Like Father, Like Son

"They throw temper tantrums and throw things," Juli says about her two youngest sons in a videotaped segment. "I feel Sean needs attention from his dad. Sometimes Justin is up until 1:00  in the morning playing with his dad."

 

Later in the clip, she adds "He ignores Sean more than he does Justin. I think Sean, when I'm not here, does feel neglected."

 

But Fred disagrees, "I spend more time with the kids than she actually does. They're with me all the time."

 

He continues, "Justin plays World of Warcraft right next to me. [See] how he just turns it on all on his own. He has his own password … What we do is I log on to my character and he logs on to his, we go as a group, and I'll run around with him, helping him. It actually teaches him things, how to type.  I mean, he knows how to type some words already on his own."

 

[AD]Juli says that she sees a lot of similarities between Fred and Justin, including when the 5-year-old has fits and swears. In the clip, we see Justin wrestling with his dad and brother saying,  "I'll kick your ass."

 

She fears that the kids will not have a good relationship with Fred and that because they're boys, they will pick up on Fred's temper and emulate his obsession with the computer when they're older.


When the clip ends, Dr. Phil asks Fred to explain exactly what he does in the virtual world.


In computer jargon, Fred talks about the points and gear he accumulates as he reaches new levels. He describes the appeal of the game as, "Going for something better … like in real life, you're always going for something better. You want a job, you want a better job. You have a house, you want a better house."

 

The analogy causes both Juli and Dr. Phil to point out that Fred no longer strives for those things in the real world.

 

"You talk about these like they're real, like you've got better gear, have you got any of it with you? Could you show me some of the better gear? Have you got your mount outside?"

 

Fred laughs, "No I don't."


After everyone shares a laugh, the discussion continues on a more serious note. "The truth is you've sacrificed your leadership role in this family, true?" asks Dr. Phil.

 

"True," says Fred.

 

[AD]"You've become addicted to the computer and you're not taking care of business. You're not taking care of business mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically. You're just not taking care of business, you're just playing games.

 

"You're family is going to lose their house if you don't get off your computer and go out and get a job." says Dr. Phil.

 

"He's very smart, there are so many things he can do," defends Juli.


"Apparently he's got you supporting him and taking care of the house. I wonder what level that is in the real world," Dr. Phil quips.

Juli's 15-year-old-son, Brandon, says Fred is lazy. He says he's fed up with his stepdad sitting in front of the computer while his younger brothers run wild, bills go unpaid and his mom financially supports the family.


"My stepdad, Fred, is very aggressive. He's addicted to this game. And he's rude," says Brandon.


According to Fred, he and his stepson got along when Brandon was little, but now that he's 15, Fred says that Brandon knows everything and you can't tell him what to do. Fred attributes their disconnect to a sense of jealousy Brandon has with his younger brothers.

 

[AD]"I think the game has made him bitter. It's kind of, like, taking over his life. The reason I think he won't get a job is because he's just lazy," says Brandon. "It's really frustrating to watch him just do nothing while my mom is doing all the cleaning, doing all the working. She struggles a lot you know, with bills and having to buy food for everybody."

 

Brandon relays a story of Fred and Juli fighting in the kitchen. According to Brandon, Fred lost his temper and pushed Juli into a cabinet. Brandon says that while his mom was not hurt, he could tell she was frightened, and that scared him.

 

"I feel like I just want him to change, and if he changes, then maybe it will be better, but if he just continues the way he acts, I think my mom should just not be with him anymore," says Brandon.