Debate Dr. Phil: Charlene

Charlene
A guest says she'll never forgive Dr. Phil.
Charlene says she can never forgive Dr. Phil for what she saw on a show called "Accidents Waiting to Happen," when Dr. Phil had advice for a father who let his 4-year-old play with chains, knives, and on the roof of their house.


"I was so angry, I couldn't see straight," Charlene says. "Dr. Phil, you were not hard enough on Tony. You seemed to make light of the situation. You were smiling with Tony. This is no laughing matter. I felt that Tony was a raving lunatic. How many people feed their children with a knife? Zander was definitely in danger. You shouldn't have let him go home without Child Protective Services checking on him ... As a nurse, I've seen some horrible accidents happen to children. Dr. Phil, I know you know your stuff, but you should have said, 'Why are you really doing this? What is your payoff?' I thought you would have said, 'You need to change this now!' I sat there saying, 'Say it! Say it!' but you never did. You should have gone into more detail on a child that young. You are an advocate for children. Zander needed a voice, but you didn't give it to him. Dr. Phil, I will never forgive you for this one."
"Let me say, I agree with you 100 percent," Dr. Phil responds to Charlene about the severity of Tony's behavior. "But did I call Child Protective Services? No. Did you?"


"No, I just figured if he's on your show, the responsibility kind of lies with you," Charlene says.


Dr. Phil looks at the transcript from that show. "I was very straight with him," he says. "I said, 'Tony, we don't license 4-year-old kids to handle firearms for a reason. Tony, we don't license them to do it because it is unsafe.' I said, 'To give him fire, knives, guns, and to put him in high places with no safety rails, how dumb are you going to feel when this boy falls, breaks his neck, and spends the rest of his life as a quadriplegic, because you want him to go on some macho trip and raise him as a rough and tumble kid?' That seems pretty direct to me."


Charlene responds, "But I have a problem with the word 'dumb.'"


"Well you're just playing semantics now," Dr. Phil says, showing Charlene clips of how he explained that Zander might not understand the difference between a loaded gun and the one his dad has, which makes it difficult to predict the consequences of his actions. He also pointed out that Tony was putting his son in situations that he was not developmentally equipped to handle.

Dr. Phil tells Charlene, "I will tell you that we follow up with our people real close and we stay real close with them. I didn't turn [Tony] into Child Protective Services because I think my job is to educate and be an agent for change, not to police and convict people. It's kind of hard to book the show if you put them in jail after they come. Well, then you say, 'Are you putting the show ahead of the child's interest?' Absolutely not, the point is the guests on this show are teaching tools, and there are thousands and thousands, maybe millions, of macho dads out there who think boys will be boys and so they let them go do this stuff. But I want them here as an example so others can watch that and go, 'You know, I need to kind of think about my own behavior.'"


Dr. Phil reveals that Tony has been through intensive aftercare therapy to look at his motivations and his issues, and the house no longer has dangerous objects within reach. "His wife confirms that is true and he is being much more judicious in his fathering and handling of this young man, and that's to his credit," Dr. Phil says.