Kids Ask Dr. Phil and Robin: Ashlee

Overprotective Mom
Kids and parents ask Dr. Phil about their concerns and fears.
"My mom is so overprotective, it just drives me crazy," says 13-year-old Ashlee. "I can't go to the library alone, the park alone, I can't even go to the mall to go shopping with my girlfriends. I can't do anything."

Teresa, Ashlee's mom, says, "It terrifies me when Ashlee is out of my sight." She says that with all the news stories about children being abducted and killed, she worries for Ashlee's safety. She uses the Samantha Runion case as an example because she only lived a mile and a half from where they live.

Her paranoia began when Ashlee was 3 years old and she wandered off from her parents. "I just had this horrible, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. For 10 minutes I could not find her, and it was the longest 10 minutes of my life. I thought I was going to die right there, and I think that's traumatized me ever since," she explains.

Ashlee says that her mom's behavior is so embarassing, and asks Dr. Phil, "What can I do to get her to stop treating me like a baby?"

Dr. Phil asks Ashlee, "What makes you think that you're able to take care of these things without
your mom helping you look out for them?"

Ashlee replies, "I think that I can defend for myself, and she doesn't think that I can."

"She's too trustworthy. She talks to anybody,

" Teresa tells Dr. Phil.

Dr. Phil tells them his opinion. "I think your mother is absolutely right, but I think you have a point as well." He says to Ashlee, "You said that you could defend yourself in a kidnapping situation because you'd just scream and kick back, right?" He then turns to Robin and asks what she thinks about that.

"I don't think that's going to work," Robin says. "I worry about my boys defending themselves, so I understand your mother's nervousness."

Dr. Phil asks Ashlee to stand up in front of him. Pointing out their difference in size he says, "How are you going to defend yourself if some guy comes up to grab you and pulls you off in the weeds?" He then shakes her hand and asks her to get loose from his grip. "That's hard," Ashlee says.


Ashlee says she should have more independence because she can use karate moves that her cousin taught her to defend herself, or use
her cell phone to call for help if someone kidnapped her.

"If you want to change your mom's opinion, really listen to what she has to say," he suggests. "You've got to say things like, 'Mom, I get it. I really understand somebody could grab me. I understand something bad could happen. So let's make a plan that both of us can feel comfortable with.'"

Ashlee says she should be able to go by herself to the 7-11, the mall and the movies. Dr. Phil addresses each issue. "I won't let my wife walk a quarter mile to the 7-11." He explains that he would also never let a child Ashlee's age hang out at the mall with her friends. As for the movie, he tells her mom, "That I would consider if I knew that she had rules that she acknowledged and said, 'We'll never go outside. I know how to talk to a policeman if somebody's bothering me. We'll never go to the bathroom by ourselves.'"


Dr. Phil explains to Teresa that she needs to give Ashlee some freedoms, as long as Ashlee is
honest and follows the rules. "You're going to raise an either over-dependent or rebellious child," he tells her.

"If you try to smother her down, that's not going to last very long, so you need to co-opt her into your value system," he explains.

He explains that it is important for parents to role-play with their children so they are prepared for a dangerous situation. "We tell kids, 'Yell, scream, kick, but we don't ever role-play

that. If it happens and they've done it 100 times, then they're more apt to do it," he says.

"You have to be willing to let go some, if you negotiate her cooperation in it," he tells Teresa, and reminds Ashlee that she needs to follow the rules.