Jo visits the Davis family from Deltona, Florida where Phil and Debbra (41) have five children: 14-year-old Morgan, 9-year-old Phillip (who did not participate in the episode), 4-year-old Madison, 3-year-old Tiffany and 2-year-old Tori.
When Jo meets the family, she notices Phil yelling and swearing at his kids.
He expects his wife, Debbra (who works long hours) and his stepdaughter, Morgan to take care of the younger children and clean the house.
Debbra notes that Phil's chauvinist ways make him believe that her chores are part of being a woman, yet it often brings her to tears. Additionally, he criticizes Morgan for dressing provocatively and calls her a "slut," which brings her to tears as well.
The mornings are chaotic and ends with Morgan (who's also a straight "A" student) being late for school every day and failing first period.
Phil also disciplines his daughters with abusive methods such as smacking them in the mouth or spanking his kids with a leather belt or his hands. Debbra admits to Jo that Phil's behavior has caused them to separate before, but feels like she can't trust him to change.
Jo informs Phil that his abusive behavior is going to break his daughters' spirits and end his marriage. Can Jo teach Phil to stray from his abusive ways and rescue this family from falling apart?
When Jo watches the DVD reel, she hears Phil say, “The first thing a wife should do, is have the house clean before she leaves".
Phil leaves for work before 6:00 a.m. and Morgan helps her mom get her siblings ready to leave the house. Because the mornings are so hectic, Morgan is starting to fail her first-period class because she's always late.
Morgan points out Phil's anger and how he calls the girls in the family "b****es" if they look at him the wrong way. He is also shown spanking & chasing the children with a belt. She also brings up the fact that Phil and Debbra have separated a few times in the past because of his behavior.
During Jo's observation, she sees Phil criticizing Debbra as she makes lunch for the kids. When the younger girls start crying, Phil continues to argue and there is yelling. As Debbra steps outside to take a breather, she tells Jo that Phil needs to step up or it will end their marriage.
Later on, Morgan fights with Phil over the way he talks to the girls and Phil yells at her, saying, "You can walk your ass upstairs, you little b****!" Morgan runs off in tears. Jo goes upstairs to talk to Morgan.
Later on, Phil admits to using the belt on all of the children. When the younger girls start wrestling with each other, Phil slaps one of them in the mouth.
During a family walk, Phil complains about a necklace that Morgan got from a 17-year-old boy and then starts yelling at her and tells her she looks like a slut (even though she's only wearing a t-shirt, jeans & flip flops). After saying to her, "I should just let you act like a little ho", bringing Morgan to tears again, but Debbra doesn't do anything to stop it.
At the parents' meeting, Jo lectures Phil about his behavior, telling him that the spanking is breaking the children's spirits and tells him, "You are a bully." She also lectures Debbra for standing by and allowing Phil to treat their children the way he does.
Jo tells both parents that she expects hard work from them, saying, "If you cannot give it to me, then this doesn't go down."
When the teaching begins, Jo sets up pictures of the children outside and brings Phil outside to discuss his abusive behavior. She makes him throw darts at the children's pictures, telling him, "Every time you verbally abuse your young girls, it's like throwing a poisonous dart right in their face." The exercise makes Phil realize how damaging his words are.
Later, Jo takes Phil and Debbra to the gym to show Phil why he isn't trusted. Jo blindfolds Debbra and makes her fall backward, but Debbra has trouble trusting Phil to catch her because he's broken promises before. Then, Jo tricks Phil into thinking Debbra will catch him, but he ends up falling into a foam pit which makes Phil realize what's like when trust is broken.
When one of the younger girls starts misbehaving and is in need of a timeout, Jo teaches Phil how to properly apply discipline. It takes a while, but Phil soon learns that timeouts work.
Later that day, Jo helps the Davis family prepare themselves in the morning and gives them shelves to put their clothes on the night before.
The next morning, Jo arrives at the Davis house at 5:30 to make sure everyone is getting ready. She teaches Debbra how to care for the younger girls while she gets ready and Morgan is able to focus on getting herself ready in the morning. In the end, everyone gets out of the house on time and Morgan isn't late for school.
Meanwhile, Jo helps Phil and Morgan mend their strained relationship. Morgan tells Phil how angry she feels, saying, "You never listen to me or anything." When Morgan finishes, Phil hugs her, telling her that he'll try to change his behavior.
On the DVD, Phil is shown playing beauty shop with his youngest daughters and joking around with Morgan, but when one of the younger girls makes a mess, Phil slaps her in the face and the next time he hits her, she gets knocked down to the ground. Phil says, "That was horrible."
Jo makes it clear to Phil that he has abusive behavior and needs help controlling it.
Jo takes Phil to meet an abuse program coordinator and speaks with a man who completed the program. She also has Phil talk to a girl who suffered abuse from her own father.
Jo plans to keep in touch with the family and get reports from the abuse program coordinator to make sure everything is okay.
- Phil Davis, 41
- Debbra Davis, 41
- Morgan, 14
- Phillip, 9
- Madison, 4
- Tiffany, 3
- Tori, 2
Behind the scenes
This episode was filmed in November 2008.
- Viewer complaints have prompted Florida investigation of 'Supernanny' dad - Orlando Sentinel, Feburary 26, 2009
- 'Supernanny' Dad Under Investigation For Abuse - The Tampa Tribune, February 24, 2009
- Florida dad probed in abuse case after slapping daughter on 'Supernanny' - New York Daily News, February 25, 2009
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