Opening EditJo goes to Indianapolis to visit the Addis Family: A family in mourning over the recent passing of a loved one. The four kids throw constant tantrums. Mom is completely indecisive, and too dependent on Grandma's help. Can Jo use her own experience to keep this family from being devastated by grief? Or will the kids keep running Mom ragged?
Submission reel Edit
Jo: So this week, I'm in Indiana. Let's see a family who needs my help.
Leslie: Hi, we're the Addis Family. I'm Leslie.
Tony: I'm Tony. We have four kids. [Screaming]
Tony: I'm a technical consultant, my hours are generally Monday through Friday, 8 to 5.
Leslie: And I'm a stay at home mom, and I'm here with the kids all day. [Shot of Eden screaming on floor, followed by other kids screaming], One of my biggest issues is the temper tantrums. They're getting big enough that they're hard to manage. I find myself a lot of days, just giving up and throwing in the towel. The twins get physical with me. They will hit and kick me, and so I will just try to get away from them.
Tony: Eden is our little princess.
Leslie: Eden has gotten incredibly defiant. She just does not want to cooperate.
Jo: Look at this little girl! She has everybody running to her beck and call! Not good for her; not good for them.
Leslie: Elijah can cause a lot of problems. As well as the kids, my mom lives with us. About 6 months ago, my dad tragically died. We were boating, and he was out on a jet ski, He ended up bleeding, and he ended up bleeding under his skull. And so the kids saw while I was trying to perform CPR...It was just very, very hard for the kids. I have noticed behavior changes in them since Dad died. Everything just seems amplified, and so any aggressive behavior they had before seems really heightened now.
Jo: Children digest death very differently to adults.
Leslie: Sometimes it gets very overwhelming. As a matter of fact, it's hard for me not to start off feeling overwhelmed. There's a lot of things that I don't do. I don't get to the grocery store because I can't get there with all of them. And, um, it's hard. Supernanny, we really need your help. Please come help our family now!
Jo: OK guys, bear with me. I know there's a lot to sort out, but I'm on my way.
Jo: [Knocks on door] Hello!
Leslie: Leslie. Nice to meet you.
Leslie (interview): Knowing she was coming to watch me was unnerving!
Jo: Should we close the door here?
Leslie: This is my mom.
Jo: Pleased to meet you.
Leslie: Here is my husband, Tony.
Jo: Hi, Tony, pleased to meet you.
Jo (interview): The Addis Family have four children: Jonah and Jonathon, who are twins and six years old; Eden, who is almost five years old; and little Elijah, who is two years old.
Jo: Just show me what you'd do in an ordinary day if I wasn't here, so I could observe as much as possible. Please, carry on!
Tony: All right.... [Interview] I guess we'll see what happens here!
Observation begins Edit
Leslie: All right, all right... [Screaming]
Jo [interview]: As soon as I started to observe the family, I noticed that Elijah was very tired, and he started to pitch a fit. I see Leslie as being very much a young girl still. She hasn't really stepped up to the realm of being this mature woman who is a mother of four children.
Charity [to Elijah]: Wanna go in Nana's room?
Jo [interview]: You can see the dependency still on her mother, Charity, and how she takes care of the whole nest.
Elijah: I want candy. I want candy!
Charity: You wanna see pictures?
Jo [interview]: They are all going through such severe grief at the moment. Rick's death was a sudden shock. And he died at such a relatively young age. I mean, it's understandable that it's made such an impact on this family.
Charity (with Elijah): Who's this? [Points at Rick's picture]
Elijah: I want candy!
Charity: Would you like some candy?
Charity [interview]: A big part of us is so concerned about the kids remembering um, my husband and their Pappy.
Elijah kisses picture frame. Charity takes the picture back.
Charity: Who is that? Who is that?
Jo [interview]: To watch Charity with Elijah upstairs was definitely a place where you just kind of felt, "She's feeling. She's really feeling it."
Charity [in kitchen pointing to a picture of Rick]: Is that Pappy outside? Yeah? You see that one? Huh? Oh, you love Pappy.
Jo [interview]: She doesn't want Elijah to forget who he is, but the reality is, he's so young, and I just don't want Elijah to grow up feeling like he's conditioned to kiss photos if he wants candy.
Charity: Pappy loves you, too!
Jo [interview]: It's a tricky situation to be in for me, to see that. So it's got to be dealt with very sensitively and very directly, too.
Leslie: Eden, go brush your teeth. Go brush your teeth.
Jo [interview]: So it was time for the children to brush their teeth, and Eden made a really big fuss about it.
Leslie: Go brush your teeth. [Eden whines as mom chases her through house]
Jo [interview]: But she didn't want to go into the bathroom at all.
Leslie [interview]: She just absolutely refused.
Tony [interview]: I have a tendency to try to reason with them? And that is not always the best, uh, solution.
Tony [to Eden]: Look at me. Hey. Look at me. Look into my eyes. Up here. Look into my eyes. What color are my eyes? Look at me. Blue? Green?
Jo [interview]: Tony continuously asks the kids to look into his eyes all the time.
Tony: Look up here. Look in my eyes. Up here. Right up here. Look into my eyes if you have to. LOOK AT MY EYES.
Jo [interview]: It just doesn't work.
Tony: Are you seeing me?
Jo [interview]: So Tony finally gets Eden to the sink, and it's a standoff.
Time: 9:45 p.m.
Tony: Are you ready to brush your teeth?
Jo [interview]: She just crossed her hands. She certainly wasn't going to brush her teeth, she made a big riot about it.
Time: 30 minutes later, Eden squeals annoyingly.
Leslie [interview]: When Eden gets to that point, I feel just completely out of control. I just know it's not going to end well.
Time: 50 minutes later.
Eden: "I want Mommy to do it!"
Tony: You want Mommy to do what? [Eden waves toothpaste tube at him]
Jo [interview]: And then I see it's a very clear opportunity to see how the three, meaning Tony, Leslie and Charity, discipline Eden when she's disrespectful and doesn't want to do as she's been told. They do nothing.
Eden: I don't want you to-- You just press it! [Struggling with toothbrush]
Eden: You just-- You don't do it like thaaaaat! Waaah!
Leslie [interview]: It started out we had disciplined children. It's just unraveled over time. [Eden screaming]
Jo [Interview]: So from the time they asked Eden to go upstairs and brush her teeth, to the time she actually did brush her teeth, it was way over an hour. And I realized that Eden may possibly be stubborn whilst I was there.
Narrator: Coming up on Supernanny...Jo is shocked when she sees 6-year olds with sippy cups.
Jo: What's going on in this house?
Narrator: And Jo gets personal with the family.
Jo: Because grief will throw you upside and every which way it can. And I can tell you that from personal experience losing my mother.
Narrator: When Supernanny returns.
Observation continues Edit
Tony: Do you need a fork or anything, or is that good enough for you?
Jo [interview]: So lunchtime calls in.
Charity: Do you like it like that? Or would you like the food to be like a face?
Jo [interview]: And they sit there eating their peanut butter sandwiches....And then I look at the table and I see sippy cups! How many sippy cups do you need in a house where there's only one two-year old? I mean, to me that's just absolutely crazy. These kids are more than capable of drinking out of a cup. So why sippy cups?
Eden [eating tiny bites]: When I was a baby I had to take that small of bites.
Charity: Are you a baby still?
Charity: Are you thinking about all the bites?
Jo [interview]: There are children who are more than six years old eating like babies! So I hear Grandma tell Mom that Jonah is calling for her.
Leslie [to Jonah, in bathroom]: Hey, are you done? Do you want me to wipe you? [Jo rolls eyes] Jonah, do you want me to wipe you?
Jonah [through bathroom door]: I can't do it.
Leslie: OK. All right. [Enters bathroom]
Jo [interview]: And then I realize that Jonah is calling for Mom because he wants her to wipe his bottom! This boy's six years old!
Leslie [as toilet flushes, to Jonah]: Wash your hands, OK?
Jo [interview]: I mean, what's going on in this house?
Jonah scampers upstairs on all fours from bathroom
Jo [interview]: Later on, Mom spent time with the children doing crafts. Mom gave Eden a sticker that was on Jonathon's monkey to her by accident. And he wasn't happy with that.
Jonathon: Where's his heart ear?
Leslie: Oh, you know what? I didn't know it was your heart ear. And I gave it to Eden to put on her monkey. I didn't know it was yours.
Leslie [interview]: I accidentally gave Eden Jonathon's sticker because it had fallen off of the monkey.
Time: 3:05 p.m. Jonathon whimpers on couch.
Leslie: I'm sorry. Honey, I didn't mean to do that. I'm sorry.
20 minutes later
Leslie: Eden, we accidentally put Jonathon's heart sticker on your monkey. Can I take it off and put something else on your--
Leslie: --monkey's belly?
Eden: No, it's ruined!
Leslie [interview]: I kind of was hoping that she would just say, "OK!" But she did not want any part of that.
40 minutes later
Leslie: Can we do that for Jonathon? Please?
Leslie [interview]: So I just felt kind of trapped, like no matter what I did, whether I corrected my mistake or whether I didn't, somebody was gonna be very unhappy.
Jo: So now what?
Leslie: I don't know what to do!
Jo: You don't know what to do? With the stars and the monkey noses?
Leslie: Either way, I feel like I lose.
Jo [interview]: Leslie tells me that she feels guilty because one of the kids is going to be upset over the decision that she's made. That's life!
Leslie: Eden, can we please give him the heart nose, and I'll put this heart that Mommy drew on yours?
Leslie [interview]: Then I find myself trying to please all the kids.
Leslie: What if we found a foam sticker?
Leslie changes out stickers on the monkeys while her kids scream and protest
Jo [interview]: You're not gonna keep all your kids happy, 24/7! But you get on and you deal with it. [Eden and Jonathon screaming/fake crying]
Parents meeting Edit
Jo: There's no doubt when I walked into this house, that it was obvious that all of you as a family are undergoing a grief in process. Your father-in-law, your husband, passed away about 6 months ago, and you are all going through that grieving process. It's having its ups and downs. Because grief will throw you upside down and every which way it can. And I can tell you that from personal experience losing my mother. Yesterday, Charity, I saw little Elijah and he said, "Candy!" as you were upstairs, he said, "Candy." And he kissed the photos of Grandpa. And then you gave him candy. If Grandma gives Elijah candy because Grandma has earned the right to give him candy, and it's OK, then let it be for that.
Charity: I never put the two together, that-- Rick had a candy jar, and gave the kids candy out of it. But, so I was trying, because he was not going to be able to do that--
Jo: You, you know that it's all part of the process of you personally grieving. He's not gonna be there for the first Christmas, the first birthday, the first anniv-- You know? I hear you. It's true. What I wanted to talk about was, as much as there is a grieving process going on, at the same time, I am here because there are issues that do need to be addressed with regards to the kids. Let's start off with Eden. It's-- Eden really shows me that she has been allowed by the adults in her life to be able to have what she wants, when she wants, however she wants. So, it's important for Eden to understand she must give a level of respect. But at the same time respect the rules that are in the house and the authority of her parents. Otherwise, you're gonna have a nightmare on your hands. You really are. But what I want to talk about also is allowing the kids to use the cups they should be for their own age. I was quite shocked to see the twins with the sippy cups. They're six years old! What are they doing with sippy cups?
Tony: I think there's a lot of things they should be doing that they're not doing.
Jo: I agree. But I think a six-year old should be able to wipe their own butt. You know? They're more than capable! You know, how do they learn, if you don't give them the chance? The lack of management I'm seeing here, Leslie, when it comes to the kids. This sense of not being competent to make the right move, because you don't know what the outcome's going to be, lead to to a place where you're constantly feeling like you're failing all the time. Up until now, you've had your mother call those shots. But at what point do you stand on your own two feet and raise the bar as an adult and say, "I've gotta learn myself"?
Leslie: It is hard for me to make a decision, um, because I'm afraid I'm gonna make a mistake, and um, I feel Mom has been there and done that, and uh, made some mistakes and learned from those, so I do try to ask for her opinion a lot.
Jo: To not make a decision is to not take any responsibility. Or to be opinionated with what you feel or how you feel your kids should be raised.
Jo: A lot has been said today at the table with regards to the issues that we need to get through. And I am very, very enthusiastic to get working with all of you. So do I have a family on board?
Jo: All right. So let's get to work, 'cause there's much to be done! Thank you.
Narrator: Coming up on Supernanny:
Jo: This is the first house I've ever been to where the kids don't wipe their own butt.
Narrator: Jo gives a crash course on going potty.
Jo: Remember front to back!
Narrator: And disaster strikes at dinnertime! [Eden and Jonathon screaming/crying] When Supernanny returns.
Teaching begins Edit
Jo [interview]: On my first day, I wanted to focus on parental skills, because the children's behavior is getting confused with the family's grieving process. The first step was to ask Grandma to leave so that Leslie wouldn't be dependent on her help, so that she could just stand up on her own.
Supernanny: With Grandma gone, it was time to get these kids to at their age wipe their own bottoms
Supernanny: And right away Eden gave E the chance to show mom exactly how
Supernanny: Oh this is great
Leslie: That's Eden
Supernanny: Oh this is good
Supernanny: What was that?
Leslie: Is she old enough to wipe herself after she poops?
Supernanny: Oh yeah
Supernanny: We've got a 5-Year-Old who's struggling to wipe her own bottom and I just thought that was crazy
Eden: I don't know how to wipe
Tony Alright Sit down now let me see
Eden i don,t like carrots.
Leslie Jonathon and Eden you need to Stop it Right now
Lesllie You know whyokay look at my eyes Stop the complaing right now hey this your warning stop the complaing or your going to Timeo-ut
Tony Eden you need to eat two more Carrots
Tony: "Eden, you need to eat two of your carrots and then you can eat your bread"
Leslie: "Eden, this is your last chance to have it heated up. Do you want it heated up, yes or no?"
Leslie: "No? Okay". (Eden cries)
Leslie: "Eden never gave up".