Parenting 911: Phillip Van Munching

Parenting 911: Phillip Van Munching
Dr. Phil talks to parents who say their two sons are out of control.
After a brush with death, Philip Van Munching decided to write a letter to his daughters Anna, 13 and Maggie, 10. He wanted to share his knowledge about sex, peer pressure and boyfriends, and his collection of stories became the book Boys Will Put You on a Pedestal (So They Can Look Up Your Skirt): A Dad's Advice for Daughters.

"What was the first thing you wrote to them?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Fate, interestingly," Philip replies. "It makes me nuts when people talk about soul mates. We do so much work to have relationships with people and we work so hard on them. To have this belief that there's a Prince Charming out there for you ... Go out and make mistakes. Mistakes are the biggest measure of us as people, both why we make them and what we do after we've made them."

"How did you feel about sharing some of your personal mistakes with your daughters?" Dr. Phil probes.

Philip replies, "Not bad at all because you get to a certain age where you don't worry about who you're going to offend or who you're going to impress. You just tell people what it is you know and the best way to do that is to tell them how you learned it.""I think this book is something parents ought to read and give to their daughters," Dr. Phil says. "Has your 13-year-old asked you about sex?" "She has. The biggest question I always get is: 'When do you have the sex talk?' And I say, 'Constantly.' It's not one talk. It's not the mechanics and that's it." He gives the example of his daughter, Anna, asking about the birds and the bees when she was 8. "They want to know that you'll talk to them when they're ready." In his book, Philip talks about how parents may not have evolved in how much they talk to their children about sex, but society has evolved in a more open way. Sex is glorified and glamorized on television, and children are influenced by what they see. "We're not going to be the only influence, so we'd better be the best. We'd better be the clearest. We'd better be the ones who give the facts and the information," Dr. Phil stresses. Addressing the issues of oral sex in the middle schools and "friends with benefits," he says, "Somehow or another, sex now comes before relationships."