Dr. Phil Knows Parenting?

Parenting has evolved dramatically over the last couple of generations, and the job seems to be more complicated than ever; even Dr. Phil could agree with that. I don’t watch his show, as I don’t watch a lot of television due to the fact that I have five channels altogether with my rabbit ears with the help of some good weather, but I know who the guys is, as surely a monk in the Alps probably knows his name.
On December 22, 2011, I accidentally turned my television on while Dr. Phil was interviewing parents in an episode entitled “Radical Parenting.” Intrigued, I decided to watch the show as I conducted my chores. I am a relatively new parent of two girls, so I wanted to see what the renowned psychologist had to say regarding those radical things we should stay away from as parents.
The first married couple I watched Dr. Phil interview was Sarge and Joy. They raise their two children in a strict military style, which I got kind of a kick out of. Dr. Phil and the audience had a good time ridiculing their ways as they restricted use of the internet, gaming, social networking, phones, and other activities from their children. Dr. Phil at one point asked them, “Are you raising children, or soldiers?” and the audience cheered him on. I might ask, what is so wrong with raising soldiers?
Joy, the children’s mother, spoke up saying that her daughter and son are considered gifted and have over a 4.0 grade average each. They keep to schedules, and are very obedient. Although, making them do pushups after losing a game of cards is somewhat harsh, I don’t see a whole lot of problems stemming from their strict obedience. Dr. Phil did insist that the children might have difficulties in their adulthood when being away from home and such military structure, that the parents might be preventing their long-term success as adults. Interestingly, he did not say the same to the mother of a small boy she dressing up as a girl in elaborately-colored dresses. What is he in for when he gets older, Dr. Phil?

Dr. Phil did everything but hold a full-on pledge drive for the mother of the 5-year-old boy who she is raising in the appearance a girl. The mother, Cheryl, claims her son, Dyson, started showing interests commonly preferred by girls when he was just two. The mother, feeling as though somehow she had no way of changing his mind or guiding him in being masculine, conceded to the boy’s desires to wear clothing reserved for girls, even though Dyson is far too young to be at a level of reason, to make real decisions about who he is. Cheryl continues in her interview as if she has no choice in the matter, that she needs to raise Dyson as he is comfortable. But, I’m sorry, I don’t believe her. During the interview, a camera followed Dyson into his walk-in-closet of nearly three dozen dresses. Little girls would be lucking to have half as many dresses. Furthermore, he asks his mom, “Want me to put it on?” rather than “Can I put it on?” referring to a particular dress. This tells me he is seeking his mother’s attention and approval, and not expressing the open desire to put on the dress. Over time, though, little Dyson may have come to actually enjoying his wardrobe because of the positive reinforcement from his mother.
Fully accepting who her little boy is, Cheryl has written a children’s book entitled My Princess Boy. From the following excerpt from DrPhil.com, you can plainly see the biased, supportive tone of Dr. Phil with Cheryl and her choice to raise her son in dresses (as he promotes her book), as opposed to his cross opposition to the strict upbringing of Sarge and Joy’s children:
Dr. Phil compliments Cheryl on the book. "You did a really good job," he says. "I thought this was a really age-appropriate way to communicate this message of acceptance."
“Thank you," Cheryl replies.
“So, tell me more about this decision you made to [let Dyson wear dresses]. He seemed this way from the beginning, right? Dr. Phil asks.
Cheryl nods. "At almost 2 years old he started displaying an interest in things that were pink and sparkly and pretty," she says.
"Why do you think he does this and the kid next to him doesn't?" Dr. Phil asks.
…Dyson inspired her to adjust her parenting style. When Dyson showed interest in dresses, she consulted psychologists on how to properly support him. "And their verdict was that I have a healthy, happy little boy, and that I shouldn't discourage or over encourage [his behavior]," Cheryl explains. "I just really wanted to be a sanctuary in the home, and support and love my child for who he really is."

I am not worried about the children from the militaristic family, who may in the end show some introversion. But, I do worry about the trials a little boy will go through, who is trained to believe that what his mother thinks is acceptable is indeed normal. When Dyson becomes a young man, not only will he feel the pains of society around him, but he will question his own worth, and I pray he understands that though he is different, he is still very much loved by God, and is indeed a child of God. He, of course, as his mother has received on Dr. Phil, will receive the victim and persecuted status, deserving of false compassion in the liberal sectors of society. They will be played up as minority heroes against a huge ugly beast called religion, which gets in the way of living one’s life with absolute license, irrespective of natural law. Nevertheless, Cheryl and Dyson have my prayers and understanding, knowing that much confusion has infiltrated this world since the fall of man, and there are many so-called teachers out there who lead us astray with their agendas, like Dr. Phil, and though they proclaim to be right, they are more often wrong.

References:
Radical Parenting. (2011). Dr. Phil. Retrieved December 24, 2011 from drphil.com/shows/show/1694

If you watch Dr. Phil on a regular basis, you’ll see that he actually supports a very balanced approach to parenting. He is in favor of disciplining children (although I’m pretty certain he does not advocate corporal punishment), and he believes in a system of rewards and consequences.

I’m a little surprised that he “ridiculed” the militaristic family, and yet, I can kind of agree with him. Yes, I agree that it is probably better for parents to err on the side of being too strict rather than too lenient. But there is damage that can be done to children if the strictness is not tempered with understanding of child development.

And yes, I think it’s appropriate that Dr. Phil asked, “Are you raising children or soldiers?” I often remind parents and coaches that it is more important for us to raise up good children than good figure skaters. Again, there is a BALANCE. Perhaps the “boot camp” approach works for the family that was on Dr. Phil’s show, but for other families with more sensitive children, this approach might lead to disaster. Dr. Phil is right to caution families to not approach raising children in the same way that drill sergeants train soldiers.

The BEST approach is to not be too strict (military) or too lenient, but to seek a balance. And usually, that’s what Dr. Phil teaches.

As for the little princess boy, this is a sad situation, and Dr. Phil has obviously caved to the “politically-correct” approach.

We know of a little boy in the figure skating world who seems uncertain of his gender. At age six, he wore makeup and fingernail polish to the rink–even little girls don’t generally do this unless there is a competition. He asked if he could practice in dresses, and the rink, thank goodness, forbade this.

I want to add that this is not the norm for boys in figure skating! It’s a tough sport and only tough boys do well at it.

I personally think that the “princess boy” is a parenting error of the worst kind, and I’m guessing that the mother is very happy to be selling her book and making money. I’m guessing that Dr. Phil knows this, too, but is willing to keep his mouth shut in order to stay on the air and in the good graces of the “media moguls.” After all, he is currently in a position to be able to do a lot of good in our culture by advocating a sensible, balanced approach towards childrearing. But if he is yanked off the air by the liberals, he will have no influence on society.

Of course little two year olds like pretty things. It doesn't say anything about orientation.
I have several brothers and sons whom I knew from infancy.
Some parents get a bit carried away.

Hi Cat…

You are right about there needing to be a middle ground. My daughter and I are inseperable (she’s 15 months). We play and cuddle all the time, but when she commits mortal sin (trying to play with the electrical outlets) she gets a small but frightening tap on the hand coupled with a sound “NO!”… this works for curving behavior with just about everything.

It all comes down to setting boundaries and sticking to your guns as a parent. Allowing your child to do something some times and not other times confuses them and they will act out more. Being stern, but loving is of course the best for child and parent (and can prevent the crazies).

–Travis Dover

I thought it was a pretty good show. I am a therapist and Dr. Phil is my guilty pleasure. It's a bit plebian for a therapist to take an interest in "pop" psychology. :blush:

He didn't "redicule" the millitaristic family. If anything, he gently chided them. He praised the love and consern they showed for their kids. He did give them pretty good advice I feel as some of their practices were a bit over the top. He never indicated that they were abusive or even close to that.

I think Dr. phil is pretty balanced regarding parenting. Many Americans would labal him a bit conservative in his advice I believe.

[quote="TravisDover, post:4, topic:268703"]
Hi Cat...

You are right about there needing to be a middle ground. My daughter and I are inseperable (she's 15 months). We play and cuddle all the time, but when she commits mortal sin (trying to play with the electrical outlets) she gets a small but frightening tap on the hand coupled with a sound "NO!"... this works for curving behavior with just about everything.

It all comes down to setting boundaries and sticking to your guns as a parent. Allowing your child to do something some times and not other times confuses them and they will act out more. Being stern, but loving is of course the best for child and parent (and can prevent the crazies).

--Travis Dover

[/quote]

I agree with this. We had a sign up in our children's rooms when they were babies--it read, "Parents are in charge."

I think a lot of parents forget that, and allow the child to be in charge. This is very harmful for children, as they recognize that they do not have the knowledge or wisdom to be "in charge." In their insecurity, they behave badly, trying to force the parents to take charge again.

This is exactly what I was trying to say. Thank you.

We Christians have to be careful not to be too harsh in our criticism those who are our allies. If we do this, we will end up with no allies at all in the media, and this would be too bad in this day when “media” is the primary method that most people (in the U.S., anyway) use to acquire information and develop a life philosophy.

Dr. Phil is certainly not Dr. James Dobson and most certainly not Pope Benedict XVI!

But most of the time, he does tend to support more conservative child-rearing principles, and also a very conservative view of marriage. I think we need to be careful not to pick out a few “blips” in his philosophies and use these “blips” as a reason to utterly reject him. We need to stand behind him when he speaks in favor of disciplining children, sticking with a tough marriage, living clean and healthy rather than trashy and immoderately, working on ourselves rather than expecting others to change for us, etc.

Let’s save our condemnations for all the “hip” or “new age” psychologists and celebs who teach complete rejection of any godly principles in favor of bizarre child-rearing theories, strange “gods” and philosophies (mainly gnosticism), and hedonism.

[quote="TravisDover, post:4, topic:268703"]
We play and cuddle all the time, but when she commits mortal sin (trying to play with the electrical outlets)

Just an FYI: 15-month-old children cannot commit mortal sins.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."

[/quote]

[quote="Luna_Lovecraft, post:8, topic:268703"]
Just an FYI: 15-month-old children cannot commit mortal sins.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."

[/quote]

This.

[quote="Luna_Lovecraft, post:8, topic:268703"]
Just an FYI: 15-month-old children cannot commit mortal sins.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."

[/quote]

Ummm... I was joking. I know it's difficult to understand that through posts, but playing with an electrical outlet of course is not a mortal sin, but it is in my household (still using humour). I'm just saying that it is forbidden and punishable by me, the "Father" of my daughter. Hope this helps.

I stick with him when he stands up for non-physical discipline. :thumbsup:

Folks miss my humor all the time around here! It’s difficult to pick up with just text. :slight_smile:

[quote="VeritasLuxMea, post:11, topic:268703"]
I stick with him when he stands up for non-physical discipline. :thumbsup:

[/quote]

I agree with you as a licensed therapist.

I do believe there are many loving and good parents who do make use of very limited corporal punishment.

It's just that there are more effective means of behavior modification.

Dr. Phil is a PhD social psychologist. He is not an expert in developmental psychology, though he probably took some undergraduate and graduate courses in this area, as do most psychologists. He's not a researcher, and I have no idea if he keeps up with the latest journal articles on parenting or any other topic in psychology. Most of his advice on television is based on common sense with a sprinkling of psychological theory and research. His aversion toward the "militaristic" family may be due to the negative features of the so-called authoritarian parenting style. There is even a book, "The Authoritarian Personality," written by Adorno and published in 1950, which discusses the negative effects of authoritarian parenting on children. Parents who instill an authoritarian personality in their children do so by means of strict discipline and frequent, inconsistent, and often physical punishment, without the accompaniment of love and warmth; and the children develop intolerance of weakness in themselves and others and respect only for strong authority figures. They also lack cognitive complexity and prefer to see the world in terms of black and white without any shades of gray. Authoritarian parenting is differentiated from what many developmental psychologists believe is the optimal parenting style: authoritative parenting, in which parents set the rules and provide structure for their children, but are also open to discussion and some compromise. Equally dangerous are styles of parenting that involve excessive permissiveness, especially when parents are mainly uninvolved with their children's lives.

Dr. Phil does “therapy lite”.

Most of what he does could be grouped into what is called Rational Emotive Therapy. It’s sort of “This is how you are wrong and why and this is how you can change it.”

It’s very directive and has it’s place, especially on a TV show where time is limited. But Dr. Phil isn’t really providing mental health services. He is entertaining people firstly, and helping people on a secondary basis.

Still, like I said, Dr. Phil is my guilty pleasure. :slight_smile:

[quote="meltzerboy, post:14, topic:268703"]
Dr. Phil is a PhD social psychologist. He is not an expert in developmental psychology, though he probably took some undergraduate and graduate courses in this area, as do most psychologists. He's not a researcher, and I have no idea if he keeps up with the latest journal articles on parenting or any other topic in psychology. Most of his advice on television is based on common sense with a sprinkling of psychological theory and research. His aversion toward the "militaristic" family may be due to the negative features of the so-called authoritarian parenting style. There is even a book, "The Authoritarian Personality," written by Adorno and published in 1950, which discusses the negative effects of authoritarian parenting on children. Parents who instill an authoritarian personality in their children do so by means of strict discipline and frequent, inconsistent, and often physical punishment, without the accompaniment of love and warmth; and the children develop intolerance of weakness in themselves and others and respect only for strong authority figures. They also lack cognitive complexity and prefer to see the world in terms of black and white without any shades of gray. Authoritarian parenting is differentiated from what many developmental psychologists believe is the optimal parenting style: authoritative parenting, in which parents set the rules and provide structure for their children, but are also open to discussion and some compromise. Equally dangerous are styles of parenting that involve excessive permissiveness, especially when parents are mainly uninvolved with their children's lives.

[/quote]

Thank you for posting this. Very sobering.

From what I've seen, parents who raise their children in a strict, authoritarian atmosphere tend to lose their kids once the kids are old enough to "escape."

Sad, but true.

It's especially true in strict fundamentalist Christian homes--so many of these kids leave home and go hog-wild, indulging in all the sins they can cram in. They have no self-control because they have always relied on their parents' control, not their own.

But as you say, the highly-permissive home is dangerous, too.

There's a happy medium, a child-rearing approach that is both firm and loving. Dr. James Dobson describes this method beautifully in his many books, especially Dare to Discipline. I highly recommend his books and his methods. They worked for us.

Nothing wrong with smacking as a punishment. Nothing at all.
And no. I don't mean beating. But smacking. And no. I don't mean smacking them hard enough to leave a bruise or a mark. And no. I don't mean that smacking is the only form of punishment. Or that every form of bad behaviour requires smacking as a punishment. In my opinion therapist seem to understand human behaviour less than just any other group of people.

[quote="latin_rite, post:17, topic:268703"]
Nothing wrong with smacking as a punishment. Nothing at all.
And no. I don't mean beating. But smacking. And no. I don't mean smacking them hard enough to leave a bruise or a mark. And no. I don't mean that smacking is the only form of punishment. Or that every form of bad behaviour requires smacking as a punishment. In my opinion therapist seem to understand human behaviour less than just any other group of people.

[/quote]

You wouldn't lay your hands on an adult though, would you? :confused:

[quote="latin_rite, post:17, topic:268703"]
Nothing wrong with smacking as a punishment. Nothing at all.
And no. I don't mean beating. But smacking. And no. I don't mean smacking them hard enough to leave a bruise or a mark. And no. I don't mean that smacking is the only form of punishment. Or that every form of bad behaviour requires smacking as a punishment. In my opinion therapist seem to understand human behaviour less than just any other group of people.

[/quote]

Um, OK.

Research shows that parenting techniques using developmentally appropriate and clinically informed strategies leads to lower rates of behavioral disruption, mood instability, and aggresive behavior that extend into adulthood.

Parents who use "time outs" and other simple time-tested approaches show lower rates of adolescent levels of aggresiveness and anti-social behavior compared to those whose parents make use of corporal punishment.

[quote="ringil, post:19, topic:268703"]
Um, OK.

Research shows that parenting techniques using developmentally appropriate and clinically informed strategies leads to lower rates of behavioral disruption, mood instability, and aggresive behavior that extend into adulthood.

Parents who use "time outs" and other simple time-tested approaches show lower rates of adolescent levels of aggresiveness and anti-social behavior compared to those whose parents make use of corporal punishment.

[/quote]

Parents who use time outs. Are the same parents i see begging with their screaming kid in supermarkets. The use of smacking has been declining for years. The cases of violence and bullying by children has risen as smacking has become less popular. A normal well raised child will not confuse smacking with assault. .

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