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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  • Pat

    Bristol. You have money. What is stopping you from getting some parental counseling? You turn to people on the internet for parental help? Get serious. Pick up the phone & dial some help instead of waiting by the phone for President Obama to call you.

    • Emma Lora

      Pat, there are many many reality shows. Bristol is including her viewers via interreaction. Most who enjoy her show interacct positively. Some few who watch her show choose to view the whole thing with negative responses. If you like the show… it will show in your response. If you don’t that will show as well. If I don’t like a show… I choose to move on… what are you going to do?

    • Nikol

      Bristol, I was a young single mother as well. I feel bad you call yourself and tripp broken, but happy to see that you are rising above that feeling. At 21 I had my son and his father was in and out for several years. I am now 35 with 2 of my own children and married into 3 more. we have the new nuclear family, the yours, mine, and ours. It was so worth waiting for, because like you I got pregnant out of wedlock. God provided the best man for me, and we are very happy. nearly 7 years together and almost 4 married. I didn’t used to think of myself as broken because my sons father and I were never married, I did feel different. And I would tell my son that, we were different in a good way. We were a cool duo. I didn’t want him to feel lost. So I used this to my advantage. Cool kids weren’t rude, weren’t mean, and didn’t talk back to their moms. I was also like you a bit of a giggler at the innappropriate moments and that’s what gets you each time you try to punish him, becuase now he thinks he is funny. I would create a time out space in your home and your parents home if that is where he spends most of his time, and every time he does something innappropriate he goes to that time out space. You need a timer, so that when his time is up, which is 1 minute times his age, then he hears the bell and gets up, he has to come to you and apologize for his poor behavior. Otherwise he goes back to his time out space. I have 5 kids now, ranging in age from 2.5 to 21, I raised my husbands three from the time I met them, and even for the up to 10 year olds they still had time outs and it worked for them. after 10 you gotta do stuff a bit differently. Oh and one more thing. I watched the episode last night where after tripp swore at your sister she suggested washing his mouth out with soap. i have been a cop for 10 years, and most child services wouldn’t think highly of that. that was old school, my mother did it to me, and before I knew better I told my son I would do it to him. but it isn’t a good idea. you could offer to make him eat something he doesn’t like – in turn for his fresh mouth. good luck. it isn’t easy raising kids…but your doing fine..

      as for Pat, I am sorry you feel this way. I agree she does have money and resources, but I also agree that on a weekly basis I call up my very best girl friend and we chat for an hour or two, and when we chat we talk about the frustrations of parenting. in that frustration we discuss alternative ideas to what eachother is dealing with. Bristol is doing no different. True this isn’t a two way street. She won’t be calling me to chat, but she is opening a dialogue accepting information from other parents who have been through the same thing. Smart girl I would say. I am extremely proud that she has created GOD as her center. She isn’t going to take the wrong advise from anyone particularly if it goes against what she believes.

      • Nikol

        I forgot to mention before the time out you can do the 1,2, 3 is the time out…My daughter got used to it and by 2now is when she either says sorry, or gets moving. and my son used to do the same thing. but he was when I said one. good luck

  • Rosali Elzig

    Bristol motherhood will never be easy. And Tripp will never be the perfect child,or adult but been raising him all by yourself in your way and giving all the worries to God will be just the right way you have to do. You don’t need internet counselors or any book to discipline your son. Just follow the step your own mother did with you.{don’t think about the mistakes you did} remember! no child,or adult will be perfect. I raised my children the way my mother did,and it worked. If you need advise ask you mother and grandmother nobody will give you better advise than them,because they are the ones who loves you and your the most. But if you still wants to hear some good opinions from a mother from another country,who raised two good kids in a old fashion way,call me i will have a little talk with you…just ask your grandmother,she will tell you who am I. God bless you and Tripp.

  • Piscean Gal

    I agree with Pat and Mark. Bristol should NOT be asking Tripp for permission to put him in timeout. He does the “crime” or infraction, sticking his tongue out, shouting I HATE YOU, etc…he does the TIME. Don’t ask for his permission, just PUT him in TIME OUT. Children are a product of their environment. I agree that parenting classes are a MUST for Bristol. She seems to be so lost in parenting Tripp, acting almost like she is his sister. I agree with WILLOW, that Bristol is a 20 yr old immature mother. Bristol also needs to stop acting/being/playing the VICTIM role. OH WHOA IS BRISTOL, raising a son all on her own, no father figure around. BULL…I don’t know for a fact that Levi is NOT around. Maybe he is, just not when Bristol thinks he should be, or maybe not at her beckon call, whatever the case may be. My personal thought is that he IS around, but it’s easier for Bristol and family to put him in a bad light. ANYWAY… She needs to stop playing victim. MANY mothers raise their children, both girls and boys without the biological parent in the picture. Bristol has a seemingly GREAT support system, she needs to utilize it, but on the other hand, KUDOS to Todd and Sarah (OMG, DID I JUST WRITE THAT!?) IF they are, in fact, making her take total responsibility for her “Actions.” :-)

    • Anna

      umm, wrong “whoa”. you meant “woe”. and i think Bristol is being incredibly positive; maybe you are the one with a negative attitude.

    • Nikol

      well that was a bit harsh. I don’t believe she is asking for permission to time out her child. What I do beleive she is asking for is advise from people who had tried ad true lived the scenario. Have you? have you been a single mother at her age trying to make it? I see her doing several things I never did, as I was too obsorbed in my youth. Things that are right for herself and her son.
      a) she put God first in her life again. – excellent. It took me many more years to do that again.
      b) she is investing financially in her future in a positive way.
      c) she is seeking guidance and wisdom when having a hard time with her child. something many young parents either are too immature to do, or are to prideful to do it.
      d) she is an active parent. She is always doing something with tripp.
      e) whether Levi is or is not around, did you see the episode where he didn’t bother to show up at the fun playland place. She tries with him, as much as I did with my sons father, he is now in the picture but it took him years to mature to a point that he knew what he wanted. We aren’t to judge Levi or Bristol, we can comment, but judging them is wrong. She seems to make lots of efforts. and Levi has seem to show only financial gain from his son. This is the view from most of society when they see the things he has done against his son and bristol. I pray for him to find God, and grow into the father he has the potential to be.

      Bristol your doing fine. just a little rough around the edges because of your age, but you are quickly smoothing those out. As for the person who posted she was too immature and a victim. If you haven’t walked in her shoes and for those that you are talking about perhaps you shouldn’t comment.

  • casy

    Bristol you are so wonderful. Tripp is such a brat but you love him. Maybe your parenting skills are not the best, but you are so immature no can find fault with you. It is just the way you were raised.

    • Truth101

      And you are a product of the way you were raised.

  • Jinky

    Saw the latest episode did not make the top 100 cable show (again) this past Tuesday…pretty bad when re-runs of Sponge Bob continue to beat you!

    Wonder if Lifetime will renew the series??

  • bellagrazi

    Bristol, you don’t have a husband who can be the disciplinarian. But you do have a boyfriend who loves you and your son very much. Let Gino share in disciplining Tripp. Tripp needs to know that Gino is the father figure in your household. Which means that he has as much right to discipline him as you do. Gino seems to have a calm, yet firm hand with Tripp. His method seems to be very effective. You seem to have the same method. Just keep it up and Tripp will be fine. I loved the surprise birthday party you and Willow planned for your mom. Her reaction was priceless. Haha The video of the photos was amazing. And the pink handgun was awesome. And the cake was baked with love. Haha Sarah Palin is blessed with a very close, loving family. You get what you give in this world and your mom is getting love back in spades.

  • Caitlin

    I really like your show and I applaud you for raising Tripp on your own, that can’t be easy–although he is just the cutest! I wonder why you can think that a child needs both a mother and father, instead of two mothers or two fathers, when even your own son doesn’t live in a situation under your definition of an “ideal family”. You seem to be doing a great job, so why don’t you want to give other people handed different cards like you, living non-Leave it to Beaver, different than the traditional nuclear family lives like you the same chance? What if someone told you that you couldn’t raise Tripp because he doesn’t have a mother AND father around all the time?

  • Anna

    Bristol, I just want to offer some words of encouragement. Raising kids is hard, especially really little ones (I have 2 myself). I want to let you know that even if you were married, a lot of the discipline would still fall on your shoulders. I got married at 30 and had my kids after that, and I stay home with them. My husband is at work all day, so I have to do most of the disciplining during the day. (As you know, you can’t tell a 3 year old – “Wait till daddy gets home” – that won’t work!) So, please don’t feel bad that you don’t have a dad in Tripp’s life on this occasion – even if you did have a dad around, discipline would still fall to you a lot of the time. A book that I think is really helpful is called “1-2-3 Magic”. I do a similar method with my kids and it works most of the time. You can do it! And when things get tough, I always try to remind myself that I’ll be happy later when my kids are behaving in public because I worked with them at home. (Well, that works for me most of the time!) Hang in there, being a mom is hard work and we are all in the same boat! I think you are doing a great job.

  • Carol

    Tripp needs his father.
    Just like you said, it takes two to raise a child right.
    Coarse it would help if the parents were adult-like.

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