Of Laptops and Twinkies

February 20, 2012 on 5:07 pm | In children, computers, daily life, entertainment industry, family, morality, motherhood, parenting | 1 Comment

You have to be living in a cave to not know about Tommy Jordan’s effective parental measures taken upon his daughter’s laptop computer.

I have respected everything about this scenario as it has unfolded over the past two weeks. Especially Jordan’s continued control of the situation. Wisely, he won’t do interviews, won’t appear on television, and his entire family has been kept from becoming pawns in the media’s search for ratings.

I still stand by my decision; my daughter still deserved to be punished, but for me to go on national television and compound that is something I can’t do as a father. I’ve been contacted by every major news network in the country, and while I appreciate the support some people have shown me, there is no conscionable way I can go on television and profit from my daughter’s embarrassment. Because the very first news media coverage had such impossibly incorrect “spin” on my intentions, I instead began communicating with them solely through Facebook. Now, after hundreds of thousands of comments on Facebook, millions of views on Youtube and tens-of-thousands of calls on every company and private phone number I have, I’ve decided to put it all in one place and respond to the comments, questions, criticisms and accusations here on our own website. I would rather my family earn what little bit of ad revenue this site might make than to make Mark Zuckerburg richer. I don’t think he needs any more money. I’ve been offered TV shows, interviews and had the opportunity to earn more money this week alone than in any entire year of my life. But for the same reasons mentioned above I have declined. As tempting as it is, I can’t do it under this premise.

He’s determined to control the conversation about his parenting efforts, and is doing a remarkably good job of it.

Dr. Phil with all due respect sir, you are the second psychologist (plus one social worker) I’ve heard within two weeks state that by fifteen years old a child in today’s world can’t actually be expected to reasonably forecast the consequences of their actions. I fundamentally, and respectfully, think you’re off your rocker to think that. And if parent’s raise kids that way, we are in for a world of hurt when these irrational, unthinking kids take over our country in the next ten years.

Within six months of my daughter’s current age the NCDMV  seems to agree that it’s ok to let someone this age get out on the street in a motor vehicle and drive our highways, but you think they’re too ignorant to be held accountable for their actions because they’re incapable of understanding cause and effect. Can we agree that the basic principle you’re arguing is that children her age don’t understand cause and effect, or consequences to use a different term?

Way to go, Tommy Jordan. You’re not just an effective dad, you’re an effective human being.

It’s a safe bet your daughter won’t end up like Bobbi Kristina Brown; she’s being raised by someone who is focused on her welfare, not their own self-indulgence. But that’s usually the way of it for the nonfamous and nonaffluent. Most of us lesser mortals aren’t given a free pass to live however we want, and do with our kids whatever we want (as Jordan has discovered, with the repeated unnecessary calls strangers have made to CPS upon learning of his laptop shooting).

According to the liberal media, being raised by a father that owns and uses a gun is bad.

Being raised by drug addicts is good. Or at least it’s acceptable if the addicts are rich and famous.

So it would seem, because that’s the way Whitney Houston handled her teen daughter, and nobody from Social Services was called in to take that kid away from her self-destructive mom.

People can be stupid creatures, and never more so than when money and fame are involved.

It’s been fascinating to watch an average guy rebuff the attempts of others to make him wealthier or more famous by exploiting his unscripted parenting of his child. He used technology—YouTube, Facebook and the internet—because that’s what he and his daughter are familiar with. That’s the venue she used to misbehave. He used a gun, because for him and his family (and many other Americans, excepting the liberal pansies who are terrified by the mere sight of one) a gun is a tool, like a hammer or a saw.

When a parent is dealing with a misbehaving child, wisdom teaches that a direct correlation between the punishment and the offense is the most effective means of repressing unwanted behavior. Simple  cause and effect.  As Jordan learned, telling a child later “I’m disappointed in you, don’t do that again” is sometimes just not enough.

Sometimes you have to shoot the laptop.

And sometimes you have to give the Twinkies away.

Youngest Son went to the nearby grocery store today to buy himself lunch.  As he stood at the Panda Express counter waiting to place his order, he noticed a little boy nearby. The child, about 8 years old, was whining and carrying on. The child’s mother stood beside him, holding a small plastic grocery sack. She calmly said to her child, “Stop whining. I’m warning you, if you keep whining there’s going to be consequences. You’re not getting Twinkies when you behave this way.”

Ignoring her admonition, the boy continued to fuss and whine.

The mother said, “All right, that’s it.” Turning to my Youngest Son, she said, “Sir, would you like two boxes of Twinkies?”

(A 15 year old can get called “Sir” when he’s 5’10” and sporting the beginnings of a week-off-from-school mustache).

Youngest Son was startled, but quickly recovered and replied “Sure!” taking the shopping bag of Twinkies and thanking the woman.

The eight year old boy began to cry as his treat changed ownership. “I told you to stop whining and you didn’t, so that’s your punishment. Let’s go,” his mother explained patiently, leading the child out of the store.

I don’t know who she was, but I do know that woman is a good parent.

I’m not thrilled that Youngest Son now has twenty sugar and preservative laden dietary bombs on his desk upstairs, but hey, sometimes you have to take one for the team when it comes to parenting.

No doubt there are concerned folk (the sort bashing Tommy Jordan’s parenting) who would argue that the mother should have simply put her son in “time out” when they got home to think about his misbehavior, or explained to him on the spot why he shouldn’t be whining, or simply tolerated the whining because that’s how eight year olds express themselves.

Bull crap.

I see so many examples of lousy parenting in the Store Where I Work that I want to quite literally applaud rare parents like the mom who gave her son’s Twinkies away. The fathers who don’t buy things when their child demands “Buy me this!” The mothers who say “No” and mean it. The fathers who actually discipline their children instead of ignoring or tolerating bad behavior. The mothers who don’t encourage their kids to eat bananas/apples/cookies/whatever they want without paying for it first. What the heck is with that? A grocery store is not a restaurant; eating food before paying for it is basically stealing. And it teaches children that grocery store “grazing” is acceptable behavior. That they don’t need to wait for anything, not even until they actually own something before they consume it.

For every parent who dares to take the apple out of little Suzie’s hand and says “Don’t eat that, we haven’t bought it yet,” I see literally dozens who pick an apple out of the stack or break a banana off a bunch, hand it to Suzie and encourage her to eat it.

And then they wonder why little Suzie grows up to think that the world and everything in it is hers–that she doesn’t have to wait for or work for anything she desires.

We badly need more parents who are willing to shoot the laptops and give the Twinkies away.


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  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. Kids need structure and rules – even if they rebel against them. That’s how they learn accountability and responsibility. Parents can be friends to their kids when said kids are out of the house and paying for their own living. Until then – parents need to be parents first. I’ve seen first-hand what happens when parents try to be friends to their teenagers. It never goes well.

    I applauded Mr. Jordan when I first heard about his story; and I’m still applauding.


    Comment by Kris, in New England — February 21, 2012 #

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