Robyn Margulis Vernon Ogrodnek

Several media outlets reported recently that Bristol Palin, 19-year-old daughter to former vice-presidential candidate and ex-Alaska governor Sarah Palin, reunited with the father of her 18-month-old son. In fact, it was reported that she and 20-year-old Levi Johnston were engaged. The exciting news was announced to the world in a published interview (accompanied by lovely family photos) in Us Weekly.

I'm not sure what shocked me more: The fact that she reconciled with this creep (whom she recently described as "... a stranger to me" in Harper's Bazaar magazine); or the fact that, after all Johnston has done and said since their son was born, she announced reconciliation and engagement to her mother in a magazine.

One would think that such big news would have been shared with family before making such a public announcement. Not the case with this couple.

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The article quoted Bristol as saying, "My mom doesn't know we're together." She went on to confess her reasons for "coming out" to her mother (about the rekindled romance and engagement) in a magazine article: "It is intimidating and scary just to think about what her reaction is going to be." She was quoted further as saying the interview and article, "is our chance to say what we have to say. I don't know if my mom will understand that." Apparently, Mom Palin did not.

In a subsequent interview released, Bristol told Us Weekly that, "My mom is not 100 percent backing us up right now." Further, Bristol bemoaned, "People are more worried for me than excited for me."

What did she expect. ...Mom popping the cork on a bottle of Dom?

In the event my readers are not familiar with the history involved here, I will fill in a few of the details:

Johnston, a high school dropout and former hockey jock, impregnated Bristol when she was 17 years old, just a few short months before John McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate. The first engagement announcement came at the opening of the 2008 Republican National Convention, a few months before the birth. According to previous media reports and the Us Weekly interview, their engagement ended when their son was two weeks old. Johnston, apparently, was not helping care for the child, and was busy trying to hook up with his sister's friend. Bristol dumped him.

Following the break up, Johnston went on to bigger and better things: Posing semi-nude for Playgirl and trashing the Palin family in the media. What followed over the next several months was a very public feud between Johnston and the Palin family. Every time one turned around, there was Johnston dishing dirt he claimed to have, particularly on Sarah Palin. News outlets reported that Johnston claimed Palin cared more about work than family; talked divorce with her husband; and called her own son (afflicted with Down Syndrome) a politically incorrect and derogatory name (starting with the letter R). In addition, he suggested in a CBS "Early Show" interview that Palin "has done worse" and he could say things that could get her "in trouble and could hurt her." People magazine reported that Palin denied all of his claims and urged the public to, "consider the source of the most recent attention-getting lies ... those who would sell their body for money reflect a desperate need for attention and are likely to say and do anything for even more attention."

I should set the record straight: I have never been much of a Sarah Palin fan; it's probably not relevant to this article to get into my reasons why. But as it pertains to this topic, especially from the perspective of the mother of a teenage girl, I have to agree with her.

It's bad enough that Johnston got her daughter pregnant at 17 (yes, I know, it takes two to tango); but then he is apparently unable to handle fatherhood, leading to the breakup; reportedly is absent during the majority of the first year of the child's life; and then he proceeds to dish dirt to various media outlets about Palin and her family. He showed no loyalty or respect for the mother of his child by doing the things that he did.

As a mom, you want your daughter to make the right decisions in her life. And as most parents know from experience, immature minds often make immature decisions. The path that Palin's daughter has taken in her life is surely not what her parents, or Bristol, envisioned. And while I give Bristol credit for trying to forgive and forget for the sake of giving her son two parents, what Johnston did to Bristol, and then to Bristol's family, would seemingly be impossible for any parent to forgive.

Indeed, the way this played out suggests that mother and daughter have issues in their own relationship. I pray that my daughter never fears talking to me about what is going on in her life. Teenage girls need guidance from their parents, especially from their mothers. Mothers know best of all what their teenage daughters are experiencing, because they have been there. Mothers should be able to teach their daughters what they have learned from their own mistakes, and help their daughters navigate the hardships that will, inevitably, come.


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