"Wednesday, September 22, 2004 Dr. Phil’s House = Abu Ghrayb
(Updated 9/23 with info from the website at the bottom of this post)
When I wrote that letter to Dr. Phil last week and described his suggestion to take away a 3 ½ year old boy’s teddy bear because he talked to his mother a certain way, I had no idea that Dr. Phil was just getting started on what seems to be a season-long mission to make me practically blind with rage.
Today I had a few moments and I turned on the TV to see what Dr. Phil was talking about. He was talking with the parents of a child whose age I missed who for whatever reason doesn’t fall asleep in the “usual” way of being put in his bed, parent kissing him and closing the door, and then falling asleep without protest. I gathered that he climbs out of his bed, protests, or does something “bad”. There was some reference to his mother responding to this by letting him come to the kitchen and eat ice cream.
(I tried to log on to the website now to try to get the particulars I missed since I tuned in after the segment had already been introduced but the website is all tied up now because of his little “Prime Time Special” which I have decided is not worth watching.)
Dr Phil’s solution was absolutely disgusting, horrifying, infuriating. Remember my post on Crying and Sleeping? Remember the “leave them until they throw up and let them fall asleep in their vomit” routine? Remember the “enter the room coldly and don’t make eye contact” routine? Well, Dr. Phil not only advocated that, he went about two steps further.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, he said that if the screaming at bedtime is repeated, that each time they should go into the room (remember, stone-faced, no eye contact or talking) and just take something that is important to him such as his blanket or his lamp! THEN, (can you believe this goes on?!) he said “make sure he never sees the thing again”, so the next day you make a “ceremony” (Dr. Phil’s words, not mine) of taking the child and his prized possession to the local shelter and dropping that thing off as a donation.
He told the parents that this is what they “have to be prepared for”. He said “this is called socializing your child.” He said “it’s an eat what you kill world and if you don’t…[something like—do what you gotta do you’re not going to get anything in life]” and he used his little recurring phrase about “dealing in your child’s currency”.
I am not afraid to call this what it is: abusive. It’s emotional abuse and it’s absolutely unacceptable. It makes me wonder more and more why Dr. Phil is so adamantly anti-spanking. You know what, I don’t wonder anymore, I know why. Saying that he’s opposed to spanking is a cosmetic thing for his image, it makes him look like he’s gentle, or at least like he’s treading a middle path somehow.
But what he said today clears up all doubts as to his true position. Before maybe there was a small chance that he didn’t understand that Pooh Bear is the child’s beloved teddy bear and comfort object, that in the heat of the moment in the live, unscripted (?) interaction, he was in a hurry and didn’t reflect on what he was saying for a moment. (Although as I mentioned at the end of my letter it was only a sliver of a chance since those tapes were viewed over and over again and chosen carefully after lots of analyzing by producers and such.) Now there is no doubt in my mind that this man actually meant what he said and that he is, in fact, actually that cruel.
So be warned, all. Dr. Phil’s “Family First” may sound nice. He may have a few nice suggestions and soundbites here and there. But ultimately what he is about is rigid, unbending authoritarianism, emotional blackmailing and manipulation, even torture. Yes, parenting Dr Phil style is about having an Abu Ghrayb family. Do what we say, follow us, or we’ll throw all human rights conventions, all respect for human dignity and feelings, all religious, moral, and ethical considerations in the garbage can because the most important thing is that you do what we say when we say for you to do it even if it’s harmful, wrong, or it scares the crap out of you.
UPDATE: I got on the website this morning and got the rest of the information on this child from this particular episode. He's 3 1/2 and here's what Dr. Phil proudly recounts on his website:
Dr. Phil instructs the couple to use commando parenting. "If you have to, cut the top half of his door off and lock the door from the outside so he cannot get out," he says.
When Tracy looks shocked, Dr. Phil continues, "You put him in there, he stays ... Then if he yells, ignore him. If you're worried, then get a little camera and put it in there."
Dr. Phil also explains that they should expect Christopher to be frustrated at first. "When he doesn't get what he wants anymore, you're going to pay," he warns. "First he'll throw a tantrum. Then he'll yell and scream. Then he'll say, 'I have to go to the bathroom. I'm sick.' He'll choke and gag and puke on the floor ... You have to be prepared to go there. Get him up, clean him off, put him in bed and go back out."
Dr. Phil suggests that they remove something that Christopher values when he doesn't listen. "Take away his toys. Take away his covers. Take away his blanket," he advises. "Whatever his currency is, he needs to know, 'When I do A I lose B.' ... On Saturday, take it to the shelter and give it to the poor children. He needs to know 'When I don't behave, my life goes away.' It's called socializing your child because that's how the world works."
Yeah, I'd say Tracey "looked shocked", her eyeballs just about fell out of her head each time he stated the "next step" in this torture regime. You can click on the little "slide show" and see her face.
And look how he tried to sanitize it just a little bit for his website! See above where its says "He'll choke and gag and puke on the floor ... You have to be prepared to go there." That ellipse (...) where he cut out something-- that's where he said you'll find the child "ASLEEP IN A POOL OF HIS OWN VOMIT".
On another page called "Advice for Getting Your Child to Do Anything" he recounts the exact words he used from part of the segment:
"Whatever his currency is, he needs to know, When I do A, I lose B.' Take it away and he doesn't see it again ... Make a ceremony out of it. On Saturday take it to the shelter and give it to the poor children." Once you understand what your child values, and you control the currency, then you shape the child.
There's more but it all just makes me too sick."
See this letter on Miller’s web about ”Terrifying nightmares of children”!!! (No wonder children have nightmares?) And if you treat a child like mentioned above no wonder she/he gets obedient!!!??? And I want to add that I dislike all Nanny-programs from deep in my heart, I think they use similar or even the same methods (as Dr Phil)...
tisdag 28 augusti 2007
I want to quote the whole letter...
this blog is going to be closed (but hopefully not rubbed from the net. Addition: I saw afterwards that it still exists on the net, which I am glad for):