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(Original Air Date: 12/08/09) Are you in over your head with parenting? Do you need help with an out-of-control child? What do you do when your child’s demands exceed your resources? Jennifer and Brad are struggling to parent two of their three daughters. The oldest, who is 13 and has bipolar disorder, has been in therapy since age 6, spent time in two treatment centers, is taking multiple medications and still throws several tantrums each day. Despite treatment centers and medications, the couple’s 12-year-old daughter struggles with behavioral disorders as well. They worry that the pre-teen’s violent tendencies toward them and her 9-year-old sister will continue to escalate. What are the alternatives for this family, so the girls don’t have to be sent away … again? Plus, how old is too old to have a child? Join the debate!

Find out what happened on the show.
Comments
Replied By: dandy_lion on May 13, 2014, 10:22PM
I have been reading some of the comments from when the show "When should I commit my kids?" and it is readily obvious that those who do not have a bi-polar child do not know what they are talking about. As a parent of a bi-polar child, I have seen the whole gambit of reactions; from those who blamed me for not being a strict enough parent to those who thought I was too strict.  The reality of living with a bi-polar child is so far from what these parents (or not yet parents) can even begin to comprehend, that they are simply not equipped to weight into the discussion.

The fact is that someone who is bi-polar has to learn how to live with and manage their illness, so they can function in the world.  This takes time and patience, and unfortunately, the parents bear the brunt of the work, until the child is old enough to able to understand what he/she needs to do.  So the parents need the RIGHT resources to know what to do and how to do it, and teach it to the child.  I want to share with you our success story and how lucky we are to have our wonderful son.

Soon after my son, Mickey, was born, he seemed to have extreme colic and would cry a lot, but it was at random times, not at a certain time every day, like what the doctors told us.  I did not think much about that at the time until much later.  When he was about 2, my husband and I took him to the doctor, where we explained to the doctor that my son tended to injure himself a lot. While in the office, my son was running around in circle, and then ran straight into a sink that was sticking out from the wall.  Right in front of the doctor!  He hit it with such force that he knocked himself over and got a big goose egg on his forehead.  He whimpered a little, got back up, and starting running around again. This was just one of the first of many times he seemed to inflict injury on himself and did not react to that injury the way we would have expected.

When he was about six, he, his younger sister, and I were in doctor office in one of the back rooms, waiting to see the doctor.  There was a water cooler, and both kids wanted to play with it.  After letting them get a drink, I made them go back into the room to wait. There was a dry board in the room, and I did let them draw on the board.  Mickey drew three stick figures, one of which was crying.  I asked him who that was and why was the person crying. He responded that it was his sister and that she was crying because I (mom) was dead.  So then I asked him why I was dead. He said it was because he had cut my head off and indeed the picture of me did show me with my head separated from body.  I knew in that moment that I was dealing with something more than just a little boy being upset with me.  No normal six year old threatens to cut off his mother's head.  

So I went to a series of doctors, and read a lot of books.  It took 6 months, and various different diagnoses and medications, before someone really figured out what was wrong with my son.  I had to battle the doctors, the school, and the daycares, and said a lot of prayers, before I finally got all the help I needed. I needed to recognize when he would go into the feral state (by the look in his eyes), where the thoughts processes of the brain go dormant, and all there is left is the animal instincts.  I needed to learn how to put him in a "basket hold", and keep him there, no matter where I was (even grocery stores and shopping malls), or for how long (until he calmed down and agreed to follow the rules) or how hard he tried (and sometimes succeed) to hurt me.  And most importantly, I had to teach him how to recognize when he was starting to go into the feral state and calm himself out of it.  I also had to teach him why he needed the medicines he was taking to help him manage his moods and to talk to his doctor if wanted to change them.

So over the next eight years, he constantly threatened me and my daughter with physical harm, while we battled to help him deal with his illness. I have been thrown out of stores, have had the police called (he actually kicked the cop!), and have been beat on and my hair pulled by him because he did not get his way.  The school wanted to put him into a special behavior class, but I had read enough to know that that was a mistake.  Instead, I fought to get him held back in school but still mainstreamed in regular classes, and held back at church, and at scouts, so he was with those his own mental age, rather than his physical age.  We also enlisted the help of a very good child psychologist that help him with the process. 

When he was about 14, something clicked, and he started to figure out how to control himself.  That was when we could really work on things like going to a quiet place, counting slowly, and taking deep calming breaths.  We also learned what things could trigger an episode, and do what we could to head it off at the pass, and help him deal with it when we could not.

Now Mickey is almost 22.  He graduated from high school, and holds down a part time job.  He still has occasions when he gets upset, and he is very OCD about some things, but now he knows how to calm himself, so he does not go into the feral state.  He still does not drive, but will take another driver's ED class soon.  He is also in a part time college program, and eventually wants to be a graphic artist.

He has come a long way, and I am very proud of him!
 
Replied By: brownie927 on Jul 20, 2010, 7:28PM
My son has thrown tantrums like this; however, he was much younger when he did. He is 10 now and the tantrums still happen, but ... The way we nipped it was to send him to his room and then LEAVE HIM ALONE until he worked his anger out. What I noticed was these parents continued to engage with this child!! IMHO, this girl was doing it for the attention. Negative attention is better than no attention. I wonder what would happen if they just left her alone in her room instead of continue to talk to her and engage her in conversation and her yelling about whatever she is upset about. She yelled that she is never alone. Well, let her have some space!!! Leave her alone! OMG! My psychologist helped ME learn to disengage from my son during his tantrums. Kids don't come with a manual. I once thought my son might be sick, but through therapy for myself and learning to control MY reactions and disengaging I figured out that I was encouraing her behavior.
Next part of the video shows the parents BERATING the child. BACK OFF!! I sure don't think you should stand there and shame her or throw guilt at her. Dr. Phil did point out that the mom shouldn't be doing this, but he excused her because her coping skills are taxed to the very end. MOM AND DAD NEED THE THERAPY  TO LEARN HOW TO COPE.
I could go on about this, but I am so upset that these kids have been shown to be the sick ones when I think mom and dad would have benefitted from parenting classes early on in the life of their children.
Very disturbing was watching the take where mom talks to the middle daughter about being mentally ill. She is labeling this child and now the child thinks she is mentally ill. Wow! Mom tries to defend herself about this and says she has tried to give them tools.
I feel bad these kids are on medications. In my opinion if mom and dad had better skills initially, maybe the kids would never have been on medications. There was a very interesting book put out by a psychologist who talks about what effect all of the mental illness medications have on kids and adults alike. It is a good read. I think it was called Medication Madness, but I am not sure about the title.
I had to turn this show off 1/2 way through as I was so disturbed by how these children were labeled and medicated. Someone should take a second look at mom and dad. I mean, who stands over their child throwing a temper tantrum? Walk away and take the audience away. No attention often corrects the behavior! She would see no one is watching her and she would settle down sooner. This is all my opinion and I obviously don't know the full story, but I really, really, really think there is a problem with the parenting style.
 
Replied By: janeeh on Jul 20, 2010, 2:23PM
I just saw the show which I believe was a re-run regarding whether or not to committ your kids.  The family had the diagnosis of Bi-polar for two of their daughters.  I am extremely concerned about the many medicines their daughters have been on since they were small.  Dr. Lawless showed how they can relax and suggests metal toxicity tests.  Think that's great.  But my heart breaks every time I see these kids which I believe are for the most part born "normal" and devleop behavior problems and start on a roller coaster of drugs which never get to the root of the problem.  These girls could be allergic to food, cleaning products, had a bad reaction to vaccines, metal toxicity, the list goes on.  Have you ever seen the work by Doris Rap?  Her work was done many years ago and I wish someone else would expose what she tried to.  I have a friend whose daughter was a normal little girl, started developing some problems and attempted suicide.  She was comitted, is now back home, but on tons of meds and doesn't act at all normal.  She seems stoned the majority of the time.  I would love to get the girl some real help and am friends with her mother, but her excuse for not trying some natural help is money.  The drugs and doctors are covered by insurance.  The other methosds are not.  Whether it's ADD or Bi-polar, our children are being drugged way to often.  Can you do a show on this please???  If I gave you my friend's contact info, she would be a great one to have on the show with her daughter.  let me know, thank you, Jane Hobaica.
 
Replied By: dtbrock2 on Jul 20, 2010, 1:33PM
I have long respected Dr. Phil for his ability to speak to topics on his show as well as offer helpful advice--however! this show really upset me as to how Dr. Phil handled this.  Dr. Lauer did not fix these children in that green room and the label comments are not helping our society who are dealing with this issue in our homes.
I was introduced to Bi-Polar in 1999 when a child of mine first attemped sucided with a knife at the age of 6. Later to have another child at the age of 12 diagnosed with the disorder.  I have spent years studying, finding resources, and proactively parenting my two children who have been diagnosed as bi-polar. The frustration of weekly visit to therapist and psycharist and daily regiment of drugs and foods require much energy and devotion from all in the home. I have also constantly reviewed behaviors exhibited in four areas -is this normal for the age development, is this due to my parenting style, is this disorder related(cycling up/down) or related to the timing or dosage of medicines. Based on that we react and deal with behaviors.
There comes a time where the child even with all the elements of a perfect world or storm the child's behavior are out of our control and the safety of the child, others in the home, or our home is at risk. The resources are not avaliable for Mental health children/young adults as it is for cancer, heart, diabetic, retardation, autism, or other health conditions.
 We are not neglecting our parenting roles but there is a point as to which we have reached were no matter what we do we cannot repair, fix, or even duct tape a childs behaviors.

Dr. Phil-- I feel you did not give justice to these parents whom I saw myself in on that show. I have committed my children and are currently dealing with one child having to leave our home and state for our safety. Revisit this show.
 
Replied By: trakay83 on Jul 16, 2010, 10:16PM - In reply to eggurl
Let's see, I was spanked and beat as a child....didn't work for me.  I don't even speak to my father, all I do is resent him.   A parent knows when a kid is just acting out and when a child has other issues going on.  Sometimes if you educate yourself on these disorders it might help you understand it better.
 
Replied By: edshawn on Jul 16, 2010, 7:09AM - In reply to sweetleaf1234
Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy.....http://www.aolhealth.com/conditions/munchausen-syndrome-by-proxy?flv=1
 
Replied By: edshawn on Jul 16, 2010, 6:58AM
Munchausen syndrome by proxy .... http://www.aolhealth.com/conditions/munchausen-syndrome-by-proxy?flv=1 ..... Classic example .... no REAL tears from parents, children dressed to look "sickly", all sympathy going to parents, parents seeking attention by going on TV as "victims" ... can't believe no one has diagnosed this .... Child Protective Services need to remove the children, put them in a "normal" home, explain to then that they have been "labeled" incorrectly, and give these young girls a change to live a normal life.  This was the SADDEST Dr. Phil Show I've ever watched ..... I'm a nurse and we are trained to spot this in the hospitals ..... this is a NEW different twist on Munchausen's by Proxy however, using mental illness labels versus making your child physically ill on purpose ........ Someone PLEASE step in and help these girls ...........
 
Replied By: traumatic on Jul 15, 2010, 11:36PM
Again you folks need to do your research...as others have stated...these conditions were non-existance 30 yrs ago...and they also didn't know then what they know now...so in a way science has been great to advance knowledge in mental-illness and the real cause...but it's a double-edge sword because now science DEPENDS on pharmacudical companies to foot their bill...so the more clients/patients they send the more money the doctor gets or not pays in taxes...it has come to money now folks...and again we have technologies and sciences to may be GO BACK and look at what old-school did for these problems...

And don't let the kids intelligence intimidate you...they really do love you and want you to RECOGNIZE their talents...and then DISCIPLINE it with HARSH but LOVING words...ask old school...doesn't someone remember Great Grandma being a great cook and loving but God help you if you messed up?

That kind of environment is PERFECT for children...HIRE old-school...they might want to assist you? They have a global network of folks who have experienced this and what they did and what you are doing is two different things...obviously what they did worked because they are fine and the kids are now retired as well from the work world and raising children...

WHAT IS THE OLD-SCHOOL SECRETS???????????????

ASK THEM !!!!!
 
Replied By: eggurl on Jul 15, 2010, 8:56PM
My original post is sitting in cyberspace somewhere so I will just make a quick general comment.
As another person stated, THERE WAS NO SUCH THING AS THIS KIND OF BS WHEN I WAS A KID.  It's a NEW AGE thing so that everyone can relieve themselves of true parenting and let the medications do what they won't do.  SPANK THE KIDS - the kids on this show were nothing but a couple of SPOILED BRATS THAT NEED THEIR BUTTS SPANKED AND NEEDED IT FOR MANY YEARS.  Obviously, parents in these days and times for the most part think that time-outs and medicating kids are the answers to true parenting.  I'm glad I fought the schools and refused to drug my child up or down just so the teachers didn't have to do their job - TEACH.  Return to the ways of the 50s and 60s education and parenting and there'd be a whole lot less of these BS diagnoses and not much in the way of toxic chemical drugs being pumped into children.  No wonder society has gone to Hell In A Hand Basket!
 
Replied By: litebulbmoment on Jul 15, 2010, 4:16PM
they labeled their kids mentally ill like it was candy.
 
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