Wendy, who said she hated the fact that her 8-year-old daughter was overweight, shocked viewers when she first appeared on Dr. Phil. She admitted that she had called her daughter a "fat pig" and withheld affection from her because of her weight.
"I explained to her that it was her fault," said Wendy. "I have a thin neice. I can hold her and kiss her differently that I can my own child."
Dr. Phil followed up with Wendy in order to give her the opportunity to express things she felt she didn't get across in her previous visit.
He was convinced that her heart was in the right heart place " but that she was misguided in her approach to her daughter's overeating.
Wendy explains, "I have a great relationship with my daughter. The show made me look like I taunt her all day. I know there were times I would get frustrated with her and hold her responsible for overeating. I'd say 'stop it, you're eating like a pig'...but I love her unconditionally."
"I disagree with how you're approaching this," says Dr. Phil. "I want to tell you what will work. You want to get across that you love and support your daughter. You agree that you have called her names and withheld affection.
You can't imagine how powerful your words are in shaping her self-image. It has huge impact. You might only say insulting things occasionally, but you are creating damage that you can't physically see."
Dr. Phil shows Wendy a simple tool to use in order to introduce exercise and nutrition into Melani's life while improving her self-esteem. He had them create a chart together.
On one side, they listed activities that Melani could easily complete, such as taking a walk, having a healthy breakfast, etc. On the other side were spaces where gold stars would be placed when the activities were successfully completed.
"Place things on the chart that you know your child can do," says Dr. Phil. "What you want is for your child to experience success " so that he/she feels a sense of mastery over their life. The weight will start to come off. But don't reward your child for losing weight. Reward them for good behavior. Every week, when your child has accumulated a row of gold stars, you can reward him/her by allowing them to pick something they want to do " and it doesn't need to cost any money."
Dr. Phil revealed that the last time Wendy and her daughter were on the show, he went backstage and talked to Melani because he wanted her to acknowledge how special she is. He promised her that if she wrote a story about why she is the star in her own life, it would be read on national television.
Melani did write a story and reads it on the show:
"Once upon a time a star was born named Melani. Melani is a star for many reasons. She is very pretty. She has a beautiful mole on her cheek that she was born with. Others have to draw it on. She has been seen on national TV, thanks to my friend Dr. Phil."
Melani's story continues, "Melani is very smart and also very proud of herself. She gets very good grades in school. She has a beautiful silver smile. Melani is most proud of her mom who loves her very much and will never give up on me. And we live happily ever after. The end."