Kids' First: Dr. Phil and Robin's Strategies

Kids' First: Dr. Phil and Robin's Strategies
Dr. Phil and Robin on how they handled the milestones in their children's lives.
Dr. Phil and Robin's Parenting Strategies

"One of our strategies as parents was that we prepared our boys ahead of time for everything," says Robin. "They could always count on that. We took away any sense of the unknown. When they would start a new school, we would always visit the school ahead of time. I'd say, 'This is your locker, let's try the combination. Here's where your class will be. This is where I'm going to park every day to pick you up.'"

Jay McGraw explains that he and his brother Jordan pretended they didn't want to visit the school ahead of time. "But on the first day of school, I did feel like I was the only person who really knew how to find my way around," Jay laughs.

Robin says that another strategy she and Dr. Phil used was to each play specific roles. "I think that when kids are young, the mother deals with more of the firsts in their child's life, such as the first day of school. As they grew older, Phillip took over and handled a lot of problems and firsts for them."
"I have to take a picture of every first," says Robin. "I've always made it a point to make every first a milestone. If I don't support them and show joy and excitement for them, who is going to? That's my job and it's very important to me to tell them that everything they do is important to me."

Dr. Phil shows the audience a photograph of how he taught his sons to ride a bike. "We were always worried about our kids crashing so we always told them to ride their bike in the house," he says. "They felt safe there and then they begged to go outside ... They also learned to crash inside and before they knew it, they weren't afraid of crashing any more."
Dr. Phil explains that when Jay was very young, the family dog got sick and died. "I took Jay for a walk out on the golf course and we sat down on the bench and talked. The only thing parents can do is be honest. I told Jay the dog had been sick and we tried and tried but the dog didn't make it."

Dr. Phil continues, "It was difficult for Jay, but vets and psychologists agree not to get another dog right away. They need to have a chance to sort out their feelings when they have a loss. Robin lost both of her parents and then my dad passed away, and I can tell you, there was a direct correlation between Jay's learning how to handle loss with the dog and being able to deal with the other losses. Though the losses were not on the same scale or scope, the concept of loss was not totally foreign to him."