Tripp Palin, the three-year-old grandson of Sarah and Todd and son of Bristol and Levi, can be heard saying an anti-gay slur to his aunt, Willow, on a recently-released video clip from the Lifetime reality series Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp. Definitely offensive and appalling but not, as many commented, too surprising, given that it was indeed Willow who directed an anti-gay slur to a classmate on Facebook in 2010.
Bristol and Willow can be seen gasping and the giggling after Tripp says the unnecessary word when he is told he cannot visit the swimming pool. Bristol acknowledged that she is “doing a terrible job disciplining Tripp…I know he’s going to continue to push the boundaries.”
But then, she wrote on her blog that Tripp hadn’t used that homophobic f-word but the other f-word and said he’d picked it up from friends and family, including his grandfather:
“Lifetime filmed over 12 months (on and off), and they caught a moment on film that would cause any parent to be red in the face. Tripp is always surrounded by adults – around the campfires with cousins and their friends, at the shop with my dad and his snowmachine buddies. He’s apparently picked up some language that I’d prefer he not use.”
I’m not so sure that explanation makes things better. Tripp is hearing quite a few things that many would “prefer” not to hear from the mouths of babes.
Lost in the usual Palin publicity is the effect on all of this for Tripp, who is being given a great deal of attention for all the wrong reasons. Every parent has that moment (moments) when your child does exactly what ought not to be done, usually at some high-profile moment — at grandma’s 80th birthday celebration, for instance. (That didn’t happen to me, but we’ve had plenty of “interesting moments” with our son Charlie.)
The topic of “how do I get rid of my kid’s foul mouth” is definitely under discussion on parenting sites. On Babble, one of psychotherapist Heather Turgeon’s suggestions is to “stay neutral” and “don’t take it too seriously” — exactly the opposite of how Tripp’s mother is addressing the situation.
Maybe this is the point of the Palins and of why, four years after Sarah Palin became the GOP VP candiate, we still hear about her and her family every day: They offer us a steady stream of reminders of what not to do.
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Photo by Gage Skidmore
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