|US Season 4, US Episode 3|
|Air Date||January 9, 2008|
|Techniques||Tech Talk, Chore List, Naughty Spot|
Episode summary Edit
Jessica complains that her home is a "dump" and has no drive to do anything. Alexi spends a lot of time on social media, chatting with older boys. Meanwhile, 7-year-old Dylan acts physically and verbally aggressive towards his family.
Teri & Brian don't understand why their kids are disrespecting them & treating them like servants.
Can Jo help the Schumachers get control of their kids again?
Submission reel Edit
"We're in Las Vegas!" crows Jo. "Let's see what we have here." Brian and Teri say they need help with their three children. Brian and Teri work split shifts to avoid putting their kids in daycare. Teri gets home at 1:30 pm from her work at a specialty grocery store and is a zombie the rest of the day, letting her kids rule the roost because she is too tired to do anything about their behavior. Brian leaves around 2 pm to work as a bartender and cares for the kids during the day. Both feel like their kids treat them like slaves and that they do not respect the house or show gratitude for everything Teri and Brian provide.
Jessica and Alexi are spoiled and spend most of their time on the computer. Jessica is unmotivated and complains about being bored. Alexi is a social butterfly who spends all her time on the phone or the computer. She racks up 1300 minutes a month on her cell phone. Dylan is a little monster who lashes out at his family. Teri says he can be so sweet and loving and then suddenly turn on them. He says every bad word in the book, and Brian says he is "the hardest kid ever." He is at the end of his rope and they really need Supernanny's help.
"Hang on!" says Jo. "I'll be there soon. Help is on the way."
When Jo arrives at the Schumacher home, Mom goes to work and Brian get breakfast ready for the kids. "Want two, Jess?" "Is this enough bacon, guys?" "Does anyone want pepper?" Jo is perplexed at why Brian just doesn't set a menu for the kids and have them eat what he serves. Instead, he keeps asking the kids to tell him what to make and they get to order what they want. "I think you guys think this is a restaurant!" he says. He complains about waiting on them hand and foot, then inquires, "Do you want potatoes, son? Do you want potatoes?"
At the breakfast table, Brian explains that Alexi and Jessica spend way too much time on the computer. Jessica tattles on Alexi, saying she talks to people on the internet that she doesn't even know. "Yeah, I do know them!" snaps Alexi. Jessica reports the boys are 16, 17, 18.
"What is this about a 15, 17 year old boy talking to you?" Brian asks.
"Nothing, she's just trying to get me into trouble!"
In interview, Jo reports that "social media sites are all the rage" for kids these days, but parents need to be aware of the dangers of using those sites. Parents should not assume kids are safe. They should monitor computer time and know what their kids are doing. Brian is upset at what Jessica has revealed and tells Alexi that in Las Vegas, this behavior is unsafe. People could be out to get her, and if she doesn't get picked up from school by her parents, she could end up being taken off the street on the way home from school. He tells her it happens every day in this town and it's no joke. Meanwhile, Jo reports that she is stunned by the lack of supervision and how little the parents know about their kids' internet activity. "That is slack parenting!" she says.
Brian says he wants to see what's going on (on the internet). Jessica tells him that he can't because he doesn't have Alexi's passwords. "I don't care, I'm going to see it," Brian says. Jo reports that when they go to the social networking site, she is stunned by the subject matter, the age of the boys Alexi is talking to, and the profanity. Alexi is crying with frustration and embarrassment. "This is serious stuff," Brian says, who is now wearing a pair of glasses to read what is on the screen. "This is going to the next level." He says they are changing everything about the computer from now on.
When Teri comes home, Brian tells her to see what Alexi has been doing on the computer. Jo reports, "Just like Brian, Teri was totally oblivious!" Teri explains that when she grew up, she didn't have computers so she was totally ignorant about them. Jo reports that she is concerned that parents who don't know about the internet are not protecting their kids.
On the patio, Jo hangs out with Jessica and Teri. Jessica says she wants to be rich and that the house is a dump. Teri says, "I can show you what a dump looks like. This is not a dump. It's not a mansion, which is what she really wants," Teri continues, turning to Jo. Jo reports that Jessica is incredibly rude and disrespectful, and this kind of behavior cannot go unchecked.
In Dylan, Jo sees "a 7-year old boy who is restless and bored." She doesn't believe he enjoys acting out the way he does. Instead, he is doing it because he is frustrated and doesn't know what to do with his energy. "Don't kick me," Teri tells him while she plays mancala with Jessica. "Don't spit at me," she tells him later. "Do you want to go to your room?" she says a bit later. Teri again notes how he can be so sweet one minute and awful the next, and how frustrating it is.
Parent meeting Edit
Jo congratulates Teri and Brian on their decision to work split shifts to care for their children together. However, she then notes that they use the computer as a babysitter without knowing what the kids are doing online, "which is crazy!" Teri says she doesn't want to press the issue because she doesn't want to push them away. Alexi is already not talking to Brian. "Tough! Tough!" Jo says in response to Teri's excuses.
Jo points out how materialistic and lazy the kids are. They get everything and do nothing. "I'm a giver and doer, that's what I do," Teri says. Jo asks what this teaches the kids and what is Teri is giving as a mother (other than material things). Teri cries that she has no support in the house. She's alone with 3 kids and doesn't know what to do.
Jo points out they need to set boundaries and expectations. "What behavior do you expect from them? What manners do you expect from them? What do they do? What does Jess do?" she says. Brian notes that he recently asked Jess to clean the toilet and she didn't do it. "You're raising lazy kids," Jo points out.
"How many minutes does Lexi use on the phone? And does she pay that bill? What were you thinking? You've set no limitations." Jo says they need to set boundaries, give praise.
Jo asks where they think Dylan's anger comes from. "He has anger because he wants something?" Brian guesses. Jo points out that he is angry and doesn't have anywhere to go with his energy. It needs to be addressed to help him contain himself (with discipline) and manage his frustration before it gets to the next stage.
Jo reports that first off, the parents need Technology 101. She introduces the Tech Talk technique to make sure Brian and Teri know what they need to do to keep their kids safe on the computer. This includes putting the computer in a public place, knowing their kids' passwords and knowing the sites they visit. Jo interviews that also putting 30-minute time limits on the kids' computer time is essential.
Jo notes that with less time on the computer, the kids will have more time to do chores. She has each child write down a chore they can do to help around the house. Alexi chooses cleaning the toilet. Jessica chooses laundry. Dylan chooses washing windows. "Let's do it!" Jo says as she posts the completed chore list.
Jo then takes Brian and Dylan to a local gym. Dylan gets some mixed martial arts training. Jo reports that "Dylan absolutely loves it," and used his focus and energy in a positive way in the gym. Brian reports watching Dylan doing this was great.
To show Jessica that she doesn't really live in a dump and to help her appreciate what she has, Jo takes the family to a Habitat for Humanity site. "You're going to work today!" the Habitat for Humanity representative explains. He explains that the family who will get this house has full-time jobs, they just don't have enough money to pay for a home in the traditional way; and that building these houses for these families kind of brings back the good old barn-raising days.Everyone gets to work, apparently digging trenches for pipework. Jessica stands aside. Jo reports that Teri looked ashamed at Jessica's behavior. Teri tells Jessica that her behavior is ungrateful and rude, and Jessica gets back to work. Jo reports that Alexi is really learning from the experience, showing a lot of compassion and sensitivity, and learning straightaway. At the end of the day, Brian reports that he feels this work is bringing the family closer.
At home, Teri lays into Jessica about how ungrateful she is while everyone looks at her. Teri and Brian thought they were teaching family values by working hard and giving the kids what they needed, but Teri now realizes it was a mistake. They just taught the kids how to be spoiled, and it needs to change. Jessica is clearly embarrassed and put on the spot. She fans herself with both hands, sighs and avoids looking anyone in the eye.
Jo reports that even though she appreciated Teri's honesty, she thought Jessica needed a softer approach. She takes Jessica aside to talk about the issue in a different way (about how Jessica wants people to see her). Jessica says it is easy to talk to Jo because she talks on the same level as her. Jessica returns to the rest of the family and gives Teri a hug. Then they all hug Jo goodbye.
Family evaluation Edit
Four days later, Jo sits down with Brian and Teri to review the DVD footage:
- The kids play together (helping Dylan practice punches, playing catch). Teri feels the lack of computer time has brought them closer together. "Brilliant to see," says Jo.
- The kids are doing the chores. "Being self-sufficient, and no complaining!' observes Jo.
- Alexi refuses to get off the computer and Teri tells her she now gets no computer time the next day. Teri says they have boundaries now and they won't get away with what they did before.
- Dylan kicks and tussles with Jessica on the sofa. When Brian comes in to see what's going on, Dylan flips him off. Jo says that's not acceptable. They need to make sure Dylan knows what is unacceptable behavior.
- Dylan refuses to go to timeout, going limp and making Teri drag him across the living room. Teri keeps telling him to use his legs and go to timeout. Jo explains to Teri that she should not keep talking to him while taking him to timeout. It's that kind of banter that can make the situation escalate.
- Dylan goes into the bathroom, then calls for his mom. She enters the bathroom, and behind the closed door, we hear the toilet flush. Jo is stunned. "What is going on?" Teri explains that he won't get up from the toilet unless she helps him wipe. Once, while she was in the shower, he sat there for an hour until she came in to help. Jo points out that that Dylan is 7 and perfectly capable of wiping himself. He's really not going to sit there all day if no one comes to help him. It might be a little messy, but he can do it.
Jo is pleased with all the progress the Schumachers have made, but wants to make sure Teri and Brian stop labeling their kids. She brings out pictures of the kids and a set of negative labels such as selfish, materialistic, princess, attitude. This makes the parents realize how often they label their kids daily. She then brings out a set of blank labels for Brian and Teri to recognize the positive qualities in their children. They then stick the positive labels on each child to boost their self-esteem. Jo points out they should also be verbally telling their kids these things on a constant basis.
In farewell, the family then presents Jo with a collage of photos they put together of their time with her. "This is amazing!" Jo says.
The collage says "thank you super nanny" (all lower-case) on it, and seems to show some techniques that were not shown during the episode, such as a "Tick Tock" activity with each child under a clock, and a family routine.
"We were just so touched by the experience, we wanted to give Jo a lasting impression of our family," Teri explains.
Jo notes that seeing the kids in a positive light and moving forward from there can really bring families together. "And that is what they did."
Family update Edit
The family goes to a local Italian restaurant and enjoys being together. Dylan is eating an entire medium-sized pizza on his own. Teri says this was an incredible experience her family will never forget, and she is excited for the future. Dylan says they don't fight as much anymore. Jessica says things are more organized and the chores make it better. Brian says there's more structure and it works. The kids now relax and play together, and that what he wants to see as a dad. Jo again notes that the Schumachers' future is bright.
Closing credits Edit
There is a variety of footage of the family playing together and goofing off, as well as Jessica painting what might be her bedroom. "My, you've been busy!" Jo exclaims.
Full episode on YouTube
They play the sound effect of a keening hawk's cry whenever anyone talks about Dylan being sweet one minute and scary the next. It comes on as soon they get to the part about Dylan turning scary.