Real Alternatives to the Tommy Jordan Style of Parenting

Our post last week about the Youtube video of Tommy Jordan shooting his daughter’s laptop for posting material that was disrespectful to her parents would have caused you to have many different kinds of reactions.

Would you discipline your child like this? Would it work? How would you curb disrespectful behavior, on social networking sites as well as in face to face interaction? Experts and columnists have responded to the video and more importantly the parenting style it indicates:

Tommy Jordan Style of Parenting

Jordan’s actions probably did not have the desired result

Meghan Daum from the LA Times has opined that if Tommy Jordan was trying to make his daughter feelashamed of her actions, he probably failed.

In her view, kids these days are used to having their social interaction in public (which is the nature of facebook) and she was probably neither embarrassed nor ashamed of her actions following her dad’s very public reprimand. In Daum’s view, the father probably hurt himself more than his daughter.

Praise in public, punish in private

Another columnist points out that a child having a grouse against a parent and then complaining to their friends about this is only natural. A parent feeling hurt at obvious disrespect is also natural, but the public nature of the complaining as well as the reprimand is what causes the problem in this case.

Social networking sites have made our emotions and feelings very public; and so if the father in thevideo is hurt by his daughter’s foul mouthed accusations, then his hurt is justified. What is not justified however is the very public nature of his reprimand.

It is possible that far from having the desired effect of showing his daughter the error of her ways, the dad’s actions could have increased the resentment that she felt in the first place. Vengeful behavior is not after all a good example to set your child and this probably further inflames an already difficult situation. And the public humiliation of a child can only be described as reprehensible.

Real alternatives to publicly shooting a laptop

The father could have imposed other forms of discipline – he could have donated the laptop to a charity to make his point. He could have curtailed some other privileges such as internet or phone access or have withdrawn her allowance.

Since the daughter had spoken disparagingly of someone as a cleaning lady, she could have beenmade to actually do some cleaning for the ‘cleaning lady’. Surely these would have been better and more effective alternatives than a vengeful tit for tat!

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