Media Response to Anita Li, from the Toronto Star

This is a repost from my Facebook wall post on February 11th. If you’d like to see the comments made on Facebook, click here.

Media Response to Anita Li, from the Toronto Star

Since you took the time to email us with your requests like we asked, I’ll take the time to give you an honest follow-up response. You’ll have to forgive me for doing so publicly though; again I want to be sure my words are portrayed the way I actually say them, not cut together to make entirely different points.

Your questions were:
Q: Why did you decide to reprimand your daughter over a public medium like YouTube?

A: Well, I actually just had to load the video file itself on YouTube because it’s a better upload process than Facebook, but the intended audience was her Facebook friends and the parents of those friends who saw her post and would naturally assume we let our children get away with something like that. So, to answer “Why did you reprimand her over a public medium like Facebook” my answer is this: Because that’s how I was raised. If I did something embarrassing to my parents in public (such as a grocery store) I got my tail tore up right there in front of God and everyone, right there in the store. I put the reprisal in exactly the same medium she did, in the exact same manner. Her post went out to about 452 people. Mine went out to about 550 people… originally. I had no idea it would become what it did.

Q: How effective do you think your punishment was (i.e. shooting her laptop and reading her letter online)?

A: I think it was very effective on one front. She apparently didn’t remember being talked to about previous incidents, nor did she seem to remember the effects of having it taken away, nor did the eventual long-term grounding seem to get through to her. I think she thought “Well, I’ll just wait it out and I’ll get it back eventually.” Her behavior corrected for a short time, and then it went back to what it was before and worse. This time, she won’t ever forget and it’ll be a long time before she has an opportunity to post on Facebook again. I feel pretty certain that every day from then to now, whenever one of her friends mentions Facebook, she’ll remember it and wish she hadn’t done what she did.

The second lesson I want her to learn is the value of a dollar. We don’t give her everything she asks for, but you can all imagine what it’s like being the only grandchild and the first child. Presents and money come from all sides when you’re young. Most of the things she has that are “cool” were bought or gifted that way. She’s always asked for very few things, but they’re always high-dollar things (iPod, laptop, smartphone, etc). Eventually she gets given enough money to get them. That’s not learning the value of a dollar. Its knowing how to save money, which I greatly applaud in her, but it’s not enough. She wants a digital SLR camera. She wants a 22 rifle like mine. She wants a car. She wants a smart phone with a data package and unlimited texting. (I have to hear about that one every week!)

She thinks all these things are supposed to be given to her because she’s got parents. It’s not going to happen, at least not in our house. She can get a job and work for money just like everyone else. Then she can spend it on anything she wants (within reason). If she wants to work for two months to save enough to purchase a $1000 SLR camera with an $800 lens, then I can guarantee she’ll NEVER leave it outside at night. She’ll be careful when she puts it away and carries it around. She’ll value it much more because she worked so hard to get it. Instead, with the current way things have been given to her, she’s on about her fourth phone and just expects another one when she breaks the one she has. She’s not sorry about breaking it, or losing it, she’s sorry only because she can’t text her friends. I firmly believe she’ll be a LOT more careful when she has to buy her own $299.00 Motorola Razr smartphone.

Until then, she can do chores, and lots and lots of them, so the people who ARE feeding her, clothing her, paying for all her school trips, paying for her musical instruments, can have some time to relax after they finish working to support her and the rest of the family. She can either work to make money on her own, or she will do chores to contribute around the house. She’s known all along that all she has to do is get a job and a lot of these chores will go away. But if you’re too lazy to work even to get things you want for yourself, I’m certainly not going to let you sit idly on your rear-end with your face glued to both the TV and Facebook for 5 to 6 hours per night. Those days are over.

Q: How did your daughter respond to the video and to what happened to her laptop?

A: She responded to the video with “I can’t believe you shot my computer!” That was the first thing she said when she found out about it. Then we sat and we talked for quite a long while on the back patio about the things she did, the things I did in response, etc.

Later after she’d had time to process it and I’d had time to process her thoughts on the matters we discussed, we were back to a semi-truce… you know that uncomfortable moment when you’re in the kitchen with your child after an argument and you’re both waiting to see which one’s going to cave in and resume normal conversation first? Yeah, that moment. I told her about the video response and about it going viral and about the consequences it could have on our family for the next couple of days and asked if she wanted to see some of the comments people had made. After the first few hundred comments, she was astounded with the responses.

People were telling her she was going to commit suicide, commit a gun-related crime, become a drug addict, drop out of school, get pregnant on purpose, and become a stripper because she’s too emotionally damaged now to be a productive member of society. Apparently stripper was the job-choice of most of the commenters. Her response was “Dude… it’s only a computer. I mean, yeah I’m mad but pfft.” She actually asked me to post a comment on one of the threads (and I did) asking what other job fields the victims of laptop-homicide were eligible for because she wasn’t too keen on the stripping thing.

We agreed we learned two collective lessons from this so far:

First: As her father, I’ll definitely do what I say I will, both positive and negative and she can depend on that. She no longer has any doubt about that.

Second: We have always told her what you put online can affect you forever. Years later a single Facebook/MySpace/Twitter comment can affect her eligibility for a good job and can even get her fired from a job she already has. 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.


10 thoughts on “Media Response to Anita Li, from the Toronto Star

  1. Hello,You seem to be the buzz pf everything now a days,
    i don’t mean to be so annoying, considering this is about the third message i have sent, but i am 14, and you kinda have inspired me, which i am prolly not the first one to tell ya’ll that, but you really have.
    I hope one day i can be able to protect my family with the type of things you have said you use as protection around them, such as the GPS type things, i may be young, but when i get older i hope to portect my family the way you have been able too, i understand you did that as a punishment,but i agree with it, true i would be very mad as well, but i agree with it, you and you’re family don’t deserve all the media and all that junk, i hope it get’s better, the Lord willing,
    well i won’t take up anymore of you’re time, if you are not to busy, write me back only if you can sir,
    From: Joshua
    Corbin, KY

  2. Well as one parent to another, & I’ve been a parent now for 40 years & I’m still raising kids, 8 with the grand kids. I wouldn’t worry to much about your daughter being embarrassed. Right now she may be a little uncomfortable but she’ll be OK. I’m sure I as well as a lot of parents have “embarrassed” our kids. We’ve done it out of love. They know it. Later your daughter WILL talk about all the embarrassing things you’ve done & I promise you she will laugh about them. During many of the family get togethers we’ve had, we’ve had long conversations of things that happened when they were younger & the embarrassing moments were always talked about. They laughed at them. They used those embarrassing things we’ve done to them as learning experiences & are coming up with their own ideas of embarrassing their kids. Remember all these people giving you a hard time don’t even know you & the people that do, know you were trying to teach her something. Making her go without that computer & buying her own will allow her to learn the respect you are teaching her & a valuable lesson on respecting her parents.

  3. First off,let me say I have nothing bad to say about your parenting. Im sure you’re a good father and you have your childs best interest at heart.
    What im wondering is if you dont want publicity,why the blog and all the replies to what people are saying.
    Close the blog and stand behind your choices and people will forget and move on.

  4. I applaud your parenting and values. The publicity surrounding this and it’s potential value to our society are incalculable. People shouldn’t forget. Our world is ripe for change.

  5. mr jordan just wanna say nice 1911 you got in the video i agree with everything you did and she will think twice about doing that kinda stuff again not saying your daughter is a horrible child hope your relationship with her continues to get better

  6. I just want to tell you that I’m beginner to blogging and definitely savored this blog. Almost certainly I’m want to bookmark your blog . You really come with wonderful writings. Thanks a bunch for sharing your web site.

  7. Sir, My friend and I where watching your second video upload and we fell we had a great idea. We think you should do a internet tv show like Dr. Phil’s but but geared towards the common American with American values. People could write in to you with problems they are experiencing with their kids and/or skype interviews with them and you could help them through it. Also you could end the show by reading a letter from one of your viewers and then shooting whatever they sent you that is causing the problem at home with their child.

    • LOL. No way. Maybe if some of you wanted to email with questions.. and this is a MAYBE… I’m not promising anything here… then maybe I could take a couple of them and do a YouTube video to answer them…? I’d have to give it some thought, but I’d be open to the idea I think. I’m just an average parent. I’m not a parenting guru. I could tell you how I handle my OWN children, but I can speak from firsthand experience that no one else can really understand your circumstance without knowing the whole picture. Look at all the hate mail I get in comments, emails, YouTube replies, and Facebook replies. There are PLENTY who disagree with how I do it and every child and family is different.

  8. My son did the same thing on facebook… I didn’t shoot his laptop because I am no good with a gun as of yet…LOL. However, I took his laptop and locked it up.NetNanny is fabulous. I made it to where the only websites he could go to were Disney and other little kid related sites. He was so confused and couldn’t figure out why his computer had issues. Then I calmly told him in a nonchalant way… Net Nanny rocks huh? Guess you will be more careful in what you post on the internet when you earn my trust back and are allowed to return to being a teenager instead of a baby I have to monitor. He has never done it again. ..Winks.. Mr. Jordan sir, your a father after my own heart.
    One other hilarious tidbit.. my son skipped school once and to punish him I decided to accompany him to school one day… now I took the day off and dressed in my old worn out jeans… rolled my hair in curlers and threw on an old flannel shirt with workboots. I walked him from class to class reminding him not to dawdle.. and in class nudged him to answer questions from the teacher or turned pages and reminded him to focus on the teachers lesson instead of the girls he would not be dating because he was grounded. Then, at lunch I spit on a napkin and wiped his face in front of his friends and reminded him to eat his vegetables….. grins.. his teachers and friends teased him mercilessly for weeks… I just smiled and said …bet you won’t skip school again…hmmm He never has again to this day.
    Tough parenting solves many a problem before it becomes a problem. If some of these parents of kids in trouble with the law took the old school approach there would be less crimes by kids and less adults growing up to fill the prisons.
    Signed
    Just a mom

  9. Tough love works! Spare the rod, spoil the child. Tommy taught Hannah a very valuable lesson, you need to work for what you get in order to truly appreciate it and take care of it. Disrespecting your parents publicly involves lack of honor, respect, love, and gratitude. If you don’t have to work for anything, how can you appreciate it’s value, and establish personal or sentimental worth?

    There are a lot of people who are giving Tommy grief for what he has done, but these people are probably the spoiled children of parents who did not raise them correctly. When I was a kid, if you screwed up, your parents were allowed to spank you, hell, even the school principal was allowed to spank you with a huge wooden paddle. The technology didn’t exist back then, yet. There were no computers, no FB, no cell phones, no parking lot video surveillance cameras. Kids used to say: “sir, ma’am, please, thank you, excuse me” etc. Now their favorite thing to say is anything they can think of that is disrespectful. And they have CPS to back them up, our government has basically empowered and enabled our children to get away with all kinds of crap and get away with it, by leaving the parents in fear of judicial and/or legal repercussions. This is pure BS, where the hell was the government when I was getting my butt beat for spilling a drink? They weren’t on my side back then I can tell you that, and now they are not on my side as a parent, lol, ironic, isn’t it?

    Although it sounds as if I am complaining, I am actually glad that I was raised in the way I was raised. If not, I would have no respect for adults as a child, and I would have not cared to learn any lessons which children need which parents/adults provide. My abusive father was maniacally and physically brutal, I was given up for adoption at age nine, where foster parents weren’t allowed to hit their kids, like my father used to… so, with that empowerment, my previous respect and honor towards adults just went out the window. But I grew up and learned by the examples of others, and by landing on my butt. I was so afraid of my father, that I would do anything to avoid a beating. My case was extreme, but if kids today even had an inkling of what life was like twenty years for most of us, they wouldn’t believe it, and if they got five per cent of the discipline I got, they would NEVER even consider embarrassing their parents on FB or any other medium.

    In closing, Good Job, Tommy! Don’t back down from your morals no matter what all the critics out there are saying, I support you, your mentality, and your resolve! Don’t change a thing!

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