Extreme Parenting: Mark Allen

Extreme Parenting: Mark Allen

"Mark Allen is 16 years old, and has had his driver's license for eight months. I wanted to put this chip in the truck so any excess speed I would know about," explains Mark Allen's father, also named Mark.

His intention was to tell his son about the tracking device, but he put it off until Mark Allen had unknowingly driven for several days with the chip in the truck. "After three days, I took the chip out and downloaded the information into a c
omputer and read the report. I was shocked. He drove in excess of 100 miles an hour on at least three occasions. There were 20 or 30 extreme accelerations and extreme brakes," he reports.


Mark Allen downplays the severity of his speeding. "I thought my dad blew it way out of proportion," he says. "My dad feels that if anybody goes over 100 miles per hour, they're crazy."

Mark had strong feelings about the way his son was driving. "My reaction went from extreme anger to extreme fear. I realized how close he was to death. I confronted him. I was extremely angry, and he saw a side of me that he's not used to seeing," he confesses. "Mark told me that he should have been told about the chip, and that he felt like he was set up or tricked."

"My greatest fear would be that my dad never would 100 percent trust me, just because of this one situation. We were just joking around, having a good time, and I don't think it's that big of a deal," Mark Allen says.

His friend, Nick, agrees. "Wasn't like he was a reckless driver; he just drove really fast. If it's time for you to go, no matter if you're going 30, 50, 105, if it's your time, you're going to go," he declares.

Mark stands by his decision to use the tracking device. "I firmly believe that every driver between 16 and 18 years old should be monitored," he says. "I will not remove the chip because I will sacrifice trust for safety. If we have trust issues, at least we don't lose our son."

Addressing the younger Mark, Dr. Phil says, "You have admitted that this has been your normal driving pattern for, like, the last four months."

"Yes."

Dr. Phil shows him a graphic of a car that has been involved in a crash. "That's a car that's been in a 30-mile-an-hour crash. And you see it's all dented up and knocked off, everything," he explains. Showing another picture, he says, "Now look at a car at 100 miles an hour. That's a Mercedes, which is the safest car on the road, right? Built to protect and save your life. I want

you to picture yourself in that right now, at a hundred miles an hour."

 

Dr. Phil drives home his point. "You may think that it's not scary to you, but I drive on the streets, and it's scary to me. My wife drives on the street. My children drive on the street, and I don't want to be on the street with a 16-year-old doing 104 miles per hour in a Mitsubishi, or anything." 

Dr. Phil praises the elder Mark. "Dad, I would not take that chip out of that car. And you can say, 'Well, he set me up.'  Well, good job!" Dr. Phil says. "You said you forgot to tell him. What's the point in telling him? ... I'm glad you didn't tell him."

Mark Allen needs to earn his father's trust. "You can say, 'Well, I feel like I was set up.' That's a matter of trust. Trust is earned. Your job is to protect him, and you did what you had to do to protect him," Dr. Phil tells Mark. "I agree with you 100 percent, without qualification, that you did the right thing here. He's not a bad kid, and the reason that you need to do this is because 16-year-olds cannot predict the consequences of their actions."

 

Mark says, "Well, Dr. Phil, a wise man once said, 'It is not my job to be his friend. It is my job as a parent to raise him to adulthood safe, sane, and in one piece.'"

"That's right. It was a wise man that said that!" Dr. Phil says with a smile.