Bad Influences: Amber and Chad

Bad Influences: Amber and Chad
Dr. Phil speaks with guests who say someone they love is a bad influence.

"I went to church. I obeyed my parents. And I got good grades," says Amber, 21. "I was a very innocent girl. I was every parent's dream until I met Chad."

Amber and Chad started dating in high school. "Chad talked me into having sex when we were still in high school. He talked me into doing a lot of things. I was experimenting with drugs. I was also drinking until I puked. And I was getting into arguments with my parents. I know Chad is a bad influence in my life, but I just don't think I can kick someone out of my life that I love," says Amber.

Her parents are concerned. "I think Chad is a total loser," says Amber's father, Craig. "Amber needs to break up with him and find someone better."

"It really upset me that Amber was getting into things that she had never been into before," says her mother, Debbie. "Amber likes Chad's type of lifestyle because it's more exciting to her. To me, it's just plain scary."

"She was a goody two shoes, kind of a nerdy, shy girl," recalls Chad, 20. "I don't think it's fair to say that I talked Amber into having sex. If it wasn't going to be me, it would have been another guy. Amber's a big girl and she can make her own decisions."

Amber's parents became really concerned when police officers showed up at their house. "There is this nerdy guy that was stalking Amber," Chad explains. "I got pissed, and I punched him a couple times. And somebody called the cops."


"When the officer told me that Chad had a number of assault charges, I was shocked," says Craig.

"Amber's dad tells her that people like me either end up dead or in jail," says Chad. "I think her dad should accept me because I treat Amber very well. Amber's her own person. She's known who I am and what I do since day one."

"Dr. Phil, how can we convince Amber that she's dating a total loser and she needs to get on with her life?" asks Craig.

"Are you a total loser?" Dr. Phil asks Chad. "Are you the bad egg here that's turned this good girl's head?"

"I don't believe so, no," says Chad.

"But you think he is," Dr. Phil says to Amber.

"Sometimes I think he is. Like, my friends and my family, they tell me that he's not good for me," she says.


Craig stands by his comment that Chad is a loser. "I think we could do better. I don't like drugs in the family. I like people with career goals and somebody who will get on with their life and try to make a future for Amber," he says.

Amber's mother agrees. "I do feel he's a bad influence. I like his personality, but I don't like their lifestyle and the things that they do," says Debbie.

"It's interesting when I ask you if you thought he was a bad influence," Dr. Phil tells Amber. "You immediately said, 'Well, a lot of my friends and family tell me that he is.' And you say that you have sex because he talked you into it, that you smoke because he introduced you to that, you drink and you've smoked marijuana ... Do you think for yourself ever?"
Dr. Phil continues: "What about you saying no if you don't want to do it? ... Don't you own some of this?"

He turns to Chad: "And I'm not saying that you've been a model citizen in all of these things, but I think you've got a pretty good point. She's a big girl, she can decide what she wants to do."

"Well, it's just like, I mean, I'll try to get away from it but he'll like talk me into doing things," she says. "I'll say no like five times and ..."

"And he starts thinking for you again?"

"Yeah, I guess," she says.

"You understand, if Chad is the bad influence here and he does these things that can get everybody in trouble, you can wind up going to jail too," Dr. Phil points out.

"Yeah, I understand that. I just keep thinking that one of these days, Chad is going to change," says Amber. "He tells me that he's going to change.""Do you hear what I'm saying when I say you have to own your choices?" Dr. Phil asks Amber. "Chad can't make you make bad choices. When he says, 'Oh, you need to have a drink,' do you know how to say, 'No thank you'? ... Isn't it true that part of you doesn't want to be the good girl?"

"Yeah. I love hanging out with Chad because I have a lot of fun, but I know my parents don't think it's right for me," says Amber.

"What do you think?"

"I think that if I stick with Chad, he'll change," says Amber.

"Right," says Dr. Phil, sarcastically. "Well, how about you? If you stick with Chad are you going to change? Are you going to change from kind of the willy nilly, 'Gosh he talked me into it,' to being able to stand up and being able to say, 'I value myself enough to make decisions that are good for me'? And if he's trying to get you to do something that's not good for you, then it would seem to me that he obviously doesn't have your best interest at heart. And if he doesn't have your best interest at heart, why would you invest time in a relationship with him? ... Seems to me like you're a pretty willing participant in all of this, you just don't want to own it."
"I know it's hard for me to say no and that's like my biggest problem," says Amber.

"If you have trouble being tempted and having enough self-control to say no, then what you have to do is avoid temptation," says Dr. Phil. "If you're saying, 'I have a hard time telling him no,' then it just seems to me like you just shouldn't be around him. You have to use some environmental control until you can get enough strength to resolve to decide what you do and don't want to do."

Dr. Phil asks Chad, "Do you realize that she's in conflict and she's in pain about all this? And she's taking heat from her mom and dad for being involved in some illegal behavior and some irresponsible behavior? If you don't do something to help resolve that, then that's not a very loving thing to do, is it?"

"No," says Chad.

Dr. Phil tells Amber, "I'm real concerned that you won't own your decision ... You're an intelligent young woman. Make your own mind up. And decide what you stand for ... You get in this world what you ask for at most. And right now, you're not demanding much are you? You've got to change that. You've got to love yourself enough and value yourself enough to set a standard and stick to it."