The Dr. Phil House: Brat Camp

May 20, 2008

 

 

Have you got a whiny, crying, tantrum-throwing, feet-stomping, door-slamming, spoiled or entitled child? When you ask your child to clean up his or her room, does World War III break out? Have you ever thought, who is running this house, me or my 9-year-old? Four families who say their kids are out of control move out of their madhouse and into The Dr. Phil House. This is no summer camp!

Skylin and Robert are newlyweds with a blended family of five kids. Robert's two boys, Andrew, 12, and Micah, 8, constantly torment their new sister, Kaitlyn, 8, which leads to yelling, crying, screaming and chaos.

Helen says her 9-year-old son, Ethan, has been in the "terrible twos" for the past seven years. Ethan lies, steals, cheats and bullies other kids. He's been suspended from school and has caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to family vehicles.

Lisa says her 15-year-old daughter, Haley, is spoiled and unappreciative. She's mistreated her new home and her expensive clothes. Haley says her mother nags her constantly and is always angry.

Wendy is a single mom who lost her daughter, Olivia, three years ago to brain cancer. Since that time, her 10-year-old son, Noah's, behavior has spiraled out of control. He's been in trouble at school countless times, including hitting the principal. Noah says Wendy doesn't treat him with respect, and he's called Child Protective Services, claiming that she abuses him. Wendy says she hasn't stopped grieving for her daughter.

Part 1 Summary:
The four families arrive and get their room assignments. After settling in, they begin a dyad exercise. The parents and the kids sit face to face and share each other's upsetting behaviors. Ethan doesn't take the exercise seriously, which frustrates Helen. Kaitlyn tells her parents that they make her feel lonely, and Haley tells Lisa that she makes her feel that she can't do anything right and that she's not a good daughter. Noah accuses Wendy of hitting him on the plane ride to L.A., and an argument ensues. Noah tells his mother to shut up and then slaps her across the face. Wendy is stunned.

Dr. Phil meets with all the kids and asks about their home life. Noah tells Dr. Phil that he hopes his mother is exposed for the abusive parent that she is. Dr. Phil is skeptical, and when he asks about the incident on the plane, he accuses Noah of being dishonest. Dr. Phil questions Andrew and Micah about how they tease their sister. Andrew admits to being a bully and tells Dr. Phil that he misses his dad and wishes they would spend more time together. Ethan says everything is fine at home, even after Dr. Phil lists all the trouble he's been in. Dr. Phil tells the kids that he's on their side and will talk to their parents about making their lives more peaceful.

Sitting down with the parents, Dr. Phil assures them that their kids' behavior problems can be fixed, but they need to acknowledge their role in it. He begins by showing footage of Wendy and Noah, ending with the slap. Dr. Phil tells Wendy that she's given up control as a parent, and if things don't turn around soon, there will be a disaster headed her way with Noah. Dr. Phil suggests that the death of Wendy's daughter has caused her to check out as a parent, and she needs to begin healing her grief so she can plug back in for her son who is still very much alive. Wendy says she knows she needs to move on, but can't face the prospect of letting Olivia go.