17 and Out of Control: Parents

At Their Wit's End
"Courtney is completely out of control," says her mother, Barbara.

"I don’t like my parents' rules. I don’t listen to them, and I think they’re stupid. I’m a rude bitch, for real, and people just don’t like that," the teen says. "I tell my parents to go * themselves a lot, and I call my mom a * about five times a week. I call my dad a pig."

"Anything you can imagine will come out of that mouth. I’m just dumbfounded," says Chris, Courtney's father.

"I would advise people not to mess with me. When I get angry, I do some crazy things," Courtney reveals. "I threatened to kill my mom. I told her that I was going to slit her throat, cut her tongue out. And I told her I was going to put gasoline around the house and light the house on fire." She also punched her mom in the face and gave her a bloody lip.

[AD]"When Courtney gets like that, words can’t describe it. You feel like it’s not happening," Chris says. "I just can’t believe that’s my daughter."

Barbara shares that Courtney has always had discipline problems in school. "We have tried everything. Nothing has worked, and I feel angry, and confused and sad," she says. "There must be a way to control Courtney without her having to go to jail or be institutionalized."

"It breaks my heart," Chris says. "As a parent, you always like to think you have the answers for everything, and we’re just at wits' end with Courtney."
Dr. Phil explains to Courtney what empathy is and asks her if she has the ability to be empathetic.

“Probably, if I try hard enough," she says.

Is Courtney ready to change her behavior?

[AD]Dr. Phil lists some of Courtney’s extreme behaviors and the excuses she has used to explain her actions: She threatened to stab a girl because she stole her boyfriend, hit her mom because she annoys her, yelled at airport security because they were too slow, punched her principal because he woke her up in class, bit a cop because he was being mean to her, and she broke a bird bath and destroyed landscaping because her parents painted her room the wrong color. “Those all seem like justifications to you,” Dr. Phil says.

“I don’t like when people don’t listen to me, so I’m going to have something to say when you don’t listen to me,” Courtney says with a shake of her head.