March 17, 2016
Chris and his ex-wife, Kelly, can't stand each other, and each claims the other is a terrible parent.
"My ex-wife, Kelly, is an unfit mother. Kelly's parenting style has put my children in harm's way on multiple occasions," says Chris, claiming that their daughter was 14 when she had sex with a 28-year-old. He blames Kelly for allowing it to happen with a man who is possibly a convicted sex offender.
"Chris is a bully," says Kelly. "He goes out of his way to make me look like a bad mother." She says he has been an absentee father who hasn't paid child support for years, claims he has gotten physical with their girls when disciplining them, and calls him a "deadbeat dad."
"It's hard to co-parent with someone you actually hate," she explains.
WATCH: Why Dad Says Teen Daughter Is Accusing Him Of Abuse
In the video above, both parents get a wake-up call about why their behavior is destructive.
"Let me tell you something," Dr. Phil tells Kelly and Chris. "You two are derogating each other to your children. Both of you do it. Both of you are dragging children into adult issues. That, in and of itself, is abusive to your children ... I have two rules about children. Number one, you never involve children in things over which they have no control. It makes them feel helpless and creates anxiety and depression. Number two, you do not involve them in adult issues. You two are just trampling all over both."
He continues, "It's very obvious that you don't like each other at all. And I think both of you are letting that really distort your behavior, your perceptions."
Dr. Phil asks Kelly to set aside how much she despises her ex, challenging her to imagine what Chris would do to protect their girls if, for example, their home was invaded. "He would fight to the death to save those two girls," Dr. Phil posits.
"Yes, I do believe that," Kelly agrees.
"You know, if you two would spend less time trying to impeach the other one and more time trying to embrace a family plan, these children would be a whole lot better off," Dr. Phil suggests.
Can they learn to co-parent in peace and do what is in their daughters' best interests? This episode of Dr. Phil, “My Ex Is A Terrible Parent and a Danger to Our Children,” airs Thursday. Watch more here.