Settle This: Betty and Richie

Who's the Fashion Authority?

"Every day my girls wear makeup, high-heeled shoes, short skirts," says Richie of his 15- and 11-year-old daughters. "My wife lets our daughters dress however they want to dress. She says as long as they feel comfortable they should be able to wear what they want to wear." He says the clothes are too revealing and too mature for their age, and he often requests they change before going outside. Pointing to a pair of shorts, he explains, "I think these shorts are too short. They show too much heinie. They roll them like this which makes them even shorter."


Richie's wife, Betty, disagrees with him. "I feel like as long as my girls do not have their chest hanging out and their butt cheeks hanging out, they are fine," she shares. The school called one day and made Betty pick up their 11-year-old because her skirt was too short, but Betty didn't see a problem with

her outfit. "I don't think it was too short at all. The tip of her fingers came to the bottom of the skirt, and that's how it's supposed to be," she explains. Betty also allows their oldest daughter to wear thong underwear.


Richie worries that their 4-year-old daughter is following in the same footsteps. "She looks up to her older sisters, and to me, it's a bad influence," he says.


Betty admits to letting her 4-year-old wear skirts and short heels. "She likes for a little bit of her belly to show, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that," she says.  


Richie and Betty often fight over the issue. "My daughters look at me like, 'You're just being mean to us,'" he says.


Betty thinks Richie needs to get with the times. "You dress differently than you did back in 1980," she says. "I feel like he's wrong, and I'm right."

"What's your objective as to the clothes you choose for them? What are you trying to achieve?" Dr. Phil asks Betty. "Is it a fashion statement?"

"It's not a fashion statement, because they cannot wear the shorts to school," Betty says, noting that her daughters wear the revealing clothes while at home or going to town.

"But they do wear them to school," Richie interjects, pointing to the recent incident their 11-year-old had at school.

Betty mainta

ins that their daughter's skirt was the correct length.

"If it met the criteria, they wouldn't have called," Richie points out.


"Dad says, 'This is too revealing. You can be stylish, but not provocative.' That's what you're saying, right?" Dr. Phil asks Richie.


"Yes, that's correct," Richie says.


"Do you have a different definition of what's provocative?" Dr. Phil asks Betty.


"No," Betty says. "They're comfortable in what they have on. It's not too revealing, so why have a problem with it?"


Dr. Phil points out that as parents, they need to be the authority on what's too revealing for what their daughters wear, and their daughters shouldn't have a say in the matter.

Richie and Betty agree. "I should decide, because I'm the dad," Richie says. 

"Why is he wrong?" Dr. Phil asks Betty.

"Because he's a dad," she says. "A dad sees things differently from a mom."

"You've said, even at times at home, you've had to say, ‘Pull your shorts down,'" Dr. Phil says to Betty.

"Right, yes," she agrees.

"Would you be concerned if, in fact, the clothing was provocative?" Dr. Phil asks Betty.

"Oh, most definitely," she says, noting that the clothes would be provocative if the girls' chests were hanging out, and if their shorts were like Daisy Dukes.


's shorts are shorter than Daisy Dukes," Richie counters.


"Do you have a different standard for the 15- and 11-year-old?" Dr. Phil asks.

"No," Richie says. "They both dress the same."

"So, what's good for the 15-year-old is already good for the 11-year-old," Dr. Phil says.

"And it's good for the 4-year-old now," Richie says.

Dr. Phil tells the couple that he believes Richie is right. "He's a guy, and you're not a guy, and guys know how guys think," he says. He explains that from experience, Richie knows what a 14-year-old guy thinks is provocative for teen girls. "Your meter on what's provocative is probably more relevant," he says to Richie. To Betty he says, "You don't know how guys look at these things, and he does." Dr. Phil also points out that their daughters don't need to be completely covered up either.

Richie shares his thoughts. "If there are two girls standing side by side, and one is dressed kind of trashy, and the other is dressed decent, and there's a child molester or someone out there, that's

who they look at. They say, ‘She's the easy girl to get. I'm going to go after her,'" he says.

Dr. Phil points out that Richie and Betty's daughters don't look trashy. He also says that the parents should have different standards for their 15- and 11-year-old daughters. "If they do all of that now, then what are they going to do when they're 18 or 19?" he asks. "Guys act out by being physical, or fighting, or driving fast. Girls act out with their clothes and their conduct, and if their clothes have really been pushing the edge now, then they get to a point where they hit a rebellious phase, what's left to do? What's left to wear?"


Dr. Phil tells them his biggest concern about the situation. "Y'all were disagreeing and presenting a divided front to your children," he explains. "You need to negotiate this, come up with something that both of you can be at peace with, and present a united front."