Mean Girl in the Making?
"Caiden is bossy. My mom calls Caiden 'Little Judge Judy' because she's very snappy. She's got to have a comment back to whatever you're saying," Carson says. "I do try to discipline Caiden, and she's not having it at all. She yells and screams. I have tried spanking her, and that doesn't work. I'm too tired to fight with her, so I just say, â€˜You know what? Just stay in your room,' and that doesn't work. She doesn't like any type of punishment at all."
"Caiden can be a little snotty," says the little girl's Aunt Kristen. "My sister's discipline is very inconsistent. She needs to stick with the punishment."
Carson says Caiden constantly fights with her two brothers. "I'm screaming because I'm frustrated, and then she's screaming because she's not getting her way," the frazzled mom says. "My biggest fear is: Will I be able to control her when she's a teenager?"
Dr. Phil addresses Carson. "There's a power struggle going on, and you're losing," he observes.
"Yes, I am," she replies.
[AD]"You have a 6-year-old kid who's kicking your butt!"
"It didn't start out that way. As a baby, she was really sweet. I think it's because she gets a lot of things," Carson says.
"Where does she get them?" Dr. Phil inquires.
"Mostly from her grandmother," Carson replies. "My mother loves to go shopping, and she loves buying little girl things."
"So, she's entitled," Dr. Phil muses. "That's going to get worse every day."
"My biggest fear is that when she's 14 or 15, and I'm telling her, â€˜No, you can't go here,' or â€˜No, you can't do that,' she's going to be in my face."
"She already is," Dr. Phil points out. "He turns to Kristen. "Is she wimping out here?"
"Big time," she answers. "I tell her all the time, â€˜You need to make her stop.' She just may say, â€˜I try,' and she doesn't stop her."
Dr. Phil says it's time for commando parenting. "You need to get her under control right now," he warns Carson. "This stuff about [her] saying, â€˜Shut up. Stop talking to me. What part of that did you not understand?' She's 6. You can't have a mouth like that on that kid."
[AD]Dr. Phil introduces Dr. Erika Holiday, author of Mean Girls, Meaner Women: Understanding Why Women Backstab, Betray and Trash-Talk Each Other and How to Heal. "What do you think about Gossip Girl and Jersey Shore and all these role models these kids are getting?" he asks.
"What we're seeing in the media is that girls and women are acting out on each other, and it's getting normalized and sensationalized in our culture," Dr. Holiday replies.
Turning back to Carson, Dr. Phil asks, "This is being modeled for her. Where is she getting it?"
"I don't really know where she gets it from. She does watch a lot of TV, but she also watches educational shows. She gets a mixture of both," Carson answers. She tells Dr. Phil that she allows her frustrations to take over. "When I was a kid, I was spanked. That's not really what I want to choose as a discipline. It doesn't work with her. Time-out, she doesn't sit in the chair. I don't want to fight with my child, and I end up screaming at her, so I think maybe that's where she's getting the screaming."
Dr. Phil, who has long voiced why he opposes spanking, tells Carson that physical discipline escalates aggression. He lists other parenting techniques to avoid. "Don't yell and scream at them because you're getting down to their level, and she's a yeller and a screamer. By the way, it's not working," he points out. "Don't be inconsistent, and you are terribly inconsistent, and don't give the child excessive rewards independent of her behavior and conduct, and you and Grandma do that. I'm grading your paper, and you're getting a big F."
[AD]Dr. Phil invites little Caiden onstage. "I really like your outfit, by the way. Very Hollywood," he jokes with the girl. Then he grows serious. "How do you get along with your brother?"
"I don't get along with him at all," she replies.
"Does he make you mad?"
"Do you think you're bossy?" Dr. Phil asks Caiden.
"Yeah," she replies. "I'm only bossy to my brothers."
"Sometimes," Caiden answers with a sheepish smile.
"What happens when you get in trouble?"
"She might tell me to go to time-out or to go to my room," she responds.
"She complains all the time, and she does not listen," Kristen chimes in.
Carson says she understands that she's enabling her daughter's behavior. "I get frustrated. I don't like hearing the crying," she explains.
"That can all subside if you get some order instead of chaos in the house," Dr. Phil says.