Ask Dr. Phil and Robin: Austin

The Deciding Vote?

"I don't want my son, Austin, to go on spring break. That, to me, is a place that just asks for havoc," says Penny. "I see spring break
as kids going wild, drinking, partying, dancing on the beach and who-knows-what."

 

Austin's father, Bruce, disagrees with his wife. "I think Austin should be able to go," he says. "I think the benefits outweigh the risks."

 

"I watch shows where they show all these kids bearing it all, but I want him to be mature enough to handle that," Penny explains. "I love him. I want the best for him. I just want to protect him as long as I

can."

 

Bruce believes Austin will be able to handle the temptations. "He's going to stay up longer than he should, then he's going golfing the next day, and he's not going to play as well. That's the worst thing," he says.

 

Seventeen-year-old Austin wants to go away and relax. "I just want to go someplace warm and have fun " swimming, jet skis. They have

good golf courses there, stuff like that," he shares. "It upsets me she doesn't trust me. I'm pretty responsible. I've never gotten in trouble for doing anything illegal. I'm a good student. I'm on the Varsity tennis team. It's kind of blow off the steam after working hard for four years."

"You say that there's a lot of this girls getting naked and stuff like that, and you object to that," Dr. Phil says to Penny.

 

"Oh, a little bit. Maybe not out there, but for him," she says.

 

"You don't want him to see girls dancing," Dr. Phil clarifies.

 

"Without their clothes, no, I don't want him to see girls dancing like that," Penny says. "If he was going to Alaska during December, I'd let him go."

 

Robin shares her thoughts. "I really can relate to you, and I understand how you feel because I have been through it," she says, noting that their youngest son, Jordan, left for college a few years ago. "I think you should make a choice to trust yourself and the job you've done as his mother to prepare him to go out and be around these children and to do anything in the world without you." She suggests Penny trust her son and let him prove that he is responsible.

"Wrong answer," Penny says with a smile.

Dr. Phil tells Penny that his son, Jay, taped a story a few years ago for Dr. Phil about spring break in South Padre Island, Texas, where Austin would like to visit. He plays a video showing how the teens spend their time.

"Spring break focuses on two activities: drinking and showing off," Jay says. Many girls clad in skimpy bikinis can be seen drinking beer, dancing on tables, flashing their chests and getting drunk with their friends.

As the tape ends, Dr. Phil addresses Austin, "You probably wish, A) that I hadn't shown that, but B) that I gave you something to look forward to," he says. "That's what she's objecting to, so what do you say about that?"

"I just don't see a problem with it," he says. "You don't have to be doing that when you're there."

"Do you drink?" Dr. Phil asks.


"No."

"Do you plan to drink when you're there?"

"Not really."

"That wasn't the right answer," Dr. Phil says, smiling.

"This is all about communicate, negotiate and consequate," Dr. Phil says to the mother and son. To Penny he says, "You've got to be willing to say, ‘We're going to give you some rope.'" To Austin, he continues, "If you hang

yourself, you hang yourself for a long time in the future, and if you don't, then you demonstrate that you can enjoy more freedom and more responsibility." He notes that their sons went on spring break trips. "They're still here. They're still alive," he says to Penny. "If he's going to get stupid, you'll know."

 

Dr. Phil offers Penny some food for thought. "If he goes now, then you have some ability to talk to him about what's going on," he points out. "If you wait until he goes to college, you don't get a vote."

"Shh. Don't tell him that," Penny jokes.

"You don't want him growing up like a monk and then dropping him into the real world, because he needs to ease into these things," Dr. Phil says. "I would let him go. I'm just telling you, if it was me. We let ours go. I think he's demonstrated himself to be a very fine and responsible young man. I would be very clear about what the expectations were, and I'd let him go. But it's up to you." He asks Penny if she will let Austin go.

 

"Probably," she says.