You Either Get It or You Don't: Kevin

You Either Get It or You Don't: Kevin
Dr. Phil talks with guests about what it takes to be successful in life.
Kevin is a senior in high school, but hasn't attended one class yet this year. He's been to boot camp for juveniles, truancy court, and even spent six days in jail.


"He absolutely doesn't get it," says his mother, Denise. "Kevin makes excuses for everything and nothing's ever his fault." Denise believes Kevin has a brilliant mind and is wasting it.


Kevin's siblings also think he's headed down the wrong path. His brother, Alan, who spent some time in jail before turning his life around, says, "Kevin doesn't get the fact that everything he does is going to catch up to him in the end." His sister, Jennifer, feels a lot of pressure to be a good student to make up for Kevin. She wishes he could see how much they all love him.

"It's not that I don't get it, it's just that I don't want to do anything, really," says Kevin. "I'm perfectly happy to sit around and hang around with my friends all day."


Denise reveals that her biggest fear is that Kevin will end up in jail again, for longer than six days. "I won't visit another son in jail. To not be able to touch your child ... it's horrible," she says.


"Do you think you've contributed to him being in a bad place?" asks Dr. Phil.


Denise admits she does too much for Kevin. "Anything he asks for, I help him get," she says.


Dr. Phil points out that, in terms of "adaptive IQ," Kevin is developmentally way behind where somebody his age should be because he's not smart enough to figure out how to advance his life.

Dr. Phil tells Kevin that he can relate, "I've been through this," he says. "I wasn't the best, the most highly motivated student in the world and I thought if we were going to talk, we would just do some truth telling here." He asks Kevin if he believes he's maximizing his life.


"No. I'm not trying though," says Kevin. He explains that there isn't any problem because he's got a connection for a new job and he's on a waiting list to go to a new school.


"So there's potential there," says Dr. Phil. "There's an old saying in Texas: 'Potential just means you ain't done it yet.'"


"It's not like I'm just going to do this forever," justifies Kevin.

Dr. Phil asks Kevin where he'd like to be in five years, if he's not living off his girlfriend's parents or having somebody give him money for food and clothes. Kevin says he buys his own stuff. "Where do you get the money?" Dr. Phil asks.


"It comes around," says Kevin.


"Does it come around legally?" Dr. Phil wants to know. Kevin says it does.


Speaking from experience, Kevin's brother, Alan, points out that it's hard to avoid jail when you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing.


"Do you think you're headed for jail?" Dr. Phil asks Kevin. He says he doesn't think that not going to school would make him end up in jail.

Dr. Phil explains that when he first went to college, it was because his parents wanted him to, and he had a 1.4 grade point average. "But then, I quit for a while. And when I went back, I went back for me." Dr. Phil tells Kevin that if he wants to do well, he has to have some kind of plan with a timeline.


"The thing you may not have figured out yet is that this is an eat what you kill world," Dr. Phil tells him. He points out that Kevin is living passively. "But the time comes when you're going to get paid for what you contribute, and what you contribute is going to be a function of what you know, and what you know is going to be a function of what you learn." He tells Kevin that if he doesn't learn, he's going to have a real low standard of living.


"I'm only 17," says Kevin. "Why is [my mom] worried about this so much?"

"I'm glad you asked," says Dr. Phil. "I think she's worried about it because you are breaking the law in two or three different areas of your life right now," he says, pointing out that it's against state law for him not to go to school, and that his mother could even go to jail for him not attending school.


"That's why she tries to get me in trouble in court, so she doesn't get in trouble," says Kevin.


"Well, yeah!" says Dr. Phil. "I'd put you under the jail before I'd go to jail." He also points out that Kevin is doing illegal drugs and not making any progress to do better in his life.

"At some point, I just hope you say, 'I have to make a plan. I have to start moving forward,'" says Dr. Phil. He explains that perhaps Kevin will realize that if he chooses the behavior, he chooses the consequences. That if Kevin makes a plan to get what he wants and he goes to school, he'll get a degree that will qualify him for opportunities.


"Why do you think I'm not living at home?" asks Kevin.


"I think you're not living at home because they tend to hold you accountable for things you don't want to be held accountable for," says Dr. Phil.

Kevin questions why his mom brought his family on Dr. Phil. "She is investigating every potential avenue for some kind of help for you," says Dr. Phil. "If you think for a minute that she doesn't have a better place to be, a better way to spend her money, her time, her effort, her energy, than chasing you and getting you to do something with your life ... I guarantee you, you have not one bigger ally in this world than this woman sitting right here," he says.


Dr. Phil continues: "You've got one person that stood by you and loved you when you weren't very lovable. And the day is going to come when maybe you'll hear what I'm saying and maybe you'll look her in the eye and say, 'I'm sorry and thanks for not giving up on me.'"