On the Parenting Front Lines: Daytime Television

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I’m a stay-at-home dad, or anyway I stayed home with Coen today while Amy went in to her office for a couple of meetings. Around three o’clock, I found myself trapped on the couch, afraid to move lest I wake Coen, who was finally sleeping in my arms after a couple of frustrated hours.

I dragged the remote control over with my foot and flipped through the three channels we get, and did you know that there really is such a thing as Dr. Phil? Of course I’d heard the man’s name and seen his picture in the tabloids, but I had always hoped that-like those aliens who are supposed to have cloned Bill Clinton-he was imaginary.

But no, Dr. Phil really does exist. Apparently someone pays him to talk on the television. On today’s show he was intervening in the matter of a grandmother who is suing for custody of her daughter’s children, that daughter being a drug addict, those children exhibiting odd bruises, there being a sociopathic boyfriend somewhere in the picture. The children’s father has brought a separate lawsuit.

“I don’t want any more lip,” Dr. Phil told the addict. “Now, say ‘thank you and I want your help.'”

“Thank you and I want your help,” she whimpered.

Apparently there is a web site where you can read posts by the different family members.

“This will really help you feel like you know them,” Dr. Phil told us.

Next up was The Oprah Winfrey Show, featuring sex addicts. This wasn’t as interesting as I hoped it would be, but it did provide the opportunity to hear Oprah say this to a recovering sex addict: “I usually enjoy the bag of chips while I’m eating it. It’s only afterward that I’m like ‘what did I do that for?'”

I turned the television off when the news started. I don’t want Coen watching anything trashy.

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