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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Not everyone cheered dad's shooting up laptop



tommyjordan.jpgAs our colleague Ben Montgomery reports here, not everyone was cheering on angry dad Tommy Jordan, who made a video response to his daughter’s angry Facebook post, put it on her Facebook page and capped it off by putting a cap in her laptop. More than 23 million people have watched his 8-minute performance. And thousands posted support on Jordan's Facebook page cheering on a dad who gave a bratty kid her comeuppence.

But family therapists say it may have felt good, but public humiliation will only damage their relationship further.

Montgomgery writes: It's a classic power struggle, but you don't fight your teen with belittling and shame and the threat of violence. So say folks who have spent their lives studying family dynamics and counseling parents and teens.

"Public humiliation isn't a recommended strategy," says Carrie Cohen, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist. "He models an aggressive and hostile approach to problem solving."

..."What he did was vindictive to a whole new level," says Amy Abdnour, a therapist in Tampa who specializes in adolescents, couples and families. "He's saying, 'I will win and you will never cross me again.' "

So what should a parent do when a kid defies her parents orders to keep her Facebook page clean, posts a completely disrespectful diatribe on Facebook and displays a generally entitled attitude about it?

The experts give advice we used to hear when they were toddlers: Model the behavior you want to see.

Rather than perpetuating a power struggle, what if Tommy Jordan talked to his daughter about her feelings? Rather than pulling a gun for the world to see, what if he simply took her laptop away? What if he — here it comes — bowed out, let his daughter "win" the argument?
Montgomery writes. Would we cheer?

Very good fodder for debate. What do you think of the idea that the payback could be decades down the road if you don't use public humiliation as a tool?

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 10:06am]


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