Why a Mother Says She's Ready to Give Up on Her Out-of-Control Teen
Jennifer says she's at her wits' end with her 13-year-old son. She says he’s angry and violent, starts fires, threatens to kill people and claims he sees vampires who tell him what to do. Jennifer says her son is so out of control that she, her boyfriend and their two children sleep in a locked bedroom for safety. He "is making our life a living hell," she says. “My son has brought me to a breaking point. I can’t wait until he’s 18-years-old so he can move out of my house.”
But is it entirely the boy's fault? In the video above, Dr. Phil reviews home footage of Jennifer's son acting out — and calls her behavior into question.
“You guys are the adults here," Dr. Phil tells Jennifer and her boyfriend. "You’re the parents here. You have a child who clearly has problems, there’s no question about that. And I’ve not diagnosed the child … but from where I sit, from having reviewed an awful lot of records, it certainly does not appear to me that these problems are of y’all’s making — but you’re certainly not helping.”
Dr. Phil offers Jennifer help for her family.
- Obtain a proper diagnosis from a psychologist. Don't make judgments until you get to the root of the problem.
- Acknowledge your role. Parents need to examine their own behavior, and if need be, the entire family should seek counseling.
- Maintain a unified front. Parents need to be unified in their parenting and not fall victim to “divide and conquer” tactics. "If you're together, if you're unified and if you're there for each other, then all of a sudden, there's strength in numbers," Dr. Phil says.
- Don't get into a power struggle with a child. Be firm in disciplining your child and let him know that there boundaries that he has to observe.
- Every child has currency. Use it! "There's not a child born that doesn't have currency," says Dr. Phil, whether it's toys, clothes, games, or television. A child needs to understand the consequences of his or her behavior, and be able to "predict the consequences of her actions with 100 percent accuracy."
- Stop being intimidated by your child. Recognize that you don't have to be your child's friend, but you do have to be his or her parent.
For more on dealing with a violent child, click here.