Yet another punishment “parenting” video is making the rounds. You’ve probably seen this “viral parenting” before: determine that your child needs to be punished, stage a clever one, tape your child crying through whatever diabolical discipline you’ve thought of, upload the whole thing to YouTube. These videos always beg the question, great idea or terrible parenting?
The newest video is of a father forcing what looks to be his 11 or 12-year-old son to smash his video game systems with a sledgehammer. The video is called, “Good Parenting: Father Makes His Son Destroy One Of His Xbox Consoles For Failing In School!” The father repeatedly tells his son he’s had “three weeks,” presumably the time he’s been riding him to turn his grades around. The son is repeatedly heard saying, “It’s not my fault.” He smashes one of the systems and begins to cry before he gets to the second. The father says, “pick up the fucking sledgehammer and smash it.”
Taking away luxury items when a child is underperforming in school isn’t a new idea, but taping your child crying through destroying hundreds of dollars worth of equipment? No. Even if a parent decides to destroy property they’ve bought to teach their child a lesson, why film it? There’s two answers: you either want to humiliate your child, or become the next YouTube sensation. Both of these motivations are suspect.
Yes, kids need to keep up their grades, and they shouldn’t be rewarded with luxury items like video game systems when they’re not. But has the kid had a tutor? Is he getting the help he needs? Punctuating a statement like, “you’ve had three weeks” by forcing you child to destroy his property seems rash. Dr. Laura Markham, a psychologist and parenting coach told Yahoo Parenting, “I think it’s great that this is an involved dad who cares how is son is doing and is willing to set limits. But grades don’t start when you get the report card, and three weeks isn’t enough time to get good grades.”
The video’s already been viewed almost a half a million times in a week. Imagine a pre-teen or young teenager enduring all of his friends seeing him cry over a video game system. He’s probably going to be teased over this for years to come. And therein lies the biggest problem with these videos: it’s cyber-bullying, plain and simple. Perpetrated by a child’s parent.
Following through with a punishment is one thing, humiliating your child via YouTube video is another. If you’re taping your kid’s punishment and uploading it to YouTube — you’re an asshole.