bristolandtripppalinUPDATE: Life’s a Tripp showrunner Matt Lutz tells Gawker Tripp said “fuck” and not “faggot.” (He was in the room at the time, he says, and he’s also reviewed the footage.) I’d like to say apologies to Bristol, but she still sucks for putting her toddler on national television.

We’ve all been there: hanging with our sweet little angels in public when they suddenly utter the word “Shit!” or “Fuck!” Happens all the time. That’s when most of us enter disciplinarian mode. We don’t freak out over it – doing so would make those “bad words” all the more appealing – but we use it as an opportunity to explain what is and isn’t appropriate to say out loud. Clearly Bristol Palin didn’t get the memo. Her 3-year-old son Tripp had a meltdown on national television – they star in reality show Bristol Palin: Life’s A Tripp – and in the midst of his anger and frustration he called his aunt Willow a “faggot.” Lovely, huh?

Here’s the deal: little Tripp has no idea what the terms even means. All he knows, I surmise, is that it’s not a nice thing to say. Tripp is 3 years old and I don’t for even one iota of a second blame him for using a derogatory terms he knows nothing about. I don’t even blame Bristol, his mom; truth is, he could have picked it up anywhere. What I am judging, however, is Bristol’s response. She gasped and then giggled – that’s it. There was no teaching him right from wrong, no disciplining, nothing along the lines of, “We don’t use the word ‘faggot’ in this household.”

Of course, this is a reality TV show. Who knows what went on once the cameras stopped rolling and the shock wore off (not that there seemed to be any shock)? But from what I saw, Bristol didn’t seem all that fazed by the term. And you know what? That’s just pathetic. I’m not so naive to think that there aren’t thousands of households around the world in which kids are using derogatory terms they either picked up from their parents or in the schoolyard. Sadly, that’s just reality. But when you choose to be on national television, you have a responsibility to teach your children well. And you need to know that you’ll face judgement, like it or not.

Tripp’s family, meanwhile, has a history of anti-gay activity. For example, Willow once attacked a classmate on Facebook, calling him “so gay” and “such a faggot” (her mom, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, promptly came to her defense). In May, Bristol – who’s a 21-year-old single mother – wrote an anti-gay marriage blog entry aimed at Barack Obama in which she pretty much calls him an idiot for being influenced by his daughters.

Look, people are entitled to their own beliefs – that goes without saying. But it is not okay to teach hatred, and it is certainly not okay to let your child get away with uttering a gay or racial slur in any context. Bristol should have stepped up the plate and used the incident to teach her son a lesson. Sorry, but just sitting there and giggling does nothing except teach your child that he’s in charge.

(Photo: mylifetime.com; Video: YouTube.com)