Kids Ask Dr. Phil: Rachel

Kids Ask Dr. Phil: Rachel
Dr. Phil talks to a 16-year-old who wants to have a 2 a.m. curfew.
"I think my parents are unfair when it comes to my curfew," says Rachel, 16. "They shouldn't be the ones to tell me how late I can stay up 'til."

Her mom, Tammy, worries about the club scene. "I trust Rachel. It's everything out there I don't trust. There's tons of Ecstasy around, and there's tons of drinking out there. I don't even want to think of what else."

Rachel feels like she's making up for lost time. She was diagnosed with scoliosis in 9th grade, and had to wear a back brace. "It was
just really hard on me and lowered my self-esteem," Rachel says. "With the brace off, I do somewhat feel like a new person. I'm going out to a lot more parties, a lot more clubs."

Her father, Sydney, acknowledges that his daughter is a good student, but still worries and wants to restrict how much she goes out. "There are a lot of things that I worry about. She thinks that these things don't seem to happen," he says.

[AD]Rachel wants more freedom. "My parents think that I'll become some crazy party girl and not care about school," she says. "Dr. Phil, how do I get my parents to trust me and get rid of my 1:00 curfew?"
Dr. Phil asks Rachel why her 1:00 a.m. curfew is unreasonable.

"I think 1:00 a.m. is unreasonable because places don't even get started until a lot later," she explains. "By the time it's 11:30 and you're just getting started, it's 12:30 already and you then you have to go home, and you've just started dancing."

"So just by the time you're loosened up, it's time to load up and go home," Dr. Phil empathizes. Turning to her parents, he jokes, "What are you people thinking?"

Sydney has caught Rachel lying to him once and was devastated by it. "I felt that maybe we did something wrong. Maybe we're being overbearing," he says.

[AD]Dr. Phil has two parenting suggestions. First, it's wrong that Rachel lied, and it's possible she's done it more than once. But her parents should not turn it into a life sentence. "If because she hurt you, betrayed you, let you down at that point, you're crushed and say, 'Well, I can't ever trust her again,' that would be unfair," Dr. Phil suggests.
Dr. Phil shares what he thinks is their second mistake. "When I looked at this, I said, 'What in the world are you people thinking letting a 16-year-old girl stay out until 1:00k in the morning?'" he asks incredulously, as the audience applauds. "In my view, she has absolutely no business staying out until 1:00 in the morning at 16. Number two, she's going to clubs where they serve alcohol. In your town, the drinking age is 19, which means you as parents are endorsing her doing illegal behavior until 1:00 in the morning by going to clubs that serve alcohol. That's not good judgment."

[AD]Rachel protests, "All my friends have a later curfew than me."

Dr. Phil points out the danger of having a late-night curfew. "You know what parents always ask? 'What are kids doing until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning?' Let me tell you what they're doing. They're running into each other in cars, drunk. The highest frequency of accidents on the road " and 77 percent of them involve alcohol " are between midnight and 3:00 a.m."
"Humans are born with as little brain development as any mammal on earth. The brain isn't through growing until about mid-20s," Dr. Phil explains to Rachel. "So you're out there with a brain that's not finished yet, it's under construction, and the part that finishes up last is the part that's reasoning, logic, and rationality. So you're out there without those abilities to see around corners and predict the consequences of your actions." Staying out late and drinking alcohol then exacerbates the situation.

[AD]Rachel doesn't see a problem. "If I'm able to keep up with schoolwork ... and I'm not going out and getting drunk at these clubs because most of them don't even have it, I don't see why it's such a problem for me to be out so late," she argues.

"Of course you don't understand because you don't want to understand. You want to stay out late with your friends!" Dr. Phil counters. He tells Sydney and Tammy, "You need to hold the line, because it is wrong to put her in situations that she's not prepared to handle."