Family Resolutions: Lauren and Roy

Family Resolutions: Lauren and Roy
This year, make family first your New Year's resolution.
Lauren, 18, writes:

Dear Dr. Phil,
I would love more than anything to have my family spend more time together. As it is now, I hardly ever see or speak with my dad and he lives in the same house. By the time I get up in the morning, he's already left for work, and when he comes home, he's engrossed with his computer and TV. I would love to just shove them out the window. When I was younger, we used to spend quality time together, whether it was watching TV or just talking about our day's events. Now my mom and I can't even get him to go to the movies with us. He doesn't even eat with us anymore because he comes home so late. I would love to have a relationship with my father. I miss him. Please, Dr. Phil, help me get my father back.

"This is an unusual request from a teenager because teenagers are usually walking way ahead of their parents at the mall, they are busy rolling their eyes and don't want to talk to them. But you want more interaction with your dad?" Dr. Phil asks Lauren.

"Yeah. Usually it's me and my mom, we go to the mall together. But my dad, he comes home from work and goes right up to his office and gets on the computer and checks his e-mail and then he goes into his bedroom and sits on the couch and watches TV ... And it's just pulling eye teeth to get him to spend time with us," she says.
"Does he know you're here?" Dr. Phil asks.

Lauren says that she invited her father to join her on the show, but he had to go on a business trip.

"Did that disappoint you?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Yes," she says.

"Did you tell him?"

"I didn't want to make him feel bad," says Lauren.

"So you're not honest with him. You don't tell him how strongly you feel about it," observes Dr. Phil.

"Well, he knows how strongly I feel about this and he's told me that it makes him feel really bad and it hurts me that I'm making him feel bad," says Lauren.

"I think your dad has probably heard you more than you realize, but you've got to be real straight up and honest about it," says Dr. Phil.
Lauren's father, Roy, makes a surprise entrance. He gives Lauren a big hug, wiping tears from his eyes.

"So Dad decided maybe his business trip wasn't quite so important. Is that a fair assessment?" Dr. Phil asks Roy.

"Absolutely," says Roy.

"What do you think about your dad being here?" Dr. Phil asks Lauren.

"Now I know why he didn't answer his phone last night," she says.
Speaking to her father: "I just want to spend time with you. I appreciate the work you do and you're trying to provide for Mommy
and I, but I want to be able to spend time with you too. I want you to be able to spend time with us. Be a family. And I know your job is very important to you, but can't we at least once a week, you spend some time with Mommy and I?"

"We can do that," says Roy. "I see no problem with that, baby."
"You realize the most important male relationship she'll ever have is with you," Dr. Phil tells Roy. "And if a young daughter is saying, 'I need more time with Dad,' I can promise you, from a psychological standpoint, it's because they're in a phase, they're in a formative time where it's really important that they feel that connection, they feel that validation, they feel that grounding with that male role model in their life. And if that's done well and the connection is really made, she's much more likely to make some really good decisions in selecting a husband and making decisions as she goes forward into her life. So this is really a critical time and I really admire you for making the time, effort and energy to be here."

Lauren's mom, Rhonda, who is sitting in the audience, says, "I think this is grand. It's just grand. They need to spend time together."

"The idea about making a resolution come true is to be really specific about it," says Dr. Phil. "You have to make an appointment just as you would with a client and say, 'Twice a week,' or 'Once during the week and Sunday night.' Create a ritual and tradition."
Dr. Phil suggests a "game night" for the family. "I'm really big on games ... I think board games are a great thing for families to do."

"I love board games," says Lauren.

"Well that's good because Parker Brothers has donated a game pack for you and your family so you can have a game night," says Dr. Phil.

Lauren and Roy are presented with baskets filled with board games and father/daughter movies to watch together.

"Wow," says Lauren.

Lauren and her family also receive a family dinner together at the M&S Grill in their home town.

Dr. Phil tells Roy: "Feel ever blessed that you've got a daughter that says, 'I want to spend more time with my dad.' And be real specific. Pick two nights that it's just time to spend time together. Turn off the TV, play board games, go to dinner, go to a movie."

"That would be awesome," says Lauren.

"Yeah, I can do that," agrees Roy.