DrPhil.com Exclusive
Kids and parents ask Dr. Phil about their concerns and fears.
After the show, the audience members get the chance to ask Dr. Phil some of their questions. One woman asks, "How do you get your child to be aware of the dangers out there, without making them paranoid and scared and not sort of a free spirit and a happy child?"


Dr. Phil explains that there is a balance parents need to find with their children. "You've got to give them an awareness, without making them fearful of the world." He explains,

"The sad fact is, there are things in this world that we need to be afraid of. There are predators in the world and we have to be cognizant of it. Most times when some bad event takes place, when you deconstruct the event, you'll find that somewhere along the line it was avoidable." It is important to build a partnership with your children. "When you teach your kids what to do and how to do it, they don't become paranoid, they actually become empowered," Dr. Phil tells her.
Dr. Phil warns that you don't want your child to be over-confident. He tells Ashlee, "You're way over-confident, and I'm so glad that you have this free, innocent spirit, but as you go through the world you have to be aware that you have to protect yourself and take care of yourself." He tells Teresa that she needs to teach her daughter coping skills and not just scare her.


Teresa responds to Dr. Phil explaining that they have a code word that they use. If someone approaches Ashlee, she knows to ask the code word before she will go with them.


"You're scared enough as it is, but I can't let this pass," Dr. Phil tells Teresa. He explains, "Research shows that the ability

for a predator to talk a code word out of a child is really high. You've got to have some hard and fast rules where you say, 'I will never, ever send someone for you that you don't know.'" He tells her that he never let his two sons go anywhere alone even though they are highly trained in the martial arts. He reiterates that it is important to create a partnership of awareness and self-protection with your child. "If you don't start teaching her and letting her be more independent, she'll take what you won't give, and you don't want it on a rebellious level, you want it on a cooperative level."Another woman explains that she spends a lot of time with her grandchildren, and worries about them because she thinks her daughter is too liberal sometimes. She wants to know, "How do I express my feelings without overstepping my boundaries?"


"You need to express your concerns and do it fully and make sure that they've been heard, and after that point, it's really none of

your business," Dr. Phil tells her. "You can't make them do what it is you would do if you were raising those children," he says. Instead, she can embrace her own values and protect the children when they are with her.


Her daughter stands up and says that she does listen when her mom expresses her feelings. "I actually do exactly what you say," she tells Dr. Phil. "She and my father spend a lot of time with my children, and when they're with my children they're in charge and their values guide, and when they're not, then it's none of your business," she says turning to her mom with a smile on her face.


Dr. Phil closes the discussion explaining, "The whole goal of parenting and disciplining children is that they will internalize that, and then they'll self-police." The hope, he reiterates, is that kids will learn what you teach them, and use it when you are not around.

The final question comes from a woman who wants to know Dr. Phil's advice for foster children that are about to turn 18, and leave the system and support, without any family to rely on.


Dr. Phil explains that this is a hard transition because even though these kids may have had a difficult past, they at least had some sense of belongingness, and now they are just out on their own. "I think we have to prepare them to reach out to all of the resources, all of the social support systems that are there ... Become part of a group, become part of something where you talk to people, you share ideas, somebody cares whether you show up that day or whether you don't," he says. "You've got to ask for what you want and you have to be willing to reach out and do that."


Victoria explains that there are 600,000 foster youths in the country with only 130,000 foster parents. "We try to imbue the foster youth with independence with integrity, not prostitution and vagrancy," she explains. Using John as an example, she says they encourage the foster youth becoming emancipated to choose the right opportunity instead of resorting to the wrong choice.