Grandmother vs. Mother: Moving Forward

What Does the Future Hold?

Dr. Phil asks Barbara, "Do you acknowledge that by your yardstick, you measure her as having made progress?"

"She has made progress, and I am proud of her for that," Barbara says. "But for me to consider sending [Ethan] back to his mother, after just a few months of being with me, would be a detriment to the progress we've made."


"You're either going to agree voluntarily to start making the movements to get this child back to his mother, or you're not," Dr. Phil says. He offers to provide an independent social worker to perform a home study to evaluate the situation and make a recommendation to the court and to Barbara.

"I wouldn't object to a home study," Barbara says.

"If that home study found that this child would have a stable environment and could flourish educationally, physically, mentally, emotionally, then you would consider returning this child to his mother?" Dr. Phil asks Barbara.

"One of my concerns is uprooting him out of a stable environment," Barbara says.

"So, you're saying you think the child's better with you. You don't care what the home study says," Dr. Phil says.

"Right now, at this point, I have to say that," Barbara says.

"You're going to wind up back in court," Dr. Phil tells Nicole.

"This is just ridiculous," Nicole says.

"What she's telling you is, ‘I don't care if you are fit to take care of this child. I've got him, and I'm going to keep him,'" Dr. Phil says to Nicole.

Nicole fights back tears.

Dr. Phil says to Barbara, "If she is prepared and able to take care of this child, it seems to me that that's where this child should be."

"He needs to stay put for a reasonable amount of time," Barbara says.

"So he can become further detached from me?" Nicole asks her mother.

"He's not detached from you," Barbara says.

The women bicker.


Dr. Phil asks Barbara, "If we got a good social worker, whom you liked and trusted, and came in and evaluated the situation and said, ‘We've tested [Nicole] psychologically. We've done everything to assess the school and the situation, and we think this child can flourish with his biological mother,' if that was the report you got back, would you say, ‘Let's start making an orderly transition to get that done,' or would you say, ‘I don't know'?"

Barbara agrees to have a social worker evaluate the situation.

Nicole agrees as well.

Dr. Phil says to Nicole, "Even if she, at that point, says, ‘I'm going to keep the child,' then you at least have that home study to use in court."

"I would like if we could come to an agreement [and] stop arguing," Nicole says to her mother. "It's not healthy for me, for you or for Ethan."

Dr. Phil walks Nicole backstage to see Ethan. Mother and son embrace in an emotional hug.

Dr. Phil returns to the stage and asks Barbara, "How does it feel to see them together?"

"It feels great," she says. "I've never wanted to keep Ethan from Nicole. That wasn't ever my intention."