Troubled Teens: An Intervention: Alaina, Alexis

No Respect

Cameras kept rolling with 14-year-old Alaina as she lit up a cigarette and revealed she's thrown parties right under her parents' noses. "Me and Alexis had a party a long time ago, when my parents were out of town. Cops came to that party. The only trouble I got in was someone was smoking pot in the school room, and someone threw up in my parents' room. And someone was * on my parents' bed, so the sheets were all messed up and stuff."

"Charming," Dr. Phil tells Alaina, who has joined him onstage, along with her sister, Alexis. "Why do you think we're all here?"

"We're not good kids," Alaina says with a smile.

"Are you a bully, Alexis?" Dr. Phil asks her sister.

"No," she says, smiling. "Not really."

"Are you a manipulator?"

"Sometimes," she admits. 

[AD]"Did you demand a car in exchange for coming on the show?"

"No, they just said they're not getting me one unless I come on," Alexis says.

Kimberly admits she tried bribing her daughter to get her on the show.

Alaina admits she's rebellious and that she drinks and sometimes uses drugs.

"And you smoke. And you're 14. Now you're under house arrest, and you've been in jail, and you say it's her fault," Dr. Phil says, indicating her mom.

See why Alaina blames her mother for being under house arrest.

 

Kimberly and David installed an alarm system in the house, so they would know when the girls tried to sneak out of the house at night. Alaina says they learned to turn it off.

"Do y'all have any respect whatsoever for your parents' right to tell you what you can do and what you can't do?" Dr. Phil asks the girls.

[AD]"Yeah," Alexis says.

"Well, looking at myself, I don't," Alaina admits.

Dr. Phil points out that although her parents said no, Alexis got a tattoo and a tongue piercing. "It doesn't really matter what they say to you, right?" he asks her. 

"I don't know. Things have gotten better," Alexis says. "For the past few months, things have gotten better."

Kimberly and David say dealing with Alexis' anger is difficult. "Alexis has called her father names and yelled at him in front of the whole softball team," Kimberly remembers. "She called a time out, went over to her dad, started yelling at him. She got mad, and threw her glove at him, and told him he's an idiot and doesn't know how to coach."

"Alexis always gets angry when she doesn't get her way," David says. "The things that set Alexis off are not predictable. If she disagrees with something that somebody has told her she has to do, or can't do, then she is quick to throw anger fits with her mom and her sister, sometimes me."

Dr. Phil addresses Alexis' anger. "You manage by intimidation," he says to the 16-year-old.

"I guess so. I don't know," she says.

"Hey, if you're a big enough girl to make the decisions, be a big enough girl to own them. Is your dad a pushover?" he asks. 

"I guess."

"He's a nice guy," Alaina explains.

David admits his girls know they can talk him into anything. "I'm easily swayed. If you have a sad story, I'll listen to it," he says.

Dr. Phil tells David and Kimberly that a parent's decision to indulge a child is to make themselves feel better, not the child. "‘It takes the pressure off of me, so I'm going to give in here because doing so will make me feel better in the moment. I can be liked. I can be the good guy. I don't have to deal with their unhappiness,'" he says. "Then you're giving them a bad message, aren't you? You're teaching them not to respect you, and you're teaching them the way the world doesn't work, because when they go out and get a job, or they go to college, that teacher, who isn't sad because they don't have their homework, is going to give them an F. And they're going to be in shock, because Daddy taught them that all you have to do is bat your eyes, and whine a little bit, and you'll get by.

[AD]"You're taking away the opportunity for them to grow up as self-sufficient young women, who can self-police, self-control, set goals and attain them. You're taking all of those things away from them by allowing them to get what they want without earning it. They haven't shown themselves to be trustworthy, they haven't shown themselves to have integrity, they haven't shown themselves to be able to set and achieve a goal in a sustained sort of way, but you pay them off anyway. And that's not how the world works, right?"

"Not at all," David says.

"Here's the deal: I think that if kids perform at an A level, they should have an A lifestyle," Dr. Phil explains. "But I think if they perform at a D level, they should have a D lifestyle. If they do good work, they get good things, but if they don't do good work, they don't get good things. But that's not how it works at your house, is it? They have an A-plus lifestyle with a D-minus behavioral set. They sneak out, they drink, they lie, they bully, and they still get everything they want. How does that make sense?"

"It doesn't," Kimberly admits.

Dr. Phil asks the girls what they think about what he's saying. "You'll be a mother some day," he says to Alexis. He turns to David and says, "And if you don't get this under control, that could be very, very soon." He turns back to Alexis. "Did you fake a pregnancy?" he asks her.

"No," she says.

"Did you test positive?"

"Yes."

"It just went away?"

She nods.

When Dr. Phil asks Kimberly what she thinks, she says, "No comment."

"What do you mean no comment? We're here to comment," Dr. Phil tells her. 

[AD]"I mean, I don't want her to get mad at me," Kimberly says. 

Alexis gives a look of warning to her mom and says, "I didn't do anything."

Dr. Phil gets a glimpse of how Alexis' moods run the family.