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Laptop-Shooting Dad: How Is His Behavior Different From His Daughter’s?

By now you’ve probably seen the viral video by folk hero du jour, the father who put several bullets into his teenaged daughter’s laptop because she put up a whiny, disrespectful post on Facebook.

(If you haven’t seen it yet, click here.)

The girl’s post complained about how her parents made her work soo hard and how she hated having to do chores and how instead of making her get a job, her parents should pay her for everything she does around the house and blah blah blah, etc. etc. etc. basic teenager bitching and moaning.

Well, this made daddy soo angry that he posted a video online of himself sitting in a field, cigarette smoldering in one hand, his voice trembling with rage, telling his daughter everything that was wrong with the post, and how disrespectful she is, how hard he worked as a kid, and how he warned her about posting stupid stuff of Facebook. Then, to punish her, he pulls out a gun and shoots several rounds into her laptop.

I hate this video. I hate this man. I hate his indignant self-righteousness and thin skin.

I know teenagers can be aggravating, but they’re teenagers. They do stupid shit. They bitch and moan. They rail against authority. They get pissed at their parents. That’s all part of being a teenager. Parents’ job is to not to show them who’s boss or keep them in line, but to help them become grow up and become independent without hurting themselves or anyone else. In the scale of bad adolescent behavior, complaining about your parents ranks pretty low.

Laptop-shooting dad was as impulsive and childish as his daughter. I could tell by that enraged tremble in his voice that this was not a man 100 percent in control. Like his daughter, he ranted, he posted it online, and he took it a step further by pulling a weapon on a defenseless laptop.

It’s good that he took his rage out on the laptop rather than his child, but it was an act of rage nonetheless. And for what? Because she lipped off. She didn’t break any laws, she didn’t cause injury. She used a few curse words and had herself a little public rant. He’s set the bar pretty high now for punishment. What will he do when she does something really bad? And she just might.

Now, I have no idea what kind of dad this guy is when he’s not smokin’ mad. Maybe he’s Bill Cosby 364 days a year, but just reached his limit. But if this video is an example of his parenting style, then he may have reason to be concerned about what mischief his daughter might get into next.

Research about parenting styles is crystal clear on the superiority of authoritative parenting . Authoritative parenting places limits and controls on kids while also respecting kids’ autonomy. Discipline is consistent, and not harsh or arbitrary, and the punishment fits the crime.

Authoritarian parenting, on the other hand, is “my way or the highway” parenting. Strict, totalitarian, and with little discussion.

Research shows that authoritarian parenting is positively correlated with delinquency, and new research finds that one reason for this is that kids of authoritarian parents were less likely to consider their parents’ authority legitimate.

To measure kids’ perception of the legitimacy of their parents’ authority, the researchers adapted a scale originally developed to measure attitudes towards police.

Ten items were selected and reworded to reflect participants’ trust in their parents (e.g., “My parents can be trusted to make decisions that are right for me”) and their obligation to obey their parents’ rules (e.g., “I should do what my parents tell me to do even when I do not like the way they treat me”). Respondents reported their agreement with each item on a four point Likert Scale (1: Strongly Disagree; 4:Strongly Agree).

Kids who reported their parents as authoritarian were more likely to discount the legitimacy of their parents’ authority, and more likely to do things like smoke, drink, and steal.

This study does have some serious limitations, outlined at the end of the article. For one, they relied on kids’ reports on both parenting style and delinquent behaviors. Kids might report their parents as being more authoritarian than they really are because that’s what kids do. And they might have exaggerated their delinquent behaviors because, as other research shows, popular kids tend to do stuff like smoking, drinking and having sex, and kids want to be perceived as popular.

Still, it’s hard to imagine laptop-shooting dad getting genuine remorse and respect from his daughter when he went ahead indulged in the same bad behavior as she, and then some. Daddy threw a tantrum.

I’m sure the video and the accolades that followed made him feel like a big man. But to me, he’s just a crybaby with a gun.

Laptop-Shooting Dad: How Is His Behavior Different From His Daughter’s?

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APA Reference
Dembling, S. (2012). Laptop-Shooting Dad: How Is His Behavior Different From His Daughter’s?. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 10, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 Feb 2012
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