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Topic : 01/13 Little Boy Lost

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Created on : Friday, January 09, 2009, 02:26:33 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
What would you do if your little boy wanted to be a little girl? Dr. Phil continues the heated topic of gender-confused kids. After the last show, viewers had a lot to say about the subject, and the message boards lit up with their impassioned opinions. Now, Dr. Phil speaks with Toni, a mother who says she can’t stop grieving the loss of her son who, at 11, began to transition into a female. Toni feels like her son has died, and she’s having a hard time adjusting to having a daughter. Joining the discussion is family researcher Glenn Stanton and psychologist Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, who say it’s the parents' responsibility to guide their children into their gender-born identities. On the opposite side are psychiatrist Dr. Dan Siegel and psychotherapist Dr. Michele Angello, who say children are born this way, and parents should support their children in their decision to transition to the opposite sex. What do you think is the best way to treat a child with gender identity confusion? Don’t miss the heated debate as Dr. Phil continues to explore this fervid and hotly contested topic. Then, join the discussion.

Find out what happened on the show.

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January 13, 2009, 8:26 am CST

Gender Confusion

As I watched the previous show that aired on Gender Confusion, I found I met all the criteria of having been a gender confused child. All my friends were boys, I loved playing baseball, I played with cars....I didn't like playing games with girls, I didn't play with dolls, and I hated wearing dresses. I wanted to play in Little League, but my mother wouldn't let me. She was already upset because I looked and acted too much like a boy already. My father found a way to make us both happy, and signed me up in a girl's softball league. I hated it, but it was the only way I could play on a team since all my male friends were playing in Little League. I was very close to my father, who accepted me "as is." I was very distant from my mother who wanted me to wear lace dresses and bows in my hair.

 

When I reached the age of puberty, I cried when I had to start wearing a bra and I was devastated when I started my period because I would be alienated from my male friends. I knew I would loose their respect, and I would be forever identified as a girl...a lesser being considered to have no brains and nothing worthwhile to contribute to society as a whole. After years of hanging with my male friends, this was all I heard about the girls who they talked about...the girls who were first to wear a bra or have a boyfriend. It was also what I heard from older males I encountered outside of my family. I did think about wanting to die if I had to accept being a girl. Ironically, it took a violent act to make me understand that I wasn't worthless.

 

At age twelve, I was abducted by a stranger and was repeatedly raped. I was lucky to have talked my abductor into letting me go, and I escaped alive. You would think I would have totally turned away from wanting to accept my biological gender, but I didn't. Instead, it is from that experience I learned it was not my fault and I had value in this world. When I let my fears and insecurities rule my life, I was giving my power to the person who hurt me. It was the man who hurt me that only found his power by trying to take it from me. I learned I had power and value that could only be taken away from me if I let someone do it. 

 

I'm 44, now, and I still hate to wear dresses, I still love baseball, and I still have more male than female friends. However, I am married to a wonderful man who loves to cook, clip coupons, go on shopping sprees, and I had to teach him how to change the spark plugs in his car. We both joke about us being born with the wrong plumbing, but we know this is why we work so well together as a couple. We recognize each other as human beings who have interests that do not match our biological sexual identities. Today, I am very happy with who I am. A woman who happens to have male hobbies and interests.

 

I know it is okay to be a male who is involved in traditionally female interests, and be a female who is involved in traditional male interests. There is a lot of gender confusion for many children between the ages of 8-16. When interests do not traditionally match their gender, it causes even more confusion. Parents need to nurture their child for who they are in both their interests and their biological gender identity. To allow a child to dictate to a parent about their gender identity is just wrong. Yes, you heard me. This person, who was a gender confused child, disagrees with the mother, Dr. Siegal, and the sexologist on today's show (airing 13Jan'09) "Little Boy Lost."

 

Should any parent allow their young child to tell them (the parent) what to do? I do not mean we have to brow-beat our children into gender submission. We have to lovingly teach our children about traditional meanings of biological gender, but still allow our children to explore their non-traditional hobbies. Our biological identity is part of who we are, and wanting to change it is giving in to our insecurities about our gender role and how we fit into society. For a parent to nurture that insecurity is giving their child's power of identity away to be the strong girl who loves playing with cars to become (perhaps) a mechanic or an engineer someday, or to be the boy who loves to play with dolls to someday become a pediatric nurse/doctor or just a wonderfully caring father.

 

In childhood, humans develop their interests in trying to find out who they are, how they fit in their family unit, and outside of the family as their society circle broadens. Children do not fully understand gender roles at the age of three. At age three, all I wanted to do was go out to the backyard and have my father pitch a plastic baseball to me so I could hit it. Did I know whether I was a boy or a girl? No. I only knew I loved playing the game with my father. I know some men are born with more estrogen and some women were born with more testosterone, which can play a factor in our behavior and our physical and mental development. It is what makes us different from one another, but it doesn't change the gender we were physically born to be. If I had wanted to trans-gender, and my parents had allowed it, I wonder whether I would be as happy as I am, now, being married to such a wonderful man and have two great kids. Would I have been cheated out of this happy life?

 

Dr. Phil - I may not have a trans-gender child, but as a "classic gender confused child" myself, I have to say that the mother (on your show) did not exhaust all options to help her child. She just gave in to her child's demands, which you, yourself, has said is something a parent shouldn't do. The parent is supposed to be in charge, and needs to be the guide for their child's development. The fact she was close-minded to what the other two gentleman had to say, says to me, she has just made up her mind to give up on her son and has let her daughter take charge of the child-parent relationship.

 

I understand, in this controversial debate, you needed to remain the neutral mediator. I hope you understand, in theory, what I am trying to say from the point of view of someone who was a gender confused child and, now, lives as a non-traditional woman who is still the gender of which I was born. I was lucky to have had a great father who skillfully guided my gender role development and still allowed my unique personality to thrive.

 

 

 
January 13, 2009, 9:01 am CST

The mother in this show...

I think that the mom is putting a lot of focus on the issue that she was NOT close to her son that is now living as a female. Maybe that is the real issue. Maybe that boy wanted a good connection with his mom and felt that if he liked purses and make up and things that mom liked that maybe mom would be closer to him. No one brought that up at all, and I think that is the avenue that should be looked at. Also, to grieve for a child that is still here is a little selfish, there are real grieving parents that have truley lost  their  children to death, and kidnappings I am sure they would love to see their child everyday like she gets to. Boy, girl whatever your child wants to be, be grateful that your child is alive and home save with you.

 
January 13, 2009, 9:52 am CST

Give me a break

I am the mother of two boys ages 24 and 20.  My husband was in the US Navy and was not home a lot.  I spent the most impressive time of their lives with them.  I taught them how to play baseball, football,etc.  I had to learn to play in mud and be comfortable with bugs and snakes.  To this day, my boys are closest with me.  They are both boys, please make no mistake about that.  Did I let them put on makeup, play with dolls, etc.  You betcha!!!!!!  I think these guys have no idea what they are talking about.  As a mom and wife, I did the best I could with what I had.  My boys are not into drugs, they were excellent students in school, they both work and are very well rounded children.  I don't for one minute believe that having a strong bond with a Mom, makes boys want to be little girls.  Are you kidding?  I love the relationship I have with my boys and consider myself to be very fortunate that we have the kind of relationship that includes them sharing (sometimes painfully) everything about their lives.  Sometimes I just want to stick my fingers in my ears and say "Okay, TMI!!".  I would not trade one minute of their upbringing and am happy that they turned out so well.  I don't think that Toni needs to be worried that it something she did or did not do.  Keep up the good work!
 
January 13, 2009, 10:43 am CST

BAD ATTITUDE IN MOTHER

You know, I can appreciate that the mom is sensitive about this issue, but it really pissed me off how, every time the people with the opposite views on GID tried to speak, she cut them off. They were too polite to tell her to shut up for once and let them talk. I personally think it's a disorder that you don't just go with. But even if I believed that the mom is right in what she's doing (which I dont), I would still say, "Shut up and let someone else talk for once," Geez!
 
January 13, 2009, 10:46 am CST

WOW

Quote From: hunt_4

As I watched the previous show that aired on Gender Confusion, I found I met all the criteria of having been a gender confused child. All my friends were boys, I loved playing baseball, I played with cars....I didn't like playing games with girls, I didn't play with dolls, and I hated wearing dresses. I wanted to play in Little League, but my mother wouldn't let me. She was already upset because I looked and acted too much like a boy already. My father found a way to make us both happy, and signed me up in a girl's softball league. I hated it, but it was the only way I could play on a team since all my male friends were playing in Little League. I was very close to my father, who accepted me "as is." I was very distant from my mother who wanted me to wear lace dresses and bows in my hair.

 

When I reached the age of puberty, I cried when I had to start wearing a bra and I was devastated when I started my period because I would be alienated from my male friends. I knew I would loose their respect, and I would be forever identified as a girl...a lesser being considered to have no brains and nothing worthwhile to contribute to society as a whole. After years of hanging with my male friends, this was all I heard about the girls who they talked about...the girls who were first to wear a bra or have a boyfriend. It was also what I heard from older males I encountered outside of my family. I did think about wanting to die if I had to accept being a girl. Ironically, it took a violent act to make me understand that I wasn't worthless.

 

At age twelve, I was abducted by a stranger and was repeatedly raped. I was lucky to have talked my abductor into letting me go, and I escaped alive. You would think I would have totally turned away from wanting to accept my biological gender, but I didn't. Instead, it is from that experience I learned it was not my fault and I had value in this world. When I let my fears and insecurities rule my life, I was giving my power to the person who hurt me. It was the man who hurt me that only found his power by trying to take it from me. I learned I had power and value that could only be taken away from me if I let someone do it. 

 

I'm 44, now, and I still hate to wear dresses, I still love baseball, and I still have more male than female friends. However, I am married to a wonderful man who loves to cook, clip coupons, go on shopping sprees, and I had to teach him how to change the spark plugs in his car. We both joke about us being born with the wrong plumbing, but we know this is why we work so well together as a couple. We recognize each other as human beings who have interests that do not match our biological sexual identities. Today, I am very happy with who I am. A woman who happens to have male hobbies and interests.

 

I know it is okay to be a male who is involved in traditionally female interests, and be a female who is involved in traditional male interests. There is a lot of gender confusion for many children between the ages of 8-16. When interests do not traditionally match their gender, it causes even more confusion. Parents need to nurture their child for who they are in both their interests and their biological gender identity. To allow a child to dictate to a parent about their gender identity is just wrong. Yes, you heard me. This person, who was a gender confused child, disagrees with the mother, Dr. Siegal, and the sexologist on today's show (airing 13Jan'09) "Little Boy Lost."

 

Should any parent allow their young child to tell them (the parent) what to do? I do not mean we have to brow-beat our children into gender submission. We have to lovingly teach our children about traditional meanings of biological gender, but still allow our children to explore their non-traditional hobbies. Our biological identity is part of who we are, and wanting to change it is giving in to our insecurities about our gender role and how we fit into society. For a parent to nurture that insecurity is giving their child's power of identity away to be the strong girl who loves playing with cars to become (perhaps) a mechanic or an engineer someday, or to be the boy who loves to play with dolls to someday become a pediatric nurse/doctor or just a wonderfully caring father.

 

In childhood, humans develop their interests in trying to find out who they are, how they fit in their family unit, and outside of the family as their society circle broadens. Children do not fully understand gender roles at the age of three. At age three, all I wanted to do was go out to the backyard and have my father pitch a plastic baseball to me so I could hit it. Did I know whether I was a boy or a girl? No. I only knew I loved playing the game with my father. I know some men are born with more estrogen and some women were born with more testosterone, which can play a factor in our behavior and our physical and mental development. It is what makes us different from one another, but it doesn't change the gender we were physically born to be. If I had wanted to trans-gender, and my parents had allowed it, I wonder whether I would be as happy as I am, now, being married to such a wonderful man and have two great kids. Would I have been cheated out of this happy life?

 

Dr. Phil - I may not have a trans-gender child, but as a "classic gender confused child" myself, I have to say that the mother (on your show) did not exhaust all options to help her child. She just gave in to her child's demands, which you, yourself, has said is something a parent shouldn't do. The parent is supposed to be in charge, and needs to be the guide for their child's development. The fact she was close-minded to what the other two gentleman had to say, says to me, she has just made up her mind to give up on her son and has let her daughter take charge of the child-parent relationship.

 

I understand, in this controversial debate, you needed to remain the neutral mediator. I hope you understand, in theory, what I am trying to say from the point of view of someone who was a gender confused child and, now, lives as a non-traditional woman who is still the gender of which I was born. I was lucky to have had a great father who skillfully guided my gender role development and still allowed my unique personality to thrive.

 

 

Very well written. Thank you for sharing.
 
January 13, 2009, 10:48 am CST

EXACTLY

Quote From: clarksharon

While I 100% agree with Tony and her views on supporting her child, and totally agree that gender identification cannot be "programmed out" I think that she showed immaturity when she talked over the doctors on the opposing side and that she needed to allow them the format to discuss their views. Just as I would not like it if they had talked over her, she showed a close minded view that no one benefitted from. Come on Tony...you made the right decision for you, but what about allowing others to at least voice their opinions? It looked like you were defending something that needs no defense if you are comfortable with your decision. Very immature presentation. Again, I'm on your side, but be a grown-up!
I didn't write it quite as eloquently but it's exactly what I meant. She needed to shut up and let the other side talk. Her attitude in that alone turned me off from being on her side.
 
January 13, 2009, 10:51 am CST

THANK YOU!

Quote From: mom2four4

This women whom lets her son live as a girl kept running her mouth so much, I wanted to reach through the TV and slap her to get her to SHUT UP. It's apparent that she needs counseling, cause she is so angry and vile against other points of view! I felt sorry for the two men who tried to talk to share their view--but the vile women would not shut up long enough for them to do it. Why Dr. Phil did you not tell her to shut up and let the other men speak--it's called RESPECT--which she did not show one ounce to these men!! Next time I see you letting some person take over your show and not let anyone else speak nor show respect to the others on the show--I will promptly turn your show off!   
Hear hear!
 
January 13, 2009, 11:38 am CST

WOMAN, GET A GRIP

I really enjoyed the show titled "Little Boy Lost". I feel that Toni is not comfortable with her decision she has made in allowing her child to make his own choices. She was so defensive. I have a disabled daughter and before I made a decision in what to do about her future, I was this way also. I had a drinking problem, I was very angry, and I didn't think anyone knew what I was going through. It wasn't until I talked with others who had been through the same that I finally got relief. I have since then came to accept that she is disabled and will always be, but she has a vibrant productive life ahead of her, just as any other 15 year old. I am so proud of each and every independent accomplishment she makes.

Instead of talking about the heartache, disappointment, death, and problems your son causes and has caused, talk about his accomplishments, his braveness, his honesty.

People still look funny at us. People still do not invite my daughter to parties. My daughter still doesn't have friends and only has family birthday parties. She has no friends like we do. But she thinks everyone is her friend. She thinks everyone looks at others as she does. She is an angel who has never lied or hurt anyone just to be mean. She is God's light here on Earth and people shun her. I don't care. She has taught me so much. She does not care about nametags or what others think about her appearance. We  could all learn from her.

Noone is ever going to accept everything. If Toni is going to be angry about that, she will be angry for a long time. Accepting things the way they are is the only way we can live. Especially when we have something in our lives many don't accept.

Toni's son/daughter is perfect just the way he/she is. She shouldn't be so angry to do something that makes her son/daughter so happy.

Come on Toni, get a grip. Let and allow others to have thier opinion. If they are not doing right, God won't allow thier business be successful for very long.

Another thing that really helped was allowing God to be my vendecator.

Stay Strong!!!!!

 
January 13, 2009, 12:29 pm CST

01/13 Little Boy Lost

I am so upset with today's show.  I am a single Mom of two teenage boys.  During my divorce my X brought in an "expert" saying how terrible my children would be if they were raised by a mom instead of their father.  I am outraged by the two Dr.'s that continually say that the "father" needs to be in the life more.  I find you theory to be very biased.  You have no business being a dr. and not opening your mind to other possibilities in not only your own life, but the life of others.  I can't say enough how upset I am to hear that you're saying that this young mans life would have been ok if only you can get him around the "male" in his life.  I'm outraged!  Grow up!

Im proud to say that my boys are wonderful...raised by their Mom.

 
January 13, 2009, 12:35 pm CST

01/13 Little Boy Lost

Quote From: beccab06

I would like to comment on the dr who said that bonding with the same sex parent could hinder the sex identiy of his or her child.  I think that you are so wrong in so many ways.  I myself have four boys, we are a two parent home with a loving father and a loving mother.  I want my children to be so close to us that they can tell me anything and be honest to us and themselves.  What if dr., the child only has a mother to bond with or a father to bond with.  You have said in essense to not bond to closely with your child that it will be a negative way of life.  you disgust me by saying you love children and are worried about the family and the child.  How could you sit on the show and say that the child needs to do more gender specific and bond with the same sex parent to not become what they feel.  I have a seven year old son who when he was 2 wanted a baby, so we got him a boy baby and he carried it around and loved it.  why is it not ok to just have a mother, father relatiolnship with your child and love UNCONDITIONALLY.  that is our job as parents; to protect and love by any means possible. 
amen
 
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