Bad Teen or Bad Mom?

July 7, 2014
Valerie says she’s petrified of her angry 15-year-old daughter, Baylea, whose rages are so violent and out of control, the police are often called to intervene. Valerie says that during these incidents her daughter turns into a “crazed animal” -- punching holes in walls, throwing items, and hitting and scratching herself — and she fears someone could get seriously hurt. Can Dr. Phil help uncover what’s at the root of Baylea’s rage? Baylea’s older sister, Chelsea, blames their mother for the teen’s behavior, saying she acts more like Baylea’s friend instead of a mother. Is this a case of a bad teenager or bad parenting? Valerie admits she’s failing as a mother and needs guidance. Can Dr. Phil help her tame her teen — before Baylea self-destructs? This program contains strong language. Viewer discretion advised.







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BayleaValerie, Baylea's motherChelsea, Baylea's sisterDr. Charles Sophy, County of Los Angeles DCFSDr. Mathew Polacheck, Center for Discovery

A Violent Teen

“I’m afraid of my daughter, Baylea," Valerie says. "I feel like Baylea is possessed. She just rages out of control, and she can’t quit.”

Baylea’s older sister, Chelsea, says, “Something takes over Baylea, and you don’t know who she is anymore. She hits herself, she’ll punch herself, scratch herself. She will throw things, hit things, slam doors.”

“She will just start freaking out in the car, saying she’s going to jump out. She’s busted out a car windshield, totally shattered. She’s 15 ½, and it’s getting worse,” Valerie says. “She’s beat me up before. I couldn’t do anything to control her. She’s like a crazed animal. The strength that she has, it’s like she’s wild. We’ve had to call the police quite a few times because it’s gotten to so out of control.”

Valerie explains that Baylea has also threatened the family with a knife. “She said, 'I’m going to get a knife, and I’m going to slit your throat,'" she recalls. "I’ve locked myself in my bedroom, in my bathroom, anywhere I can get to get away from her. One time, I thought she was going to beat me with the towel bar she ripped off the wall in the bathroom, but the cops got there in time, and they had to pull her off of me." Valerie says she's concerned for her family's safety. "The police have been called on Baylea at least seven or eight times this year. I feel like there’s something really wrong with my daughter. I have no control over her. I’m afraid that Baylea will either kill herself, kill me or kill us all.”

Dr. Phil asks about Baylea’s rages. “You say you think she does all this for attention?” he asks Chelsea.

“Sometimes, I do, but when she gets really bad, where she’s punching her thighs and digging nails into her skin, and she’ll grab whatever is next to her and just scream into it really loud, I don’t even think she realizes she’s doing it,” Chelsea says.

“So, you think she gets to the point of blackout anger?” he asks.

“Yeah,” she says.

Dr. Phil notes that Baylea has threatened to kill herself. “Let’s start with one premise that I want you to entertain while we’re thinking through this: Behaviors often start for one reason but continue for another,” he says. “Sometimes, this acting-out behavior can start, as you say, for attention at one point, but then it takes on a life of its own. All of a sudden, it becomes where it controls you, and you lose yourself in it. And you’re saying that’s what’s happening here. This has gotten to the point where she can’t control it — she doesn’t turn this on and off. It just happens. You describe it as demonic?”

“Yes,” Valerie says. “I don’t know how anybody could hate their mother, or hate their brother, say they want to slit their throats, hope I go to work and get into a car accident and die, hope my son goes to school and somebody hits him with a car. She wants to get kids at school to gang up on him and beat him up.”


Baylea says everyone is afraid of her — and they should be. 

The teen faces Dr. Phil. How does she explain her behavior? 

Baylea says her mother is far from innocent. “And you wonder where I get it from?”

Valerie admits that she's called her daughter names as well. “I get to the point where she says stuff, and I can’t take it anymore, and it makes me go crazy,” she says.

“So, this isn’t just a Baylea problem; this is a family problem,” Dr. Phil says.

Valerie describes her complaints about her daughter, but Dr. Phil interrupts. “Who raised her?”

“Pretty much me and my mom,” she says.

“Just checking. So, all these outrageous behaviors are happening on your watch,” he notes.
 
“Yes, pretty much,” she says. Valerie admits she’s not good at following through with consequences when Baylea misbehaves.

Chelsea adds that her mother makes a lot of empty threats. She also shares that when Baylea stole her mother’s car, there was no punishment — and then three days later, her mother took Baylea shopping.

Baylea’s 11-year-old brother shares what it’s like living with his sister. Will it make an impact on Baylea?

Regarding her little brother, Baylea says, “It just bugs me, because he’s 11 years old and still sleeps with my mom. I think that’s pathetic. My mom is not going to be there for him when some kids start bullying him.” She tells her mother, “You’re not going to be there when that happens, and he needs to know that.”

An Unplugged Mother?

Baylea is excused from the conversation, and Dr. Phil addresses Valerie. “You’ve got a daughter so frustrated, she’s clawing at herself. Is she cutting?”

Valerie says she doesn’t know.

Dr. Phil notes that when she was asked about her daughter’s medical history, Valerie was uncertain about what Baylea has been diagnosed with and the medication she was given.

Dr. Phil drills down on Valerie. “I have to tell you, I think what you’re doing is absolute negligence.”

“I do think you are unplugged here. You’re in over your head,” Dr. Phil tells Valerie.

“I am,” she says. Valerie says her son is now starting to take after his sister. “It’s sad.”

“Yeah, but not a surprise,” Dr. Phil says.

Dr. Phil turns to Dr. Charles Sophy, medical director for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Dr. Sophy tells Valerie that she acts more like a sister to Baylea than her mother.

“You tried therapy, but I’m told you didn’t take it seriously,” Dr. Phil notes.

Chelsea says their therapy sessions happened at her house. She says neither her mother nor her sister took it seriously. She accuses them of telling the therapist what she wanted to hear, so they wouldn’t have to do it anymore.

“I knew it was a waste of time,” Valerie says. “It’s like here. Baylea thinks it’s a joke, and it’s funny. She thinks she’s on vacation.”

Dr. Phil sits down with the teen privately to ask about a tweet she posted. “I’m just a waste of their time.”

Dr. Phil offers Baylea an opportunity to go to the Center for Discovery, a residential treatment center for women and teens. She will get a break from her mother and work on managing her anger.

Back onstage, Valerie reacts to what she heard from her daughter. “It makes me feel bad that she thinks that I don’t love her, and it makes me feel bad that she feels like she’s nothing, that she feels like she’s worthless.”

Dr. Phil explains that while Baylea is away, Valerie will have some work to do on acquiring better parenting skills.

Dr. Mathew Polacheck, program director for the Center for Discovery, says he thinks Baylea will blossom at the Center. “I think not only does she need it, I think she really deserves it,” he says.