video for her eyes only to be shown at home. I’m sure he embarrassed her as he wanted, but i wonder how their relationship will be in the future.

    on her side of things I think there was a expectation that grew over time as this sense of “entitlement” and not seeing these things as a privileged to have them, as i feel most teens think today, and things that can be taken away at any time.

    On his side of things I don’t think that he allowed for her to earn the privilege to use those things whether by buying them her self, or setting expectations on how to use those things were to be used in an appropriate way. Also there seems to be communication lines that are not happening between the two, since He said that she had done something similar before. 

    I guess how he handles the relationship from this point on will determine whether this experience is a positive one look back on as “remember when…haha” and not something that turns back as ” i hate my father because of…” where there is distance instead of closeness that happens because of that.

    • Tim Elmore on March 23, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      It is interesting to think about what the father-daughter relationship will look like from this point forward. Great point about making the video just for her rather than for the whole world to see.

  10. Debgailmil on March 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    I was saddened by the father’s video because it demonstrated that at the very root of their problem was a broken relationship. When I was raising my kids I heard James Dobson say several times, “you can’t rules without a relationship”.  My husband and I weren’t perfect parents but we tried hard to have a relationship with our kids based on trust and respect first in God and then in each other. I applaud the father for not tolerating his daughter’s behavior but totally dislike his method. What ever happened to praise in public and censor in privacy. There is a dad in our church who calls his preschool daughters “young ladies”. He will say “ok, young ladies let’s go.” One day I told him thank your for already demonstrating to your daughters that you see them as young ladies and expect them to be young ladies.

    • Tim Elmore on March 23, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      Praise in public and censor in private is a great way to put it. I do wonder what the long-term effects of this father’s actions will be on his daughter and their relationship.

  11. James Black on March 21, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    This guy ouviously has a troubled teen. I don’t agree with how he handled this situation but he made his point crystal clear! I kind of feel bad for his daughter though.

    • Tim Elmore on March 23, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      Agreed. Thanks for commenting!

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Facebook parenting: For the Troubled Teen