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Discussion ON Senator Glen Grothman`s Bill on Single Mothers;
Aired March 6, 2012 - 21:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN HOST: Here we go. Are single parents to blame for child neglect, even abuse? The man who says yes, is here defending his proposed law that punished on mostly single moms.
Plus, pretty or ugly girls are asking strangers on the Internet to tell them. Actress Elizabeth Berkley idolized by millions of teens has something to say about that and about self esteem. She will join us.
Let`s get started.
And we are live tonight. Of course, tonight is super Tuesday. GOP voters across the country are choosing a candidate they hope will represent them in November. But Republican state senator is making news for a different reason. Wisconsin`s Glenn Grothman says single parents contribute to child abuse and neglect and he is proposing legislation that may punish them. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): What do Alicia Keyes, Adrian Grenier and President Barack Obama have in common? They were raised by single parents. We all know an amazing single mom who works her butt off and we don`t know how she does it. That`s why a bill in Wisconsin legislature had a lot of people angry. Senator Glens Grothman`s proposal blames single parents for child abuse and neglect. He calls non-marital parenting a risk factor above alcoholism and even domestic violence.
The story went national, and single moms everywhere are crying foul. There are five times as many single moms as dads in the U.S. Are we using gender and now motherhood as a political weapon?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: And of course, parenting is a - listen, I have triplets, and I know how hard it is to raise children. And I see single moms or dads and I`m amazed they could do it. I couldn`t do it if we weren`t together, certainly not on three. But are single parents the cause for child abuse and neglect?
Joining me to address this, by phone, I have got University of Minnesota professor Alan Sroufe. He has done extensive research on early childhood an adolescent development and is an expert in the field of psychopathology and the field of attachment.
Also with us, attorney and single mother of two, and a foster mom as well, Lisa Bloom. She is the author of "Think."
Also, I have got single mother of two, Siruis XM radio host, Judith Reagan. Hi, Judith. Good to see you, and I got Wisconsin state senator Glenn Grothman himself.
Senator Grothman, I want to start with you. What is this proposed law supposed to do?
STATE SEN. GLENN GROTHMAN (R), WISCONSIN: Well, actually, you`ve completely misconstrued the proposal. All the proposal is doing is saying that a local organization who is taxpayer funded who is trying to fight child abuse and neglect has to try to educate the public, that it is more difficult for a single parent, be it mother or father, to prevent child abuse neglect to their child in that situation.
For example, the national department of health, no conservative group, will tell you that if you have a single mother and her boyfriend, it is 20 times more likely that that child will suffer sexual abuse than an intact family of a biological mother and father.
Now, if we`re serious about combating abuse, those statistics have to be out there. Because I think right now, we have too many people like yourself, quite frankly, who are making it appear like there`s no difference in risk for children in a single parent family or a married couple family. There are many wonderful single mothers.
PINSKY: Senator Grothman, listen, I`m glad you put it that way, because -- listen, because I brought the leading expert on this topic at least in my opinion, Dr. Alan Sroufe, who I have been reading his literature, and listened to his lectures for years. Dr. Sroufe, are you there?
EMERITUS ALAN SROUFE, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA (via telephone): I am here.
PINSKY: OK. Are you hearing this controversy? I don`t know what you`re going to say, but I would love you to ring in on this. What is the data? Are we just looking at distressed families or is it really a problem of single parent?
SROUFE: Well, I think you`ve just pointed us in the right direction. Of course, being a single parent is a risk factor for problems because single parents are notably more impoverished than parents in intact homes. And in fact, in our study, once you control for level of poverty single parent or married parent, doesn`t show as much factor in predicting child abuse.
PINSKY: OK. I`m going to stop you.
Senator Grothman, that`s why I`m concerned about this. So, we have the data that suggests it is really not about single parenting.
And Professor Sroufe, I remember once you said one thing you really wished for, for single parents is a supportive partner, somebody to help them with their task, and that`s of course an important thing, a viable thing. But you`re saying it is really economic distress that falls out as the main issue. Is that correct?
SROUFE: Well, social support is, of course, huge, and there are lots of ways of having social support. Sometimes it is from a marital partner, and that`s fantastic if you have a supportive marital partner. If you don`t, it`s also good if you have other sources of social support, and that`s where society comes in, in terms of trying to see to it that there is more support for single parents.
PINSKY: OK. Senator Grothman, I`m going to have you respond. Then I am going to unleash the hounds a little bit. Go ahead.
GROTHMAN: I think a frustrating thing is this. Over the last 50 years in this country, single parenthood has become more normal. Recently, "the New York Times" reported that 60 percent of births to women under the age of 30 are to women who are not married. Forty years ago, that number was something like 10 percent.
This is going on because I think the entire social services establishment, as well as the mass media, have been reluctant to be not politically correct and reluctant to say that there are risk factors for single parenthood, including inevitably much tougher economic circumstances.
Now, we can either allow that 60 percent number to go up to 70 or 80 percent, or we can begin to say, hey, maybe it`s been different decisions ought to be made there.
LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY: Senator, if I may.
Start with Lisa Bloom. Go Ahead, Lisa.
BLOOM: If I may, I am a single mom, I am also an attorney, and I have a copy of the bill right here in my hand. And it does say that you would require the child abuse and neglect prevention board to emphasize non- marital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.
How dare you, how dare you broad brush single parents as contributing to child abuse and neglect? Why not, for example, say poor -- let me finish my point, why not say, for example, that parents that live in poverty are also exhibiting risk factors for child abuse and neglect. How can you broad brush an entire group of people like that?
GROTHMAN: Ma`am, those things are already being done. But right now in this country, a child born or living with a mother and boyfriend, for example, is 20 times more likely to be a victim of sexual abuse than a child living with its mother and father. There are many other risk factors as well.
BLOOM: Sexually abusing a child, we already have laws to protect them. You don`t need to broad brush an entire category of hard working people.
PINSKY: Judith, go ahead. What have you got?
JUDITH REGAN, RADIO HOST, SIRIUS XM: You know what, I don`t understand any of this. I raised two children myself. I was an unwed mother in my 20s. I had no money. And the really biggest problem I had in my life was the men. They were actually an impediment to raising my children successfully.
GROTHMAN: That is very true, ma`am.
REGAN: They dragged me through the courts.
GROTHMAN: Very true.
REGAN: They made it very difficult for me. And it`s not just an issue of money. My grandmother who came to this country as an indentured servant with no money, no education, couldn`t write her own name successfully raised nine children, principally by herself, was a woman of tremendous integrity, and honor and love, and taught each of her children how to love and how to be a fully functioning human being.
PINSKY: So Judith. Judith.
REGAN: I think it is outrageous to blame the women. Go ahead.
PINSKY: Should we blame the men? Should we start talking about the men?
REGAN: Fine if you want to target any gender, it should be the men who walk out on the women. The 60 percent of the women are raising children by themselves. Why aren`t you targeting the men? Why aren`t you going after them? Why are you taking all these women across the country.
GROTHMAN: We are not going after anyone.
REAGAN: Who are hard working, who are doing all the work.
GROTHMAN: We are pointing out it is true if you have a single mother, the men in her life --
REGAN: How about the single fathers? Where are the fathers? Where are the inseminators? Why aren`t you targeting them? Why are you going after the women?
GROTHMAN: Ma`am, you have to calm down.
REAGAN: The mothers are the ones that do all the work.
GROTHMAN: The problem is if you have a single mother, the men in her life are going to be less devoted to the child. That`s where a lot of the sexual abuse comes from. And people have to be conscious of the fact if a mother is raising her children, unrelated men in her life --
PINSKY: Hold it, everybody. I have to take a break. Lisa, I have to take a break. We will continue the conversation about as Judith says the inseminators. I remind you, we are live tonight.
Senator, I really thank you for bearing up on this conversation. It is obviously a hot button item for the women dealing with this. I think we may be onto something, senator. Because really, we need to raise our men to do a certain thing, and maybe not single out the women. I think you`ll agree with me on that. We`re going to keep this going. Please stay with us.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that Senator Grothman is just completely out of touch with what really effects families and my family at this point.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is about healthy relationships, it is not about marriage, so I find this bill quite frankly insulting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Welcome back. We are live. We are talking tonight about a controversial bill proposed by Wisconsin state senator Glenn Grothman. I believe he has walked off, am I correct, tell me in the control, has he walked off the program to vote? He is gone. He says he`ll be back. So, let`s see. He walked off, Jane Velez-Mitchell I understand, to vote, and I don`t think he came back after that vote. But I hope he would come back on our show.
It declares single parenting a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect. And by the way, I appreciate him being here, talking about this. Let`s have a dialogue. I mean, I have two single moms here that want to take him to task and issue about it, he should stand up about it. How many of you know a single parent, are they the cause of abuse and neglect? There`s data make it a concern, but is it the single mom that`s the problem or is it the economic distress or should we be putting the blame where Judith Regan said we should, with the inseminators that bailout on these women.
So, I still got Lisa Bloom with me and Judith Reagan. And so, is this an attack on women?
BLOOM: It absolutely is. And it is part of a larger attack on women. We are seeing attacks on birth control, women`s reproductive rights, attacks on poor people, food stamps being taken away from people if they have a single marijuana conviction, for example.
You know, let`s look at it this way, we have a problem and that is that a lot of children live in poverty. And many of those children who live in poverty in this country live single parent homes.
BLOOM: So what do we want to do? Do we want to attack those families? Do we want to attack those single moms who are staying behind, who are doing the homework with the kids, feeding them, putting a roof over their heads or do we want to help them?
And I think most of us that would agree, let`s help them. Let`s make sure that the kids have enough food. That they are going to a decent school. That they have the clothing. That they get the education. Let`s help those families, not attack them.
PINSKY: The kids are Judith, I`m out to you Judith Regan. The more distressed the kids are, the more likely they are to repeat the cycles of poverty, no?
REGAN: Yes. No doubt about it. I mean, I think -- look. my mother had five children. They didn`t have any money. My grandmother had nine children. They didn`t have any money. It is not just an issue of money, by the way. I do think that is a huge issue. It is also an issue of support. Both my mother and my grandmother had large extended families. It is how I grew up. We had lots and lot of relatives, cousins. I grew up in a house with grandparents, my uncle, lots of aunties and cousins in the neighborhood, and we helped each other.
We have to teach people that community matters. Of course fathers matter. Of course we all want to have fathers like you, Drew Pinsky, in our lives. Of course, I would love to have wonderful fathers for my children. Every woman in America would probably say the same thing. But it is, it`s really a function of a community, not just money. It is a function of people working together, being neighborly, of having compassion. Of helping the single mother next door who`s struggling.
It is really difficult to raise children by yourself and to demonize women who are struggling, helping kids with the homework, who are working, who are doing the grocery shopping, who are cleaning up, doing all of these things, without any help from anybody, it is a catastrophe. How can you demonize the people who are actually the ones that are keeping the glue of the society together?
PINSKY: Judith, the senator has rejoined us. Thank you Senator Grothman. I think you heard what Judith was saying. I guess my question would be --
GROTHMAN: I would like to say something.
PINSKY: If you would add to your response, please also. How can we raise our men, build our communities, raise our men to live up to what we want them to do here?
GROTHMAN: Well, first of all, I would like to correct the lie your other speaker had. I never demonized the single women. What I was pointing out is it is very difficult to be a single mother and society ought to say that. We ought to say that rather than be like your other hosts here pretending it is no big deal. I don`t think anybody could argue the idea in our country going from 10 percent of kids born out of wedlock to 60 percent and rising is a good thing, and the sad thing is too many young girls don`t know how difficult it is.
REGAN: Why are you blaming the women for that? Why are you blaming the women for that?
GROTHMAN: I haven`t blamed anybody. I`m saying it is a function of society. There are too many people who are saying it`s no big deal.
BLOOM: It has your proposal. You have it here, senator. Why are you trying to run from it?
GROTHMAN: We are trying to ring the alarm and point out to some of the young gals that it is not easy raising children in this situation. Want to point out that a lot of times if they bring men into their life that are not the natural fathers, a lot of times they`re difficult, too, and a lot of times those men are at fault.
PINSKY: Senator, let me ask you. Did you -- were you raised by two parents, a, and are you married with children?
GROTHMAN: I was raised by a wonderful family. I am not married.
PINSKY: Two parents. Two married parents. Here is my concern, senator. And I think the ladies will go off again if I say this, but I`m going to, and there`s a little bit of a smoking gun here that I think people are responding to. Put this up full screen if you could in the control room.
I guess this is an article you wrote about how the United States and state of Wisconsin are working to encourage single motherhood. It says "the government urges women not to get married by making programs like low income housing assistance, school choice, wic, tax credits, food stamps more attractive than marriage." That makes this whole thing seem a little more focused on women, doesn`t it?
GROTHMAN: No, no, no. We`re trying to protect the women. I think there are a lot of people out there in popular culture who are telling young gals that this is no big deal, including the social welfare establishment. And it is a big deal. It is a very difficult role for those women to hold. I think if they were told in advance it was difficult --
BLOOM: We don`t want your protection. We don`t want your protection. Thank you very much, but we don`t want to be protected by being called child abusers. That`s what your law says.
GROTHMAN: Nobody called you a child abuser. I never called you a child abuser.
BLOOM: I have it here, child abuse and neglect. That`s what the law says.
PINSKY: Senator Grothman --
REGAN: You keep talking about the boyfriend in your life. What about the husband in your life who might beat you? What about that?
PINSKY: Judith, I have to stop you. Thank you. Senator, I have to stop you, too. And I want to thank you, senator, for joining us. I really do appreciate you standing up.
GROTHMAN: Always glad to.
PINSKY: I appreciate it. It is an important conversation. If we`re trying to raise awareness about this issue, I think we at least put the conversation out there.
Next up, Lisa and Judith and I stick around, to talk about how hard it is to raise a child with someone or alone. And continue this conversation with two women that have done this.
We`ll be right back.
PINSKY: Welcome back. We have been discussing proposed legislation that Senator Glenn Grothman wants passed. He believes single mothers, Lisa has said, that he is alleging single mothers are causing abuse. Single mothers and fathers have done a tremendous job in my life watching them do what they have to do. Dr. Sroufe, I hope you heard the conversation we had here. I wonder if you could put a little objective spin on this. What is it we need to do as a society?
SROUFE: I guess there are two points I would like to make. The first one is I completely understand the outrage of your two guests. Because, not only this proposal very thoughtless and - it is completely ignorant It is also very mean spirited and of course makes people angry.
My other point is that I wish there could have been a little more talk about the fact that I think we can all agree that it is a problem in our society that there are so many parents raising children without the support that they need.
PINSKY: Dr. Sroufe, I have less than a minute. Can you summarize that?
SROUFE: I`ll give you the bullet. In our study, we tracked stress and support. If stress went up, children`s problems went up. If stress went down, problems went down.
PINSKY: Moral support, there you go. Judith, you have done a great job. What`s our wish to get young men to provide that support. You`re raising a young man.
REGAN: Yes. My wish is everyone has a son like mine. I raised my son to be a loving person, and I have to say his father really wasn`t in his life when he was growing up, and my son has achieved great things, went to MIT, has his own company. He is very successful, but that`s not how I measure success.
My son is a successful person because he not only loves his mother, his sister, his wife, his community and his friends, but my son also loves his father, the father who basically walked out on him. His father has Parkinson`s disease now. He is suffering a great deal, and my son who has true compassion takes care of him. That`s what raising a successful young man is about. To teach them to raise him to have compassion for friends and family, and to have forgiveness in his heart. And to be a real man, that`s really the solution. And to do that, it helps to have a support system.
PINSKY: Raise men to be men. Judith, I agree with you.
REGAN: To be men, to be loving.
PINSKY: Ladies, both of you, I`m discussing a book I think sets women back tomorrow night, "50 shades of gray," it`s called. Judith, you probably heard about this phenomenon. You heard about it, Lisa? I am a little disturbed about it by myself. I have to go.
Ladies, thank you so much for being here.
We have coming up, Elizabeth Berkley. She is talking about the importance of girls` self esteem. And maybe this topic kind a roll in to that a little bit because esteem obviously effects how people conduct themselves in relationships and who they choose as partners. That`s a big part of it, too. You don`t want to choose a bad boy that will run away. You want the guy that could be like Judith`s son. OK.
REGAN: Hear, hear.
PINSKY: You have a son and a daughter?
BLOOM: Yes, I do.
PINSKY: I am answering your questions about sex, drugs, anything else you have. We`ll talk about Rush Limbaugh, again, remember, no topic is taboo. We`ll be right back.
PINSKY: Coming up. Girls, some of them not even yet teenagers, are soliciting the answers to this question on YouTube.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People tell me this all the time, so I don`t know. Is it true? People say I`m ugly. So tell me. Am I?
PINSKY: And the answers aren`t pretty. So, why do they ask? What happens after they read the responses? What does this say about them and the people who write back? Actress Elizabeth Berkley is here with her take.
But first, I`m answering your questions about anything. Remember, no topic is taboo.
SANDRA FLUKE, CALLED A "SLUT" BY RUSH LIMBAUGH: I don`t think that a statement like this issued saying that his choice of words was not the best changes anything, and especially when that statement is issued when he`s under significant pressure from his sponsors who have begun to pull their support.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): Now, if you guys are just joining us. Shame on you. We`ve had a very lively conversation, thus far, this evening. I think you would have enjoyed it if you were just joining now. And that tape you just saw, of course, was Sandra Fluke on ABC`s "The View." And we`ve been hearing from hundreds of you about that controversy generated when Rush Limbaugh called her a slut. Here`s a little sampling of it.
Christine on Facebook writes, "If and when you decide to get pregnant is your decision and no one else`s, and no one should be treated the way Miss Fluke was. There was nothing in her speech had anything to do with her talking about her sex life. Come on now, people, stay on track here."
Then we`ve got Sandry -- Sandy, rather, who writes on Facebook, "How about Ed Schultz at MSNBC calling Laura Ingraham a slut? We don`t hear about that media uproar about this one. I wonder why."
This whole thing makes me sad. I mean, this evening, we`ve been talking about women and women struggling to raise kids. And really, Rush, you`re going to take aim at a highly accomplished -- makes me sad. Actually, it makes me emotional. Highly accomplished, young woman, Georgetown law student. I mean, this is what we want our women to be.
And by the way, in terms of managing their biology, Rush, does Rush have daughters? Does he have kids? I mean, if he did, take aim -- I don`t know. It`s very disturbing. So, let`s go to Mary Ann who is calling from Louisiana. Hi, Mary Ann. What`s going on?
MARY ANNE, LOUISIANA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
MARY ANNE: My son is a veteran and an addict. Any drug a veteran wants is readily available. So, when discussing doctors overprescribing, I suggest you look into this epidemic.
PINSKY: Let me get a little bit more detail, Mary Anne. How long has he been back from service?
MARY ANNE: Probably about four years.
PINSKY: Four years. The entire time he`s been strung out or just been a recent thing?
MARY ANNE: Off and on.
PINSKY: Off and on. Have you addressed this with the doctors that treat him? Have you called them?
MARY ANNE: Yes, I did, because he had been treated by the VA for drug problems.
PINSKY: For addiction.
MARY ANNE: For addiction. And then, he went to another VA in another city.
MARY ANNE: And they didn`t check the medical record.
MARY ANNE: And they gave him the drug that was the problem.
PINSKY: I mean, Mary Ann, my heart goes out to you. This is not something unique to the Veterans Administration. This is the issue that I keep railing about here which is that a patient can go in and give just the right complaints, and no one really asks have you been addiction, were you an addict. Most addicts when you start nailing them, they`re actually kind of sensitive.
You know, that they`re kind of -- I mean, addicts are good, by the way. Your son may be part of the responsibility here, let`s face it, but it`s up to us as physicians to ferret this out and to refer him properly. I would say yes, there`s an epidemic. He probably has PTSD, too. Is that, right?
MARY ANNE: Yes, that`s correct.
PINSKY: Why don`t you get him to the PTSD treatment? Those teams tend to be quite good. And they -- they`re -- they`ll pick up on the addiction. Can you do that?
MARY ANNE: I can try.
PINSKY: OK. And Mary Anne, thank you. We appreciate his service, everyone does. And thank you for bearing up under this. He deserves better. He really does.
MARY ANNE: Thank you.
PINSKY: He`s on the top of the food chain, deserves to get well.
Kelsie writes, "Hi, Dr. Drew. If you cheat on someone one time and never do it again, is it OK to keep it from the one you love forever to keep them from being hurt?" Wow! That`s actually a tough question. I guess, I was on a teen mom episode the other night, and people took aim at me for saying that cheating is not a death sentence of a relationship.
Listen, I`ve seen couples where someone is a sex addict and cheating a lot they stay together and end up in a very good lace. Of course, these are not boyfriend and girlfriends. These are people that are committed marriages and things that want to work it out and may have families. Cheating doesn`t have to ruin a relationship.
If this is just a casual relationship with someone that you`re dating, let`s see, -- Kelsie doesn`t tell me how old she is. You might want to think about moving on. It tells you something about the relationship but that guy`s ability to be in a commitment. Should you tell them? Again, honesty is always my policy, but it`s like anything when we tell like addicts to go back and make amends.
You don`t want to do it in such a way that it hurts the other person. So, if it`s going to destroy them, if it`s going to ruin a family, or going to upset a marriage, keep your mouth shut. (INAUDIBLE).
All right. Judy to ask about our last segment, "Wasn`t this mom worried she might give her little boy the wrong dose of marijuana -- this is something from last night -- the wrong dose of marijuana oil? How would she know what dose is safe or if it interacts with any of his prescribed treatments?"
And boy, I`m telling you something, Judy, that is what concerns me. Here, we had a nurse, a licensed professional walking into an institution and administering a medicine to a kid on a very complicated situation, and the child was dying. I mean, I understand the desperation. That`s what we can all relate to in those parents.
It was an interesting conversation, but what troubled me more than anything else about that is a nurse knows better than that. A hospital can`t function. I have had heroin users come in and give heroin to one of my patients without me knowing it and nearly killed them. What if you have some other -- an antibiotic that works for you, and you`ve had -- it made me feel good.
I`m going to go in the hospital and give that to my kid. I mean, that`s what`s unpleasant, disturbing about that story. They should have been using the cooperation of the team and the team should have participated.
Jennifer in Minnesota is on the line. Hey, Jennifer. What`s going on?
JENNIFER, MINNESOTA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Jennifer. What do you got?
JENNIFER: I would like to know how to comfort a friend who has recently lost their mother and is having trouble with their family, and also, this friend talks about suicide.
PINSKY: Oh, boy. OK. Let`s sort of focus in this a little bit. Whenever somebody talks about suicide or is having what`s called suicidal ideation, they`re contemplating, thinking about it, ruminating about it, that is a medical emergency, my dear. Jennifer, that is something that you need to even if it`s to take them to the emergency room for evaluation, you don`t mess around with that.
People forget that depression is a potentially fatal illness. People can hurt themselves when they`re depressed. And it`s something you just can`t mess around with, OK? So, that`s one aspect of this. The other aspect is your role. This is her mother, right? Is that right?
PINSKY: And how long ago was this?
JENNIFER: About seven months ago.
PINSKY: Seven months ago. So, it`s more than six months she`s having trouble grieving. She`s falling into a depression. She`s having suicidal ideation. I tell you what, Jennifer. I think the most important thing with her is to get her to the right doctor and get her to somebody that really help her. As far as what you can do aside from that, this is something people don`t practice, and I`m actually writing a book about this, about how you can be present with another person and attuned to their feelings when they`re difficult and overwhelming.
It is a very powerful experience. Your job is not to solve the pain, not to change the pain, not to rescue her from it, but to be present with her as she struggles with this. Can you do that?
PINSKY: OK. That`s your job. Get her to the doctor, because this is no good now, seven months of grieving now into a depression with suicidal ideation, potentially an emergency. Get her to a doctor. Number two, be present. Be fully present and open to her emotionally and give her as much support as possible. That`s your job. Thanks, Jennifer.
I`ve got a comment from Tammy. "Please Dr. Drew" -- oh, this is awesome. "Please, Dr. Drew, don`t talk about Snooki on your show. You`re too respected to talk about her. Leave that for the entertainment shows." I think I was talking about Snooki`s pregnancy or alleged pregnancies, and here I am talking. The irony here is I`m talking about Snooki again by taking your e-mail there or your Facebook.
Snooki got pregnant, you know, how could I not -- that`s a pretty juicy little piece of story. I can`t pass that one up. But you know, listen, I want to -- my job is to try to make sense of what people are interested in and what`s important out there. A lot of people are interested in this "Jersey Shore" type. So, it`s hard for me not to comment on those guys.
Mary has this question. "So many people argue the point that marijuana is not addictive. I have a son in a chemical dependency rehab center because of alcohol, marijuana, prescription pill abuse. I`m concerned, is marijuana really addictive?"
You know, I was going to have Dr. Tim Cermak on yesterday to talk about the marijuana issue. And he is someone that`s gone -- I don`t want to put words in his mouth, but there are experts out there who have said clearly if you do not acknowledge marijuana is addictive, potentially addictive, it is malpractice.
And the fact is, for some people, it is terribly, terribly addictive. Not for everybody. More addictive than alcohol? No, probably not, maybe less. But when it is addictive, it is extremely and powerfully addictive.
Maria wants to know -- how much time do I have, by the way? I have no idea -- OK. "I was sexually abused when I was younger by my father and step-father. It never got in the way of my sex life until my husband and I had our first child. Now, I have no desire to have sex. It feels wrong because I`m constantly reminded of my childhood. What can I do to get over this?
You guys are asking good -- again, I want these all -- lots of questions. These are very diverse topics tonight. Couple of things. One is it`s very common after sexual abuse for people to have sort of a bipolar quality to their libido. They can become hypersexual, and they can become sexually shut down. It`s all this flip side of the same coin which is dealing with trauma.
More often than not, when people have these kinds of trauma, the extraordinary things about human is that when they have a terrorizing experience in childhood, a shattering experience, they acted out again and again. And that`s what you are doing. You have to get trauma treatment. That`s really what`s necessary here for you to be able to enjoy your intimate contact with your spouse.
It`s just not something that will get better by itself. So, now that you`re shut down, fine. You`re not at risk of really re-traumatizing yourself by acting out. Good. Go, get help, see a professional with expertise in trauma.
Next, little girls, young girls, are posting potentially dangerous and hurtful videos on YouTube. It is a trend, an alarming one at that. Actress, Elizabeth Berkley, is here with a message for these young women. Head on over to HLNtv.com to read more about this story or any other and let us know what you think, and we are back after break.
PINSKY: Yet, another disturbing trend has emerged in cyberspace. Young girls, sometimes preteen, are posting videos on YouTube asking this poignant question, "am I pretty or am I ugly." One video alone had more than four million hits, generating, of course, some very -- listen, social networks are nasty places, and these videos are creating some terrible, nasty comments that these young girls have to absorb. Watch this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to make a random video, seeing if I was like ugly or not, because a lot of people call me ugly and I think I am ugly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to know if I am ugly or am I pretty? As you can see, I`m wearing makeup.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People say I`m ugly. So, tell me, am I?
PINSKY (voice-over): And with that, these young, vulnerable girls face the wrath of YouTube commenters, some of whom are not very pleasant. In fact. most are downright cruel with their opinions. "You`re ugly because you believe you are, but in the physical realm of things, you`re uglier than sin. I`m sure if your parents knew you`d turn out this ugly, they would have aborted you."
And, "You need a hug around your neck with a rope." Some of these young girls are 11 and younger. It is not a pretty picture.
PINSKY (on-camera): This is not funny what people do on the Internet. I mean, anyone watching -- do you see how poignant those videos are? And can you imagine people posting stuff like that? So, what are the dangers of these children posting the questions and the effects the comments have on them, what can parents do, what`s motivating young girls.
Joining us to discuss this, actress, Elizabeth Berkley, well known for her role in "Save BY The Bell," her influential character Jessie idolized by millions of girls. She is creator of the website and book, "Ask Elizabeth," which helps teens with self-esteem issues.
Also, I have Kuae Mattox. She`s here with her daughter, Teddi. Teddi wrote, "Hot or not, trust me, you`re beautiful" for the CNN blog in America. There it is there. Teddi, first to you, you`re 16. Can you give us some insight and why an 11 -- why you think an 11-year-old would post a video like the ones we saw here?
TEDDI MATOX, BLOGGER, "CNN IN AMERICA": OK. So, I think that an 11- year-old would post this video online because with all the media, they`re really projecting the message that in order to be hot or prettier, get boys or have even a good life, you have to be skinny or you have to have a certain type of hair, you have to wear a certain type of clothing. I feel like what some of these girls really just want is acceptance.
PINSKY: Elizabeth, what do you think about that?
ELIZABETH BERKLEY, ACTRESS: You know, I agree with a lot of that, and I think that`s really smart. And, for the last seven years, I`ve been facilitating a self esteem based program that I bring in to middle schools and high schools, specifically. It`s now a global movement.
And, one of the most asked questions, actually, and it`s why I started the book with this question at the center piece is, this was from a real girl in a real school which was, "what do I do when I look in the mirror and hate what I see."
And just to connect what you said to that, the work I do is in a forum where girls can connect with each other and help each other so that it can be healing, peer to peer help and support.
BERKLEY: The issue with this is that question, "am I pretty," "am I ugly," asking that question, considering that, when you`re at an age that is so delicate, where you`re finding yourself worth and your value, and really, I mean, society does -- you know, there`s a high premium on looks.
PINSKY: These are ridiculous premiums that what they`re responding to, but is this where they take it, to cyberspace?
BERKLEY: That`s the issue that`s so devastating right now, because that question, "am i pretty" is a normal question for girl this age to ask.
PINSKY: Even boys wonder, am I attractive? That should be the parents telling them that.
BERKLEY: Either their parents or friends or their own consideration as they`re exploring themselves, now this platform with social media to take a vulnerable moment in your life and ask the world, please tell me who I am, do you value me, do you validate me? That`s where it`s devastating, and we need to support.
PINSKY: It`s so painful.
BERKLEY: It`s brutal.
PINSKY: It`s brutal.
BERKLEY: It`s brutal. And the comments back to them, one comment can stay with you. I mean, we all know as adults, some of those comments that maybe someone said to us. Once stay with us --
PINSKY: I get attacked on Twitter all the time, and I think -- it can ruin your day. But Teddi, do you agree with Elizabeth saying something one negative thing stays with you for a long time, doesn`t it?
TEDDI MATOX: Yes. I completely agree with what she`s saying. I can have a fantastic day, and someone can come up to me and be like your shirt looks really bad on you or that color doesn`t go with your hair, anything, and it can really stick with me, like, I could be having a great moment later on, and I`ll just have those words echoing in my head. It`s really horrible how these things can affect girls our age.
BERKLEY: And by the way, Teddi, I`m so blown away by just how in tune you are with yourself.
TEDDI MATOX: Thank you.
BERKLEY: I mean, you clearly have a great mom and someone you can go to. The problem is, a lot of these girls, you know, they don`t have someone at home to be able to have this dialogue with.
BERKLEY: While there are a lot of great intentioned people in their lives, a lot of -- I think, you know, a lot of times we talk about the issues and the problem, but what do we do about it?
BERKLEY: A lot of the parents actually have told me they don`t even want to give any dialogue to looks because they don`t want them to think that there`s an importance.
PINSKY: Kuae Mattox, the mom is there, and I got less than about 45 seconds.
KUAE MATTOX, MOCHA MOMS, INC.: Sure.
PINSKY: How do you deal with this?
KUAE MATTOX: Well, I think it`s important to have open communication with your daughter. It`s important to let her know that you`re a partner in this with her, in this whole growing up thing. Talk to her, share with her, and make her feel comfortable and know that whenever there`s an issue, she can come to you and talk to you. And even if I`m not available, I like for her to feel as though she can talk to others.
PINSKY: I have to break.
PINSKY: A growing number of tweens and teens, mainly young girls, are posting videos on YouTube asking viewers if they`re ugly or pretty. They are terrible poignant, and back to me to continue this discussion is actress and author, Elizabeth Berkley. I also have 15-year-old blogger, Teddi Mattox and her amazing mom, Kuae. I thank you guys.
I may not have (ph) time to get to you guys, but let me just say we were all in here during the break talking about how great both of you are. So, thank you for joining me. Joining me now to discussion is clinical psychologist, Michelle Golland. And Michelle, you had a point to make that you appear with us here in a certain way. Explain that.
MICHELLE GOLLAND, PH.D., CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I did. I decided when I was asked to be on the segment that I wanted to come on with really no makeup on, because I get to come on the show and have an hour of my makeup done.
PINSKY: This is the usual Michelle. I`m showing you -- come in close on this. This is what Michelle normally looks like when she`s on our program. There she is. That`s Michelle. And today, you came in without the usual --
GOLLAND: Yes, because what I said to my eight-year-old daughter was - - she said what are you doing? I said, well, I`m going to be on Drew, and I think it`s really important that people understand that what Dr. Michelle says is important, not how she looks, but really what people care about and what I worked so hard to get was my doctorate, and that has nothing to do with the way I look. It has everything to do with my brain and my self- esteem.
PINSKY: And self-esteem you heard Elizabeth talking about, and it`s building self-esteem that you`re focused on now.
BERKLEY: It is. I am an advocate for girls. And my main mission is to give them a space and forum to feel heard, connect with one another, because that`s the really key.
Even just the most amazing parents can tell them all the best advice, but the minute they are in a room and I see it, I work with entire female student bodies at middle school and high schools, when the girls are connecting with each other and coming up with a solution together, even if a girl doesn`t speak, but she hears a girl who she thinks doesn`t have that issue speak about something that`s on her mind or on her heart --
PINSKY: It`s powerful. Very powerful.
BERKLEY: It gives her permission to feel relief.
PINSKY: Why is this important to you? Did you have any experience in middle school?
BERKLEY: You know what, no girl --
PINSKY: But who didn`t --
BERKLEY: No girl goes unscathed. So, I wear my badge proudly now. It has made me who I am, both as a team, and frankly, as I was growing into young adulthood.
GOLLAND: Yes. And we keep focus on our beauty all the time. I have to tell you, Dr. Drew, when people don`t like what I say on television, do you know the first thing they comment on is my looks.
PINSKY: Weird. That`s crazy.
GOLLAND: Again, that`s a female --
PINSKY: Other females do that.
GOLLAND: And men, but not they wouldn`t do that to you.
BERKLEY: But I think it`s important with the girls, you know, when girls want to talk, they want to talk about beauty and they want to talk about self-care and how to feel their best. I think it is important to talk about it, because, so often, people in their lives, as I was saying, will just kind of say, well, you`re so smart, let`s not talk about that.
BERKLEY: But they really want to know --
PINSKY: They want to test reality. Where do I fit?
BERKLEY: Exactly. What`s the impact as they`re moving through this world.
GOLLAND: Helps normalize the experience. It`s like any new transition. We need other people who are in it, whether it`s pregnancy or motherhood or teens.
PINSKY: But Michelle, what about the impact of this Internet stuff. I worry that these kids are going to be damaged, traumatized permanently by this.
GOLLAND: I do as well. And I think parents have to go and see what these accounts are and remove them. Absolutely.
BERKLEY: It`s great, because a lot of the moms of the girls that I work with will say to me that one of the issues, and I think this is one solution, because we want to get to the solution here --
PINSKY: We`ve got ten seconds.
BERKLEY: -- is just a lot of the parents are saying that they are technologically insecure. If they can learn --
PINSKY: Thank you, Elizabeth. Thank you, Michelle. Thank you to Kuae and Teddi. Thank you all for watching. It`s been interesting program. Again, we came to you completely live. So, all this stuff was happening right here in the studio as you watched. We`ll be back. See you next --