Blended Family: Under One Roof

Under One Roof
Dr. Phil speaks with a family facing the extreme challenge of trying to blend two households together.
Lou and Dina are struggling to blend their two families into one household. Dina has four children: Alex, 16, Ashley, 15, Amber, 13, and George, 10. Lou's daughter, Rachel, 15, rounds out the family of seven, who moved into Lou's house over a year ago.

"The adjustment process has been very difficult," says Dina. "My kids and I just walk around here and just feel like intruders."

"On a scale of one to 10, I would give the tension in this house an 11," says Amber, crying. "We're just falling apart. No one's getting along anymore."

Both Amber and Ashley say the biggest problem in the house is the one between their mother and Rachel. Lou agrees, saying, "I definitely feel like there's a no-win situation here with me and Dina, and me and my daughter Rachel. I feel like there's just too much tension to handle and I just want to run away. I just want to get away from it all."Rachel, who admits she's called Dina and her father horrible names, sleeps on the couch. "The only time I'm happy is when I'm not here," she says. "I don't like arguing. I just try to get away from it, and run from it. I hate it."

The other two kids in the house, Alex and George, don't like the situation either. Alex says, "Right now, I don't feel like this is my house. It's all Lou's house. We're just living in it."

And although Dina thinks George is at an age where he doesn't know what's going on, George disagrees: "I know what's going on. I understand that nobody really gets along in this house," he says, tearfully.

Lou and Dina called a family meeting where everybody could say what they think is wrong. Cameras capture the heated exchange:

Amber speaks to Rachel: "You make it seem like you have to sleep on the couch, but I've offered you my bed plenty of times."

"You only offered it the one time," says Rachel. "I want my own bed. It does get annoying sleeping on the couch."

George jumps in: "You can ask me to sleep on my bed because I don't really care."When it's Ashley's turn, she speaks to Lou: "This really bothers me that you say this to my mom, that she's picking on Rachel. She treats everybody the same if they do something wrong, and it really bothers me that you say that."

"Your mom's and my fighting is always over one person in this house, and it's Rachel," explains Lou.

When Rachel responds about the family fighting, it doesn't take long for an argument to break out.

Ashley tells Rachel, "My mom has done everything for you since you moved out of your mom's house. She has always been there for you when you needed someone, Rachel! And to go back and treat her like that really ""
Rachel: "You guys act like I do everything " like she doesn't sit there and yell at me ""

"She yells at everybody!" argues Ashley.
"I'm not her stepdaughter," says Rachel.

Dina responds: "Alright, so from now on, you take your skinny little butt and you walk to probation, when you have to go to the damn doctor, you walk there, when you need tampons or anything, you walk your skinny butt up there and get it your damn self."

"That has nothing to do with you being a stepmother!" yells Rachel.

"Yeah it does!" says Dina. "Those are things mothers do for their children. I'm not your mother? Then I don't need to do those things."
At the end of the family meeting, Rachel, crying, says, "The way I see it, everyone gangs up on me, everyone's against me ... like she's not yelling at me or anything, like I always start everything."
Dr. Phil asks Lou and Dina how they feel after seeing the footage of their family dynamic.

"It makes us feel bad that that's what's going on in our house. It makes us feel really bad that all the kids feel that way," says Dina.

Lou says he wishes he could help everyone get along. "I just wish that Dina and my daughter could get along. I've tried so hard," he says.

Although Lou and Dina think the main issue is with Rachel, Dr. Phil gives his opinion: "I think that's not even almost close to what's going on here," he says, acknowledging that Rachel does play a part, however. "This family is a system. And Rachel is just a symptom. She's the one making all the noise right now, but the noisier she gets, the more it reflects on what's going on within this family."

Lou and Dina love each other and want to get married, but both have doubts about whether it will work. Dr. Phil explains that their situation is more serious than that. "Both of you are coming out of divorce. Both of you have children that, in my opinion, have gaping, open, emotional wounds ... When a child goes through the trauma of divorce, I guarantee you, they have open, gaping wounds psychologically. Their psychological skin is ripped open and they are suffering really bad."