February 06, 2009 08:25 PM by Lisa Stauber
ABC‘s Supernanny helps her biggest family ever. Dale and Amy Costello have 10 kids, and the older ones end up acting like the parents while Dad goes on the road driving a truck. There’s more than the usual time-out problems with this brood. Has Supernanny bitten off more than she can chew?
Amy’s dream was to have 12 kids and a home with a white picket fence. Dale is a truck driver who’s gone for three to seven days at a time. When he’s home, it disrupts the routine. The boys like to wrestle. “It’s like a three ring circus,” Dale says. “Everyday I feel like I’m at the breaking point,” Amy says.
They expect the older kids to help out with the smaller children, and Carley, age 14, hates babysitting. 15 year old Logan is the oldest, and acts like another dad. The Costellos hope Supernanny can help them set up some kind of order and get things under control.
Jo notices that when Dale is home, he doesn’t help out much. The kids don’t listen to him, and Amy doesn’t ask much of him anymore. Jo sees Logan change diapers, brush little kid’s teeth, babysit while Mom goes on an errand, and more. Supernanny sends Mom and Dad away to observe Logan in action.
Jo takes him aside for a chat. Logan says he doesn’t get to hang out with his friends. “They’re not my kids. I’m not a parent,” Logan says. He doesn’t feel like he can say that to his parents, though. He’s even considered leaving the family and striking out on his own.
Some of the kids go outside, and Mom gets mad at Carley for letting the younger ones rough house. “These parents are not taking on their responsibilities,” Jo says. She won’t let the older girls go outside later because she’s still mad at the girls. While Amy yells at the girls, one of the little kids gets hurt and Amy blames the girls. Supernanny gets so angry that she has to walk out of the house and cool off.
She goes upstairs to talk to the girls, and then Dale finally gets involved with the kids. 9 year old Corbin gets yelled at for note writing. Later, Jo decides to talk to Mom about birth control. Hey, that’s not in her job description!
The first thing Jo addresses is Logan’s burden. He’s had a panic attack, and Supernanny says they give him too much responsibility. “Right now, you’re in cuckoo-land,” she tells them. Jo talks about Carley, and Amy’s relationship with her daughters.
Before the children’s issues are addressed, Jo brings up family planning. Dale is 50 years old and doesn’t want any more children. Amy wants two more kids, no matter what. “My dream is my dream,” she says.
Next, Supernanny sends Amy away so she can teach Dad how to cope with all of the children. The four older children are off duty and not allowed to help. Jo doesn’t understand why Amy doesn’t trust Dale to watch all of the kids, because he does a fine job.
Jo sets up a technique so that the older kids know how much their parents love and appreciate them. They set a schedule so the older kids have a planned day and time to do an activity. Logan wants to mark off a day he’s allowed to go out on a date. Amy and Carley make a point to make a mother-daughter date and go to the spa.
Supernanny sets up a curtain so Logan can be honest without having to look at his parents. “It makes me angry, and upset,” he says. “I can’t handle it.” Dale reveals that he was a runaway, and promises to be a good dad and take care of things. There’s a bigger secret, though, and Amy makes Dale have it out in the open. “As ugly as that skeleton is, it had to be brought out,” Amy says. Dale drinks too much, and Logan sometimes has to hustle the kids away from their drunk father.
Dale agrees to get help for his alcoholism, and Supernanny leaves the family. She plans to use her time away to find resources to help Dale, because the family can’t move forward unless he deals with his problem.
Logan goes on a date and has a good time. Mom goes to the store, and Dale has a good time playing with the kids. The cameras catch the middle children talking about Supernanny. They don’t want her to go, because she understands them.
Jo talks to Dale about his drinking. “As I’m talking to you, I can smell alcohol on your breath,” she tells him. “It’s a major concern, and ultimately everything is going to drown.” She tells him he has to want to change. Dale admits that he needs help and can’t do without the alcohol. Jo tells him that there is a support group meeting, and offers to go with him to the meeting if he really wants to go. “I’m ashamed,” he says. “I’m not going to judge you,” Jo tells him. “Let’s change this.” Dale agrees to go, and Supernanny helps him clear out his secret stash of beer from the house.
Dale tells Amy that he’s going to a meeting, and apologizes to her for lying. He also talks to Logan. “He’s a good kid,” Dale says. Supernanny leaves, and the Costellos are hopeful that things will just get better.
Photos courtesy ABC