Debate Dr. Phil: Lynn

One guest disagrees with Dr. Phil's advice for dealing with a child who bites.
"Dr. Phil, I'm ready to debate you," says Lynn. "When I watched you with the family of Doreen, Kurt and Max, I had one question: What were you thinking? I'm so sick of these wimpy, gutless parents that come on your show, I could puke. It's these parents you keep handling with kid gloves. You're not requiring more of them as parents."

For example, Lynn thought Dr. Phil was off the mark with the advice he gave for dealing with a child who bites. "I couldn't believe it when Max was biting both his parents and his brother, and they hadn't figured out anything to stop it. Dr. Phil, you should have given them the advice to bite that kid back. You always say you have to do what works, but I think you missed the obvious on this one. I was yelling at the TV, 'Come on Phil! You know you want to say it!'"

She adds, "You're letting me down Dr. Phil! You should have told these parents to teach their child the meaning of 'no.' Dr. Phil, give me your best shot, because I'm ready to rumble!"

"You think I should tell parents in America to bite their children?" Dr. Phil clarifies.

Lynn answers, "You say, 'Do what works,'" pointing out that it worked with her daughter when she was 2.

"Are you then saying that, by extension, if the kid slaps you in the face, you should slap him back?"

Lynn explains that by biting the child even gently, she thinks he'll understand what it feels like and that it's not a nice thing to do.

Dr. Phil explains: "I have two problems with that. The first is that children don't have the ability to develop empathy, so what they're relating to is that person whom they trusted and believed loved them is now biting them. That's a little confusing to the child. The other problem is what I have with a lot of corporal-type behavior. There are a lot of rational, calm, intelligent parents who can actually take what you're doing in a moderate fashion and do it probably with some effectiveness on immediate suppression of behavior. But there's also a segment of society that does things irrationally and has a hard time staying this side of the line that defines abuse."

That aside, Dr. Phil still thinks biting kids back is "primitive."

Not knowing what results he'd find, Dr. Phil checks back in with the family.

"He's definitely not biting as much," Doreen says about her son Max. "He used to bite every day, twice a day, three times a day. Max pulled a toy away from a little boy

and the boy bit him, and I secretly kind of chuckled to myself and thought, 'payback.' But Max did not bite back. I said, 'Max, you're such a good boy, I'm so proud of you.' I put him in the stroller and he said, 'No bite.' So I knew that he understood that he wasn't supposed to bite."

Doreen also learned how important it is to isolate Max when he behaves poorly. "When Max does something that he's not supposed to be doing, I immediately remove him from the situation," she says. "Dr. Phil, Max is improving every day because of your advice. Thank you."