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May 5, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Should a mother with a three-year-old son who clearly despises men, boys and masculinity and is therefore trying to turn her boy into a girl be allowed to retain custody of him? Is what Canadian journalist Leah McLaren doing to her son child abuse (Daily Wire, 5/1/17)? If so, is it sufficiently bad for the local Children’s Aid Society to step in? Does McLaren need parenting classes or does she need to be removed from her son’s life, at least temporarily?

Good questions all.

Of her virulent antipathy for everything masculine, McLaren makes no secret.

"I’m going to turn the little alphabet belcher into a proud princess whether he likes it or not," says Canadian columnist and proud feminist Leah McLaren of her thee-year-old son. 

See? He’s not a dear little boy on whom most mothers would proudly dote. No, he’s “a little alphabet belcher” and, as such, must be changed into something he’s not, i.e. a girl. And not just any type of girl, “a proud princess.” He has to be a girl and a girly one at that. There are plenty of girls who are tom-boys, but that won’t do for McLaren’s son. It’s pink tutus for him or nothing.

Why? Not because that’s who he is or because societal norms demand it. No, it’s because Mommy demands it. There’s none of your “I’m OK, You’re Ok” for McLaren, not much value placed on instilling self-esteem in the kid. Mom’s got a specific tune to which her son must dance or woe betide him.

And by the way, Ms. McLaren, no you aren’t going to “turn [your son’ into] a proud princess.” He’s now too little to understand what’s going on or that his mother hates his sex. He’s too small to resist her demands. But soon enough, he’ll be old enough to do just that. Into the bargain, he’ll likely learn to despise his mother as much as she despises him. Of course, people like McLaren often gravitate toward self-fulfilling prophesies, so perhaps his coming to loathe her may be just the type of result she’s after – a man who doesn’t like women. Who knows?

The feminist columnist continues to spiral over her son's boyish tendencies: "You might think this is no big deal," she writes, "that my son is just behaving 'naturally,' but I’m automatically wary of notions of biological determinism. When he hands me back a flower because pretty things are for girls, I think, what’s next? Kindness? Decency? Dancing?"

Yes, in case you’d forgotten, no men are kind, none are decent. And that whole Astaire, Nijinsky, Nureyev, Baryshnikov thing – just a patriarchal fantasy to confuse the unwary. Like kindness and decency, dancing too is beyond men’s capabilities. Hey, just ask McLaren.

Of course, having named a few famous male ballet dancers, I must find it ironic that, as the centerpiece of her campaign to make her son a girl, McLaren enrolled him in ballet classes. If she’s so hot for ballet, how is it that she’s never heard of the greatest stars of that art form? Perhaps she should attend a ballet performance sometime; she’d see real live men right there on stage. Ah but that might be too much for her delicate feminist sensibilities. Her nutty take on gender is that (a) it’s entirely fluid (just a few flowers and some dance classes will turn her little boy into the little girl she prefers) and (b) entirely rigid (there are female traits and masculine traits and never the twain shall meet).

"If I want my son to love and respect women, I am going to have to teach him to embrace – and ideally appreciate – 'girlish' things.

No, actually masculine men, and other kinds as well, have always loved and respected women. Not all of them, perhaps, but as a rule. But more importantly, McLaren’s not teaching her son to embrace girlish things, she’s forcing him to endure them, despite his own needs, to appease the dominant woman in his life, his mother. That doesn’t lead to love and respect, it leads to resentment. Ms. McLaren, you’re not only teaching him to resent you, but to resent the things of which you approve and that you want him to “embrace” and “appreciate.”

And let’s not forget that, as much as we hear these days about males wanting to be females and vice versa, this is not one of those cases. We can discuss what is the best approach to what the mental health profession calls ‘sexual dysphoria,” but the only one suffering a mental disability here is Leah McLaren. Her son appears to be quite sure about his likes and dislikes and comfortable with his choices. (At least there’s one adult in the household!)

I call McLaren a child abuser and her determination to make a daughter of her son abuse. I’ve inveighed many times against overreaching by state and provincial child welfare authorities. All too often, they intervene in family life for little or no reason.

But I call on them to take Leah McLaren’s son from her until such time as she can demonstrate that she’s a proper parent who’s capable of understanding that her child is a separate and autonomous human being who needs the things kids need and not to be sculpted into his mother’s ideal a la Pygmalion. (Speaking of which, McLaren might want to read that particular myth.)

McLaren’s behavior holds the potential to do great and long-lasting harm to her son, harm that’s greater than her temporary absence from his life. (I’m assuming that, somewhere, the child has a father or other blood relative who’s capable of caring for him.) Every parent should do their best to (a) figure out who their child is, what his/her likes and dislikes are and (b) attempt to honor and support them. That’s how children build self-esteem and a sense of themselves as worthwhile people.

McLaren is doing the exact opposite. Someone should stop her. Someone should teach her how to be a decent mother. She’s not one now.

 

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