A Family Divided: Concerns for Katherine: Marty, Erin, Dr. Phil

Advice for Marty and Erin
Dr. Phil talks with Katherine about her recent troubles with her ex-boyfriend and troubles at school.
Dr. Phil speaks sternly to Erin and Marty about Katherine's situation, and what their role as parents needs to be.

He explains, "This conversation is by far and away the most important conversation we have ever had, because your problem recognition skills are either so bad that we're going to have to do a brain implant, or you just don't know what to do ... You are headed for a train wreck of previously inexperienced proportion with this young lady sitting right here. Now what do you hear me saying?"

Erin replies, "We have got to get tougher with our kids. We've got to quit trying to be their friend and be nice, and we've got to set stronger parameters and live by them. We have to be a force together."

Marty agrees, stating, "When we punish them for something, we have to stand to that."

Dr. Phil reinforces his message, "Both of you have been so selfish and so self-absorbed into your own lives, that you have just peeled off ... I'm telling you it's time to re-engage in a unified way, together. That's what gives me hope, because I see that you guys are getting that at this point," he says.

Dr. Phil discusses Katherine's startling behavior, and some of the factors that might have led up to it.

"We know that Katherine has a know-it-all attitude. You know that she engages you both with blatant disrespect. We know that she has had three really poor role models ... We know that children learn what they live, and we also now know that you (Katherine) are way over-involved with boys," he explains.

He tells Marty and Erin: "You're intimidated by her, because she is going to blow up and make everybody miserable. We've got the tail wagging the dog here. And that's got to stop. You've got to get back in control or you're going to lose her!"

Dr. Phil asks Katherine, "Are you sexually active at this point?"

Katherine shakes her head no, and replies, "I've kissed my boyfriend and that's about it."

Dr. Phil asks Erin what she thinks about Katherine's answer. "Well, up until this point, I thought no, but maybe there's something that you know that I don't. Now I'm like really nervous," she says.

Turning to Katherine, Erin asks, "Is there something that you're not telling me?"

"I've never had sex Mom," Katherine replies.

Dr. Phil questions Katherine, "Didn't you tell your ex-boyfriend at Christmas that you were pregnant, and that he was going to have to stay with you forever?"

"He told my mom that I said that," Katherine explains. "I've never said that to anybody."

Katherine explains, "I don't want to be with this person anymore. He just keeps antagonizing me and it never stops. Now my mom thinks something bad about me because of what he said and I can't change that."

Dr. Phil asks Katherine, "Is it what he has said or is it what you're doing? You told us that the reason you attacked him is because he was trying to get away from you, and it was hurting you so badly that you wanted him to know how bad you were hurting."

"That's part of it, but not all of it," Katherine says.

Dr. Phil asks Erin and Marty what they think about the situation.

Erin explains, "I can't even figure out where she is emotionally. I do think she's over-involved. She really wanted attention from this boy that she wasn't getting at home."

Dr. Phil addresses Katherine, "You're 13 years old, and you're having this kind of emotional turmoil ... You are in over your head, and I want you out."

"I want out more probably than you do," Katherine says.

"You have written letters to ex-boyfriends that have been given to your mother and me," Dr. Phil explains to Katherine. "The language in there, the things that you're addressing in there, are so inappropriate for somebody your age," he says.

He tells Marty and Erin that they need to see this as a huge warning sign, and it is something they can't ignore.

"Using that language and doing it in that context, tells me you're in over your head." Dr. Phil asks Katherine if she agrees.

Crying, Katherine replies, "I know I am. I just want out of everything. I want everything to stop with him. I just want to drop it, and everything go away. Now my mom thinks I am a horrible person."

Dr. Phil explains to Katherine, "It is not about him, it's about you ... We know you don't have impulse control or you wouldn't have attacked him physically and exposed yourself to an assault charge."

Dr. Phil explains to Marty and Erin that Katherine's lack of control, combined with her level of thinking, can lead to dangerous behavior.

Later in the show, Dr. Phil asks Marty, "What do you think about the fact that you've got some guy harassing your daughter, if that's true? If he's messing around with her, wouldn't you want to smoke the boy off of her?"

"Yeah," Marty replies. "But every time I try to do that, she gets very angry at me, tells me not to get involved. She says, 'You're just going to make it worse for me at school,'" he explains.

"We're allowing her to make the decisions about what is appropriate?" Dr. Phil questions Marty.

"I was going to load her up in the car and go to their house on a Saturday morning and have her apologize to him and his family," Marty tells Dr. Phil.

Katherine asks, "What about him apologizing to me?"

Dr. Phil explains, "You could get that done while you're there, because if he is harassing you, then he needs to back off too. This is why kids don't get this emotionally involved."