Laptop-Shooting Dad Ignites Parenting Debate

Chances are you’ve seen the YouTube video of Tommy Jordan, the North Carolina dad who shot his teenage daughter’s laptop. Viewed more than 22 million times in one week, the video has sparked passionate debate across the Internet.

Jordan’s 15-year-old daughter posted an angry, hurtful rant on Facebook about having too many chores, and Jordan—who’d spent hours the previous day updating her laptop—was furious that this was how she was using it. “Today was probably the most disappointing day of my life as a father,” he says at the start of the video. He reads his daughter’s post to the camera and then shoots her laptop eight times.

Comments on YouTube are split: Many say Jordan’s reaction is too extreme or criticize his use of a gun. But many others praise his tough-love approach with comments like “Give this man a medal” and “Tommy Jordan for President.” On, columnist Susanna Schrobsdorff notes that many parents of teenagers dream of doing what Jordan did:

It is both disturbing and so deeply satisfying that you can’t watch it without reliving every fantasy you’ve ever had about hurling one of your teen’s gadgets out a window or under a car after they’ve used it to ignore you or deceive you, or distract themselves from something they’re supposed to do.

KJ Dell’Antonia of the New York Times Motherlode blog writes that “Mr. Jordan acted childishly,” but she says she’s felt his anger: [I]f you’ve grounded a kid in anger, or yanked an arm or felt an ugly expression on your face and heard a tone in your voice that you’ve never used with anyone other than your beloved child, you know what I mean. Our children infuriate us like no one else.”

Jordan hasn’t spoken to reporters, but he has posted comments on his Facebook page. (He says child protective services did pay him a visit, and found his guns stored securely.) He also mentioned lessons he and his daughter have drawn from the experience. From the Los Angeles Times:

“We’ve always told her that what you put online can effect you forever,” [Jordan] said. “She’s seen first-hand through this video the worst possible scenario that can happen. One post, made by her Dad, will probably follow him the rest of his life; just like those mean things she said on Facebook will stick with the people her words hurt for a long time to come. Once you put it out there, you can’t take it back, so think carefully before you use the Internet to broadcast your thoughts and feelings.”

Readers, what’s your take on the laptop-shooting dad?

Image: Tommy Jordan screenshot via the Los Angeles Times.

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  1. by Jess

    On February 14, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Good for this father. Too many parents these days just give slaps on the wrists or small no, no dears. Kids these days are raised as parents being friends. Parents need to be parents. She disrespected her dad, and he took away the computer permanently. I hope he doesnt give her another computer. If she were my daughter, if she wanted another computer, she better have the means to pay for it because she wouldnt be getting one using my pocketbook.

  2. by sam

    On February 14, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    This reminds me of when my dad hurled my sister’s phone onto the concrete and it shattered bc she ignored his calls and said it was broken (when of course it wasn’t). From then on you bet she answered his calls! Lesson learned. If he would have thought about it he probably would have shot it too! Nothing wrong with this and his daughter will learn a valuable lesson on how to save money as well!!!

  3. by Spanked and Successful

    On February 14, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I say, “way to go Tommy Jordan”. As a parent, I believe WE guide the children not the other way around. I see so many occasions where parents want to be friends, and not step up and discipline. We are raising generations of kids who think they are “entitled” to get things just because they are alive. That’s not the real world. People say, don’t discipline, don’t spank, don’t reprimand, you’ll hurt their self esteem, they’ll be destroyed and become delinquents. It will inhibit their success in life. BULL. My parents were not my friends, they were my parents. They took the time to pay attention to me and my life and discipline me as needed. I was spanked, not beaten. I learned to respect them, I learned to respect my elders, I learned boundaries, I learned you get what you work for. That work could be something as minor as saying “thank you”, or “yes sir, no sir” or as major as doing dishes, dusting or cleaning my room. I learned that what you do and say in your life follows you, it’s true. I can’t count the times I’ve met people who say, “Oh, I remember you” or “My cousin grew up with you” and I cringe, remembering some things I did that wasn’t so nice or said that was, now, embarrassing. Kudo’s to this man.
    Was shooting the laptop over the top. Maybe. Quite frankly, it was entertaining and pretty final. Personally, I would have liked to see some minor explosions and more noise. For entertainment purposes, I think using a shotgun would have had more appeal, but then again, I like action movies (grin).
    The message I see is; “This is final. I’m not taking the disrespect and lies anymore. You’re old enough to understand what you are doing. Now you’ll need to grow up and earn your own way.” Good for him. I had a job when I was 15 so I could earn money for a car or whatever else I wanted. I learned from my parents discipline, guidance and example how to be a successful member of society, how to work for what I want and how to take care of myself, as well as, my belongings. When I was younger I couldn’t see these things, but now that I’m a parent I can. I’ve thanked my parents for their “strict upbringing” of me. They, as Tommy is doing, helped me become a confident adult. Keep up the good work!

  4. by Lindsey

    On February 14, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    I agree. It gets harder to discipline when kids become teens. They know nothing is permanent. They know they will not be grounded forever. They know that they will get all there gadgets back once punishment is done. Once you put something on the Internet it’s permanent, do there needed to be a punishment to fit the “crime” so to speak. Children feel so entitled and feel like instant gratification is how it’s supposed to be. Parent gave stopped trying to discipline all too often saying we are taking away there rights and freedom. There kids they need structure and rules and need to understand you do something wrong, there will be consequences. Or maybe we should just offer them a tour of the prisons at the same time we have them visit colleges, that’s where you end up most often without and understanding of consequences. So awesome and creative punishment! More parents should learn from this, when they are too old for spankings and time out there are still more options out there like this one!

  5. by Carol Weatherford

    On February 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    I see nothing wrong with what this father did…he paid for that laptop and everything on it, so if he wants to render it useless to get his point across to his stubborn, disrespectful, and ungrateful daughter than that is his prerogative…he caused her no harm other than a bruised ego and embarrassment of her own behavior, he was calm and clear, and he made his point very well….kids these days have way to much sense of entitlement and it is sad…obviously this father felt that grounding didn’t get the point across the last time she pulled her little stunts on facebook so he needed to make his point stick…kudos to this dad!

  6. by Alexandra

    On February 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I applaud this father for handling the way he did. He sounds like a reasonable father who was completely disrespected by his child. Sometimes you have to get creative to get your point across to a teenager and I’m sure he did. I was 15 hanging out on a basketball court and wouldn’t come home, I ignored my mother and ignored her calling me. 5 minutes later she came running out with a broom stick, not to hit me but to embarrass me. Well let’s just say from that day on I never ignored my mother, bc she wasn’t playing games.

  7. by Molquito

    On February 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Tough love.
    Discipline and correction is a must in our children’s lives and ours too. This father meant well. He’s teaching her that all actions have consequences. Do good and good will follow you as well as the opposite. People must use everything responsibly, especially the information you write on the net.
    I’d prefer another way of getting rid of the laptop with the same effect. Using the gun promotes violence which can be very detrimental. As a parent I prefer not to have a gun in my house. Good job Mr. Jordan.

  8. by Mandy Q

    On February 15, 2012 at 4:23 am

    I honestly couldn’t even make it through this entire video. Was he just trying to be cute? Because that’s all that I got from the video 5 minutes into it.

    He was just sitting there smoking a cigarette, talking like a jackass, and trying to punish his daughter? Kids are going to say hurtful things no matter how you try to raise them. They lash out even though they know that it’s not the right thing to do because they often feel its the only thing they can do to get attention.
    I think he acted in the extreme and it was, in turn, immature of him. Don’t we try teach our children that two wrongs don’t make a right?

    Think about what the consequences of this video could be. Imagine the ridicule she could endure forever. Wouldn’t he feel awful about it if something happened to her? Punishment definitely could have been rendered in a more private fashion.

  9. by Malika Bourne

    On February 15, 2012 at 4:56 am

    I believe every child needs anc craves discipline. The word “discipline” means “to teach”. I feel this father and so many who applaud him have “dicspline” mixed up with power wielding. This dad did get attention, BUT, what in the world did he teach his daughter? Perhaps to shoot up anything that she doesn’t agree with?I looks like to me the father daughter relationship needed some work a long time ago if they can’t talk face to face.
    Get reall, teens say and do things that are stupid because thier lack of knowlede and experience-that why they have parents to “teach” and guide them.

  10. by Shannon

    On February 15, 2012 at 5:52 am

    This father is immature. I believe in discipline but this is immature and over the top. This isn’t the way a parent with intelligence would handle a disciplinary situation. After reading this mans quotes I confirm my suspicion that this in not a highly educated man.. Low brow.

  11. by Meg

    On February 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I don’t think it’s necessary to be an educated man to be a father who wants to discipline his daughter. What he did was the right thing; he taught his daughter on how to communicate properly but couldn’t because she uses the laptop as her outlet. Apparently, there’s no real communication between them. Some might think that what he did was exaggerating but for me he just did it his own way.

  12. by ja

    On February 16, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Nice grouping!

  13. by Laura

    On February 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Way to go Tommy Jordan!

    It is a loving parent who disciplines his child when the kid misbehaves or is disrespectful. He paid for that laptop, and if he wanted to destroy it to teach his daughter a lesson, he sure had the right to do it! Wow, and how entertaining!

    I don’t doubt that his daughter is embarrassed to within an inch of her life, and there is also no doubt in my mind that she will benefit from the punishment.

    If this teaches her to be considerate and respectful where everything else failed, then it was possibly the best thing that ever happened to her.

    Parents these days seem to be afraid to punish their children for wrong-doing. This is a mistake–if his daughter doesn’t learn to discipline herself while still a kid in her parents’ home, then someone else will have to do it when she is an adult. And oh, does it get harsh then! Because nobody likes a disrespectful, spoiled, inconsiderate, unkind person. She can’t have friends or be successful in life if she acts that way. If she learns to behave better from this experience, then she’ll have a better future. (Thanks Dad!)

  14. by aw

    On February 16, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    One thing most parents will not [and should not] tolerate is disrespect from their children. The daughter already had one incidence where he had warned her not to do something like that again. But she did. Kids are always testing the boundaries, and see how far they can go.

    The parents who let things slide or don’t correct the mistakes at the moment, their kids get the message that they can get away with things [whatever it is, disrespect etc].

    A good parent would make good on their word in whatever the punishment should be for their kid’s actions. I don’t know about shooting my kid’s xbox [or in this case his daughter's laptop]. But he wanted to let her know he meant what he said.

    Besides, she sounded like a very ungrateful person in her rant. Granted, we all have had issues with parents when we were young {whether about chores, staying up late etc}.

    But kids these days do not know how good they have it. Do they appreciate how much something costs? How hard a parent might work to get them something they want or need? Or taking care of her own laundry and stuff is life skill [and she wants to be paid for that]. A grateful attitude and heart makes a difference.

    Good for T.J!