Dr. Phil checks in with the two families competing in the Ultimate Family Weight Loss Challenge.
In Clay's book, he explains that at first he tried to be nice to the bullies, rather than stand up to them or turn them in. "It didn't work so well," Clay admits. "It was not appropriate until I was able to be nice to myself and accept who I was and be happy with myself. I think people can see that. I think it's transparent if it's not you being genuine."
Dr. Phil says, "People that are bullies are cowards. People that are bullies are takers ... So there comes a point which you have to say, 'That's enough.'"
"To some extent, if you're nice to them, it's kind of a reward," Clay adds. "If you can pick on me and I can come back and be nice to you and give you presents, then that's a pretty good deal for the person who's picking on me."
A teacher in the audience shares her thoughts. "The first time I hear anything, from any child, that's negative toward another child, it becomes my problem right then. I address it right then, and I address it forcibly," she explains. "I see that when it starts with one word and they feel comfortable, then the second word is more comfortable. And then the action behind the word becomes comfortable ... If we as adults, parents, teachers, a nation, if we don't get ahold of this problem in a major way, we're not going to have any children left to grow up and run this nation."
Dr. Phil reiterates the importance of standing up for people when they are bullied. "It just takes some inner strength. It takes some courage," he says. "You don't have to be a tough guy. You don't have to pick up a stick. You don't have to be physical or violent. You just have to say, 'This is not OK.'"
Mark's father asks, "I'm trying to find ways to help, and if it is going to get worse, which I think it will, what can we do?"
"First off, support your son in an absolute, unqualified fashion," Dr. Phil tells Mark Sr. He also should encourage his son to talk about it. "You have to have an open dialogue about this," he says. "The biggest danger is that these children become isolated and that they have nowhere to turn, nowhere to fall into a soft place."
Dr. Phil stresses the importance of kids talking to their parents about their feelings. "Sometimes kids that are being bullied feel ashamed. They feel wimpy. They feel like, 'I don't really want to talk about this.' Plus it's painful to talk about," he says. But children need to be involved and not isolated.
Dr. Phil also advises parents to go to their child's school. "Don't go in hysterically," he warns. They should talk with the teachers and let them know what's going on. "A parent that goes in committed, but not hysterical and accusatory, will get the teacher's ear, will get the administrator's ear, and put them on alert for that. Every time it happens, you have to go and bring it to their attention." He also suggests talking to the PTA, the school board and other parents. "Once you start this, be committed, because it will get worse before it gets better."
Dr. Phil asks Robin to share a story about Jordan and bullies at his school.
"Jordan went to school with one particular boy who was a huge bully and he was always picking on someone," Robin says. "Jordan came home one day and said, 'I really feel sorry for "Johnny" today because he is now the victim. He's being bullied by "Steve"
and his gang. No one will eat with him so I ate with him today. I really feel sorry for him because he doesn't deserve it.'" Robin felt horrible about it so she called the boy's mother. "I said, 'I'm Robin McGraw, you don't know me, and if you think this is none of my business I apologize. But I had to call and ask you if you are aware that your son is being picked on and bullied at school. That he is the victim right now,'" she explains. The boy's mother burst into tears. "She said, 'Oh my gosh, is that what it is? We've been trying to find out what's bothering him and he won't talk to us. I had no idea what it was.'" The mother ended up speaking to the principal.