How A Parent Could Unknowingly Contribute To A Child’s Negative Behavior

Kim says her daughter Taylor is a liar, manipulator and drama queen who thrives on attention – any way she can get it. She claims Taylor has stolen her credit cards, spent thousands of dollars on lavish shopping sprees for her friends and says she frequently lies on social media, including posts about being pregnant, dropping out of school, and getting arrested. “She thrives on being the Black Sheep of the family, even though we never have treated her as one,” Kim says. “Taylor was diagnosed bipolar at age 14. Sometimes, I wonder is it the mental illness is she just a spoiled teen?”

But Taylor insists she’s just a normal, good teen and says it’s her mom who needs help, not her. “She acts like I’m a psychotic kid who goes out, and does drugs, and parties, and runs away at night, and never comes home and never tells her where I’m going,” the 18-year-old says. “She has to control my every movement, like I am a doll on strings.”

Kim admits to Dr. Phil that her parenting may be causing some of Taylor’s behavior. “She was a really sick girl, and we were really connected, and I just wanted her to be happy,” she says, referring to a period of time when Taylor was depressed. “I watched her suffer. I just did what I thought because I love her, but I messed up because I didn’t teach her responsibility, because I did everything for them.”

Dr. Phil examines some of the ways Kim may have stifled Taylor’s development:

  • Does not require Taylor to clean her room
  • Allows Taylor to keep moldy food in her dirty room
  • Paid Taylor’s lost license and speeding tickets
  • Does not require Taylor to do chores
  • Has not made Taylor pay back the $3,000 of unauthorized charges on stolen credit card
  • Allows her to keep items she bought with the same stolen credit card 
  • Threatens to call the police but doesn’t

“There just is absolutely no consequence whatsoever,” Dr. Phil says, pointing out that all of these actions enable Taylor. “Children learn what they live.”

“I agree with you,” Kim says.

“I’ve always said, when you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences,” Dr. Phil continues. “And when she chooses behavior A, there should be consequence B. But she chooses behavior A, and there’s no consequence B, so she doesn’t know that when you touch a hot stove, you get burned, because she touches a hot stove and doesn’t get burned.”

Kim says she agrees. “I didn’t teach her to be independent. I didn’t teach her to do any of that,” she says, recognizing that she enables her daughter. “I’m bad for her as a mom, because I love her so much and I’m making bad decisions, because I’m using my heart first and not thinking how it’s affecting her. I’ve tried everything.”

Dr. Phil examines the family dynamic to see how it may be affecting Taylor’s behavior. Is the teen ready to change? Watch more here.

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