Girls Misbehaving

Girls Misbehaving
Working moms and stay-at-home moms go head to head in debating the best way to raise children.
"Adelia has always had trouble getting along with other kids because she's bossy, she's mean to them," says her mom Natalie about her 10-year-old daughter. "It's getting to the point where she is getting more physical."

"People do hate Adelia. It's classmates that don't like her, it's parents and it's teachers," agrees Daniel, Adelia's dad. "My greatest fear is that Adelia will be hated and won't be able to succeed in life."

Adelia is aware of her behavior. She recounts the day she attacked a classmate: "I started hitting her and saying, 'I hate you,' and I scratched her because she wouldn't listen to me," says Adelia.

Kids in Adelia's class even started the "I hate Adelia Club."

Dr. Phil immediately tells Natalie, "Adelia is not an evil child. You have to talk about this without demonizing the child in any way."

Dr. Phil then asks Natalie to list Adelia's good qualities.

"She has a wonderful heart. She is always wanting to help me around the house and she's very loving to her brother and sisters," says Natalie. "She's very artistic and creative, especially with the piano and violin."

Dr. Phil says that Adelia may be suffering from low self-esteem and is lashing out because she's afraid of rejection, perhaps thinking to herself, "I'll get them before they get me."

Natalie, who married Adelia's father after he divorced Adelia's mom adopted Adelia this year. "Adelia really wanted to have a mom in her life," Natalie tells Dr. Phil. "When Dan and I got married I thought I could give that to her, but she pushes me away because I think she's afraid I'm going to leave. I don't know how to convince her that I'm not going anywhere."

Dr. Phil tells Natalie, "Realities for children die hard. She has a biological mom who is gone. Dan then dated women who cycled through and then were gone. And now that you're here, why would she have any basis to predict anything other than, 'I'm going to be left again'?"

Dr. Phil continues, "You can't just deal with the anger. Anger does nothing more than hide hurt, fear or frustration."

Dr. Phil suggests that Natalie encourage Adelia to describe her feelings without using the word angry, and he also suggests that Natalie open up to Adelia as well, working to forge a special relationship with her oldest daughter.