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Topic : 08/04 Daddy Drama

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Created on : Friday, April 25, 2008, 03:00:17 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 04/29/08) Christina, 21, and her younger sister, Carlie, 13, say they had a close relationship with their father, Michael, until two years ago when he decided to transition to a female. Michael was a police officer, soldier and loving parent who lived his life as a male for 40 years. Now, he wants his daughters to call him Mom, because he says Dad is gone, but they refuse. Michael, who prefers to be called Kayla, says she wants to explain to her daughters why she's living as a woman, but they've never given her the chance. The last time Christina saw her father was two years ago when he showed up at her work in lace and blue jeans to break the news that he's transgendered. When she sees Kayla onstage, does she greet her with open arms? Next, Carlie joins her sister and father. She says she wants her old dad back, but will she feel the same after seeing Kayla? Can the father-daughter bond be turned into a mother-daughter one? Be prepared for an emotional journey as two daughters  struggle to understand how someone they say loved so much could hurt them so badly. Talk about the show here.

Find out what happened on the show.

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November 20, 2008, 7:41 am CST

08/04 Daddy Drama

Quote From: loekes

Living in The Netherlands I just saw this show last night. What surprised me was Dr. Phil's comment of not having judged Michael/Michaela. His way of speaking, attitude, tone of voice contradict this. Of course it is a great shock to his (ex)wife and children and it can't be easy. And may be he did not handle it very well. But what I missed is any understanding, compassion, whatsoever with Michael about what his life must have been like and still is. Gender transition is not something you decide to do or dan undo. It is not his fault. Like Michael said: it is not a choice. I don't know about the situation in America, but from the show I gathered that there is still very little known about gender transitions. Remarks from his children as: if you want to you can be a man, show that they understand very little of what is going on. I did not hear anyone speak out for Michael and I did not hear anyone make any attempt of clarifying what gender transition entails.

How can one expect Michael to make changes in his communication  with his daughters if you constantly blow his head off about the errors in judgement, in handling this  whole process. 

I am a great fan of Dr. Phil and watch his show regularly.

This is the first time however, that I am truly surprised and even shocked, at how Dr. Phil presented this show. I hope he has provided the whole family with some badly needed professional help.

From this location I want to support Michael in his transition and wish that the relationship with his children has developed in a broader and lighter perspective.

We, as a  society, tend to be intolerant of anything new or different. personally i don't understand transgender, transsexual,gay and if they are born that way or not. but i do understand compassion and love for your fellow man. these girls have learned intolerance somewhere and it is supported by their mother.additionally i feel as if the eldest daughter is continuing the learned behavior to her sister,with the mothers and society's help. as parents we consistently have opportunities to teach our children about love and acceptance and this opportunity was sorely missed. the 13 yr old i can understand her confusion much more, but her mom and adult sister only contribute to it.

Michaela has made many mistakes handling this situation as well. perhaps she should have received counseling on how to handle this situation in the best way possible. the girls both say he was an excellent father so why not attempt to forgive?

i truly hope there is an attempt from all those involved to understand and accept the situation and respect the feelings of the other. forgiveness can be a tough road but it is well worth the effort.

November 29, 2008, 7:57 am CST

Dr Phil shocking!


I just watched this show now here in Norway...

So many others (of the last posters) have expressed much of what I am thinking regarding this show, so I won't go into great detail, but I must add some things...

Most often I agree with Dr Phil, and think he is good at giving support, showing respect and also offering help to those who really need it. Not so in this show though. I actually got real shocked over his behavior, he really came across as being judgemental and disrespectful against Kayla (and transgenders)! And the way he over and over repeated how Kayla obviously didn't show emotions in the way Dr Phil meant she should have, really put me off! I had no problems understanding why Kayla showed the expression she did. I bet she has had to just "swallow" her emotions, trying to at least keep her composure and not lose control over a long time, when she feels put down, misunderstood etc. The way Dr Phil over and over again repeated that she "made a choice", as if she really had a choice and just could go back to being a man to make her daughters happy must have made Kayla feel a need to scream - no wonder her face turned into a quite stiff mask. Sure not an expression that in any way has to mean that the person is indifferent or doesn't have any emotions or understanding towards others (here Kayla's daughters). I have seen such a behavior so many times in people who really hurt (also in my daily practice as a social worker), but it does not say that they do not feel anything, might be quite the contrary. They might be boiling with feelings inside, but  just don't know how to handle or show their feelings - it is overwhelming to them. Jumping to such a conclusion seems unprofessional to me. Dr. Phil should know better.  Also, if the case was that transgenders really have a choice regarding going through a sex change or not, I bet no transgender people would go through such a painful transition, being misunderstood and put down by so many, risking losing their jobs, their families etc. I think those who do this, do it because they see no other way to be able to go on with their life. A good example showing this, is how some let untrained "butchers" do surgery on them, because they can't afford to pay it out of their own pocket. In many countries with a different health system than the US has, where every citizen has the right to free health care, sex change surgery, hormones etc. is fully covered by the national health system, because it is considered a _Medical Necessity_ (after going through a long process with screening, counselling etc., of course). That is the case here in Norway, as in many other European countries. This would not have been the case if it really wasn't necessary for these people. Dr Phil should know more about these things than he came through as knowing in this show... Dr Phil didn't help either by having Dr. Lawlis there, but not asking him to explain to the daughters how their father actually have been in a very difficult situation for 40 years and really had no choice but to go through with the transition in order to be able to move on with his life. That he should stay a man to please his daughters, would be a human tragedy and way too much to ask of any person born in the wrong sex body!

Dr Phil & Co should do what they could to help the daughters understand, something that would help in trying to minimise the gap between them and their father. Instead he semented the gap by only supporting the daughters and not even once supporting Kayla and respecting the fact that she really needed to do what she did, and that doing so in no way is egosentric and egoistic. That Kayla has handled things in a way that could have been better, I'm sure, but that could have been handled in a constructive way, trying to minimise the gap through working for understanding on both parts, not only the father, but also the daughters. The eldest daughter really should be old enough to understand better than she does, and the way she has chosen to act, is not being a good role model for the youngest. I realize that she probably haven't been able to act in any other way, but giving her help with that and learn her how to understand better and emphatize with her dad the difficult situation he/she has been in (born into - not his fault!).

I really think that Dr Phil should apologize to Kayla for the way he treated her on the show. He should show how much of a "big person" he is, and do that as well as invite them back to start over and do a better job than the last time. Doing so would help a lot of other transgender people, instead of what this show did, increase prejudice towards these people. As a psychologist, he should know better!

I actually think that Dr. Phil should post here on the boards about this show and the way he chose to (that WAS a choice!) to handle the issue...

Looking forward to a new show on this!
December 9, 2008, 6:13 am CST


Being Danish, I watched this show just approx five minutes ago.

I might repeat what has already been said, and I'm sorry if that's the case.

I just need to post some thoughts on this show. I used to think Dr. Phil has an incredible ability to understand the different situations and problems, people have, but this shocked me deeply.

Of course Kayla did something wrong, for example was I shocked by how she had just showed up at Christina's work; I found that very badly thought through.

But, the show seemed like a personal attack on Kayla! I was surprised by how disrespectfully Dr. Phil spoke to Kayla. It seemed to me as if he blamed Kayla because Kayla was the only adult, but Jesus, if it is not possible to tell the kids off, he should not have brought them into the show.

Yes, of course it's very traumatizing for the kids, but asking Kayla to "go back" is very harsh. I don't understand why Dr. Phil did not try to clarify the situation. It came out clearly, that Kayla had a very hard time trying to make them understand - and according to me, that's where Dr. Phil should show himself effective. Being transgendered is not a decision; it's like your body is a disease and changing your sex is the only cure to make you feel well again. I surely wouldn't think Dr. Phil would tell a sick person that his/her sickness was his/her fault!

(I am not transgendered people are sick, I'm just trying to put it in a perspective)

I'm shocked and dissapointed in Dr. Phil for how he acted in this situation. He should NOT have taken up the case if he couldn't handle it professionally - Kayla most likely has enough problems as it is already, and I'm pretty sure she did have one or two thoughts about what the girls told her!

Did Dr. Phil not look at her eyes? Did he not see the PAIN in her eyes? I know I did!

This really upset me...


April 8, 2009, 5:58 am CDT

Dr. Phil Not Helping

I think you were a little too hard on Kayla, Dr. Phil.  It's obvious that this man/woman (we'll say woman for the sake of what Michael/Kayla wants to be known as) is confused about how to really address this situation with his children.  I kind of got the feeling that you, the daughters, and the audience agreed that Kayla was being selfish in her choice to act out her choice to become a woman physically.  Kayla lived as a man for 40 years; why should she have to continue living a lie?  Is it worth it to live a lie because of what it might do to her children?  Her children obviously do not understand Kayla's position and I believe that the older daughter, at least, is being somewhat close-minded and selfish in believing that her father should live as the man she always knew him to be.  This is not the only family that has undergone this type of situation.  Of course Kayla would get defensive; she lost her daughters because she chose to be herself.  I believe they are all hurting equally, but what did you, Dr. Phil, do to make the situation any better?  Aren't you supposed to be guiding the family and mediating the situation?  A lot of people have a lot of trouble expressing themselves verbally.  What did you expect Kayla to do?  She admitted that she didn't know how to make things right and she admitted that she may not have gone about things the "right" way, but that was only because she doesn't know what the "right" way is.  A little one-on-one may have been appropriate for Kayla.  I do believe that Kayla was trying to be respectful of her child's wishes.  I think that you sometimes expect the adults on the show to cry or something when the children show that they're hurting.  People show their emotions in very different, and sometimes odd, ways.  I don't think that you handled this situation in the best way possible and I hope that this family got the psychological help that they all need to live as themselves and still be a family unit. 


I respect what you do, Dr. Phil.  I hope that I'm not too harsh in what I've written, but I do feel that you are sometimes overly hard on people that don't deserve it.  I can only imagine how difficult it would be to live as someone I am not for 40 years and then feel as though I have to continue living a lie because of how it may affect the lives around me.  I wish the best for that family and I hope that they can open their minds and hearts to one another.  I also hope that you made that a lot easier for them in extending some help to them.



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