Episode summary

Jo visits the Clause family in Studio City, California where Lorie (43) and Ken (44) have two kids: 11-year-old son Brandon and 8-year-old daughter Caila.

Caila is the ringleader of this kid duo. She is very disrespectful and manipulative towards her parents. She back-talks, swear, throws tantrums and aggressive by hitting and punching. She would also flip off with the middle finger.

Although Brandon doesn't act out as much as Caila, but he's very stubborn and will give attitude when annoyed.

The kids constantly fight.

Lorie is a major pushover while Ken is too laid back. Ken also fears that he'll never have a close relationship with his kids.

Can Jo help Lorie and Ken control their children.


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Submission reel

When Jo sees the Clauses' DVD reel, she notices Brandon and Caila's out of control behavior and how Lorie is a pushover while Ken tunes out his kids' fighting. Neither of the kids do their homework and procrastinate constantly. Lorie prepares dinner, but neither Ken nor the kids will eat with her, so she's left to eat by herself and have the other food she served for the others be left over. Lorie breaks down in tears that she doesn't know what to do anymore, and so she and Ken get their word out that they need Jo's help immediately.


Jo arrives at the Clause household, Lorie is the first to greet her. Then Lorie introduces Jo to her husband Ken. The kids are at school at the moment. Lorie gives Jo a tour of the house and how chaotic it is. She is treated like a slave where she does all the laundry, she does 99% of the cooking, her kids who share a bedroom together make a mess and rely on her to clean them up. Later in the afterooon Jo and Lorie head to school by foot to pick up the kids. Lorie introduces her two tween kids Caila and Brandon to Jo. Lorie walks the kids home from school with Jo observing. She tells Jo how the kids treat her like a pack mule and make her carry their backpacks home. Sure enough, the kids put their bags on their mom’s back, stressing her out and allowing her to groan repeatedly. Jo is certain that Lorie could lose her balance and get hurt due to this.

Later at home, it's dinnertime. Caila is about to eat candy, but Lorie intervenes and tells Caila that she shouldn't be eating candy. Caila answers back with sassy remarks and wants to eat the candy anyway, claiming she got it from a swap. Adding insult to injury, Caila demands that her parents to just leave her alone and let her eat whatever she's in the mood for. Lorie tells Jo that Caila is being sassy on a regular basis.

It's homework time, but Caila and Brandon make excuses not to do them so they procrastinate all night and get nothing accomplished. So, adding insult to injury, Brandon dilly-dallies by watching TV in the master bedroom which he does regularly, and Caila also does the same by skating outside on the front porch. At 9:15 PM, Brandon is pulled from the TV by his parents to get him to do homework. Then Lorie does the same by getting Caila back in the house and do her homework, too. Jo is appalled to see the kids are waiting until after 9:00 PM to do homework when it should be their bedtime, and has been observing them dilly-dallying all night just to avoid homework. Later by 11:00 PM, Jo leaves the house having observed enough and the kids have neither finished their homework nor studied for any upcoming exams. Jo is fully aware from her observation that the kids will flunk anyways because they have accomplished nothing.

Parents meeting

At the Parent Meeting, Jo tells Ken and Lorie, "You can’t function as a normal parent everyday. There are no expectations.” The parents have no time management to set priorities ahead of other expectations. It's also brought up that the kids have privileges, but no chores. The parents are acting like slaves doing all the chores for the kids and giving in to their kids being "too weak" yet they're at a young enough age to be capable doing them by themselves: neither Brandon nor Caila carry their own backpacks to school and back, and always leave the responsibility to Lorie and allow her to suffer and pay the price that she could either barely walk or trip and get hurt due to the excessive weight they're allowing her to handle. Jo pushes Lorie to accept the fact that the kids should have the muscle to carry the bags themselves.

When Jo brings up homework time, she says it was "absolutely ridiculous." She points out that she has never left the house as late as 11:00 PM to see kids do homework and procrastinate. She criticizes the parents for blaming the school on the kids' procrastination to do their homework and for failing grades, and mentions projects that the kids were given two weeks prior. Lorie defends her side of the story saying she's trying to help the kids on their projects and other assignments, but they resist. Jo follows up and dismisses Lorie's counterclaim and is fed up with the parents making excuses to allow their children to waste time and do homework late at night, thus kids should be going to bed at 9:00 so they have energy for school.

After a three-minute discussion with Jo, Lorie agrees that the family needs to change their parenting style. As Jo concludes the meeting, Ken gives his wife a hug and then she silently starts to shed tears, realizing it's time to move forward and parent better.


On the day Jo's teaching begins, Caila starts the morning off by throwing a loud and violent tantrum over not wanting to get dressed. As a result, she and her mother Lorie are in a physical altercation over the situation, with Caila hitting, crying, screaming, hair-pulling, shoving, biting, and jumping up and down, in which she lashes out by manipulating her mother to give her back one of her toys that was confiscated. After Lorie struggles to get Caila to listen, she asks her husband Ken to intervene on the situation, and he tells their daughter that it only takes one minute to get dressed and that they will give Caila back her toy if she does so. Neither of the parents follow through and allow her to continue with her manipulative behavior and she continues with the screaming and jumping up and down. Then Lorie asks Caila where she's like to get dressed, and then Caila insists on going into the master bedroom instead of her and Brandon's room to get dressed. So, Lorie gives in one last time and then Caila jumps onto her parents' bed, with Brandon also in there getting his shoes on. Finally, as soon as Jo enters the Clause house, she witnesses the loud altercation happening and intervenes on the situation and then talks with Lorie about it, and then comes over to Caila and confronts her about her despicable behavior and insists that she get dressed into her and Brandon's room instead.

After hearing the truth, Caila complies and does what she's told. According to Jo, “I don’t think Caila has ever been spoken to firmly. She’s only been molly-coddled with 'sweet-sweet sing-song voices', or yelled at." After Caila gets herself dressed, Lorie and Jo then come into the bedroom and follow-up. Jo then asks Caila why her toy was confiscated. Initially, Caila shrugs but admits it was the price she paid for refusing to get dressed.

As Jo is speaking, Lorie sneaks into "molly-coddle" Caila. According to Lorie, she does it because she feels guilty that her daughter is sad. Jo makes it clear to Lorie that she needs to take it seriously with her. According to Jo "Lorie is absolutely petrified that she is not going to have a successful relationship with her own daughter, and that is what's stopping her from disciplining her own daughter."

Jo later takes Lorie to throw stones (which have words on them) off a cliff which helps her lighten her load, making her strong enough to take on her own kids. This also encourages her kids to admit that they're above the minimum that they should be able to do some chores themselves without relying on their parents.

Back at home, Jo comes up with privilege strips for Caila and Brandon, along with baskets with their names on them. Every time the kids act up, Lorie and/or Ken will tear off one of their privileges from a chart and place them in their baskets used for discipline, but allow the kids to earn back each privilege for good behavior. Surprised at the prices the kids are prepared to pay if they break the rules, Caila doesn't want to miss dance class and Brandon doesn't want to miss TV time.

According to Lorie, "It’s our job as parents to follow through. I anticipate a lot of kicking and a lot of screaming.

Meanwhile, Ken and Brandon spend some father-son time at a gymnasium. They later decide to make these outings a regular part of their lives.

Before Jo leaves the Clauses for a few days, she tells them, "Trust one another, work together, communication."

DVD meeting

The next day, Caila throws another tantrum when Lorie angrily refuses to carry her backpack when they walk home from school, but she's able to carry her backpack by herself. They end up arguing with each other with rage. As Lorie continues to reject Caila's demands to carry the bags for her, Caila then does a tug-of-war on the belt of Lorie's trench coat nearly ripping it and then Lorie reacts quickly by squeezing Caila's wrist to force her to let go of the belt, and so Lorie readjusts the coat belt in the process demands Caila to keep her hands off her coat.

When they got home, Caila hits her mother multiple times. Lorie tells Caila that she has "lost some serious privileges".

Later on, Lorie negotiates privilege removal with Brandon to confiscate the TV yet put up with his manipulative demands not to, which makes her undermine herself. Then, when Brandon actually hits Lorie with a Wii Remote as he argues with her, she ends up breaking down in tears and saying, "They won't respect me! I'm not strong enough!"


When Jo returns to the Clauses' house, she creates a homework station for Brandon and Caila. Jo gives Ken a prep talk before he supervises the kids' homework and it ends up going well. This was an effort to get Brandon and Caila to do their homework before they're due, and so the kids' grades can improve.

After Jo leaves, Ken says, "It’s great for the kids to see the program bearing fruit." Lorie says, "This is a new beginning. This is my life now."

Family members

  • Ken Clause, 44
  • Lorie Clause, 43
  • Brandon, 11 (born 3 January 1997)
  • Caila, 8 (born 24 November 1999)

Behind the scenes

This episode was filmed in January 2008.


External Links

Season 4
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