13 thoughts on “Laptop-Shooting Dad: How Is His Behavior Different From His Daughter’s?

  • February 13, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    I doubt the daughter learned anything actually beneficial from his rant. She might be used to his enraged behavior, or not, I do not know. Though, from both his daughters words and his words/behavior, I can get a good understanding of how those people are. With that said, I do not think much will change, and they are likely to fall apart as she gets older. Just doesnt seem like a healthy relationship with her dad and her, alone. Seems sort of sick and slightly demented.

    • February 14, 2012 at 10:17 am

      Yes, it certainly seems like father taught daughter how to express herself. They both could communicate more effectively. To understate the case.

  • February 14, 2012 at 10:53 am

    I’d be leery of blanket statements about “authoritarian parenting.”

    Peter Kramer touches on how hard it is to figure out cause and effect in a chapter of his book Against Depression. Do “invalidating environments” cause mental disorders? Or do mental disorders evoke “invalidating environments”? Or both? How do we know, in any individual case?

  • February 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    I disagree, I found this article to be complete opinion lacking any credible sources or backing. For one “I know teenagers can be aggravating, but they’re teenagers.” is a kin to saying dog can vicious but they’re dogs so this should be tolerated. Sophia Dembling goes into “Parents’ job is to not to show them who’s boss or keep them in line, but to help them become grow[n] up[s] and become independent without hurting themselves or anyone else.” I have two problems with this statement first of all “without hurting themselves or anyone else” I believe that this father was very hurt, so he was trying to “help them become grow[n] up[s].” Second the used of “keep them in line” right after “show them who’s boss” conjures up an image of the Hitler youth. Where some might have thought “keep them in line” would be more of a following the established rule or laws. Something along the lines of becoming “independent without hurting themselves or anyone else”
    Then the Sophia Dembling goes in to “Research about parenting styles is crystal clear”. Type parenting into amazon and see how many books writing on the subject; 65,268. If only a thousandth of those are from credible sources then that would leaves only 65 different “crystal clear” views on the subject. Then they quote new research which the author admits “This study does have some serious limitations. They relied on kids’ reports on both parenting style and delinquent behaviors”. Are these the same kids that the author says “do stupid shit. They bitch and moan. They rail against authority. They get pissed at their parents.”
    The proclamation “I hate this video. I hate this man. I hate his indignant self-righteousness and thin skin.” come across hypocritical. What bothers me most of all is that Sophia Dembling uses what appears to be a medical website to throw personal feelings out, to me Sophia Dembling is “just a crybaby with a” computer.

  • February 15, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I disagree as well. I also saw MANY parents on Facebook who liked this fathers approach to getting his daughters attention.
    You were wrong when stating it was not his job to teach her that he is boss. Yes, until she is a legal adult, he is 100% responsible for her and her actions. He is he father. He is her boss. She chose to use the internet as an outlet to attempt to degrade and humiliate her parents, who obviously were trying to instill good values in her by wanting her to get a job. Obviously the parents were correct in wanting this child to get a job so she could learn responsibility as well as some appreciation that proved to be lacking for them. The father chose to take the same route (the internet) to get her attention and teach her a lesson – RESPECT!
    I say kudos to dad for making a stand. There are WAY too many parents who don’t even know or care what their child(ren) are doing, who they are associating with, if they are doing well in school or not, etc.
    You enable these teens all you want. You are only part of the progressive problem of todays society. God forbid we punish our children for their bad behavior. It might hurt their feelings. WELL BOO FREAKIN HOO. You keep enabling selfish, unaccountable, lazy teenagers. I will keep raising my child to treat people with respect, to appreciate what he has, to understand nothing in life is for free but my love for him, etc. without ever yelling at him or ever laying a hand on him. It’s called mutual respect. When children are taught this at a young age, you don’t end up with a world full of disrespecful teens that demand getting paid allowance for sitting in their bedroom surrounded by 10 half full cans of Mountain Dew & Red Bull sitting around, stale chips and week old Taco Bell while playing xbox360 from noon until midnight, doing their online schooling for 30-60 minutes, then going to bed!!

  • February 15, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Ditto MLU103169! and others with similar opinions.

  • February 15, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    So much anger going around! Angry child, angry father, angry journalist, angry readers.
    And so much judging, all done publicly. Child judges parents, parent judges child, Sophia judges father, readers judge Sophia.
    We have the right to be angry, but does that give us the right to be judgemental and cruel? Why not sad or concerned or supportive instead? To me, that seems to be the real issue.

    • February 15, 2012 at 7:16 pm

      Fair enough, Barb. I had a visceral reaction to that video, no doubt about it. I believe what I say but said more with ferocity than usual. I did the same thing the two of them did, didn’t I?

  • February 16, 2012 at 2:49 am


    Forgive me, but I fail to see how one can extrapolate that this man and his wife are “authoritarian” in that 8-minute video. Here are the facts that we know according to his version of the story:

    1. His daughter posted disrespectful information about her parents and a household friend on a public site, and apparently had done so multiple times.
    2. The man provided a laptop for his daughter, and even cared about her online experience enough that he was willing to provide the expenses and effort to upgrade it.
    3. The parents apparently allowed this teenager some measure of autonomy with her Internet usage, because it was only upon upgrading the laptop that he discovered the post.
    4. Indications are that the teenager attempted to hide the information, which would mean that she had a fore-knowledge that what she posted would not be taken-to kindly.
    5. The teenager apparently had problems completing the chores she was given, and the parents felt that her responsibilities were reasonable.
    6. The indication that she had been warned multiple times gives the impression that she was given opportunities to correct her behavior.
    7. The man had a gun, and was visibly frustrated by his daughters actions and lack of respect for her parents and the household friend.
    8. The parents had communicated their frustrations with their daughter to each other and apparently were in agreement about the consequences that should be laid upon the child.

    I suppose you could say that this man acted inappropriately, but I don’t see how you can draw the conclusion that he’s a dictator in the family and a horrible parent. Further, how do you know for sure that his actions were out of anger rather than desperation? The body language that he displayed, along with his semi-stuttered speech was more of an indication of his being uncomfortable in front of a camera, from my perspective. As an introvert, Sophia, you should be able to understand that words do not flow as easily when one is nervous.

    The only major faults that I can derive from the video are that perhaps their trust in their daughter was a bit misplaced, and they may have given her too much leeway. It may have been more effective to communicate with her continually and “nip it in the bud” before it escalated to this. But for all intents and purposes, we don’t know that the parents didn’t already do that. Perhaps they’re dealing with a stubborn child that needs a more dramatic presentation for it to get through.

    Regardless, the video was no doubt effective, and I feel that if the circumstances are correct, the punishment (discontinued use of the laptop and requirement that the girl pay for her own upon approval from the parents) was reasonable. I personally wouldn’t have destroyed expensive equipment, but again, we don’t know the full situation. Besides, in the grand scheme of things, it was relatively harmless. How else would you demonstrate that showing respect and being grateful for the things that one has are important characteristics to a well rounded person, particularly if you’re dealing with a stubborn and apparently disrespectful child?

    Too many parents just let their children do whatever they want, without ever correcting their behavior. At least this guy cares enough about his daughter to “teach her a lesson”, even if he did it in an awkward or unusual manner.


  • February 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    I’m tired to people taking their dirty laundry out to the masses in yet another example of modern day attention whoring. Tired of silly viral videos that allow us to vent our feelings over smart mouthed kids when we know absolutely nothing about this family. And since when is shooting things a good example of proper parenting? What is he going to shoot next when she misbehaves again. Is he going to shoot her next? And the masses love this stuff. But the masses loved Jerry Springer too. Its mankind and their most base. I might as well create my own viral video by video recording me shooting a laptop that plays this Dad’s viral video since I hate it so much.

  • February 19, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Okay, wait a minute. People are actually defending a man who *shot* a laptop because his daughter had written something disagreeable and disrespectful on it?

    Do you *really* think this is good parenting? Really?

    • February 20, 2012 at 3:58 am

      Alas, many people really do! I’ve read comments praising the Laptop Dad, condemning the petulant teen and cursing the psychologists apparently “siding” with the teen as the servants of Satan of worse (not really, but you get the point). It pisses me off, it really does. Apparently people who defend the Laptop Dad and criticize this article really seem to function under the fallacy that hard-line authoritarianism is the only way to go with regards to child-rearing, anything more benign than and your kids are suspect to turn into social liabilities! This is incredibly insulting to the children (because it reduces all of them to just potential little devils) as well as people who are actually making efforts to find parenting approaches that work. Not surprisingly, the biggest support group for Laptop Dad can be found among Republicans, Christian conservatives and assorted other right-wing nutters. All of whom are known for their rabid anti-intellectualism, so no wonder they dis the psychologists.


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