April 30, 2008 08:22 PM by Lisa Stauber
The Clause family needs Supernanny’s help. They have two tweens, Brandon, 11 and Caila, 8 who scream, slap, scratch, and whine to get their way. Lorie, the mother, is a pushover who can’t stand to see her kids upset. Ken, the father, works from home and keeps his head down. He manages to tune out the tantrums and look the other way when Lorie caves in.
“I feel like we’ve lost the battle for Brandon and Caila,” Lorie says. Supernanny Jo Frost hasn’t even met the children, but she sees that Mom suffers from “spit and polish syndrome”. She’s always doing everything for everyone, and whining all the way.
Lorie walks her children home from school everyday, and they treat her like a pack animal. Later, at home, the kids refuse to do their homework. Jo knows who to blame for that. “The parents don’t make it a priority,” Supernanny says. The kids are still arguing over homework at 11 pm, and Jo gives up and goes home. She’ll have lots to say at the Parent Meeting!
The next day, she does indeed take the Clauses to task for their lack of parenting. “You can’t function as a normal parent everyday,” Jo says. “There are no expectations.” The kids have no chores, but plenty of privileges. Mom won’t say no, but complains when she says yes. “Let’s talk about homework,” Supernanny says. “It was absolutely ridiculous!” Lorie crumples under the weight of Jo’s criticisms, but agrees that change is needed.
Now it’s time for the Tip of the Week. Jo suggests letting the kids help make their own reward charts, for a fun, personalized craft.
Art time is over, and teaching begins. Caila begins the day with a screaming and slapping fit over whether she is going to get dressed. Mom pleads, negotiates, and yells. Finally, Jo steps in and firmly tells Caila what to do and how to do it. Caila listens, and manages to get her clothes on. “I don’t think Caila has ever been spoken to firmly. She’s only been molly coddled or yelled at,” Supernanny says, and sure enough, while Jo is speaking, Lorie sneaks into do some more of that molly coddling. “I feel guilty, because she’s sad,” Mom says.
Jo doesn’t mince words. “You better take it seriously with me,” she says. She decides that Lorie needs to let go of her burdensome past – and the guilt that comes with it. She and Lorie take a walk, and Jo starts throwing rocks into Lorie’s arms. Finally Lorie’s had enough, and finally says “no more.” Supernanny then has Lorie look at stones imprinted with words representing her painful past. Lorie throws them off a cliff and finally lightens her load. She’s strong enough to do anything now, even take on her own children!
Back at the house, Supernanny guides the family in establishing house rules. The children are a little old for the naughty spot, so they have privilege strips instead. Every time they get out of line, their mother will tear off one of their privileges from a chart. “It’s our job as parents to follow through,” Lorie says firmly. “I anticipate a lot of kicking and a lot of screaming.” Way to find a backbone, Mom!
Ken takes Brandon for some much needed father-son time, and Brandon has a blast bossing his dad around a gymnasium. The pair decides to make their outings a regular part of life. Yay, Supernanny! Bringing the guys together will only make the family stronger.
It’s time for Jo to leave the Clauses to their own devices, but she gives them some parting wisdom. “Trust one another, work together, communication.” We’ll see how that goes!
Mom takes a stand the next day, and refuses to carry Caila’s backpack. Caila has a screaming, slapping fit in the middle of the street, but manages to get her books home all by herself. Later, though, Lorie negotiates privilege removal with Brandon, undermining herself. She finally breaks down. “They won’t respect me!” she sobs. “I’m not strong enough!”
Supernanny swoops back in to save the day. She tackles the Clause’s thorniest problem by creating an organized homework station. Lorie loves the idea. “I think it gives them ownership and control,” she says. Jo gives Ken a pep talk before he takes on homework supervision, and it goes well. Supernanny decides her work is done, and takes her leave.
“It’s great for the kids to see the program bearing fruit,” Ken says. “This is a new beginning. This is my life now,” Lorie says, pleased with her newfound strength.
Photo courtesy ABC.