Who's to Blame: Leslie, Hannah

Unpredicatable Raging Teen
In a home video, Leslie has barricaded herself in a room to protect herself from her angry 14-year-old daughter, Hannah. The teen screams on the other side of the door.

Leslie turns the camera on herself and says, "I don't know how much more of this I can take. Please help me, Dr. Phil."

In an interview before the show, Leslie explains, "I fight with my daughter, Hannah, a lot. Sometimes our fights do turn into violent, raging fights."

Other home video footage shows Hannah screaming and cursing at her mother.

"It's gotten out of control," Leslie says. "Hannah has gotten to where she stands up to me. She has hit me. She has kicked me. Hannah has left bruises. She has hit mirrors and broken them. She slams doors. She hits walls. She throws things. She kicks things. I have fought back at her. I think it's pouring gasoline onto a fire. When I'm driving, Hannah hits me or kicks me. What scares me more than anything is the fact that when that happens, I could lose control of my car and hit somebody. I'm very afraid of my daughter at times. I'm afraid of the fights. I'm afraid of what's going to happen if Hannah does not get her way.

[AD]"I sleep lightly. Whenever Hannah and I have had bad fights, I've been afraid that Hannah may come at me in the middle of the night. I walk on eggshells 24/7. My greatest fear with Hannah is that she's going to end up in jail, and I'll never have a chance to see her grow up. I'm at my wits' end. I've given up," she says tearfully. "I don't have hope. There is no hope in my house."Leslie tells Dr. Phil, "I want to see Hannah be whole again. I want to see our relationship be whole again. And I want us to get the help that we need, because that's no way to live."

Dr. Phil points out that the problem isn't just a Hannah problem " children are hugely impacted by their environment, by their learning history, by their interactive patterns with the key people in their life; principally Leslie. "The problems you've got now were the seeds you planted long ago. This just didn't happen because she hit the teens," he says. Although Hannah's brain isn't through growing yet and teens often test limits with their parents, Dr. Phil says, "This has gone beyond the natural order of things."

"Yes, sir," Leslie agrees.

Dr. Phil explains the parenting mistakes Leslie is making with her daughter.


[AD]"You have let her pull you to her level," Dr. Phil tells Leslie. "It's like we've got a couple of 14-year-olds in there, yelling and screaming at each other. Come on, you know that's not right. This gets way ugly at home, doesn't it?"

"Yes, sir," she says.

"And you're right in the middle of it, when, in fact, you're supposed to be the calm in the eye of the storm, the leader that walks her through these things," he says.
In an earlier interview, Leslie explains other troubles with her daughter. "I had to pull Hannah out of school her eighth grade year. Hannah was in a lot of trouble at school," she says.

"I got kicked out for getting in a fight with a girl," Hannah says. "She pushed me into a computer, and I grabbed the girl by her neck, dug my fingernail into her throat and just started pounding her face."

Leslie recounts an incident that got Hannah in trouble with the law. "It was 2:30 in the morning. We were fighting, and I called the police," she says. "I was on the phone with them. She grabbed a knife and put it up to her throat and said, ‘If you call the cops, I'm going to kill myself.' By that time, the police were outside. The police officer came inside. He had a Taser, and he told her if she didn't put the knife down, he was going to Taser her. She dropped the knife. He handcuffed her immediately, took her out of my house. She was in the car, kicking the windows, out of control, and at that point, he told me he was committing her."

Hannah explains what life is like with her mother. "My mom is sensitive, she's dramatic, she's always in offense mode. I do little things, and she goes crazy. It gets physical. She'll come at me sometimes, and I'll push her back, so it kind of, like, escalates. My mom chokes me when she gets mad. She comes at me swinging, punching me. She'll scratch me and slap me, and she's kicked me. After we get into a fight, I'm like, ‘Wow, why'd you do that? Are you crazy? Why would you choke your own child? Why?' That's way out of line.

[AD]"My mom has threatened that she's going to kill herself, overdose. She had a bottle in her hand. She was about to overdose, and I said, ‘Well, how would you feel if I did that right now?' And she said, ‘Well, here. We'll both do it.' When my mom gets angry, she calls me a dumbass, she calls me a bitch, a *, *, stupid, retarded. She calls me pretty much everything. I want Dr. Phil to tell my mom that it's not just me. She needs to open her eyes and realize that she's done things wrong."Hannah joins the conversation onstage.

Dr. Phil asks her, "Do you get tired of yelling and screaming with your mother?

"Yeah," she says.

[AD]"You're old enough now to start being responsible for your choices," Dr. Phil tells her. "And it's not just your mother; you do it other places too, right?"

"Well, I did once, and that was at school," Hannah says.

Dr. Phil goes over her history at school. And, find out what Hannah did recently that scared everyone.

"Somebody needs to put you on a really short leash."