Willow Palin’s Teen Talk

Sarah Palin’s 16-year-old daughter, Willow, is in the news for an ill-advised Facebook tantrum, in which she let loose with a string of profanities and homophobic insults.

But, should this even be news?

On one hand, I’m told that this is just how teenagers these days talk, calling each other “faggot” and “retard” and whatever other insolent remark tumbles stupidly out of their mouths.

On the other hand, doesn’t Sarah Palin hold herself up to be a better mother than most? Or does the Mama Grizzly label just mean she’ll protect her kids but teaching manners isn’t in her job description?

Or is Todd Palin, the erstwhile stay-at-home dad, the real problem here, what with his kids swearing and drinking and getting knocked up? He was left in charge while Mama was off being mayor and half-governor. So, maybe he forgot to tell the nanny that profanity and demeaning verbal abuse was a no-no.

Actually, the real question is this:

Would you be disappointed to find out your children were using language like that?

I would. I’ve taught my kids better. It doesn’t matter what the other teenagers are doing or saying. There’s just no call for the rudeness, the stupidity, and the outright meanness I see in those Facebook comments.

But maybe I’m naive and out-of-touch. Anyone want to set me straight? Should I tell my children that it’s okay to tease and taunt and ridicule to get your point across, just because that’s what all the other teens are doing?

You’re going to have to deliver quite a convincing argument to get me to change the way I parent. I don’t buy the idea that kids are going to do and say whatever they want, regardless of the input from mom and dad.

I believe that if parents teach, and model, good manners, then their kids will have no problem understanding that rude language and nasty insults have no place in how we should communicate with each other.

But if parents are too busy giving speeches or hunting moose, then I suppose they can always look at the bright side and say, “Hey, with that kind of mouth on her, my daughter might grow up to be a politician!”

7 thoughts on “Willow Palin’s Teen Talk

  1. I haven’t had to deal with issue yet since I only have a 7 and 4 year old. When I was going through that phase as a teen my dad always told me that those kinds of words are not only rude but make you look stupid and embarrassed him as a parent. I didn’t really care about embarrassing him….but I didn’t want to come across as being stupid either.

  2. She would hardly be the first 16 year old kid to do something (1) her parents don’t like and (2) that is stupid. I think I did a few stupid things my parents wouldn’t like on purpose when I was that age. I can’t help but wonder if part of her reason was because she knew her parents would strongly object.

    The difference was that I did dumb crude stuff that didn’t make it past my small circle of friends. She did it for all the world to see (refer to #2).

    Kids find a way to separate from their parents; that is a natural healthy part of growing up. Sometimes they don’t pick the brightest ways to do that. That shouldn’t excuse the behavior, but parents shouldn’t be shocked either.

    Kids of all ages (people of all ages?) are a work in progress.

  3. I must admit, I preach daily to my kids and tell them off and explain about language and manners but I hear teen son slipping daily! It’s very frustrating and because they hang with mates all day they almost can’t help but to talk like them. I can only hope that by the time they are adults and away from school they’ll start to remember what they were taught and fall back on their roots and lessons learned.
    I even remember how in hight school we swore a bit just to look cool and show you can do it too, it’s only later when you are an adult that you choose to not be like that. Peer pressure unfortunately is very very strong.

  4. My kids are older now and they swear, but while they might call someone a jerk (or worse) they were all raised to refrain from using derogatory remarks related to race, religion, sexual orientation, mental status, economic situation, etc.

    By the way this is news not because a teen swore, but because her mother deigns to tell me how I should raise my kids.

  5. Hi there,

    Thank you for the Twitter follow and your comment over at my blog.

    It’s interesting that you’ve mentioned this as my husband and I were having a discussion about this the other day. A friend of ours let rip on her Facebook page with a few humdingers and Nigel, hubbie, was very shocked by this. “How was her children going feel if they read this (if not now) then in a few years’ time?”

    I completely agree with you that children learn by example. We work hard at not swearing in front of them. It’s not something we do much anyway. I like language and I prefer to come up with inventive alternatives like Sugary Snowmen or Shooting Stars or something when something pops out of my month. I know it is not always possible but I try and cover it up quickly if anything should escape in the heat of the moment! :)

  6. Good question, I swear inside my head like you wouldn’t believe and occasionally (!!!) some it slips out onto my blog but my children (now 22 and 18) have never heard me use such language in the house, ever, nor my wife use such language.

    And so they don’t, or at least not within my earshot, and I know they respect others because I hear them speak in such terms, so yes, I’m proud of how we brought them up but the truth is they didn’t need any special coaching to be like this – they just needed to follow an example.

  7. At some point you have to accept that a child makes decisions on his or her own, regardless of the parents’ influence. That being said, there’s a reason the expression “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” exists.

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