New Parenting Styles: Ashlee and Teresa

Still the Most Overprotective Mom in America?

Dr. Phil is joined by Teresa and Ashlee, now 18, and he asks the mom, "What have I gotten through to you?"

"I'm letting her do more on her own, that she can come and go as she pleases," Teresa says, adding that she let her daughter go to New York, Canada and Florida on her own. 


"I will give her that. She has changed that, but she's bringing in more stuff now," Ashlee says. The teen complains that now her mother constantly calls her. "If I'm not with her, I get a phone call every five minutes," she explains, noting that her mother calls her 30 or 40 times a day.

"There are reasons why I call her, and it's not 30 or 40 times a day," Teresa says.

"We pulled the cell phone records for the last month, and we checked the incoming calls to see what's really the case here," Dr. Phil says. They show that Teresa called Ashlee 89 times during the month, and one day she called her seven times.

[AD]Ashlee says that her mom calls her on the cell phone and house phone, so it could be more than that.

Dr. Phil adds that Ashlee called her mother 124 times, and on one day, she made 16 calls to her mom. "You're calling your mother more than your mother is calling you! You are busted," he says to the teen.

Ashlee hangs her head and laughs. "Why would I want to talk to her, when all I do is ignore her calls?" she asks.

"You call her because she is enmeshed in your life so much that you're in the habit and pattern," Dr. Phil says.

Ashlee says she still lives at home, but she's ready to move out and be on her own. "I'm ready to get out there, but when I bring it up to her, [she says], ‘Oh, you're not mature enough to make that decision. You can't handle doing this. You can't handle doing a car payment, insurance, house, all this stuff,'" she says.

Dr. Phil asks Linda, "What are you hearing the moms talk about most, with regards to this on"

"It's a hot topic for moms," she says. In a recent survey, 17 percent of moms labeled themselves as over-protective and believed it was the right way to be, and 11 percent said they were free-range. "The vast majority, 72 percent, are right in the middle. They said, ‘I watch my kids. I try to give them new responsibilities as they get older,' and they try to walk that line of balance."

"That's the way to do it," Dr. Phil says.

"Every kid needs love, but they also need limits," Michele says. "The key in life is to make sure that the limits are ones that are going to match the kids development, their temperament and the situation that they're in." She adds that parents need to make sure kids learn the skills to make it on their own.

Dr. Phil explains, "If your level of parenting inhibits what [your children] should ordinarily be doing at that time because you're doing it for them, you're too involved. If you're pushing them beyond their limits, then you're being too passive. You're letting them get into situations they're not equipped to handle."

[AD]Dr. Phil tells Teresa, "I give you good marks this time. I think you're making good progress."

"I will give her credit for everything, because she really did change on the other stuff," Ashlee says.