When Family Members Attack: Arlana and Damon

Terrorized By Their Son
"My 9-year-old son, Davontae, is extremely violent. He terrorizes the entire house," says Arlana.
 
Her husband, Damon, agrees. "Davontae is obnoxious, aggressive. He cusses at us. He's just out of control," he says. "Davontae told me when he gets older, ‘I'm going to whoop your ass.'"
 
Arlana reports that Davontae beats up his siblings and is especially cruel to his older brother, Damon Jr. "He hits, kicks and throws him around," she says. "I'm afraid he'd throw knives if I didn't keep them locked up. I'm afraid for my safety sometimes."
 
Arlana says that Davontae punched a hole in the wall, but said it was an accident. She reveals that she had to put a lock on her 13-year-old daughter's door because Davontae was destroying her bedroom. "None of the other children want to be around him, because they're afraid of him," she says. "I've already checked out mentally. I just need to check out physically. I'm at the point where I can't stand the sight of Davontae."
 
[AD]"You're ready to check out," Dr. Phil says to Arlana. "Tell me what that means."
 
"I'm ready to take my other three children and leave for their safety, leave him with his dad," she says.
 
"What do you think about that?" Dr. Phil asks Damon.
 
"If she decides to do that, then I'll have to deal with it. I really don't want her to leave and take my other children," Damon replies.
Arlana says she's at a breaking point. "I've done so much. I've talked to Davontae. I've taken him to different counselors," she tells Dr. Phil. "It seems like nothing I do is right. Damon feels that I'm not doing my job as a mother. I have other children. I cannot devote all of my time to Davontae."
 
"How does he behave when he's away from you two?" Dr. Phil probes.
 
"He's perfectly fine," Damon replies.
 
"What do you reckon that means?" Dr. Phil asks.
 
[AD]"That there's something going on in the home that's causing Davontae to behave this way," Arlana replies. "Damon yells all the time. Nothing is ever right. He's not one to give praise when the children do something good, but when they do something bad, he's the first one to jump up and start screaming. There's no physical abuse, but in my opinion, it's mental and emotional."
 
Damon admits that he has a problem with yelling, but believes that his wife could do more to discipline the children. "It's like a blame game," he tells Dr. Phil. "I don't feel that she's doing what she needs to be doing while I'm at work, or she's not putting her foot down hard enough."
 
 

"Both of you are being destructive influences in this child's life," Dr. Phil tells the couple. "This boy is 9, and he is running the show. I want you to picture him at 14 or 15 with another 50, 60 pounds on him."

 

Dr. Phil tells Arlana and Damon that they need to maintain a united front while disciplining Davontae. "You are a team. Kids can be devious. They divide and conquer," he says.

 

The boys speak up about the chaos in their home.

 

"What do you think about what they had to say?" Dr. Phil asks the couple when the video ends.

 

Her voice quavering, Arlana replies, "It's very disturbing."

 

[AD]"This is an urgent situation," Dr. Phil says. He turns to Damon. "You are the most powerful role model in this child's life. It's time for you to man up and step up. If you are modeling for him anger, and yelling and screaming, you need to get that under control."

 

Dr. Phil says they need to implement commando parenting " setting up a rigid structure, establishing boundaries and stripping away Davontae's privileges until he earns them back. 

 

He promises to provide a family therapist to give the couple the tools they need, and they accept the help.