Blended Family Trouble, Part 2: Kids in Crisis

Cries for Help
Dr. Phil checks in with a couple struggling to blend their two families together.

A couple weeks after meeting with Dr. Phil, 16-year-old Alex was nowhere to be found. "When I came home yesterday, I found this letter and Alex was gone," says Dina.

The letter reads:

Mom, by the time you get this letter, you should know that I have left. I also wrote this to let you know that I am safe and will reach you when I feel like it is a good time to do so. Your son.

P.S. If you call the cops, I will really run away and hate you forever.

"I have called everywhere. I have driven around the streets and I have exhausted every avenue I can think of. I have really no choice but to call the police and report him as a runaway," says Dina.

The police arrive and Dina explains the situation. She last knew of Alex's whereabouts the evening before at around 11:30, when he was at a friend's house. "That was the last time I heard anything about him," she says. "The one place he always goes is my mother's."
Just as the police leave with all the information, another crisis hits home. Julie, a Dr. Phil producer, calls Dina to explain that Ashley sent the show a video diary.

In the diary, Ashley confesses, "I'm starting to get depressed again. I'm even starting to cut myself again. You know I haven't done it in a while." She shows the cuts on her wrist. "When I do it, it relieves all my stress and then it goes away. Sometimes, I just want to run away. I don't think anyone would miss me. Sometimes I think if I would just end my life, nobody would care. I'm just scared that I'm going to do something and that I'm going to regret it."

Arrangements are made for Ashley to be taken to a medical center for an evaluation. "I'm going to tell her that she has to go either tonight or first thing in the morning. She has to go," says Dina.

When Dina tells her, Ashley cries, "No, I'm not going, Mom!" and storms out of the room.
Dina and Ashley sit down to talk. "Let me see your arms," says Dina.

Ashley pulls up her sleeves and shows her mother the cuts.

"And you think that's a good thing?" Dina asks.

"No, Mom, it's not. It really isn't. But you know what? I can't get through to you," says Ashley.

They are interrupted by police who have more questions about Alex.

Later, the police bring Alex home. He was found hiding out in Dina's mother's laundry room.

"Can I have a hug now, little punk?" Dina asks. She questions him about whether he was drinking, but he denies it. "Well, I'm proud of you for hanging out with your friends and choosing not to drink," says Dina.
Alex explains: "I left because me and my mother got into an argument and I thought I was only going to be grounded for one day. And school's coming up soon and I want to go have fun. She doesn't remember telling me that I was grounded for one day."

Dina argues, "How can you only get grounded for one day for staying out all night, and not even calling me? ... When you got to where you were going, you should've picked up the phone!"

"It was 4:00 in the morning!" says Alex.

"Doesn't matter," says Dina.

But the problems with Alex don't stop there. Dina explains: "Alex is required to take random drug tests for school. He failed it." After that test, Alex promised Dina that he was no longer on drugs and that his next test would be lower. "The second test was higher than the first test," says Dina. "I don't believe Alex when he tells me he's not doing drugs anymore. And I don't know what to do with him."Ashley still needs to talk.

"I've gone through this before," she pleads with her mom. "I've been to counseling, nothing helps when the problems keep growing and growing, Mom. I don't like living here, I don't like Lou anymore, I don't like Rachel anymore."

Ashley cries and Dina hugs her. "We need to talk about that stuff," Dina tells her. "Eventually, it will get better. You have to keep in mind that it's going to get better. I was watching Dr. Phil today and he was saying how the tapes play in your head like 'I'm worthless' or 'My life sucks' and 'It's not going to get any better,' and it just keeps playing in your head and that's what you start to believe and it starts to make you feel that way. And I think that's what's happening. That's why I think you need to keep talking to somebody."

Dina and Ashley link pinkies. "I love you," Dina tells her.

"I love you," says Ashley.

"And if you do anything, I will kill you myself," says Dina.