Radical Parenting

Dr. Phil talks to three families about their unconventional parenting styles. Are they too radical, or is there a rationale to their extremes?

"My Princess Boy"




When 5-year-old Dyson wanted to be a princess for Halloween, his mother, Cheryl, initially resisted. She said she made several attempts to redirect Dyson to more masculine toys and clothing, but eventually changed her mind.

"At that moment I knew this was more my issue, and if [my older son] could be a ninja, why couldn't [Dyson] be a princess?" Cheryl asked in a newscast.

Now, the mother says she allows her son to explore his interest in all things pretty and pink, and has chronicled their experience in her latest children's book, My Princess Boy. Dr. Phil compliments Cheryl on the book. "You did a really good job," he says. "I thought this was a really age-appropriate way to communicate this message of acceptance."

"Thank you," Cheryl replies.

"So, tell me more about this decision you made to [let Dyson wear dresses]. He seemed this way from the beginning, right? Dr. Phil asks.

Cheryl nods. "At almost 2 years old he started displaying an interest in things that were pink and sparkly and pretty," she says.

"Why do you think he does this and the kid next to him doesn't?" Dr. Phil asks.

Having a son who's three years older than Dyson, Cheryl says she assumed she'd already know how to raise another boy, but Dyson inspired her to adjust her parenting style. When Dyson showed interest in dresses, she consulted psychologists on how to properly support him. "And their verdict was that I have a healthy, happy little boy, and that I shouldn't discourage or over encourage [his behavior]," Cheryl explains. "I just really wanted to be a sanctuary in the home, and support and love my child for who he really is."

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