Dr. Phil is on my shit list. Here’s why.
His advice on parenting a boy who likes to play with girl toys and wear girl clothes? Don’t let him.
Get your best Texas twang ready, because here are his words exactly.
“Direct your son in an unconfusing way. Don’t buy him Barbie dolls or girl’s clothes. You don’t want to do things that seem to support the confusion at this stage of the game. Take the girl things away, and buy him boy toys. Most importantly, support him in what he’s doing, but not in the girl things.” – Dr. Phil McGraw.
I want to scream and cry and become defensive and find comfort in chocolate.
1.) “Direct your son in an unconfusing way. Don’t buy him Barbie dolls or girl’s clothes.”
Um, hi, if I took away all of C.J.’s girl toys he would be nothing but confused. There would be no “unconfusing” way to do it or to never buy him girl toys again. Children are not simpletons.
C.J. would be confused as to why mommy and daddy won’t let him play with the things that he loves to play with most. He would be confused as to why he can’t play with girl toys, but girls can play with boy toys. He would be confused as to why his big brother gets to select his own toys, but he does not.
To me it’s like saying, what you like is not okay. And, that is not okay.
C.J. would have every right to be confused. I imagine that it would be like telling me that I should and could only enjoy hobbies and things that I hate. I could go to the supercross, but not the spa. Go to the auto parts stores, but not the mall. Study martial arts, but not celebrity gossip. Drink beer, but not martinis.
Furthermore, besides feelings of confusion, C.J. might experience feelings of rejection, abuse of power, extreme jealousy and inadequacy. I’m not willing to subject my son, either one, ever, to those feelings.
2.) “You don’t want to do things that seem to support the confusion at this stage of the game. Take the girl things away, and buy him boy toys.”
Right. Take all of the girl toys away. I don’t even want to imagine what that would do to my child. Really, Dr. Phil? Take away all of C.J.’s girl toys? That would leave him with his brother’s old Thomas the Tank Engine trains, a few crappy toys that accompanied Happy Meals, a Nerf gun, a plastic cowboy and Indian set that Pa and Nana Grab Bags brought back from a trip to Dallas and a few other odds and ends that he has no passion for. He plays with none of these toys, but I keep them in his room, mixed in with his girl toys in case the mood to play with boy toys ever strikes. It hasn’t.
And, does the Woody doll from Toy Story count? Because it is a boy, but it is also a doll. What about his set of pink Legos? Legos are, for the most part, marketed to boys, but pink is a girl’s color and it came with a girl mini-fig and a tiny hairbrush for her and her horse to share (gross). What about his Scooby Doo character set? Should I toss Daphne and Velma and leave Scooby, Shaggy and Fred?
Dr. Phil really needs to be more specific.
Also, I’d like to know if he gives the same advice to parents with little girls who want to play with cars, baseballs and super hero action figures. Would he tell a tomboy’s parents that their daughter might grow up to be too strong, too tough, too independent, too masculine, too….not normal, not okay?
Imaginative play is encouraged in our house. No matter the character, no matter the gender.
3.) “Most importantly, support him in what he’s doing, but not in the girl things.”
Nice. Only support half of your child; you can support all of them if they fall in the range of “normal.” I should support C.J.’s brother because he is into video games, baseball, skateboarding and fart jokes. But, I shouldn’t support C.J. completely because he likes dolls, playing beauty parlor, doing girly sticker books and walking around in my high heels. Support him, but only half way. Let him know that only certain parts of him are okay. To me this is the worst suggestion of the bunch. We all deserve to be celebrated all the way.
Dr. Phil goes on to say that “this is not a precursor to your son being gay, he’ll know that in time…this is not an indication of his sexual orientation.”
Another important Dr. Phil quote?
“Homosexuality is not a learned behavior. A sexual orientation is inherited; you are wired that way.”
So what does it matter if C.J. plays with girls toys now if his sexual orientation already lay dormant inside of him waiting to blossom in adolescence? What does it matter what a kid plays with? That’s the answer I want. I want a reason. Dr. Phil doesn’t want C.J. to play with girl toys, but why? Why not? He doesn’t say — and that is dangerous. I’m just supposed to take his word and follow his commandments because he said so? I’m not that kind of girl.
And, I don’t understand why he tells guests “Jessica and Thomas” about their cross-dressing toddler twins: “Get over it! This isn’t a sex role identification thing, a gender issue or a gay issue.”
How come toddlers can cross-dress and their parents need to get over it, but C.J. can’t play with girl toys and I need to take them all away?
Dr. Phil, in his latest large article on parenting, advises parents:
- Don’t fight individuality
- Do embrace a child’s nuances
- Don’t label the child
- Don’t ignore an issue that matters to your child
- Do empower
- Don’t pick wrong battles
- Do consider child’s desires
Thanks Dr. Phil, I’m doing these things, but I guess it doesn’t matter when your boy plays with dolls.