A Teen's Pregnancy: Dale, Kelly, DP

A Family Affair

"Tell me where you are in this thing right now," Dr. Phil says to Dale and Kelly.

"One of the issues that we have with Brittney is there doesn't seem to be any reality on her part," Dale says. "I mean, you can ask her, ‘How do you plan on taking care of the baby?' ‘Well, I don't know.' ‘Do you plan on finishing high school?' ‘Yeah.' ‘Do you plan on going college?' ‘Yeah.' ‘Well, how are you going to do those things?' ‘I don't know.' She's 16 years old. She's never really wanted for anything. She's never had to struggle for anything. She's going to expect, or we feel she's expecting us to just make everything right."


"I have good and bad days," Kelly says, voice quavering. "Brittney's been my best friend, really. We do a lot of things together. We have good times, and when she told us she was pregnant, it kind of felt like a stab in the back. She's not Brittney anymore."


"She said when she told you guys, you freaked out, that you started yelling, yelled at the boyfriend to leave, then kept yelling at her," Dr. Phil says. "Did you ever think you'd be in a situation where you're face to face and bobbing and weaving like you're in a fight?" 

[AD]"I would have bet my life on it, no way," Dale says. "I confronted her about it. She basically said, ‘Get out of my room. I don't want to talk to you.' I said, ‘I'm not going to get out of your room. This is something that needs to be addressed.'"

"She was in his face cussing and swearing. She was telling him, ‘You can hit me if you want to,' just getting all in his face," Kelly adds.

"She stood there and lied to our faces for four months. That's what I was so upset about," Dale says.

"It seems to me that this was purposeful. That this wasn't an accident," Dr. Phil says. "She set out to get pregnant, and she did, and she is right where she wants to be. We have to deal with that reality today." He notes that Brittney has the right to decide the future of her child. "She may not have the responsibility to live with the decision, she may not have the maturity to make an informed decision, but legally you cannot compel her to do A, B or C."

"Her decision impacts two full families," Kelly says.


"Which means you've got to work with her, because you can't compel her," Dr. Phil says. "She's going to have this baby, and she's going to bond with it, and she's going to love it, but in a short period of time, she's going to want to go out, and all of a sudden, you have another baby to raise."

"Exactly. That's our concern," Kelly says.

"What do you want to see happen?" Dr. Phil asks. 

"That she wouldn't have this baby. That she would have an abortion," Dale says.


[AD]"What if she says, ‘I'm having the baby, and I want to keep it'?" Dr. Phil asks.

Dale shrugs and says, "There's nothing we can do, other than take care of the baby. She knows it. That is the main problem we are having."


"I think that's our biggest concern is that she's going to demand that we take care of everything, if she's going to go to school," Kelly says.

"And you will. She's reading you like a book," Dr. Phil says.

"We've created our own monster," Dale agrees.

Brittney joins her parents and Dr. Phil.


"What I hate to see is a family in a difficult and distressed situation, and walls go up between them, because this is the time that you need to have the most dialogue. This is the time that you need to have the most cooperation. This is the time that you need to have the most honest, candid exchanges of what's going on," Dr. Phil says. To Brittney, he says, "Right now, there is a huge wall up between you and your parents. Do you agree?"

"Yes," she replies.


"And you think that wall is justified, because they've had a bad reaction, and you guys probably think you are justified in having a bad reaction, because she made some really bad choices, and I could argue either side really affectively," Dr. Phil continues. He faces Brittney and says, "They have every right to be hugely upset with you. You have made a really bad choice. You have put them, and you, and a whole lot of people in a really bad situation. It doesn't matter what makes you feel good or not feel good, what you want or don't want to do, all of your decisions have to be based on what is best for the child."


Brittney is not considering terminating the pregnancy, but her parents would like her to get an abortion. "Does that impact you at all that they would like to see it terminated?" he asks the teen.


"No," she replies. 


"Do y'all accept that?" Dr. Phil asks Dale and Kelly.

[AD]"If I say yes, then I'm also accepting the fact that she can consider putting the baby up for adoption, which I don't think she'll be able to do," Kelly says. "So I think she's boiling back down to one option, and that's Mom and Dad taking care of the baby."
"And you two don't want to do that," Dr. Phil says.
Kelly agrees. "I spent the last 16 years raising children. I was looking for a little bit of me time and us time," she says.
"You don't even know what me time is," Brittney says to her mother. "You always say that you've lost yourself, and you don't know who you are."
"That's what I was looking forward to trying to find out," Kelly says.

"Do you think they owe it to you to raise this baby?" Dr. Phil asks Brittney.

"No," she says.

"Your parents do have an absolute right to say, ‘No. I'm not going raise another child. We'll find a school for you, or a home for you, or somewhere to put you.' They have every right to do that," Dr. Phil tells the teen. "Does it matter that they're disappointed in your decisions, your choices, that got you in this predicament?"

[AD]"Yes and no," Brittney says.

"You have a chip on your shoulder about this. You are being combative in a situation where you should be cooperative. You don't seem remorseful. You don't seem apologetic or sorry. You can say the words, but you don't seem that way at all," Dr. Phil says. "The point is going to come where you need their help. Whether you decide to place this baby for adoption or you don't, you need their help. And I think you need to start that dialogue."


Dr. Phil suggests Brittney live with the decision to place the baby for adoption and love that idea for a week. Then she can live with the idea of keeping the child for a week.


Brittney agrees.