While reviewing the video, Facebook Parenting: For the troubled teen, it scared me to think this father was being hailed as a hero. What I saw was not a hero. What I heard and continued to read in the comments on the video page and as well on Mr. Jordans blog site was a society fed up with disrespectful teenagers. As a mother of 28 years I am also frustrated with the disrespect I see in today’s youth but public humiliation is not an appropriate solution.
Respect is a Two-way Street
Mr. Jordan stated many things in his videos and writings that I do not agree with and many professionals do not agree with even though the majority of Internet users who viewed his video and took time to vote seem to agree with. Which, by the way, is by no means a proper representation of the majority opinion given that not all who viewed voted or commented. I’m going to point out a few here starting with Mr. Jordan’s own position on respect:
- deference to a right, privelege, priveleged position, or someone of something considered to have certain rights of priveleges.
- proper acceptance or courtesy
- acknowledgement, consideration, regard
- an attitude of deference
- polite or kind regard
- to treat courtesously or kindly
- Verb: to refrain from interfering with
- And the actual literal meaning of the latin word is “pay attention to”
(http://8minutesoffame.com/response-to-dr-phil/) (copied as originally written – including misspellings.)
Mr. Jordans rant showed no respect for his daughter’s feelings – violating every point stated in the quote above. He conveniently over looked (did not pay attention to) her charge of being used as a servant/slave while he sat and watched. Over looking her genuine feelings and complaints he instead chose to jump right to everything he does for her without any regard (acknowledgement, consideration, regard) to how she was feeling. Let’s not over look honor – is it ok to dishonor someone just because they dishonored you? “To refrain from interfering with.” This one is a biggie, does a parent really have the right to interfere with a child’s right to express them-self? Mr. Jordan sure isn’t happy with opinions that differ from his own yet he has the right to voice his opinion. His daughter has the right to voice hers as well, however she could have done it in a more respectful manner but it doesn’t appear that she has very good examples to follow.
While I understand his frustration as I deal with it on many days with my own 14 year-old, the only lesson he taught his daughter was that her feelings didn’t matter and that his opinion was the only one that mattered. He showed a total disregard for respect towards his daughter or his family by publicly broadcasting his family problems for the world to see.
Adolescent Behavior vs Adult Behavior
“A lot of parents looked at it and kinda vicariously got a chuckle out of it,” Dr. Phil McGraw (Phycologist).
Many times I wanted to use drastic measures to get my point across but one difference between adolescent behavior and adult behavior is the ability to think things through COMPLETELY. Although I don’t believe anyone can completely predict all consequences adults are expected to do a better job at this than teenagers are. Many attitudes conveyed through the video responses was that she got what she deserved which is a typical school-yard response yet when it happens in the school yard students get reprimanded yet this parent is being hailed as a hero.
As shown in the fact that Mr. Jordan’s video received ten times more thumbs up then thumbs down, as well as the comments that followed, society is clearly frustrated with the lack of respect in today’s youth. This is nothing new and has not changed from generation to generation clearly showing that rebellion is typical of adolescent behavior.
One dictionary definition of adolescence:
1. the transitional period between puberty and adulthood in human development, extending mainly over the teen years and terminating legally when the age of majority is reached; youth.
The age of majority in the United States is 18 however, I learned in my child psychology class that adolescences could span well into the twenties.
Dr. Phil goes on to say, “that’s the problem here, she has a 15 year-old brain where you can’t really expect her to be able to predict all the consequences of her actions and weigh this stuff out, but he got down to her level…”
(Continued definition of adolescence)
2. the process or state of growing to maturity.
3. a period or stage of development, as of a society, preceding maturity. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/adolescence)
Adolescence is a process of growth through learning. Mr. Jordan agrees that is it our job as parents to teach our children and guide them into adulthood, “My JOB as a parent is to make my child a fully-functioning adult in the brief few years I have left to do so. My job is to love them. My job is to provide for them. My job is to teach them.”
The lesson I got from Mr. Jordan’s teaching was that his opinion and feelings is the only one that matters in his world and getting that point across, no matter the means, was more important than trying to understand why she would write such a letter. He conveniently overlooked her genuine complaints and feeling of being treated like his slave and went on to rant about all he does for her. He demanded respect for all he does but totally over looked all she does (more on that later).
While publicly humiliating his daughter is not considered abuse in terms of physical abuse that can be punished in a court of law, when punishment is served for the sole purpose of controlling another person it can easily step over the line and become mental abuse which can leave scars beyond the physical and tend to last just as long if not longer.
Dr. Phil continues with “When you step back and look at the entire thing and what kind of parenting it is, the first thing that jumps out to me is that this is a real mouthy kid – wonder where she got that.” Mr. Jordan took great offense to this statement and responded with, “considering the emotional state I was in at the time, I did fairly well to be as composed as I was. I was mad, hurt, disappointed, and frustrated… but with the single exception of the word “ass” (which I’ve already said I regretted) I didn’t consider my response to be overly vulgar or “mouthy” as he put it.”
I ask Mr. Jordan, what about your daughter’s emotional state of mind when she posted her letter for her friends to see? Why is this all about you? So, in your opinion is it ok for you to be hurt, disappointed, and frustrated and respond with a little lack of composure while publicly humiliating your daughter but it’s not ok for your daughter to have the same feelings and response? How can it be ok for you when it is not ok for her?
One thing my father taught me that stays burns in my memory just as much as his notorious thump on the head when I acted up was that two wrongs don’t make a right.
Mr. Jordan’s response clearly shows he didn’t actually hear what Dr. Phil was saying, for one he didn’t say that Mr. Jordan was mouthy or vulgar in his video, he merely implied that children learn from their parents – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
It has been pointed out in Mr. Jordan’s other videos that he also tends to use curse words and I can imagine by his ability to curse in public videos where his daughter can hear him it would be fair to say that he probably doesn’t refrain from using the same vulgar language in front of his children at home.
I admittedly sometimes use curse words and language that could be considered as vulgar in front of my children – does that make me a bad parent? No, it makes me human and I am a firm believer in the saying, “there is a time and place for everything.
The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2000.
1. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 . a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3. a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
and so on…
Let’s look at #4, a time to weep – we all weep differently, we all express sorrow, disappointment, rage and so on differently. Each is a normal human response and each has its appropriate place in life. I believe this is what Mr. Jordan’s daughter was doing in the manner in which she knew how. As I believe Mr. Jordan would agree, it is our job as parents to teach our children appropriate ways and places to express one-self. Her means of expressing herself was not appropriate however Mr. Jordan’s means of teaching was just as inappropriate.
As an imperfect parent and a human being I teach my children that it is ok to make mistakes, to be angry, and to express one-self. I monitor my son’s Facebook page and we discuss anything I deem inappropriate. I teach my son that while it may be the “norm” to use vulgar language and curse there is a time and place where such actions are not appropriate such as at school, in public and at grandma’s. Since he sometimes chooses to express himself in a manner that I do not deem appropriate yet he respects the idea that there is a time and place and certain behaviors are not acceptable around certain people he has chosen to block myself and grandma from his Facebook postings – or so he thought – like Mr. Jordan, I too have my ways. However, I do not feel this is a crime worth punishing. We continue to discuss these issues and he continues to make improvements – he has since unblocked me. As long as he continues to make improvements then I am confident that I am doing a good job as a parent. I cannot in all good cautiousness expect him to be perfect when, I as well as all humans, am not. I can only expect him to admit when he is wrong (taking responsibility for his actions) and strive to do better. Anything beyond that is just me being controlling and manipulative. Don’t get me wrong – I have done my share of manipulation and attempt to control but when I see the reactions and consequences of my actions I realize that there must be a better way and I seek them out. Our experiences are filled with trial and error but my relationship with my children is strong and I am confident that even though my 14 year-old son may get mouthy with me he doesn’t slam me to his friends or on his Facebook.
In response to Dr. Phil’s perspective on a 15 year-old brain Mr. Jordan writes:
From another perspective I think the entire conscious decision to try to block her parents, block everyone from her church, and prohibit the post from getting out there to adults proves she had a PERFECT and CRYSTAL CLEAR understanding of the actions. She took preventative measures (she thought) to make sure we never caught her, but that her message was broadcast to a group of about 400 people.
Mr. Jordan acknowledges his daughters attempts to hide the letter from people that matter to him so that only her group of friends would see it (or so she thought). Now compare this to his action of posting his video not only on her Facebook wall to the same group of people but went further as to post it publicly on Youtube for the whole world to see. If I had to judge who was more responsible, or mature, I would have to side with the daughter in this situation.
While I do not condone his daughter’s actions her actions were typical of troubled teenagers and her venue is typical of how society chooses to communicate today – especially teenagers. In her defense she was reaching out to her friends for sympathy and understanding while his actions were deliberately intended to hurt and humiliate her.
I would like to take a moment here and address the word “troubled” which Mr. Jordan admits his daughter is by his video title, Facebook Parenting: For the troubled teen. What troubles me is his lack of compassion for her reasons for feeling troubled. As a parent it is our job to figure out why our teenager is troubled and work towards helping them over come their troubles and not becoming part of them.
Just what is the child’s role in the family?
Mr. Jordan’s rant included, “You want a new camera, you want a new phone, you want a new Ipod, but you won’t get off your lazy ass to even look for a job.” While he acknowledges that parenting is a full time job and points out everything he does for her – he over looks her role in the family completely. He has more than once pointed out how lazy his daughter is and that he doesn’t feel he should have to remind her to do her chores. I think anyone with teenagers can relate to this frustration however, it is typical teenage behavior to try to put off doing chores. Children will naturally test our limits and the more we give in the more they will take advantage of it. Even as adults many of us will try to put off doing things we don’t want to do so how can we expect our teenagers to be any better?
Parents go to work or tend to the home and children, which is also a full-time job. Children go to school, do homework, and if you are lucky they pick up after themselves. Without a solid education the youth of today lack the skills they need to become productive members of the adult society. Many children have chores as well as extra curricular activities such as clubs, band or sports. Each member of the family has a role and the child’s role should never be a servant to their parents. While I do not know if Mr. Jordan’s daughter’s statements were true I feel it is wrong that parents should be able to sit down and do nothing while kids finish up house chores. We all have our jobs whether it is going to work or going to school and house chores should be everyone’s responsibility and a shared effort to get things done results in everyone being able to enjoy the rest of the evening at the same time.
The daughter’s rant and father’s subsequent video responses only reveal the family’s complete and utter lack of respect for each other and their roles in the family unit. While the daughter may or may not deserve punishment for her actions the father definitely does not deserve notoriety as a hero. Hero’s make sacrifices for others – they do not publicly humiliate them.
(A few hours later) One thing I like about writing is that you can take time to think about what you wrote before you actually publish it (another example of the difference between adult behavior and adolescent behavior). After further consideration of all the facts and comments I come to realize it wasn’t so much the public humiliation the crowd seems to agree with but instead it is the idea that this father stood his ground in regards to actions and consequences. In this regard I would have to applaud this father as I am well known among my family and friends as saying that as a parent I love my child enough to tell him what he needs to hear and not just what he wants to hear. The same is true for actions. Sometimes being a parent means having to do things your children may not like. I still stand by everything I have written previously. The shock value of what he did as far as shooting the laptop was to serve an honorable purpose as far as supporting the consequences for her actions. However, I still feel his lack of ability or desire to understand why is daughter is acting up will only block any efforts on his part to create long term changes in her behavior.
The good Dr. Phil goes on to say that the end result is resentment on the part of my child towards me and that my actions did nothing to lower the resentment on her part.
I’m sorry. I didn’t realize that was the goal here. I didn’t realize the goal here was to make my child happy and resent doing chores less after her vitriol-filled post to the world. What the hell was I thinking? I thought it was about teaching kids respect for themselves, their parents, and for the rules. Maybe they don’t teach you that kids should respect their parents anymore, but mine certainly will respect theirs. They might not always LIKE us, but they’ll respect us. (http://8minutesoffame.com/response-to-dr-phil/)
I could spend another day picking apart the above statement but instead I’ll ask this one question – how does disrespectful behavior teach respect for anything or anyone? Reality shows us it is hard to respect those we do not like and forcing this so called respect will only create the resentment that Dr. Phil mentions. I was taught that respect was earned but I guess Mr. Jordan thinks that just because of all he does he should deserve respect even though his daughter doesn’t feel that he respects her?
As a parent I appreciate when my son shows me the respect I feel I deserve and when I feel he is disrespecting me I seek to find out why he feels the need to. My son is far from perfect and so am I. I don’t always handle things as calm as the previous sentence implies but once I have calmed down I realize that there is a reason children misbehave and yes, it is MY JOB as a parent to discover why and find a way to fix the problem.
One of the biggest problems my son and I have his his cursing especially when he is gaming - more-so because he gets very loud rather than the cursing itself. If after being warned he continues I won’t hesitate to take his game system away at least until he has time to calm down and sometimes for longer. As far as punishing him for his vulgarity – he has a right to express himself as he wishes but I have a right to enjoy my evening without having to hear it or have my daughter have to listen to it. The more we talk about this the more he improves and that is good enough for me.
I would like to end this by thanking Mr. Jordan for reminding me of my own faults as a parent. I have told my children that they may not like me but they do have to mind (respect) me. While to a degree this is a true statement but after hearing and reading Mr. Jordan’s statements I am reminded to not overlook why my children are acting up. I think it is too easy to take people for granted including our children. This is the root of many divorces and why many children run a way. We should not forget this.
While I titled this post, Respect is a Two Way Street, the true test of one’s character is the ability to respect someone even when you feel the person is disrespecting you.
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