You’ve probably already seen the video of the Dad who posted a YouTube video rant to his daughter in response to her recent Facebook tirade. In her Facebook post, the daughter spews her disgust for being required to do so many family chores, to the point where, “I have no idea how I have a life.” Dad’s emotional YouTube rant ends with him shooting bullet holes through her laptop. As I watched the video, my heart broke for the whole family.
Some are hailing the Dad as a “parenting hero”. Is he a parenting hero or are we just so sick and tired of ungrateful kids who feel entitled to have everything handed to them on a platter without any effort on their part and without gratitude in return?
While we don’t know the whole story, Dad may have a legitimate gripe about his daughter’s unwillingness to contribute graciously around the house and her ungrateful attitude for the many privileges and luxuries she was afforded. However, it’s important to remember that kids are NOT BORN WITH AN ATTITUDE OF ENTITLEMENT. It’s easy to call the daughter a spoiled, entitled brat, but this doesn’t happen in a vacuum and parents are also culpable.
Before we make snap judgments, there are plenty of unanswered questions about the parenting style and family dynamic over the years…
- Has Dad always emphasized the importance of kids contributing to the household or was this a recent edict as he’s grown tired of doing all the heavy lifting?
- Are the chores that she’s expected to complete on a daily basis reasonable given her academic workload?
- When she does complete family chores, does her father express appreciation for her contributions? (Everyone wants to feel appreciated.)
- How has conflict been handled over the years? Were disagreements between parents and kids resolved with respectful and reasonable discussion or with a “you’ll do because I said so” approach?
- What about “stuff”? Has she been given things over the years (IPod, computer, Smartphone, etc.) without an expectation that she would have to contribute financially for at least a portion of the cost?
- How would she describe her relationship with her father? Does she feel heard? Understood? If not, it’s a recipe for power struggles.
There is a lot that we don’t know about this story, but what we do know is that beneath this father’s anger are feelings of hurt and betrayal. (BTW – Anger is a secondary emotion – usually a response to hurt.)
This situation has escalated from a power struggle (which was likely brewing for years) to a classic revenge cycle. The daughter’s Facebook tirade was intended to hurt her father. (Even though she may have “blocked him” from Facebook access, she had to know he would see it – she posted it on the Internet!) Dad increased the ante in another act of revenge with his video rant on YouTube.
We can all appreciate his feelings of hurt and anger, but his response did nothing to solve the problem for the future and most likely put an even deeper wedge between himself and his daughter. He modeled the exact behavior that was so appalling to him.
The lesson for the rest of us…an attitude of entitlement is a co-created experience. Young people don’t flip a switch and suddenly become entitled. We can’t expect teenagers to contribute around the house, be grateful, to demonstrate hard work and fiscal responsibility unless we emphasize those as core family values from the time they are in preschool.
We can’t expect kids to treat us with respect unless we treat them with respect. Wait, I take that back. We can DEMAND that they respect us – but unless we reciprocate and MODEL RESPECT – we MAY get respect in the short term, but we aren’t going to foster the loving, communicative, respectful relationships we want to have with our kids long term.
This family needs help to get back to the loving and respectful relationship I’m sure they all want. I sincerely hope they will seek family counseling.
What do you think? How does this family go on from here?