Tyrannical Teens

June 2, 2014
Lavena says her 17-year-old son, Trevor, has an out-of-control rage problem and fears he could snap and kill her, her husband, her 5-year-old twins — or become the next school gunman. And, Karen says she’s at her wits’ end with her 15-year-old daughter, Nicole, who she says sneaks out of the house, uses drugs, skips school and recently stole her car. What’s at the root of the teens’ behavior? Plus, Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, Chief Medical Officer of Pfizer (GetHealthyStayHealthy.com), shares important information about dementia and driving.







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LavenaTrevor, Lavena's sonJosh, Lavena's husband and Trevor's stepfatherKiki Haakenstad and Dr. Rick McNeese, First StepDr. Frank Lawlis, Chairman of the Dr. Phil Advisory BoardKristen Hayes, Turn-About RanchKarenNicole, Karen's daughter

Raging Teen

Lavena says her 17-year-old son, Trevor’s, anger is out of control, and despite seeing mental health professionals for years, his behavior is growing more aggressive and defiant. She says Trevor screams, curses and breaks things during his rages and has even threatened to shoot people — and never shows remorse for his actions. She says she fears he could snap and kill her, her husband, her 5-year-old twins — or become the next school gunman.
 

“Nobody has been able to help him.”

Dr. Phil reviews Trevor’s medical history. And, see Trevor’s rage caught on video.

Working with Trevor

Trevor’s psychologist, Dr. Rick McNeese, and one of his associate therapists, Kiki Haakenstad, join the discussion via Polycom. Dr. McNeese says, “This is a very complicated young man and yet atypical. While we’re seeing some very violent films here, he’s actually done well in other situations. He’s not the typical kind of antisocial kid who loses his temper at school around peers. Not that he hasn’t had some episodes, but not so severe, so it’s a very sketchy kind of out-of-control behavior, mostly in the home. But this is not something he chooses to do, in my estimation.”

“Josh, you say when he’s with you that you don’t have this problem, when it’s just one on one?” Dr. Phil asks.

Josh says when he and Trevor are together out of the house, Trevor is more compliant and agreeable with him.
 
“That is hopeful, that he does at least have, within the range of his behaviors, [an ability] to interact in a more appropriate way,” Dr. Phil says.

One-on-One Backstage

Dr. Phil sits down with Trevor backstage. He asks him, “How do you get along with your mother most of the time?”

“OK,” Trevor says.

“She says that's not true. ‘We don’t get along OK. We have a lot of conflict. There’s a lot of yelling, and screaming and clashing that goes on.’ So, which is true?” Dr. Phil asks.

“Her side,” he admits.
 
“Why would you say you get along with her then?”

“Because sometimes we fight, and sometimes we have good days,” Trevor says. He admits that he gets angry and rages.
 
“When you rage, and yell and scream, when it’s over with, how do you feel?” Dr. Phil asks him.
 
“Upset and scared,” he says. “Scared that I would hurt someone.”

“Your mother took some video camera footage of you when you were upset recently. Do you recall that?” Dr. Phil asks.

“No.”

Dr. Phil shows Trevor the home video of him screaming at his mother.

What is Trevor’s reaction after seeing his rage caught on video? Does he show empathy for his mother?

Dr. Phil rejoins Lavena and Josh onstage. He notes that Lavena says Trevor has had 13 mental health evaluations over the past 17 years, and she says no one has been able to give her a comprehensive explanation for his behavior. He asks her for her reaction to his conversation with her son backstage.
 
“I feel like sometimes he says what people want to hear, like, ‘Sure, I can calm down. Yeah, I could do that,’ but he can’t seem to make that connection when he is angry,” she says. “It’s nice to know that he realizes that I’m scared, because when I try to talk to him, even later at a calm time, he doesn’t want to talk about it. He doesn’t remember what happened.”

Dr. Phil introduces Dr. Frank Lawlis, Chairman of the Dr. Phil Advisory Board. “Could there be some neurological issues?” Dr. Phil asks.

Dr. Lawlis and Dr. Phil offer help to Lavena and Josh. “I think you two are in over your heads.”

Dr. Phil offers them an opportunity to send Trevor to Turn-About Ranch, a residential treatment center for teens offering a combination of therapy, academics and hands-on ranch experience.

“We’re just really grateful and appreciative,” Lavena says.
 
“We just want him to be successful,” Josh says.


Rebellious Teen

Karen has six children and says she’s having the most difficulty with her 15-year-old daughter, Nicole. “She’s sneaking out of the house, smoking pot, failing classes, skipping school, having sex with multiple boys,” she says. She says most of her daughter's friends are boys. “One of my biggest fears is that my daughter is going to be pregnant.” Karen says she learned her daughter let a boy sneak into her bedroom at 2:00 a.m., and they had sex. “I was absolutely furious,” she says.

Nicole says, “I know my mom is concerned about guys, but I’m not stupid. I’m not going to put myself in a situation that I don’t feel comfortable in.”

Karen says Nicole stole her car in the middle of the night, so she pressed charges for unauthorized use of a vehicle.

“I didn’t steal her car. I borrowed it at midnight, and I returned it at 6:30 in the morning,” Nicole says. “I had a couple guys over. I didn’t tell her we were borrowing her car, but we took it. We drove all around town. I knew when I got home that my mom would be mad … I just don’t understand why a mom would even want to see her daughter in court and want to be the one putting her there.”

“It totally upsets me as a mom, and I just don’t know what else to do,” Karen says.

“Under no theory, under no circumstance, is it responsible parenting to let your daughter leave the house with two boys, at 14 years of age, at 11:30 at night.”

Find out what happened two years ago that Nicole says changed everything.


Dr. Phil offers professional counseling for Karen and Nicole, to help them understand each other’s point of view and negotiate a plan for moving forward. He asks Nicole, “Have you apologized to her for this behavior and what you put her through?”

“I’m sorry,” she tells her mother.
 
Dr. Phil asks Karen, “Have you apologized to her for what you put her through?”

“I haven’t,” she says.
 
“A great place to start is session number one,” he says.

Dementia and Driving

Terry wants to know how to tell her 86-year-old mother, who has dementia, that it’s time to stop driving. Dr. Phil introduces Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, Chief Medical Officer of Pfizer, who explains what dementia is, how to recognize the signs that it may be time for a parent to give up driving and how to start the conversation. 

How do you know when it's time to take the car keys away from a parent with dementia?

For more information on dementia and other health topics, go to GetHealthyStayHealthy.com.