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Topic : 06/27 Problem Parent or Problem Child?

Number of Replies: 169
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Created on : Friday, January 19, 2007, 01:23:14 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 01/24/07) Do you find yourself wondering where your relationship with your child went wrong? You say it’s your child. Your child says it’s you. Who’s to blame? Dr. Phil uncovers where the problem lies in these families. Penny says her life is in shambles because her 17-year-old son, Jason, is extremely threatening and violent. Jason says his mother is a lazy alcoholic, and all he has ever wanted was to feel loved by her. Penny’s sister, Jackie, says Penny has a drinking problem and wants the mother and son to get help before they kill each other. Then, Kim has three sons –- 14, 2 and 15 months -- but says she loves her middle son, Cullen, the most. She has pictures of him all over her house, but not her other two sons. She takes Cullen to bed with her at night, while the baby cries himself to sleep in his own room, and she buys Cullen new clothes, while her youngest gets hand-me-downs. Her oldest son says he has felt neglected his whole life and is worried the baby will feel that way too. Kim’s friend, Starlette, says Kim’s baby has even started calling her Mama. What’s behind Kim’s favoritism, and why does she feel justified? Share your thoughts here.

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January 24, 2007, 4:38 am CST

Playing favourites with children

         I can see that Kim will need to buckle down and with therapy realise that her three sons are to be treated the same, otherwise all will suffer in the end.  The children will especially  be traumatised heavily if their mother doesn't give all of them the same love, security, time and a soft place to fall as Dr.Phil beautifully says.  I myself have two girls, Sarah and Amy.  Sarah is more introverted than her sister Amy.  While everybody loves Amy and shes the life of the party Sarah at times feels like people like Amy more than her.  Even myself have fallen to feel closer to Amy because she's an open giving person and at times i felt i disliked Sarah because she wasn't like her sister.  Then i realised something special when Sarah had two children with her partner, i began to see that Sarah was only insecure and afraid to meet people.  She used to hide behind me and her sister because she was afraid of being rejected.  But inside her soul i sensed that she had all this love that she wanted really badly to give away to me and to her dear friends.   I started the process by me showing Sarah affection by hugging and kissing her to greet her and when leaving her house.  And i absolutely love the grand-children, her children, to death.  I love them all more than my life. So i'm grateful that i finally took the time to understand her needs and try to mend our relationship.  I am glad that the two sisters are like twins and inseparable.  Maria3255        





January 24, 2007, 5:19 am CST

01/24 Problem Parent or Problem Child?

Quote From: jsg262003

My boyfriend is very special to me and we been to gether few months now.  Certain things just irritate me that he does.  One of them is yes this show today was like him e.g. Danny T anner/Bob Sagat from "Full House" '88='95.  He clean freak galore.  There is a purell sanitizer botte in just about every room by the door/entrance way.  He sorta drives me up the wall w/ it all.  He constantly telling me and my daugher to wash or use purell to be free of germs.  Anyway the main problem recently is that he got  a transfer of job bout 1month ago and spending all his free time w/ my daughter and not me.  He adores her and she loves him just about from the start when we all met.  Recently, he transferred from nights to day hours.  SHe just loved him for that.  He did it bc he thought he lose us bc he didnt see much of us, especially my daughter.  (bc of her schooling)  Every time i turn around recently he'll pic her up from school and not tell me prior to i attempting to pic her up as i usually have done in past.  He's spending time w/' her or us.. I feel it out of hand.  I said someting to him few times but doesnt do nothing.  Unless she in bed shes allways w/ him, which is m,aking feel neglected.  Dont get me wrong its good they have a good relationship/bond together but i feel it overboard /overkill.  He constantly taking her places w/ out telling me first bout it so i know or can say" ya ill go too".  He gives me affection and attention but not as much as he used too b4 the job switch.  I feel/think he wants to make up for all the times he wasnt there for her i think, but not sure??? Any suggestions/comments anyone?? confused here...Andrea
You need to tell himt hat since she is YOUR daughter thatyou need to know EVERY THING, where she is, who is with her, EVERYTHING. You need to tell him how you feel and why and if he can't change on things and respect you then he isn't for you.  I persoanlly do not allow any one to take my daughters any where unless I know about it, my husabnd and I are the only people listed at my daughters school to pick her up and if we need someone else, thenw e make those arrangements. he is not her father and really he needs to protect himself as well. You never know what goes on behnd closed doors, something could happen to your daughter and if his bases are not covered, he could be accused of something.  take control, she is your daughter, you make the rules, he follows, that's just the way it should be.
January 24, 2007, 6:10 am CST

Was Mom Drinking During her Pregnancy????

How  long has the mother been drinking?  Just one drink a day during pregnancy, is the equivalent of 30 baby bottles full of liquor.  Truth is, there is NO safe level of alcohol during pregnancy. "Prenatal exposure to alcohol represents the largest environmental cause of behavioral teratogenesis yet discovered and, perhaps, the largest single enviromental cause that will ever be discovered." (Riley and Voorhees, 1986)  Is it possible that Jason is one of the undiagnosed who has this invisible disability?  My own son has Fetal Alcohol Effects.  Despite an IQ of 139, he has severe learning disabilities and behavior problems. Everyday with him is a new challenge.  He has no impulse control, poor judgement, NO stranger danger, memory deficits, and at 12 years old functions at a 6 year old level.  What we need is more awareness of this epidemic and I truly believe that it is one.  1 out of every 100 babies are born in the US with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Effects. (1996, Streissguth)  90% cannot live or work independently and are likely to become homeless, addicted, and alone.  65% end up in prison.

A good many end up in the morgue.  When is someone going to start talking about it?????????  This mother needs to speak the truth and seek help.   If she was drinking during her pregnancy, that needs to be brought out and some real assistance for her son needs to be sought.

January 24, 2007, 6:19 am CST

200 mgs. of Lexapro?

I just read "the full story" of Kim and her kids on It says that her son Shelby takes 200 mgs. of Lexapro a day. Is that a large dose or is it just me?
January 24, 2007, 6:27 am CST

These poor young people!

It is so sad that we scare the souls of our children, either unintentionally or in some cases intentionally. These kids wil carry with them low selfesteem and BAGGAGE; it will affect their future relationships.


However, they are not lost causes. Some of us VOW not to be like our parents and vow to parent our own children better. My friend John had an alcoholic father who abandoned him at a young age. He had no interest being a father to John and the siblings. Yet, John is probably one of the best fathers you could ever meet; he spends his free time with his three young daughters and wife, he guides them and supports them and disciplines them when needed. My own father was emotionally abusive (I grew up being called B-itch and S-lut and W-hore often, along with threats of abuse). My older sister went on to date loser guys and marry a man who used to treat her poorly (he got help). I, on the other hand, vowed to not continue the cycle and married a wonderful man who is a super husband (and super father). I work on my anger issues and control my behavior. When I err, I apologize (my father never did). I, thankfully, am a very good mother.


So, there is hope for these young people, but how sad that they must deal with mothers who are alcoholics, mothers who are cruel and partial and mothers who shouldn't have been given the GIFT OF MOTHERHOOD. God bless all the children!

January 24, 2007, 6:33 am CST

Love has no boundaries. Like does.

Quote From: michwa

Have you ever loved 2 "different" people the same?  You can love each of them with all your mind, body, and soul.  However, just as people (our children) are very different - so is our love for each individual.

I truly believe there is a big difference between LOVE and LIKE. Love is endless and has no boundaries. It is unconditional. I wouldn't love my son (let's say a brain surgeon who feeds the poor) any more than I would love my daughter (let's say a girl in jail for murder).


However, liking someone is a different story. Some people, including children, may be more "likable." But that has NOTHING to do with love. Personally, our son is more likeable at this time because our daughter is a pre-teen who's going thru one of those NORMAL adolescent phases. She's still a great kid, but there are days where strangling her seems sensible:) (just kidding, of course). Do I treat them differently...of course, but only due to their differences in personality, emotional maturity and cognitive skills.


There is something SERIOUSLY wrong if a parent loves one child more than another. There  is NO good or moral excuse for that. I suggest counseling for that parent!



January 24, 2007, 6:38 am CST

You asked why...

Quote From: sabankat

Why do some people become parents? I think it is impossible to show love to all of your children in the same way as they are different people with different personalities. However, that being said, parents should love their children unconditionally, and show  love for each of their children without favoritism. There should not be pictures of one child and not the other(s)...that is just wrong...and damaging to the other children. Parents who do this either don't realize is this or just don't care. When you have children you can't pick which child you want and which you don't. Life doesn't work that way.

I'm not sure why Kim decided to start having children again after so many years, but if her older son was already feeling neglected, the introduction of more children has definitely made it worse. She is wrong to announce to everyone that Cullen is her favorite, and I question what is wrong with her that she would so purposely hurt her other children by doing this. There is no possible justification for this, and I can't wait to see what reason she gives.

Since you asked...

People become parents because:


1) They don't abstain or use protection when they know they don't want to have children BUT they are too selfish to put the child's best interest first and choose adoption.

2) They get pregnant for their spouse....even if it's not what they want. It's easier than fighting or losing the love of a spouse.

3) They think parenting is easy and don't stop to think about the normal problems that come with raising children.

4) It's cool to be pregnant (lots of attention) and cool to be a parent. They want that status, but they don't want to consequences that come with that choice.


There are MANY people who shouldn't be parents (we all know one or more), but the KIND and SMART ones make the choice not to get pregnant or make the choice to put unwanted children up for adoption so these kids stand a chance at a healthy emotional life. The selfish ones keep them...and often ruin them.

January 24, 2007, 6:42 am CST

Don't give up. You're saying the same thing.

Quote From: cynkcor

Okay, I give up.  How, precisely, does one treat kids equally?  I raised five children totally different in likes, dislikes, talents and shortcomings.  No, I didn't treat them all the same.  That's crazy.  They had different needs.  Some were boys, some were girls... surely they should not have been treated the same! 

Word games...semantics and other such literary meanings...


You are saying the same as most posters, but people's words are confusing.


Yes, LOVE is the same (since love is endless and our hearts can hold it all), but "treatment" is a separate issue for most. For the guest, however, apparently it's her lack of love that influences the treatment of her child.


For the vast majority of us GOOD/GREAT mothers, we do treat our children differently due to their ages, maturity, temperment, genders, wants, needs, etc, but NOT because of the amount of love (or lack of love) we have for them.

January 24, 2007, 6:46 am CST

Yes, may she rest in peace

Quote From: mi_lilly

It is good to see that there are Mothers that do not have a need to manipulate there children. I don't remember how old I was when I realized something was wrong with my Mother.  May she rest in peace, she thought it was the only way to keep in kids "in line".

I LOVE your healthy attitude. Many of us had parents that made BIG parentling mistakes. It took me 33 years to forgive my father, who is now back in my life and very important to me (he's 81). He's never apologized, but I've forgiven him (for God and for my own sake). I am now at PEACE.


Parents often make mistakes, but we must acknowledge that often they don't mean to hurt or harm us. They do the best they can with what they know. There is no parenting manual. Some of them had lousy parents themselves. They tried their best with us, but often their best simply didn't cut it for us or our emotional needs.


Congratulations on your HEALTHY attitude. Our own children will some day be telling the world about OUR mistakes. Let's hope there's not much to talk about AND let's hope that those mistakes were not biggies!

January 24, 2007, 7:14 am CST

Problem Parent or Problem Cjild?

I understand Jason's anger, it's a hard thing to deal with. Thank you Dr Phil for getting them the help they need. My mother is an acoholic and at my age of 44, it still makes me mad but not that she will ever know. I've taken responsibility for my life and things done wrong to me in my childhood. I pray that one day she will change, but she really has to want it. I hope Penny is sincere in changing . Jason take control of your life and remember not to repeat the cycle.
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