On Second Thought: Episode 6, How Do I Get Tripp to Behave?

Trust me, it’s crazy to see your life on television. That’s why every week, I’m going to do a blog posts called “On Second Thought.” These posts are where I will go over the episodes of my Lifetime show as I process the issues presented now that I’ve seen them aired.  I hope you’ll join me for these weekly posts – which will undoubtedly be part-confession, part-explanation, and part-celebration of my life right now!

Episode Six, Air Date: July 3, 2012

This episode got real, didn’t it? Honestly, I wish I could pretend life as single mom is perfect.  I wish I could show you the photos of Tripp and everyone would say, “Oh, isn’t he an angel?”

But every parent of small children knows kids are not always good.  Even in the best circumstances, they’re tough, challenging, and frustrating.  (Right now, somewhere, my mom is smiling.)

My circumstance, of course, is not “the best circumstance.”  I got pregnant when I wasn’t married, and, consequently, my son doesn’t have his father in his life.  I have to deal with this reality every day of my life.  But our imperfect circumstances don’t mean Tripp gets to grow up acting any way he pleases.  He might be from a “broken home,” but that doesn’t mean he has to be broken.  As a mom, I don’t have to be broken.

So where does that leave me?  Sometimes, as you could see in this episode, I’m very confused. I hate to be “the bad guy,” and I wish I had a husband who could be the disciplinarian.  Many of you saw Dad make his debut on my show, and he did it by giving me a speech!  Nice!  Of course, I know I should listen to him, because (as I’ve mentioned before) I have the best father ever.

The Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF) has a great little booklet called “Single Parents,” which provides a great deal of helpful advice:

“You don’t have to be both mother father and mother to your child.  God is with you…  God assuredly has your child’s best interest in his heart, even more than you do.”

Okay, CCEF, I believe you.  But how does that mean I respond when Tripp talks back to me?! That’s the part I’m working through, and I appreciate all the kind words of encouragement as I figure all of this out!

Tripp, thankfully, did behave at Mom’s surprise party.  Again, I love my family so much, and I was so glad that everyone came together and pretended to like the cake I made.  (Well, it was better before Trig sprayed spit all over it to blow out the candles!) Mom liked her little pink pistol.  She already has a pink bb gun, so this is a nice addition.

After all, you can’t keep a bb gun in your purse!

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  • NoRtHwEsTeRnKoDiAkSeAbRoOkWizArDtImEbAnDiTcOrNliAmArIe

    Bristol,
    you are the PARENT NOT TRIPP! What you need to do is give him a warning the 1st time,if he dose it again,repeat warning with the next time you hit,or whatever that bad behavior is you are going into time out then if he dose it again put him in time out.set a timer when you put him in and tell him when the timer goes off he can get out.Then you ask him if he knows why you put him in time out and if he no explain it to him why and if he does this behavior again he gets NO WARNING IT’S STRIAGHT INTO TIME OUT! Also don’t allow him to con you or make you feel sorry for him because once you do it then he will run all over you.when you say NO mean NO don’t just say NO and then when he whines give in and give it to him you’ve got to stand FIRM!YOUR strong just like your mom you can do it,after all your a palin!

  • Kimberly

    We have found that timeouts worked well for our kids when they were Tripp’s age.

  • http://thisisannalyn.blogspot.com Annalyn

    I was 18 when I had my son too. (I’m a month younger than you, and your son is just a month younger than mine). I’m also having a difficult time with getting him to behave. He is such a stinker! He can be a real sweet heart but he doesn’t like to listen at all. I’ve done time outs a lot, but honestly, he just doesn’t care. Lately I’ve been sending him to his room to cool off instead of time outs. If there is something really serious we try to think of a consequence that is logical or natural. We only use natural consequences when it’s appropriate (you can’t let your kid run out in the street and get hit to learn a lesson! But you can use a logical consequence such as not letting him play outside for a while).

  • Bo

    That’s a good question to ask your mommy, cupcake. After all, just look at what a wonderful brood she managed to raise . . . errrr, on second thought, cancel that. Trailer trash begets trailer trash. You’ll just have to get used to it, sweetpea.

    • Kelli

      And that seems to say alot about your mama Bo and the manners she must have taught you…Talk about the pot calling the stainless steel kettle black…

    • kat

      You do realize you sound like a complete jerk, right? You’re not being funny. It’s called being vindictive. Get a life.

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  • MiddleRoader

    The most important thing you can do, Bristol, is follow through on your words. If you threaten a time-out, do it! If he’s clamoring for attention by screaming or whatever, tell him you won’t talk to him until he’s quiet and ready to listen. And then do it. The 1-2-3 method works too, especially with kids Tripp’s age and older. The first time you do it, explain that he has 3 chances, and on nr. 3 he will get whatever consequence you have decided on. After a few times, you won’t need to explain it any more. For example, say he’s has your car keys in his hands and you want them back. Say “Give me the keys, please”. If he refuses, say “That’s 1!” Wait about 30 secs or so. Then say “Give me the keys, please.” If he refuses, says “That’s 2!” Wait and ask again, then say “Thats’s 3!” and take the keys away, and don’t engage in any more conversation (unless he’s doing something truly dangerous of course.” Eventually, this will teach him to self-monitor and he is more likely to stop whatever behavior it is on 1 or 2 or 3. If, at the beginning, he throws a tantrum, ignore him. Later, when he’s calmer, talk to him about the event, and ask him what a good choice would have been. (return the keys). When he gets older, the behavior willl be more complicated, and there will be more choices he could have made. (for example, if he hit someone, the choices might be “count to ten first’, share the toy, explain that it’s not his turn to play with the toy, walk away, tell an adult, whatever.) Then you guys can discuss which choices are good and which “not so good,” or you can suggest other choices.

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  • D0nna

    I can certainly relate to how helpless you sometimes feel when you are trying to raise a child. I was just as “stupid” as you are when I was a teen IN FACT WORSE! I got pregnant at 16, I did marry the father but we ended up having 3 children by the time I was twenty one! Believe me…controlling 1 is bad but having 3 under 5 was like trying to nail jello to a tree!
    I was a very good multi tasker back then and that helped but I came from a family that believed a good spanking could help and sometimes it does, but sometimes it doesn’t. God gives us the ability to have children while we are young so that we have the stamina to keep up but he doesn’t give patience until your older. That doesn’t seem right does it? I guess he expects us to learn patience by surviving the kids! What a concept. One day when you are a grandmother you will be much smarter than you are now and a lot more patient with little ones. You will see things differently and appreciate things differently. Right now the best advise I can givehas kind of already been given. Say what you mean and mean what you say. If he breaks the rules he has to face the consequences, that might be no TV, No Games, No Company and don’t buy him goodies all the time. Gifts should mainly come from you on birthday and Christmas. Other people give gifts randomly and that’s ok, but from you it shouldn’t be every time he wants something.
    I have learned that sometimes a good private talking to does better than a smack and if you separate them from the herd for a good heart to heart it has a lot more effect. At lastly, don’t raise him on television. History can prove that is a mistake.
    I survived my 3 kids at a very young age and we grew up together and were very close. We didn’t do everyhing right but we ended up with three College graduates, no druggies and all hard workers. I am proud of them. They turned out better than I did and that is what every parent hopes for I think.

  • Emma Lora

    Pat,
    for your sake maybe you should not watch.


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