Little Mean Girls: Commando Parenting

Little Mean Girls: Commando Parenting


Dr. Phil explains to all his guests exactly what they need to do to reshape the behavior of their daughters:

"What needs to change is the family," Dr. Phil tells all his guests. "The first thing that needs to happen is all of you need to stop reacting. You have to take their power away by failing to react.

Here's what you've got to do: You've got to go home and strip their world. You absolutely have to strip their world. Every toy, every doll, every television set, every entertainment that they have, you have to take it away. These kids have a sense of entitlement, right? Take everything out of their room until you get it down to the basics. And then they're going to scream and yell and holler and go nuts, but they'll eventually get tired. At that point, you've got to say, ‘Look, you haven't been behaving well, and all those things that you enjoy, those are privileges. And you're going to earn those back by behaving in a very specific way.' And then you need to give very specific behavior of what you want them to do. Don't just say, ‘Don't yell and scream.' Instead say, ‘If you want something, I want you to ask for it in a nice voice, in a nice way and if I say, "no," you have to accept that.'"


When it comes to time-outs, Dr. Phil recommends putting them in a room devoid of stimulation so there is no entertainment. And if you have trouble keeping your child in the room, then lock the door. For safety, you can get a nanny cam to monitor the child. "If you have to, cut the door in half and then lock the bottom." Then, you shouldn't begin the timing until your child is quietly behaving. "If she screams for 50 minutes and then is quiet, start the time. And if in four minutes and 45 seconds, she starts screaming again, back to zero. She will learn."


Dr. Phil also points out that this will turn into a showdown and you'd better not lose. Parents should be prepared for the child to increase their tantrums before they learn to stop them. Be strong enough to tough it out. Gagging, vomiting, peeing their pants " none of that is going to get them out of their timeout.

When the child has calmed down, you can explain it. "They will get calm and they will say, ‘Why did you take my toys away?' And you can explain, ‘Because you've not been a behaving like a young lady.'" Be clear about what is expected of them: You want them to play nice, don't hit or scream, but ask for what they want in a nice voice, etc. "And then what you've got to do is catch them doing something right. And then you can scoop them up in your arms and say, ‘You are absolutely one of the sweetest girls I've ever seen, and thank you for playing so nice.'" That is how you begin to reshape your child's behavior, but it starts with getting back to the basics first: mattress, blanket, pillow. No toys. Then let them earn everything back one at a time. "And if they start again, then they lose it again."