I am completely caught off guard by Dr. Phil's comments.

Rightfully, he calls out Alexandra and Katherine on their amazingly selfish and disrespectful behavior. Dr Phil explains to Alexandra and Katherine they have some very specific boundaries and the consequences, should they breach these boundaries.

What surprises me is how I am included in the fracas! What happened to the united front when addressing your children?

I am worried about two things:

1.    Alexandra and Katherine will not see Dr. Phil's boundaries and consequences as serious and continue behaving badly. Thus, losing the resources he has made available for them.

2.    Alexandra and Katherine will see Dr. Phil's chastisement of me as an opportunity to justify their own disgraceful behavior and continue their disrespectful attitudes.

Dr. Phil said his children would be airborne if they acted as Katherine does with me. OK, seems whatever I try to do, not do, respond or not respond, I am chastised, berated and humiliated. My head is spinning, thank you.

Dr Phil points out how I enable my daughters, and then he gives them $400 in gas cards. Hmmm ... I am sure there is a reason for this that does not include enabling. Thankfully, the audience receives gas cards as well!

When Alexandra and Katherine were 12 and 9 years old, I was mistakenly lured in a false sense of security. We had just moved into our little farmhouse, we attended church, the girls went to the youth group, my successful banking career was on the fast track and my daughters seemed so mature.

Both girls were involved with horses -- riding lessons, shows, barn mucking, feeding, brushing, cleaning and caring for the horses. I unwisely thought my daughters were "safe" with all their activities.

I did not hold Alexandra and Katherine accountable for their bad behavior and when they were disrespectful. I either overreacted or had no reaction. I tried to find their "currency." I grounded them, took away their phone and TV privileges, and gave them extra chores. I tried rewards and enticements. Nothing seemed to work.

So, I focused on my career and ended up leaving Alexandra and Katherine's adolescence to chance. When the girls were disrespectful, I buried myself further into my career. Big mistake!

I wish I had paid more attention and listened to my daughters while they were becoming young women. I realize I missed an opportunity to help them develop a stronger authentic self, based on healthy choices and self-respect.
I am sure many parents have heard their children complain one of their siblings is your favorite child because you do this and don't do that.  I love and treat both my daughters for who they are, as individuals, not as the same person.  What I do for one daughter may not be right for the other. My daughters, Alexandra and Katherine are certainly no different.  Alexandra and Katherine have rarely ever been in need of anything.  I find it most interesting whenever I am engaged with one daughter; the other becomes desperate for my attention. I must stop, drop and roll to her immediate need, if not, then, obviously, I love the other daughter more than her.   I hope they can see this when they are older. I certainly hope Alexandra can see this now, as she is supposed to be raising two children herself.

I love Alexandra very much. I am disheartened to hear she thinks I do not love her. Perhaps this is her way of trying to get my attention. Occasionally, I find this thought of hers very interesting. Alexandra must have no idea that so much of my time, energy and money (two pregnancies, one pre-term labor, boyfriends, cars, and a wedding, etc.) are given to her was because I love her. Nathan has lived with Marty and I most of his six-year-old life. Leilah also lives with us now. I suppose, caring for Alexandra's children does not count as my loving her...

This brings me to my real concerns. Alexandra is quite focused on negative comments and the irrelevant: what I think about Tony, I do not like where she lives, or that I love Katherine more than her. Better yet, I am more concerned about her children, Nathan and Leilah, than I am about her. I feel frustrated when Alexandra throws out all these ridiculous accusations.  She is trying to divert attention from the true problems by focusing on petty, unimportant issues.

Let me be very clear about Alexandra's boyfriend, Tony: NO, I do not like him. I think he is uneducated, and unemployed. I think he is insolent, self-centered and lacks ambition, at almost 24 years old; he owns absolutely nothing - not a phone, or even a vehicle.

I made so many mistakes raising Alexandra and Katherine. I feel very guilty about their issues as adults that are a direct result of my poor parenting.

Dr. Phil helped me realize how important it is to articulate my feelings, rather than lash out in anger, making character assassinations, so I can feel better for 30 seconds.

I want Alexandra to learn these things now. The expense of waiting is too high for her children.
I never really talked to Katherine about boys and sex in a sit down, heart felt, serious conversation. Rather it was a series of many quick conversations about how she felt about someone, usually while we were doing something. I am sure some of Katherine's earliest memories of me were stressing the importance of doing well in school, going to college and getting a job she liked and hopefully paid well. Boys, men and relationships were secondary to education. I regret not giving more attention to the relationships & sex part.
I admit I felt incredibly uncomfortable talking about sex with my daughters. I did not know what parts of the "talk" should be discussed and when. At what age do I talk about sex? As a result of my faith, my involvement with my church and working with youth groups, I believed I could "preach" my value system into my daughters. I deluded myself into believing Alexandra and Katherine would completely buy into my ideals and wait until marriage to have sex.

I thought I was controlling both of my daughters' dating and sexual activity with what I call the "Sarah Palin" choice of birth control - abstinence. WHAT was I thinking?

Don't get me wrong: I believe abstinence is very possible. However, I should have discussed birth control and STD prevention along with abstinence. BIG mistake on my part!

I regret not listening to Alexandra and Katherine more carefully. I was NOT paying attention to them. I thought once I instilled the plan to wait for sex until marriage, all was well. No more needed to be discussed. I was stupidly smug!

Most of you know my great idea of abstinence, my poor dialogue with my daughters and believing they would remain virginal until marriage, resulted in my daughter Alexandra, getting pregnant and having a baby at 15. I thought this would pretty much nail down the whole abstinence idea with Katherine. But NOOOOO!

Dr Phil helped me realize the tremendous importance of talking with our children about sex before they become sexually active. Sex happens! Even though, as parents, we may ourselves, be embarrassed; we MUST talk about ALL the consequences of being sexually active. I now find I have to ask my daughters to please HOLD Back on some of the details... TMI, Too Much Information, Girls!

Katherine started liking the "bad boys". That darn apple....Thinking through her love and kindness she could somehow redeem them. We talked about using condoms, being on the pill, and other birth control choices. At first she was quite embarrassed. The more we talked, the easier it became for her to share her heart with me.

Katherine still doesn't make the best choices regarding the men/boys she dates. However, she does know two forms of birth control and STD prevention are necessary.

The subject of sex and its emotional issues must be addressed with our daughters because so many young women view sex with much more intimacy than young men.

Katherine and I continue having our challenges and struggles. We also enjoy wonderful moments of success, compassion, and peace. Thanks to Dr. Phil, our dialogue is more open than ever. We can disagree and still love each!
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