Heroes and Role Models

Heroes and Role Models
Dr. Phil finds out why family freeloaders are taking advantage of the ones they love.
Five-year-old twins Tyler and Tyrrell are obsessed with sports. "As far back as I could remember, Tyler and Tyrrell have had a ball in their hands," says their mom Michell.

"Tyler recently asked me if he could give me his autograph," she continues. "He signed his name on my arm!"

Rather than having her boys idolize athletes, Michell says, "I'd like for them to look closer to home, to people in their family or people in the community."

Charles, the twins' dad says that Tyler is so fascinated with Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers that he's wanted an afro and braids.

Michelle asks, "Dr. Phil, how do I encourage their interest in sports but have them value Mom's opinion, just as much as they do professional athletes'?"

"Who do you think the most powerful role model is for them?" Dr. Phil asks. Both Michelle and Charles say Allen Iverson (pictured left).

Dr. Phil corrects them: "The most powerful influence those boys have is you."

Dr. Phil points out that the boys might like wearing basketball jerseys because of how they see their father dress: with his hat backward, wearing a jersey, baggy shorts and designer basketball shoes.

"I enjoy dressing that way when I'm at home," Charles says. "I do understand that it probably has an influence on how they choose to dress."

"They look up to you," Dr. Phil reminds Charles.

Dr. Phil reminds Charles and Michell that it's OK to let the boys act their age and that some of the fads and trends they follow are transient. Still, he says, it is dangerous to allow any athlete to be a superhero in their boys' eyes.

They also need to learn that they can emulate certain characteristics of someone, but not others. "It's OK to say, 'He is a good basketball player, but sometimes he's not a very nice guy,'" Dr. Phil says.

"At 5 years old, you're their number one role model," Dr. Phil tells Charles, because same-sex parents are the most powerful influence in a child's life. Dr. Phil stresses that the boys need to know what they're good at and also be exposed to good citizens.