Stephanie says she wants to know how her daughter, Ashley, went from a picture-perfect, straight-A student and beauty pageant queen to an out-of-control, violent 16-year-old who has her fearing for her life. Dr. Phil intervenes in this mother/daughter conflict. How can they get back on track? This program contains strong language. Viewer discretion advised.
Stephanie says her daughter, Ashley, went from a picture-perfect, straight-A student and beauty pageant queen to an out-of-control, violent 16-year-old who has her fearing for her life. She says Ashley stole her car at 12, started dating an 18-year-old when she was just 13, was caught shoplifting, and started abusing drugs and alcohol. Stephanie says when Ashley doesn’t get her way, she becomes violent — breaking lamps, punching holes in doors and kicking out car windshields with her feet — and has even threatened to kill her. Stephanie says she recently found a gun in Ashley’s car and fears her daughter could actually follow through with the threat.
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Hear one of Ashley’s meltdowns caught on tape.
Dr. Phil reacts to the confrontation caught on tape, where Ashley screams at her mother to give her her keys. “Did she get her keys?” he asks Stephanie.
“Yes, she did,” she says.
“OK, here’s rule number one: Remember this for the rest of your life: You do not reward bad behavior,” he says. “Because behaviors that get rewards tend to repeat.” Dr. Phil also admonishes Stephanie for letting her daughter get in her car in a state of rage and drive, putting other lives at risk.
Dr. Phil reviews Ashley’s self-destructive behavior.
Dr. Phil also notes that Ashley failed a drug test for marijuana a month ago, she has been caught with the drug and has been high numerous times. She was found at home with a 21-year-old man, and she found a gun in her car that allegedly belonged to the 21-year-old. “You’re afraid she could hurt you, she could kill you in a fit of rage. Now, she’s armed,” he says.
Dr. Phil tells Stephanie about his recent interview with convicted murderer Erin Caffey, who is serving two life sentences plus 25 years because she orchestrated the murders of her entire family at 16. See the two-part series here
He tells Stephanie, “You understand, I believe you taught her there are no boundaries. You have taught her what is OK. You have rewarded bad behavior, and that has to stop today, right now.”
Ashley says growing up, she may have been a pageant queen, but life inside her home was anything but royal, and her mother is the problem.
“When I was growing up, my mom and dad did not get along at all,” she says. “I saw my dad hit my mom quite often. I was scared. My mom, she had a black eye when pregnant with me. It makes me feel like he didn’t want me to be here. My dad went to jail and rehab. He was on drugs the whole time I was growing up. My dad has been diagnosed as bipolar. I think I may be bipolar. I get so mad at the simplest things. My mom drives me crazy. Whenever she leaves for work in morning, she texts me nonstop. If I leave the house, she literally texts my phone a thousand times. My mom and I have gotten physical. I never punched her in the face or anything. It was, like, in the arm. It wasn’t as hard as I could hit her; it was just trying to get my point across. She would threaten me with the cops. She threatens me with juvie all the time. She said that she found a gun in my car, but it was my old boyfriend’s gun. She just made a huge deal out of it. I know how to use a gun, but I didn’t plan on using it. She says I need help, but she needs help too.”
Ashley joins her mother onstage with Dr. Phil. She says she’s doing fine, except for her relationship with Stephanie. “She pushes me to my limits. She knows exactly what to do to make me mad,” she says. Ashley says her mother’s constant texting is an example.
“She doesn’t trust you? Are you trustworthy?” Dr. Phil asks.
“I am now. I used to not be,” Ashley admits.
“Because you stole a car at 12. At 13, you’re dating an 18-year-old. Is that OK?” he asks.
“You’re having unprotected sex, smoking dope, getting pass-out drunk. Is that OK?”
“So, why should she trust you? Trust is earned. How have you earned her trust?” Dr. Phil asks.
“Because I don’t do any of that anymore,” she says.
Dr. Phil points out that Ashley broke her agreement with producers to stay with her mother in the hotel last night, and instead stayed with her boyfriend. “You didn’t respect our rules and guidelines either, did you?” he asks.
“I guess not,” she says.
Dr. Phil plays the home tape of her screaming at her mother. “What do you think about that?”
“I sound crazy, but y’all don’t understand what she does to make me do that,” Ashley says.
“Do you understand that it is inappropriate to speak to a parent in that tone? Whether you’re frustrated or not, do you get that it’s not OK?”
“I get it, but it’s not OK for her to do the things she does to me either,” Ashley says.
“Are you justifying shoplifting from a store?”
“You are absolutely the poster girl for the entitled teen.”
Dr. Phil asks Stephanie why, when she learned her daughter was dating an 18-year-old, she didn’t have him arrested.
Stephanie says she was told her daughter would have to come with her to make a statement to the police, and Ashley refused.
“That’s absolutely not true,” Dr. Phil says.
Dr. Phil reads nasty text messages between the teen and her mother, some of which are about Ashley smoking marijuana and claiming it’s no worse than drinking alcohol. “Does it matter? You’re 16. It’s illegal to be doing either or both!” Dr. Phil says.
“If she wouldn’t make such a big deal out of me drinking alcohol,” Ashley begins, turning to her mother, “because you know whenever I used to hang out with my old friends, I would tell you I was going to a party, and you wouldn’t say anything about it. You wouldn’t say anything about it, so don’t act like this is all my fault — you let me get away with it for too long.”
“And all good things come to an end,” Dr. Phil quips.
Why isn’t Ashley in school?
Dr. Phil tells Stephanie, “Here’s what’s clear to me: She has huge entitlement issues. She has huge rage issues. She has very little insight and has learned that there are no boundaries, and she can do whatever she wants, whenever she wants to do it, because you have conspired to teach her that. Which means what I predict if you take her home is more of what you’ve had so far. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. What I predict from you, until you get proper parental training, until you get your self-esteem off the floor and stand tall like a leadership parent, is you’re going to continue to be a doormat for this abusive child. You are a battered parent. You’re getting bullied, buffaloed and beaten, so you’ve just caved to try to contain her, to make her happy. That’s not working. I recommend highly that you put her in a structured environment where she cannot lean on her own understanding.”
Dr. Phil offers an opportunity for Stephanie to send Ashley to Center for Discovery, a structured, therapeutic residential treatment center that works with troubled teens. “She is a troubled, out-of-control teenager. If you go home, she is not going to go to school. She is not going to get an education. She is going to take up with anybody that will have her. She is going to wind up 17, pregnant, and you’re going to be raising the child while she’s going out and partying. That’s where you’re headed, unless you have the backbone to say, ‘This stops here. This stops now.’”
Will Stephanie agree to send her daughter to treatment? And, Ashley reacts.