July 09, 2013
Amy says she’s a “psycho, over-protective mom” of five children, ages 4 to 20, and worries that her behavior could be crippling her kids’ development. She admits to flossing her 20-year-old daughter’s teeth, trimming her 15-year-old’s toenails and doing her children’s homework for them. Amy says she’s just trying to prevent her kids from being hurt or disappointed — but is she really just setting them up for failure? Amy’s son, Robert, 15, says he’s suffering in school because his mom won’t let him do his own homework, and he doesn’t even know what he’s good at, because she does everything for him. Can Amy learn to take a step back and allow her kids to become independent?
Dr. Phil points out that Amy’s need to control is for her benefit, not her children’s, and is, in fact, very selfish.
Amy’s 20-year-old pregnant daughter, Katelynn, says her mom has threatened to gain custody of her unborn baby, to ensure the child is taken care of properly. “I love my mom, but she needs better parenting skills,” she says.
Dr. Phil tells Amy she’s a well-intended parent, but she’s terribly misguided.
Amy says her kids aren’t allowed to attend a college in another town. She says they can go to a community college, but they have to live at home with her.
“Kids grow up and leave. You will become an empty-nester,” Dr. Phil tells Amy, adding that after he and Robin dropped their oldest son, Jay, off at college, Robin cried for about two weeks. Still, he says they both felt confident that they had prepared him for life on his own.
Dr. Phil says that everyone has a “Why Lie” — a lie we tell ourselves to make what we do acceptable. He reads what he believes to be Amy’s Why Lie: “As a mother, I am, because of my painful life experiences, alerted and called to a mission to stand in the gap to protect my children from a world that I know can be cruel, mean and hurtful. I will not stand by and allow what happened to me as a child and what happened to my innocent goddaughter be my children’s reality. I will do for them what was not done for me. It is right. It is needed. It is my duty. It is why I am in this world.”
Amy agrees that she lives by that creed.
Dr. Phil warns parents that success-only parenting doesn’t work. “If you never let [your children] face adversity, when they do, they’re likely to not know how to adapt. Don’t spoil your kids to the point where they never get knocked down. You’ll be sorry if you do,” he says.