Dr. Phil McGraw

Television psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw has urged a mother to direct her son away from playing with “girl’s toys” to avoid any “confusion”.

This was in response to an e-mail from a mother who expressed concern that her five year old son is interested in toys and clothes usually associated with girls, which she “doesn’t think is normal”.

Replying on DrPhil.com, the doctor wrote:

“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. Support him in what he’s doing, but not in the girl things.”

He added: “This is not a precursor to your son being gay.”

A number of child developmental specialists and activists have slammed McGraw’s advice.

“When a media personality like Dr. Phil sends a message to viewers that their children should conform to narrow stereotypes of gender roles, it can make the process of understanding and appreciating who you are more difficult for young people,” Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation President Jarrett Barrios told The Advocate.

“What’s important here is that every child has the opportunity to express who they are in a way that is safe and nurturing because at the end of the day, our society thrives on children and adults whose interests are as diverse as the people in it.”

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