How to Be a Better Parent, Part 2
Have your children gone from little angels to kids gone wild? Are they whiney, tantrum-throwing, feet-stomping, door-slamming, spoiled and entitled? Well, good news, Mom and Dad! Dr. Phil launches his parenting boot camp and teaches parents how to take back control and live in peace for the very first time.
Four families tired of the fighting, yelling, chaos and conflict in their home move into The Dr. Phil House. Tammie says her 11-year-old daughter, Davia, is stubborn, uncooperative and annoying, and she finds herself with no desire to even hug her. Janice says her 11-year-old son, Austin, is a spoiled little baby whose tantrums are so obnoxious, she's ready to throw in the towel. Tiffiny and Ron say their two oldest daughters, Rachel, 14, and Paige, 10, make them regret becoming parents. They say living with their 14-year-old is like living with Hannibal Lector, and the 10-year-old won't stop lying. And, Laureen is a single mom who says her 16-year-old daughter, Shannon, is so out of control, she could be headed for jail. What are these families doing wrong? How can these parents regain control and create peace in their homes?
At The House, the kids find their portraits on the wall and are told to find an emotion card that defines how they are feeling and attach it to their photo. The parents are told that whenever their child displays an emotion card, they should use that as an opportunity to talk with their child about what they are feeling. Shannon says she's exhausted, while Laureen worries that her daughter is not taking this opportunity seriously. Davia says she feels hopeful, which makes Tammie break down in tears. Tammie tells her daughter this is her last resort before giving up. Laureen and Shannon snap at each other, and Tammie commiserates with Laureen about being frustrated.
The families move on to a group exercise, discussing what's not working in their relationships and what they intend to work on during their stay. Tammie tearfully acknowledges that she's lost the bond that she used to have with Davia. Paige cries, saying she misses her father, Ron, who spends all his time working and is never around. This surprises Ron because he works from home, so he feels like he's always there. Afterward, Paige changes her emotion card to sad, and Ron and Tiffiny comfort her.
Next, the families participate in dyads. Facing one another, they hear each other's frustrations, often for the first time. Janice is surprised to learn that Austin feels abandoned when she's not home. Shannon tells her mother that she feels unheard and wants to just be a teenager, but Laureen says she isn't trustworthy, and her behavior makes her ashamed. Later, Shannon cries in the confessional, saying her mother holds grudges. Rachel accuses her mother, Tiffiny, of yelling all the time and says that she agrees with her sister that their dad is never around. Ron is moved when she says she wants her dad back. Rachel fights back tears as she says she feels that her parents pay more attention to her two little sisters, and they make her feel like a screw-up.
After the exercise, Davia asks her mother to join her in the Timeout Room, where she breaks down and tells Tammie she's sorry about her lying and bad behavior. Tammie thinks her daughter is insincere and just vying for attention, which she doesn't want to give her. That night, Tammie videotapes an argument that she has with Davia, which she hopes will be evidence of Davia's bad behavior. But Tammie loses her temper and yells, badgers and bullies her daughter, accusing her of acting like "a little bitch."
Dr. Phil meets with the kids, while the parents watch from another room. He asks Austin about his tantrums and tells him that he's becoming a young man who can't continue to act that way. He asks Shannon about her disciplinary problems, and she blames her school for not being as structured as she needs. All the kids say they want less fighting in their lives. Rachel admits she lies to her mother about her school life because she doesn't want her to know that other kids make fun of her and that she has no friends and often eats lunch alone. Shannon says she wants a better relationship with her mother and to earn her trust back. None of the kids remember the last time they were truly proud of themselves, but Dr. Phil reassures them that their lives can change.
Dr. Phil then sits down with the parents. He confronts Laureen about how she seems beaten down and numb. Laureen says she cries every day, and all her time is consumed with policing her daughter's behavior. She feels insulted to be accused of being checked out emotionally. Tiffiny is sad to hear the truth about Rachel's experiences at school and is surprised to hear Rachel doesn't feel proud of herself.
Dr. Phil makes it clear that the parents' behavior affects their relationships with their children. He tells Janice that she is trying to ease her guilt by babying her son, but that actually cripples him socially and emotionally. He warns her that Austin is at risk of being bullied if he doesn't act his age. Dr. Phil tells Ron that he's emotionally checked out of his fathering role, and his workaholic ways are a detriment to his family.
Finally, Dr. Phil plays a home video of a fight between Tammie and Davia. In it, Tammie tells her daughter she has no affectionate feelings toward her, and she can't treat her like her other children because she's always mad at her. As the other parents look on in shock, Tammie weeps.