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December 15th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

New Teen Drug Epidemic?

teenDrug1I wanted to make sure you saw yesterday’s startling headline about teenage drug abuse — a report that most newspapers, for reasons I can’t understand, buried in their back pages. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that after a decade-long decline in teens’ use of pot, the trend is going back up. And get this: Although teens have cut down on smoking cigarettes and binge drinking — thank God — more teens than ever are getting high on prescription pain pills and attention deficit disorder drugs. (more…)

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December 1st, 2009 by Dr. Phil

Shaping Your Kids

kids1After posting a blog item about how Robin and I raised our sons believing that they should be able to make their own choices, I got a call from a friend who said, “Yeah, Phil, but what if you can clearly see things that worry you? After all, you have often said their brains aren’t even finished growing until years later. What do you do then?” He went on to tell me about his 13-year-old daughter who, a few nights earlier, had drained a glass of milk at dinner and said with a proud grin, “Hey, Dad, I’m learning to chug.”

“It’s not the first time I’ve gotten the feeling that she wants to try alcohol or at least has it in her mind,” he told me. “So what do I do, right now, to keep her from gaining momentum toward a bad life choice?”

Good question! So, as a parent, what should you do when you see early warning signs that your child might be headed down the wrong path?

(more…)

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November 16th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

Supportive Parent or Pushy Parent?

soccer1We had a really interesting response to our show about parents who seem to be way over-involved in their kids’ goals and dreams, and who sometimes push their kids toward something that they may want a lot more than their kids do.  Several of you wrote to ask how Robin and I raised our sons. How much did we push them to succeed when they were younger? And when did we pull back and say, “It’s time to let them make their own way”?

It’s tough to know where the line is, even when you spend your whole life in the world of human functioning. Seems you lose a little — actually a lot — of objectivity when it is your relationship with your own kids that you are assessing and managing!  As parents, we all want to teach our children to be responsible, yet we also want them to be self-motivated. It really bugs me when I see parents pushing their kids toward their wants and living vicariously through them. It is sad for both parent and child. I’ll give Robin and me credit and say that I think we actually did dodge those bullets. (more…)

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October 23rd, 2009 by Dr. Phil

Should Kids Have a Say?

mother daughter2I have a question that the shows airing Thursday and Friday made me really think about.

First, here’s a quick overview of the family I had the privilege to meet and work with.  I wonder what you would have told them: Not long ago, 26-year-old Kristin wrote that she and her five — count ‘em five — sisters were convinced something really disturbing was going on with their mother, Carole, who until recently, had been very close with them.  Carole, according to her daughters, seemed to be adopting some new and troubling behaviors: being secretive, getting spray tans (significant because it was something they say she would never do), shopping for sexy clothes at stores targeted to much younger women and uncharacteristically, taking a mysterious weekend trip to Las Vegas, supposedly with her girlfriends. (more…)

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September 26th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

Teens and Birth Control, Part Two

bControl1I just want to offer a heartfelt thank you to all of you who wrote comments about Monday’s show with the Dr. Phil Family. I asked you to respond to Katherine’s naïve, but typically teenage, remarks that revealed her ignorance about birth control. I wanted to know if you believed we should make sure our kids get all the facts about birth control, whether they are having sex or not. Or, are we only causing more problems — and perhaps encouraging them to have sex before they are ready — if we push birth control and sex education on them at too early of an age?

What touched me was how much thought you parents have put into this issue. Many of you are obviously anguished, not sure what to do. Others are still admittedly uncomfortable about talking to your children. And there are plenty of heated opinions on both sides. Some of you wrote in to say you are genuinely convinced you can persuade your kids to abstain. “I will be honest with my kids about not having sex until they find the person that they are going to marry,” Lani wrote. “I will also put a fear of God in my daughter’s boyfriends, and my son, about not having sex.” On the other hand, there was this comment from MJ:  “It’s like having a pool. You can tell your kids not to go into the pool. You can build a fence around it. But if you know your kids are still going to figure out a way to get into that pool, don’t you think you ought to teach those kids how to swim?” (more…)

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