Families on Fire: Managing Crisis

Could your child be headed down a destructive path? And could you be making parenting mistakes that will have long-lasting, damaging effects on your kids? Dr. Phil gives specific tools to put these fires out.

Like Father, Like Son?

Dr. Phil tells the couple that Blake is the "target patient" in the family. "He is the one singled out because he's making the noise, but he didn't choose this. He didn't choose for you to go to prison. He didn't choose to be sent to relatives," Dr. Phil explains. "You don't want to punish this child. You want to heal this child."

He points out that they are violating the "dead man rule" in psychology. "Don't tell him things a dead man can do: 'Don't lie. Don't cheat. Don't steal. Don't sneak out. A dead man can do that," Dr. Phil explains. "You want to give him things that it takes a thinking, feeling, active young man to do. It's not, 'Don't lie.' It's 'Tell the truth.' It's not 'Don't sneak out. It's 'Be accountable and behave in a way that you and I can trust each other.'"

Dr. Phil observes that Billy has considered options for Blake such as military school. He mentions another alternative, the Outback Therapeutic Expeditions, a wilderness therapy program for youth ages 13-17 in Lehi, Utah. He introduces Dr. Tim Thayne, a licensed Ph.D. family therapist, and inquires how long kids stay in the program. "We have a flexible length of stay, usually five to seven weeks on average," Dr. Thayne replies. "The purpose of taking them into the wilderness is to interrupt both the negative cycles and family system cycles that are going on."
   5 of 6