Therapy That Works...

Gearing Advantage

Doctors Sylvia and Milton Gearing have been serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 1985 with compassion and professionalism.

The Gearings implement the latest in psychological research to stay at the cutting edge of their field and bring the most effective and life changing techniques to their clients.

Their methods and strategies have been sharpened over the years, and are now built upon Gearing Up’s Three Gears of Change.

Bad Boys Gone Good - Nov 30, 2005

Bad Boys Gone Good: The Johnny Cash Story

November 30, 2005

Dr. Sylvia Gearing, CBS 11 News

Walk the Line, the movie about singer Johnny Cash's struggle with drugs and love has America talking about bad boys and love. But many parents today find themselves worrying about their daughter's attraction to this kind of rebel. Here to tell us more is psychologist Dr. Sylvia Gearing.

Q: Although things worked out for Johnny and June Cash, this kind of situation can be a parent's worst nightmare. Here you have a daughter you have nurtured from infancy and she's involved with a boy you don't approve of. What should parents say?

Dr. Sylvia: The reality is that some men live to conquer women and bad boys are extremely effective at attracting women and girls. As a parent, you have an obligation to be concerned if your daughter's boyfriend has too many "racing strips." If there is more than a three year age difference, be very concerned. The younger your daughter, the more "say" you have in her decisions. Fortunately, most of these relationships end on their own because bad boys cannot sustain a relationship if their lives depended on it.

Q: What is the allure of these guys?

Dr. Sylvia: Viewed from afar, these guys are very attractive to teenage girls. He is often glamorous, soul-fully moody, and very self confident. He's spontaneous, adventuresome and lives for today. He exudes danger. To a teenage girl, he represents the forbidden and the sensual. Unfortunately, he also views your daughter as the next "item" on the menu. He wants to use your daughter and then step over her on his way out the door!

Q: Are there any nice rebel guys, like Johnny Cash?

Dr. Sylvia: There absolutely are. Many of these guys are deeply insecure, as we saw with Johnny Cash, and are looking for love from the right woman. They just want to be loved but have been badly hurt in the past so they erect a macho front to protect themselves.

Q: How can you tell if he will turn into a good guy?

Dr. Sylvia: If he is controlling and cheats on your daughter, he's a poor bet for sudden reform. However, if he seems to possess a conscience, values other people, and genuinely cherishes your daughter, you might give him some time. He may just be a bit lost.

Q: Do you insist that your daughter break up with him?

Dr. Sylvia: Good luck on that one! How adamant you are should depend upon how dangerous he seems. If his bad boy behavior is an act to attract women, then give him some time. If he's a ruthless scoundrel, then do your best to discourage her interest. As I said, the younger your daughter, the more control you have over her decisions.

Q: Are there any warning signs about your daughter you should be aware of?

Dr. Sylvia:

Emotional Immaturity: A lot of emotionally immature girls want to depend on a bad guy who has little trouble getting what he wants in life. Unfortunately, his negotiations in the world can be self destructive, selfish and even violent.

Us Against Them: If you hear a lot of grumbling that only "he" understands her, then be concerned. She may be developing a dependency on him and using the romance to establish her independence.

Overnight Switch: We see a lot of nice girls suddenly discovering the rebel male and their behavior seems to switch overnight. These girls have behaved all their lives and this sudden surge of excitement is irresistible. If you are worried, look for declining grades, deserting old friends and seductive attire.

Reform Minded: These girls often delude themselves into thinking that they--and only they--can reform him. The chance of reform is slim to none, although it does happen, as we saw with the movie. However, reform often takes years, suffering and hard work on both partner's parts. If she wants to help others, there are much better ways!