Bad Mommy: Palin Parenting

Scenario: You've traveled all day with your three and a half year old boy. When you get to your destination you see that your son's energy is at a all time high and the kid is bouncing off the linoleum. Do you...

A. Help him get rid of that excess energy by running him around or taking him swimming which he really, really, really wants to do. Or...
B. Turn on the cameras, tell him to settle down and desperately hope that he will.

Bristol Palin, reality show personality and failed abstinence poster child, chose B. Instead of tuckering out the little bugger, she chose to lounge on the sectional with younger sister Willow and unsuccessfully attempted to talk Tripp into a state of calm

Take a peek from Palin's what's-the-point reality show, Bristol Palin: Life's a Tripp.

I have a fondness for the name Tripp. I myself am a Junior, and assumed at some point I'd have a boy who would be the third. I looked at all the nicknames: Trey, Tirch, Trace, Rerun, Ditto. But after many sleepless nights I knew my first son would be Trip Foster (only one P) . Somewhat peculiarly, my brother, Todd, stole the name Richard Hutchins Foster III out from under me and gave it to his son, my nephew, who he then nicknamed Deke. And he did so WITHOUT ASKING ME! Trip being out of the question, Michael and I named our only son Sebastian, who we call Bash. (Trip...Bash...I guess I have a thing for monosyllabic semi-destructive sounding verbs as boy names.)

But enough of Foster genealogy and back to bad parenting 101...

Kids hear words. Kids repeat words. The use of faggot doesn't necessarily bother me. (Although, it strikes me that the context in which he used the epithet was entirely correct, thus he must hear it with some frequency...hmmmm.) What gets my goat is that three times during this exchange both Bristol and Aunt Willow try to reprimand the boy and then don't follow through. Big mistake. If you warn a child there's going to be a time out, or his mouth will be washed out with soap if the bad behavior continues, by all means be ready to follow through.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating shoving soap into a kid's mouth and swishing it around. If you can be imprisoned by punishing a child with Tabasco on his tongue, then it strikes me that there should be legal repercussions when forcing your kid eat a bar of Zest. My suggestion...drop the soapy, empty threats, and opt for another consequence that, when needed, can be acted upon. "God's watching you..." Really!

Bristol says, "I know he's going to continue to push the boundaries and push the limit," to which I query, What boundaries? Tripp was totally in charge of two grown women, whose body language was that of older sisters, not of Mom and Aunt. Bristol is too worried about being anything but good cop and Aunt Willow's threats are baseless. On top of which, both young women are giggling through the entire exchange. No wonder Tripp feels perfectly safe saying, I hate you and go away, you faggot. The grownups won't do anything to stop him.

I know Bristol is relatively young, but she chose this life. She's got to turn off the cameras, stop focusing on herself and not worry what others may think. Tripp is already starting life at a deficit: his father has posed for Playgirl, and his granny has written unbelievably knuckleheaded things such as, “I didn’t believe the theory that human beings – thinking, loving beings – originated from fish that sprouted legs and crawled out of the sea." It's up to Bristol to save him from home spun mediocrity. She has got to get a backbone and not shy away from being the bad cop. For the sake of her and her boy she needs to stand up and be a parent. NOW.

"I'm doing a terrible job disciplining Tripp" is simply not acceptable.


trash said…
Boundaries. Love. Actions and consequences. Boundaries. Love. Discipline. Love. Boundaries. And love. That is it, That is what it takes to raise a child. Boundaries and even more love. Kids respond to it and they thrive on it.

Why is something so relatively straightforward so regularly fucked up? (Standing on my soapbox here) But it is all part and parcel of the cult of the individual and personal rights all with seeming disregard to the needs of those we are responsible for and the need to build and exist in communities, family and wider. (OK rant over)
Great post. I'm not a Palin fan (, and the least you can do when you fancy yourself a role model for single mothers is BE a mother. She always seems to be far too busy being a "celebrity" to be a parent. NOT a fan.

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