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