Dr. Gayle Takes
on Dr. Laura
By Gayle Peterson, Ph.D.
Laura makes a mockery of the meaning of family"
Dr. Laura, the nationally
syndicated radio advice expert, has perpetually fallen short of giving
meaningful advice to those who call her in need. She judges rather than
helps. But recently, she has resorted to hiding behind religion to attack
families that fall outside of her narrow purview of "normalcy".
Her attack on gays and lesbians stimulates her ratings, but hurts our
children. Families are groups of people who come together to nurture
the growth and development of its members, adults and children alike.
Being raised by heterosexual parents, or for that matter, parents that
boast of being "biologically intact", do not ensure
healthy family relationships.
In fact, the best interests of children are served by parents who are
committed to their well-being, not simply heterosexually identified,
or even biologically related. Indeed, research validates that families
that remain intact and conflictual can be more harmful to children than
divorce. And many a stepparent who has successfully filled a role that
a biological parent abandoned can attest to the fact that the call to
parenting lies in the heart and substance of the adult who chooses that
commitment, rather than biological roots (or for that matter, sexual
orientation). It is the family’s processes and the quality of the relationships
between members that ensures healthy families, whatever their form.
The ability to consciously deal with complex life issues is at the heart
of healthy family relationships. Rather than condemning differences,
we should be concerned about how differences are handled in the family.
Key family processes of communication, acceptance, tolerance for differences
and the ability to negotiate conflict successfully contributes to an
atmosphere in which a child can grow!
It is the substance of our families, not the form that makes a difference
in our children’s lives! Family values that promote connection over
disconnection form the basis for meaningful relationships. Tolerance
and a willingness to understand differences is essential to making healthy
"Dr. Laura" does not promote healthy family processes. Instead,
quite the contrary! Her intolerance for differences is an attitude which
leads to breakdown of the family unit. Condemnation based on prejudice
should not be entertainment. Prejudice based on superiority is dangerous
and harmful, as historys bout with Hitler testifies. Where do we draw
the line between entertainment and expert advice?
Peterson, MSSW, LCSW, PhD is a family therapist
specializing in prenatal and family development. She
trains professionals in her prenatal counseling model
and is the author of An
Easier Childbirth, Birthing
Normally and her latest book, Making
Healthy Families. Her articles on family relationships
appear in professional journals and she is an oft-quoted
expert in popular magazines such as Woman's Day,
Mothering and Parenting. . She also serves on the advisory board for Fit
Gayle Peterson has written family columns for ParentsPlace.com,
and the Bay Area's Parents Press newspaper.
She has also hosted a live radio show, "Ask Dr.
Gayle" on www.ivillage.com/music/,
answering questions on family relationships and parenting.
Dr. Peterson has appeared on numerous radio and television
interviews including Canadian broadcast as a family
and communications expert in the twelve part documentary
"Baby's Best Chance". She is former clinical
director of the Holistic Health Program at John F. Kennedy
University in Orinda, California and adjunct faculty
at the California Institute for Integral Studies in
San Francisco. A national public speaker on women's
issues and family development, Gayle Peterson practices
psychotherapy in Berkeley, California and is a wife,
mother of two adult children and a proud grandmother.
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