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Where Your Humble Author Regresses into Modern Social Commentary February 10, 2012

Posted by Peter Varhol in Technology and Culture.

I have to preface this with a disclaimer – I’m not a parent.  Once upon a time, I was a trained and licensed psychologist (really), but I don’t think that necessarily gives me any special knowledge or insight.  So take this for what it’s worth.

There seems to be a YouTube video of a father “executing” his teen daughter’s laptop after discovering a profanity-laced Facebook posting concerning some perceived deficiency in their treatment of her.  This article notes a variety of parenting experts that universally condemn the father’s response.

I’d like to cue the experts in on something – being a parent is entirely on the job training.  You’re regularly faced with new and unique experiences that demand a response.  Parents will make mistakes; they are human, too.  Some will get violent and abusive, and that’s where government intervention comes in.

I know that my parents had some significant limitations, both in their own lives and in the upbringing of their children (myself and my two sisters).  I wish I could have had some of the understanding and experiences that would have made me a better-adjusted and knowledgeable young adult on my own.  I acquired those skills once I realized I lacked them, and it wasn’t an especially pleasant time in doing so.  I’m still not where I would like to be with my social skills and empathy.

But my parents must have done something right, because none of us turned out all that badly.  And without knowing anything else about this particular family or the situation, the experts are more than willing to pass judgment against the father.  Really, would it kill one of these parenting experts to say “I don’t have any understanding of this specific situation, so I really can’t say whether or not this was an unwarranted act.”  Apparently so.

Technology has created many more landmines in raising children that my parents didn’t have to face.  In a way I’m glad that I don’t.  Social media in particular opens up complex doorways for the public outlet of strong emotions for all.  This is the first generation of parents who have had to face that challenge head-on.  Let’s give them a break if they don’t always get it right; if other things in the home are pretty good, it won’t be a disaster.



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