Rudest Kids
Dr. Phil talks to a mother who can't put up with her teen's disrespectful behavior.
"My 4-year-old daughter, Avery, is driving me insane," says Jen. "Avery is stubborn and loud and one of her favorite things to do is scream."
Avery also hits her parents, calls them "stupid" and "butthead," and tells them that she hates them.

Jen's husband, Mike, also feels frustration. "Now that Avery's almost 5, it has control over our whole household," he says, attributing Avery's rudeness to her older sister, Danielle, who also back talks and is disrespectful.

Jen and Mike disagree on how to parent Avery. "I'm more into trying to talk to her, making a deal with her. Mike's style is more strict," she says.

Mike has resorted to spanking his daughter, but says it does no good. "If we don't get a handle on Avery's behavior now, there's going to be problems down the road," he says.

Jen agrees. "Imagine if she acts like this at 4, how is she going to be at 16? It's just you love this little person so much, it makes us wonder what we did wrong," she says, her voice breaking.
"That girl has got some pipes on her," Dr. Phil remarks. He asks how Avery got to be the way she is and Jen replies, "She was a difficult baby. Right when she came home, she was just more difficult than our older two. And I thought she would grow out of it."

"Assume with me for a minute you didn't get a bad one and it's not some medical anomaly. What have you done to create this problem?" Dr. Phil questions. "This isn't about blaming you. It's about identifying behaviors that you may want to change."

Jen answers, "I honestly just don't know."

Mike says his work schedule could have contributed to Avery's behavior. "It's difficult with my work schedule to spend the time I'd like with all three of the kids in the evening, depending on what they have going on," he says.

"I hope ya'll are wrong," Dr. Phil says. "Because if you're wrong, if you have no ownership, then you have no power. And if you have no power, you got a long road to hoe in front of you."
"Do you guys agree about how to discipline this child?" Dr. Phil asks.

Both Jen and Mike say no.

When Dr. Phil asks what the disagreement is, Mike says that Jen is too easy, and she says that he's too hard.

Pointing out that neither of them want to take ownership, Dr. Phil says, "Here's a small thing — we're not unified as parents. 'One of us is too lenient. One of is too hard. We disagree about that in her presence sometimes,' correct?"

Both Jen and Mike agree.

Dr. Phil asks what their objective is as parents, and Jen replies, "I want her to be happy. I want her to grow up and be a happy person."

"One of the things that I think you have to have as a goal of parenting is that you socialize your children," Dr. Phil stresses.
Pointing out that Jen and Mike have been inconsistent in their parenting, Dr. Phil says, "The first thing you've got to do is get unified. You have to close the gap so much that you speak with one voice. Then you have to pick your battles. You have to create what I call 'disequillibrium.' That's one of my parenting tools. Right now there is a balance of power in the home and she is the tyrant and she is running you two like a couple of dogs. You've got to let her know this doesn't work anymore. It's commando parenting."