Blended Family Trouble, Part 2: A Cause for Concern

A Cause for Concern
Dr. Phil checks in with a couple struggling to blend their two families together.
Despite the challenges after their first appearance, the family has been moving forward. "When we first came back, everything was going good. Nobody was arguing," says Ashley, 15. "Since the show, me and my mom have been talking a little more. I actually tell her how I feel about things."

Rachel, 15, agrees. "Right now our household is better than it was. We're not perfect at all. We're working on it though. Since we went out to see Dr. Phil, me and Dina don't argue, but we still don't talk or anything," she says, adding that she doesn't talk to her father either. "I don't talk to my dad because I feel awkward. I've never really been close to my parents where I sit down with them every day and have a conversation."

"My relationship with Ashley is the same as before," says Amber, 13. "But I think we've been a little more open toward each other."

"Since the Dr. Phil show, mine and my mom's relationship has changed, but for the better because she's been happier and not as sad lately," says George, 10.
Lou still wishes there was more change. "I feel I'm closer to Dina's children than I actually do to my daughter. The only time she comes in the room is when she wants something or she wants to go somewhere." Lou says his relationship with Ashley is "pretty good," unlike his relationship with Alex. "I feel like he doesn't want to be here," he says.

Lou knows he still has work to do with not sabotaging Dina's parenting efforts. "When it comes to discipline, Dina is much more forceful with sticking to it than I am," he says. "Sometimes I let Rachel get away with things that the other kids are not getting away with."

Dina is delighted with some of the changes she's seeing in her children. "George is opening up more. I don't know what it is, but right after we came back, it was like his self-esteem just rose. He was able to go around and make friends. And he's changed into a more happy 10-year-old boy," she says.

Dina is learning a lot from Dr. Phil's book. "Chapter four, the family legacy chapter, was very difficult for me," she explains. "I always feared turning into my mother or my father. I did come to the realization that at one point, I have been my mother and my father. Where my mother was very lenient, my father was very strict. And so I've been on both sides of that with the kids. And I'm trying to find the happy medium."
Dr. Phil acknowledges the improvements that have been made, but points out that they still have to deal forthrightly with bad behavior, such as Alex failing two drug tests. He turns to Alex in the audience: "What are you doing, drug-wise?"

"I was um, using, um, pot and that's about it," says Alex.

"Let's be specific. What else are you doing beside smoking dope?" Dr. Phil asks, moving to the edge of the stage to sit in front of Alex.

"Just that. And I occasionally drink," admits Alex.

"You occasionally drink and you smoke dope. How much dope you smoking?"

"Not that much," he says.

"How much is not that much?"

"Probably like, I've only done it once in the past three weeks," says Alex.Dr. Phil points out that Alex failed a second drug test with a highter THC level than the first.

Alex explains that he was around people who were smoking pot. "The point was, I didn't do it, but I was there. I had a choice to leave, but I wanted to stay. It was my choice to stay and I did."

Dr. Phil pauses. "Do you expect me to believe that? Seriously. Do you expect me to believe you just happened to be walking by someone smoking dope, you inhaled it, and failed a drug test?"

"I didn't say that. Those words didn't come out my mouth ... I was there. I was in the room. I was there while they lit it, I was there while there were passing it."

"You didn't actually smoke it?"

"No," says Alex.

Dr. Phil turns back to Lou and Dina. "Y'all believe that?"

They don't.
"I don't " That's what you guys think," responds Alex.

"Yeah, what you started to say is you don't care whether we believe it or whether we don't," Dr. Phil tells him. "And I don't care whether you care whether I believe it or whether I don't. What I care about is the fact that you're on drugs. And you've been in rehab before, right?"

"Yeah. Four months and six days," says Alex.

"And then you're out and you're smoking dope again, true?"

"Marijuana, yes."

"Is that acceptable behavior?" Dr. Phil asks.

"No, it's not. It's a stress reliever."
Although Alex doesn't think he needs help, Dr. Phil points out that with Alex's history of smoking, drinking and running away, he's not using very good judgment. "What do you think?"

"That you're right mostly ... I'm not thinking of what could happen before I do it," he admits.

"What's going to happen in the future?" asks Dr. Phil, pointing out his failed history with rehab.

"I quit," says Alex. "I got a new girlfriend and she doesn't want that to happen and I really like her a lot."

"And then when you break up with her, what's going to happen?"

"I'm staying away from it because I wanted to quit for school."

Dina explains that Alex's school has a new program which Alex is required to attend, along with Narcotics Anonymous meetings and random drug tests. "If this next test is not lower, they will put him back into rehab."