Double Trouble: Teen Sisters Out of Control

January 10, 2014
Kristen says her nieces, Danielle, 15, and Jessica, 18, are angry, violent, out-of-control teens who drink and use drugs — and she blames her sister, Michelle, for their bad behavior. Can she learn to rein them in, before it’s too late? Then, hear from Danielle and Jessica. Whom do they blame for their anger and bad behavior? Can they make a change for the better? 








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Jessica, 18, and Danielle, 15Michelle, Danielle and Jessica's motherKristen, Danielle and Jessica's auntRose, Danielle and Jessica's grandmotherDr. Mathew Polacheck, Center for Discovery

A Concerned Aunt

Kristen says her nieces, Danielle, 15, and Jessica, 18, are on self-destruct. She says the girls will physically fight anyone for the slightest offense and have been expelled from school for attacking their classmates. Kristen also says they’ve been admitted to mental health facilities multiple times for suicide attempts and cutting — and she fears someone could end up dead. Kristen claims her sister, Michelle, is a bad mother who has no idea how to raise kids.


“I, 100 percent, believe that Danielle is capable of killing any one of us in our family if that switch flips.”

“A few weeks ago, Jessica got into a fight and had her tooth knocked out.”

Onstage with Dr. Phil, Jessica and Danielle admit that they are out of control. They say that their mother, Michelle, is the reason.
 
“They like to blame me, but I’ve never raised them to act like this,” Michelle says. When asked why her daughters turned out the way they did, she says, “I have no idea.”

“What do you mean you don’t know why your children are the way they are?” Dr. Phil asks.

“I really, honestly, don’t know. I didn’t raise them that way. They just took a wrong turn at some point,” she says.

Dr. Phil turns to Danielle. “Do you think you’re disrespectful?”

“I know I’m disrespectful,” she says.
 
Dr. Phil reviews the list of names Danielle calls her aunt, mother and grandmother, according to Kristen. The teen denies speaking to her grandmother in a vile manner and claims her aunt Kristen is a compulsive liar. 

Danielle addresses a recent fight caught on tape, and accusations of setting her room on fire and attempting to poison her family.

Danielle admits that pouring floor cleaner in her aunt and mom’s drinks was irrational behavior, and it was wrong.

“That’s the first time she ever admitted that she was wrong in doing that,” Kristen says.

“Well, I think we’re going to have a lot of firsts today,” Dr. Phil says. “These guys weren’t born in a vacuum, they weren’t raised in a vacuum, and you guys dragged them in here to the therapeutic alter and drop them off and say, ‘They’re screwed up. Fix them.’ Let me tell you, this has a hell of a whole lot to do with the people sitting on this side of the room," he says, referring to Michelle, Kristen and Rose, "and not just these two. Trust me."

Blaming Mom

In a previous interview, Jessica says, “Things were always chaotic in my house. We were never a happy family. As sad as it is, I would not care if my mom died. When I was younger, my mom didn’t really care about us. She tries to act like she cares now, but if she honestly cared, Danielle would be in rehab.”

Onstage, Dr. Phil reviews Jessica’s history: She was first expelled from Catholic school, and then from the entire school district. She dropped out of school completely in eighth grade. She’s used drugs, stolen her grandmother’s car, stolen money from family members, gotten into physical fights with her sister and mother, destroyed property and recently lost a tooth in a fight.

“Does it seem right to y’all that you’re out fighting all the time?” Dr. Phil asks Danielle and Jessica.

Jessica points out that, other than the most recent fight where she lost a tooth, she hasn’t fought in two years.

Dr. Phil turns his attention to Michelle and asks her some hard questions.

"Danielle drinks, but you say, 'All 15-year-olds drink.'"

Danielle and Jessica share why they started cutting and participating in other dangerous behavior. And, Dr. Phil drills down on Michelle. Could her parenting be considered neglectful?

"Reinforcements Have Arrived"

Dr. Phil tells Jessica and Danielle, “Both of y’all have so much going for you, and it’s time y’all got a break.” He tells the girls he wants to appeal to their greed — help them get what they want in their lives. “You guys deserve better. Your behavior is terrible,” he says. “I said it’s associated with certain negative outcomes, and those outcomes are prison, pregnancy before you want it, poverty — because the world will run away from you when you behave this way. I want that to change.”

“Am I right, that at times, you hate everybody in your life, including yourself?”

Dr. Phil offers Danielle a chance to go to the Center for Discovery, to work on her self-esteem as well as other issues, and get her life headed in a better direction. She agrees to think about it. He offers Jessica a full evaluation at the PNP Center, to find out what she needs to get her life back on track. She accepts.

“And, while they’re busy doing this, we’ve got to figure out some new skills, a new plan for this home,” he tells Michelle. “You have at least, if not more, work than the two of them combined. Are you willing to do the work?”

“Yes,” Michelle says.