Breaking the Bank
Dr. Phil helps guests solve common parenting bloopers."I spend a fortune on my daughter because I really want her to have the best in life," Laura says. She buys her children tons of toys, and rarely ever looks at the price tags. For Christmas, she spent about $3,000 on her 2-year-old daughter Katie, and it took three hours for her to open all the gifts.
"I want her to have what I didn't have. I just love to see her eyes light up," Laura explains. She also had her newborn son's room painted with special decorations, and had to buy every coordinating item for the room.

Laura's husband Robert is concerned about her spending. "How we spend our money is probably the greatest source of tension in our relationship," he says. He thinks about the future and saving for the children's education, but right now they aren't able to because Laura keeps spending. Their 2-year-old daughter even knows what the credit card is and how it's used.

Laura admits that she spends too much money on their daughter. She asks Dr. Phil, "Please help me find another way to give her the things she wants without breaking the bank."

Dr. Phil asks Laura, "What do you think is going on here?"

"I love for her to have all these things," Laura explains.

Robert says that his biggest concern is bankruptcy, and that it is

causing a lot of stress in their relationship. "I want to bring the kids up right," he tells Dr. Phil. "I want them to not come to feel entitled to things. I want them to learn that they have to work hard and earn what they get."

Laura says she agrees, but adds, "Right now they're my babies and I want them to have everything."

Dr. Phil reads off a list of items related to Laura's spending. They have refinanced their home to cover their credit cards, but she is still using the cards. She spends $1,200 a month above necessities on the kids, and every time she goes to the store, she

buys two or three things for the kids. "Tell me why this isn't a good idea," Dr. Phil says to Laura.

She agrees with Rob that she spends too much, and doesn't want their daughter to feel entitled to things. "But I don't think we're at that point right now," she says. "Maybe in a couple of years I will start stressing that she needs to save and that she can spend her own money."

Dr. Phil explains the problem when parents spoil their children. "If they have so much of everything, they value nothing," he tells Laura. "It robs her of the chance to develop her own likes and her own wants and even more importantly, it robs her of the sense of

achievement and accomplishment."


Dr. Phil tells her what he thinks is underlying this issue. "You're doing this for you. You're not doing this for her," he says, explaining that Laura likes the way she feels when she gives Katie everything she wants.

Laura agrees but says that Katie benefits from the toys that are educational. "She's the smartest, most well-rounded 2-year-old you'll ever meet, and I think it's because of some of the toys I buy her," Laura justifies.

Robert responds, "We can teach her all those things without having to go out and buy toys to do that."

Dr. Phil agrees. "I'll bet you I can fill up a U-Haul trailer with stuff that doesn't have a damn thing to do with her knowing how to count to 30," he jokes with them, as the audience laughs and applauds. "Give the kid a break. Find some other way to entertain yourself!" he tells Laura. "There are things you can do to develop her mind and to really be excited without over-stimulating her." He tells her to change the behavior by buying things on special occasions, or if it is something that Katie has consistently shown an interest in.