here.) I'm among the crowd who is not only saddened about their lack of relationship, but saddened that this has been put out there as model parenting, just one more counterfeit for the real effort and energy it takes to build and maintain healthy, lasting, and respectful relationships with children.
For those who haven't seen it (and don't want to watch all 8+ minutes of this adult throwing a fit), here's the story in a nutshell: A teen girl posted an angry, disrespectful tirade against her parents on facebook. It was a teen rant at it's finest, filled with hate, crude language, and contempt directed at her parents. Certainly it wasn't appropriate for any setting, least of all a social networking site, and most assuredly this teen was on the entitlement train a long time before this singular event.
Her father (acting out of about as much foresight as his daughter) decided to teach her a lesson (and a lot more lessons I'm sure he didn't intend to teach her), and made a video to post on the internet reading her tirade to the world, followed by explaining the expectations he has of his daughter. Then he pulled out his .45 handgun and blasted 9 rounds into her laptop, destroying it.
Yes, parenting at it's finest.
Dear Parents: Please don't let your own sense of exacting justice drive your parenting decisions. Parenting is too great a responsibility to be left to chance! Parenting needs to be intentional. It requires foresight and planning and effort...years and years of effort. It requires love, forgiveness and understanding. It requires teaching, guiding, and instructing. It requires presence. It requires hesitance. Yes, hesitance.
Reactivity is born of emotion...anger, disappointment, and even embarrassment. Reactive parenting responses are not effective. Sure, you'll teach them a lesson. They'll certainly follow your lead in making relationship impacting decisions out of anger. And they'll learn for sure never to do whatever it was they just did...unless they think a parent won't know...in which case, they didn't learn; they just learned to hide from what is supposed to be the one unconditional source of love on this planet. Doesn't real learning involve a teaching process? "Lead me; guide me; walk beside me; help me find the way..." (lyrics from I Am A Child of God)
Parenting isn't an easy job. I know. I do it every day. Am I a perfect parent? No. Am I an intentional parent? Yes.
I love, love, love my teens. They're amazing people. Are they impulsive? Sometimes. Are they disrespectful and selfish? Occasionally. Do we laugh and love and have fun together? Every day. Do we get upset at each other? Every day. Do we value our relationships more than we value anything else? I hope so...at least that's our aim. Are we building relationships that last forever? Absolutely. Forever and ever and ever and ever...without end.
Granted, we don't see the end of the parent/child story in the above mentioned video. I pray that they made up and hugged it out and that their relationship truly isn't a series of reactions, and that one of them has the maturity to step back and engage in a real relationship. I hope beyond hope that is the case.
And I hope that the take home from all of this isn't to pat a dad on the back for using his primal brain to parent. I hope not, but sadly he's a sensation for doing what he did. For all those parents out there who don't agree, and who exercise restraint and love in parenting, keep doing what you're doing. It will pay off...probably not with a bazillion hits on the internet, but certainly with all the rewards of a relationship with the one-of-a kind kids God loaned to you for a few years so you could learn really, really, really what it means to be a parent.
And now a few quotes:
"Often we assume that the people around us must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know... We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us." President Thomas S. Monson
"Take care of your little ones. Welcome them into your homes and nurture and love them with all of your hearts. They may do, in the years that come, some things you would not want them to do, but be patient, be patient. You have not failed as long as you have tried." President Gordon B. Hinckley