Closing The Gap

"She Just Nags Me Constantly"
A woman who takes care of more than 15 cats asks Dr. Phil if her behavior is normal.
"I can't remember ever getting along with my stepfather Steve," says Ashley, 17, who's lived with him since she was 7. " Every little thing I do makes Steve mad...He makes me feel like he doesn't care about me."
Steve says he loves Ashley, but he'd "like to see her be more motivated with school and around the house." They're missing the bond that a father and daughter have, he says, because they "just don't really connect."
A parent's love should not be conditional on whether or not a child works hard or cleans up her room, says Dr. Phil, pointing out that Steve, too, acted irresponsibly as a teenager.

"One of the things we don't do enough is to regard one another as human beings," says Dr. Phil. "We look past people all the time, but we don't ever look at them." Instructing Ashley and Steve to look each other in the eyes, he has them stand with a gap between them.
As they tell each other what they are each willing to do to close the gap in their relationship, Ashley and Steve can take steps toward one another.

"I'm willing to tell her I love her every night before I go to bed," says Steve. "I'm willing to show him respect every day. I don't do much of that now," says Ashley.


Mike and his 14-year-old daughter Shawna fight constantly. She thinks he says "no" to everything without explaining why.
"He says no to tight clothing, no white lying ... no going places when he doesn't know the people who are going to be there, no riding in cars with people he doesn't know, no to spending too much time online, getting any belly button piercings or any more earring holes..."
"If you're going to have a good relationship, you need to know his needs so you can try to meet them," suggests Jay. "Send a message: 'I will follow your rules. You can trust me.'" Shawna needs to prove that she's responsible and assure her father that she's safe.
Dr. Phil has Mike and Shawna try a role reversal. If they listen to each other and explain their reasoning, they can negotiate a plan that works for both of them.
When asked by her mom when she'd clean her room, Courtney, 14, answered, "When I feel like it."

"She just nags me constantly," says Courtney, who has called her single mom "stupid," "retarded," and "mean."

"Does it make sense to you that you should be able to talk to your mother in that disrespectful way?" asks Dr. Phil.

Dr. Phil and Jay uncover that Courtney would actually like more discipline.

"Basically, I can do anything," she says. "Sometimes I just want to be told no," says Courtney.

"Kids need to be able to predict the consequences of their actions with 100 percent accuracy," says Dr. Phil.