17 and Out of Control: change

Is It Too Late For Courtney to Turn Her Life Around?
Dr. Phil offers Barbara and Chris the opportunity to ask him questions.

Chris says to Dr. Phil, “I just want to know what’s wrong with her.”

“You understand, at this point, you have a lot of ownership in where she is,” Dr. Phil tells him. “You basically taught her to stop on green and go on red, and you put her in the car and turned her out into the world. That’s not going to work. She’s learned that, 'The more rebellious, defiant and out of control I am, the more power I perceive myself to have,' because you admit, you cave.”

“How can I change her behavior?” Barbara asks.

“You have to understand that you have raised this girl with an unbridled sense of entitlement,” Dr. Phil reiterates. “There’s nothing you can do about that now, because that has happened across years. You are loving and devoted parents … you have made some really bad choices.” He notes that he often tells parents, “Avoid confrontation with your children at every possible choice, but once you have one, don’t ever lose.”

Dr. Phil tells Barbara and Chris, “It’s not too late for her to change her life, but it’s too late for you to change her life." He turns to Courtney and says, “What you’re going to have to learn the harsh reality of is they don’t owe you a damn thing after you hit 18. They take time, and effort and energy to make your life nice, and you punch them in the face and tell them you’re going to cut their throat and slit their tongues out.”

[AD]“Maybe they shouldn’t piss me off,” Courtney retorts.

“It’s your job to get along with them,” Dr. Phil says.

“It’s their job to get along with me, too, and if they keep feeding the fire, feeding the flame and keep arguing back and forth with me, that’s what just makes me angrier and angrier. I get the last word, always,” she says.
Dr. Phil suggests the parents and daughter negotiate a plan so Courtney can do some of the things she enjoys and her parents can enjoy a peaceful relationship with their daughter. He offers to send Courtney to Turn-About Ranch, a school and working ranch in Utah. He introduces Kristen Hayes from the facility.

“Turn-About Ranch is a very unique working ranch residential treatment center for teens 13 to 17. It is an ideal setting for rebellious, overindulged teens, just like Courtney, because it removes them from their comfort zone and reminds them that success is achieved through things like teamwork and cooperation, not through entitlement or manipulation,” Kristen shares. She adds that the children also maintain the working ranch, and learn accountability and respect.

[AD]Courtney rolls her eyes and says, “I really hope you just shut up, thanks.”

Dr. Phil encourages the family to have a private conversation with Kristen. He reminds Barbara and Chris that they have two more months before Courtney turns 18, and they can make her go to the Ranch.

“We’re done caving,” Chris declares.