If Your Kid Has a Problem Stay Away From Dr. Phil

Last week my wife was watching Dr. Phil and as I walked by I noticed that the topic was about an autistic kid so I stopped to watch.  You should know that I think Dr. Pepper has a better chance at helping people than Dr. Phil but I digress.

The parents were on talking about the problems they were having with their kid.  She was a 10 year old with many social problems including violence and talking about suicide.

One segment had Dr. Phil talking to the girl, trying to get her to open up and discuss her problems all while there is one cameraman walking around following her, another camera stationed at the end of the room and I can just imagine at least one other guy working the sound and maybe even a producer.  All of them in a room chasing down this kid.  Surprisingly, Dr. Phil wasn’t able to cure her in the one taping!

When he cut to the next segment, I had had enough and went back to my home office and wondered why the parents would put her on a nationally syndicated talk show to discuss their problems.  There are thousands and thousands of people with autistic kids and there are a lot of organizations and support groups available.  The one thing I do remember them saying was that they were worried about how anyone would be able to take care of her when they are gone and by gone I’m assuming that they mean dead.

A few days later I decided to watch the segment again but it wasn’t available on Dr. Phil’s website but  I did however find the kid’s name and did an online search.  Turns out this family has been on the talk show circuit for at least 3 years.

The family was interviewed on Oprah when she was 7 and was featured in an Australian newscast not long afterwards.  You can imagine my surprise a few minutes later when I discovered that the father just happened to have written a book about it and is now touring the US.  Since the struggle with an autistic kid is not a new thing, I can’t help but come to the realization that he’s using his kid to sell books.

Remember, they are worried about who will take care of their kid after they’re gone but who would want the media attention that comes from looking after this kid?  Would the people who do look after her write their own book about their problems as well?  This kid has become a marketing tool!

This situation also reminds me of those YouTube videos of parents videotaping their kids at airport security checks having a meltdown when the TSA agents are doing their job.  Instead of explaining what the agents are doing and helping to calm the kid down, they prefer to use their phone to tape the situation and make remarks instead of helping out.  So it’s not enough that the kids are being traumatized, the parents then post it on YouTube for the whole world to see.  A few have even posted the video because they claim they want to bring attention to the “abuse” their kid is suffering.

I’m sure the TSA agents don’t really care because they are doing their jobs.  What concerns me is that the video will show their kid crying and distressed.  Video that may never go away and could potentially follow the kids for the rest of their lives.  See Life Lesson #8.

When your kid is having problems you don’t need to go on national television and you certainly don’t need to film it for YouTube.  Put your cell phone down, hang up on Dr. Phil and help your kid.  It’s not about you.  It’s about the kid.



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