Raising My Rainbow

Dr. Phil Wants To Make My Son Cry

Raising My Rainbow is written by the mother of a slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous son. She’s chronicling their journey on Queerty right here. Read up on RMR‘s cast of characters.

You, C.J., need to stop playing with girl toys

Dr. Phil is on my shit list. How come? Because of his advice what parents should do with 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 AutoZone, 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.

According to Dr. Phil, C.J. can no longer play with these

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 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.

According to Dr. Phil, C.J. is allowed to play with these

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.

RELATED: On the Today show this morning, Kathie Lee and Hoda discussed the piece of Dr. Phil’s advice Queerty first brought to your attention. We’re working on grabbing video. In the meantime, the show has posted this online poll:

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  • ewe

    Loving your child for who they are is not a novel concept. Quack Phil is an opportunist asshole and everyone knows it. Great parenting skills shown above.

  • JamieN.D.

    I’m a transgender mom of a young 9yo boy. (Oh, Dr Phil would love me..lol) I implement no restriction (other then age appropriate) in what he plays with. Most the items he wants are boy related toys but he has some so called “girl toys” and many that blend gender. I believe that our nurturing him in a loving, non-violent, stable home is his #1 reason for any lack of interest in violent (boy) toys… but he has some! He typically like’s collectibles and game related toys..Club Penguin, Disney Cars etc. He also enjoys skateboards, basketball, baseball etc. He loves his Wii and Xbox!

    Though I’m a MtoF parent, he understands that… that’s me, not him! My wife and I only get him for about 18 years! That leaves about 60 years of living on his own…. No better time then the present to allow him to begin deciding for himself (with minimal guidance). This is our third boy and we raised the first two the same way. Our oldest is now 22, has a steady girl and is a true success. The other is 17 and doing just fine.. he loves his girlfriend! Gee, did we “just get lucky” Dr Phil????????? Hmmm???

    Love and hug you kids today! x x x

  • Hu-Flung-Poo

    This entire article is moot. Dr. Phil’s is not a valid, professional opinion; or at least no more so than that of any other mainstream media personaly.

    Forget about Dr. Phil. Also, stop watching Dr. Phil.

  • Kevin

    At best, Dr. Phil is a mediocre entertainer and a bully.

  • hephaestion

    I wish RainbowMom would give Dr. Phil a call and scream at him for a while. He needs to hear the truth here and wake up.

  • Not confused

    Case in point, Dr. Phil has these ongoing series of shows with a family that he’s supposedly been counselling for the past five years or more. Over that same time, the two daughters have gone from being normal teen-aged girls with the typical problems experienced by kids of divorced parents to being drug-addicted mothers of several illegitimate children.

    Why is this quack still on the air?

  • Kev C

    Dr. Phil is Maury Povitch with Acromegaly. A mental midget stuck in the body of a human bear.

  • Alex Sarmiento

    I want to beat the shit out of Dr. Phil McGraw. At the very least, I want SOMEONE to beat the shit out of Dr. Phil McGraw, preferably on his talk show. Championing him was the worst thing that Oprah Winfrey has ever done.

  • Jim Hlavac

    The reason we have to counter Dr. Phil and the rest of his ilk is precisely because they reach so many people. Unfortunately, his opinion does carry weight — and that weight must be countered so long as he is on the air. Indeed, the entire panoply of Dr. Phil and crowd has to be countered each and every time.

    Though I would point out to Dr. Phil and pals — I never played with Barbies or “girl” toys, I never did make up or drag, there wasn’t a hint of “girl” in me whatsoever — I did the boy things, the Tonka trucks, the guns, the cars, all of it. And in the 1960s too, long before the nefarious homosexual lobby ever had a chance to get to me! I’m pre-Stonewall, a veritable dinosaur in “gay years.” And I’m so gay it’s ridiculous. So what is his reasoning for my state of affairs? He’ll have no answer of course.

    Which is why this sort of thinking will ultimately fail, as it is exposed and examined. It all just makes no sense.

  • jason

    Note how it’s the happy kid with his dolls who is the problem and not the people who have a problem with it. It’s a reversal of what should be the case.

  • Mark

    someone give dr phil an enema – he needs one badly! what a douche

  • Greg

    “Dr.” Phil’s lacking credentials are not what bothers me, but rather the fact that so many people take his word as truth, and that he’s become so successful. I think the more attention we can bring to this issue the better, so thanks Queerty and Hoda & Kathy!

  • MEP

    I saw this post yesterday, and as a married straight mother of two young children (I say that only because I don’t want people thinking only gay people are horrified by this crap) I was so disappointed (furious, actually).

    Children may not remember what you say, but they will remember EXACTLY how you made them feel. By not allowing him to pursue his natural interests and instincts, he will develop feelings of insecurity, rejection and shame during a time that is very critical to his emotional development. And that will remain with him his entire life.

    What is so horrible about ACCEPTING PEOPLE FOR WHO THEY ARE? For God’s sake… what is the worst that can happen here?

    He might grow up to be a nurturing caregiver, a wonderful mate and parent, maybe a doctor, or God forbid… a well-adjusted, happy gay man! Now that would be a crime, wouldn’t it?

    So if my daughter wants to play army men with her brother and father, should I make her play with kitchen utensils instead?

    When my daughter turned 4, she had a Transformer themed party and wore a pink tutu and high heels. It was awesome. Why is that acceptable for a girl but not a boy? I’m pretty sure if a little boy wanted to have a Transformer themed party and wore a pink tutu that would horrify all of the “perfect” parents out there. WTF?

    Children learn about the world around them by ROLE PLAYING. They observe the people who are closest and most important to them and express themselves by mimicking and emulating those people. What in God’s name, is wrong with that?

    Dr. Phil, you want them to avoid confusing the child? Here is what confuses a child – when you try to steer them away from who they are and what they want to discover during innocent play by thinking there is something more to the picture.

  • Fitz

    Direct your anger at Okra Windbag. She gives him the stage.

  • John

    I used to LOVE Barbie and Polly Pocket. They are only toys! People should get over themselves already in 2011, its not the 1950s.

  • Sam

    Word. All of this. Excellent piece.

  • Ted from Cali

    I had a mixed bag growing up. I had older brothers and younger brothers, and I played with all the boy toys, and played the boy games. But I had a fascination with girly things, too. I loved barbies, and high heels, and dresses. My parents tolerated me wearing high heels and playing with barbies when I was at someone else’s house (all boys, so now girl toys at home.) They drew the line at dresses, so I made my own out of bed sheets. My interest waned in this stuff (all on its own, my parents didn’t force me) around 7 or 8. My interests now are petty varied, but most people think I’m straight. But I’m not. :P

  • Shannon1981

    This man is a quack. How the hell has he been allowed to parade as a knowledgeable psychological professional for all this time? Is he even licensed? If he says he is, someone should check that out. He gives out horrific advice, and desperate, gullible, confused people take it. They then have to suffer the result of his parading artificial, misguided expertise on TV for years on end in order to gain quick fame and money.

  • JamieN.D.

    Your right on…
    We’re raising children, the creating part was finished at birth. Kids need to be able to develop their own recognition of who they are… It’s already been imprinted into their DNA! Interests, likes, dislikes are all part of their development and it’s going to be different for everyone! If your little boy is going to be gay, you not going to make them un-gay… no more then my being born transgender wasn’t changed by my doing “boy” things. I played with cars & trains.. I played football, army, went hunting, fishing, I liked baseball…all the things Dr Phil evidently would have recommended to make me a MAN! But it didn’t change my DNA or who I was inside…why, because I was transgender from birth

    I’m not saying we can’t influence them, help guide them or attempt to protect them from ridicule of other kids…that would just be bad parenting. What I am saying is, inform your boys that the item he considering to buy is made for “girls”and that some kids might tease him if he plays with it? It’s what we do in our home. At times, our boys put the item back…but if they really want it, they say “I don’t care” or they elect not to show certain kids…the ones that will say hurtful things (surely, the kid who’s parent follow’s Dr Phil advice!). Oh sure, we can push them around and mess with their little minds when they’re young, but wait…lol just wait until they turn teens!…lmao

    I’d supply an email addy or something for Dr Phil but to contact him would be silly, he pays people to filter his stuff and will never see it anyway. People ARE going to follow him, there will be kids screwed up from this bad advice… but!! It’ll pave the way for the next replicated Dr Phil or Mike or Sam Show around 2030! A successful show no doubt that will make millions answering the question “What happened to little Johnny, why is he so violent as an adult?”

    I think our position here as concerned adults is to spread the word that…This advice is crap! Speak of it at your work, at the market, in your schools or wherever you get the chance.

    Have a good day everyone…less then 24hrs until Friday!

  • Fitz

    Look, there is ZERO evidence that you can influence your
    kid’s sexual or gender identity one iota. Not even a little.
    Lots of queer kids had nice butch childhoods. Lots of little
    breeders were raised with floral printed bed sheets. Not ONE iota.

    There is TONS of evidence that you can make your kid happy or miserable, confident or insecure, and joyful or bitter. Focus on the things you can control.

  • Rick

    Are we supposed to believe that this recurring article is real? I call bullshit. There is not a mother in the world with enough material to write daily about her “possibly gay” son.

    If this is real, then this mother seems unduly obsessed with the “possible” sexuality of her child, and this series reads as exploitative.

    Sure, a lot of us would like to imagine that there is a mother out there rooting for her child to be queer, but all of these recent articles seem like obsession.

  • Robert

    I can only wonder how a gay guy like my self managed to raise 3 str8 son’s & 1 str8 daughter as a sole parent with out the “help” of all these people who think they have a right to interfer

  • Jeff K.

    If he’s gonna be gay, he’s gonna be gay no matter what. Honestly, how is that a bad thing? Last thing this world needs is more babies.

  • TammieH

    I think we are all in agreement, unfortunately, the self absorbed Doc Phil shares his thoughts and brain with the hive. You know, those poor souls who can’t form thoughts on their own who tune into people like Phil who tell them how to act and feel about any given subject. Unfortunately if we cut off the Doc another will grow back, its scary but true.

  • Dieks

    When we can stop dividing… even in our own LGBTQRXY & Z “community” binary, let alone the toys our children are playing with, we might begin to see some progress in all this.

    It’s ludicrous that anything a child plays with needs to be steeped into our own pink/blue = girl/boy conditioning.
    It’s a freaking toy.

  • Jill

    oops, should have posted my comment about me being a tomboy when I was a kid in this post instead, I see. oh well. Anyway, Dr. Phil was totally out of line. As I said previously, it has to be just as acceptable for boys to be effeminate as it is for little girls to be tomboys. I’m pretty sure I would have been heartbroken if my parents had not allowed me to play with my dump truck or Star Wars toys when I was a kid, or made me wear pink dresses.

  • Chris

    Way to be confusing and contradictory, Dr. Phil!!

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