Parenting 101: Biggest Nightmares

Parenting 101: Biggest Nightmares
Dr. Phil talks to a mom who feels guilty when punishes her son with a time-out.
Lisa is a stay-at-home mom with three young boys. Because her husband David works long hours and only sees their children on weekends, Lisa is left to discipline them. She says her 4-year-old son Caleb is running her ragged with his uncontrollable behavior.

Lisa: Caleb pulled a 10-gallon fish tank onto the floor, almost killing the fish. He thought it was fun. He sneaked Elmer's glue into his room and glued his hair, hands and feet in bed. He punched the 18-month-old baby in the face. One time he even peed on himself to get out of a time-out. Caleb tells me he's bad because I punish him. It makes me question whether I punish him appropriately. Dr Phil, what can I do to get a handle on this problem child?
Dr. Phil: What do you think is going on here?

Lisa: I don't know. Sometimes I think he's trying to get attention and sometimes I think he's doing it because he's mad at me.

Dr. Phil:
How big an issue is guilt with you?

Lisa: It's a big issue. I'll punish him sometimes and take it back because I feel it's too strict.

Dr. Phil: What do you think might be too strict?

Lisa: Grounding him from TV all day.

Dr. Phil [speechless]: Um ...
Dr. Phil: Listen, can you envision this behavior when he's 14, 15 or 16?

Lisa: I'm scared of what he's going to do to me when he's 14 or 16.

Dr. Phil: This has to stop now. The first thing you have to do is rule some things out here. That's going to require some work with your pediatrician and possibly a child neurologist. Because at a minimum, you have an impulse control disorder, but you need to rule that out. One of the worst parenting mistakes we can make is asking a child to do something they're not physically equipped to do ... Do you understand that we're talking about a power struggle with a 4-year-old and you're losing?

Lisa: I know. It's embarrassing.

Dr. Phil: Caleb's biggest weapons are guilt and doubt, because you feel badly if you're not nice to him ... For example, you put him in time-out and say he won't stay.

Lisa: He won't. He'll tell me he has to go to the bathroom.
Dr. Phil: I want to take this guilt away from you. You have to be prepared to say, "I can't let this continue." If you put him in time-out and he wets his pants, not only will he stand in a puddle, but he will wear those pants for the rest of the day.

Lisa: I don't think I could leave him in his pants all day. They would smell. That's OK? To leave him in his pants?

Dr. Phil: It's not only OK. It's required. You've got to call his bluff. I know every bleeding heart pediatrician out there is going to write me a letter and say that's unsanitary and you can get skin rashes. Well, you get some calamine lotion. If that kid tries to manipulate you by peeing his pants in the corner, he needs to understand he doesn't want to do that anymore.

Dr. Phil emphasizes that Caleb's behavior needs to be stopped and suggests that David (pictured above) look into changing his schedule or taking a week off of work in order to be present in his son's life during the process.