The Martinez Family is the seventeenth episode of Season 4 of the American Supernanny show.
Jo makes a visit to a family in Michigan who is in turmoil largely because the father is stationed overseas in Iraq. Before he leaves on his next tour, father Sindo (39) and know-it-all mother Michelle (34) sit down and make a video for Jo detailing what the issues are and why Michelle finds it hard to keep the kids under control while her husband is away.
Michelle says that she feels lost and stressed out regarding the unruly children, Sindo (9), Ashley (7) and Mikey (6). Sindo Jr. smart mouths his mother and even hits her with a hockey stick. Ashley throws tantrums in public and at home. Mikey is beginning to copy their bad behavior especially Sindo Jr.’s backtalking.
Mom handles it with venting out her frustration by overreacting to their behavior. One of the boys opened up to Jo that the reason why they act out because of how their mom treats them.
Once Jo gets to the house and the observation begins, so does the fun. All three kids greet her nice and respectably, but then the screaming and tantrums begin. While preparing food, Michelle loses it with her sons. After yelling at the kids, Mikey tells her that she is being bad to them. Michelle responds by getting in his face, putting her hand over his mouth and yelling at him some more.
Downstairs while trying to play air hockey, Jo witnesses Michelle and Ashley “acting like two kids” as they go back and forth with “no, yes, no, yes”, and say that they need to grow up. Jo thinks that Michelle takes out her emotions on Ashley. When Ashley threw the puck across the hockey table, Michelle sent Ashley up to her room when Ashley started to have a tantrum. Then Michelle says to Ashley that all she wants to do is scream and yell, so now she has to sit in her room.
Jo realizes how difficult it is for Michelle to give the kids what they need when she is constantly worried about her husband and checking the computer for an email. Michelle admits that she should just be happy when she gets an email, but sometimes days will go by between emails and phone calls and it is at that time that she really starts to panic.
During a conversation between Jo, Michelle, and the one of the kids Sindo admits that he feels like their mother doesn’t like them. Jo realizes that hearing this frustrates Michelle, but says that Michelle often overreacts to situations and that is why the kids respond the way they do.
A little while later Sindo Sr. calls from Iraq and Jo notices an immediate change in Michelle. She is happy and calmer than she has been all day with the kids. Michelle informs Sindo that the kids are not behaving and Jo hears him tell them they need to act right. He then tells Jo that he knows he can tell them that on the phone, but as soon as he hangs up that they are misbehaving again. He says that his wife needs to worry less about him and more about the kids who are there and who need her. Jo agrees and then lets them talk in private.
The next morning Jo sits down with Michelle for the “family meeting” where Jo points out to her what she sees as the problems and tells her what they are going to do to change it.
Jo then talks to the kids and presents them with a list of rules. The first two being to treat each other with respect and to listen to one another. Jo also touches on them remembering their manners.
After explaining the rules Jo explains that when they break them that Michelle will kneel down to their level, calmly tell them that they need to behave and if they don’t then they will go to the naughty chair. Sindo states that he is tired of the yelling and thinks that his mother will be calmer with the naughty bench and the rules.
Michelle’s first and second tests come shortly thereafter when they go to Sindo’s hockey practice. Ashley tells her mother that she wants popcorn and when her mother says no Ashley gets upset. Michelle kneels down and quietly tells her that she needs to stop the attitude or that she will go sit on the floor. Ashley's tantrum only gets worse so Jo gives Ashley a warning to sit in the corner, but Ashley settled down. After she listens to Jo, Mikey is told not to stay off the ice. After telling him twice, Michelle puts him in the corner. Mikey tells his mother he loves her and gives her a hug. Jo considers it a success.
Once they get back to the house Jo has a surprise for Michelle. Waiting for her on the computer is her husband live, looking back at her through a web-cam. Michelle is shocked and Jo explains to her that it is a better way to keep in touch. Now, whenever Sindo Sr. can call, she can actually see him. Michelle tells him that she is going to correct the problems in the house and with her, but that when he comes home he needs to support that and he promises that he will.
Jo waits while Michelle brings the kids in with their eyes closed and surprises them with being able to see their father. The kids are ecstatic and seeing the kids give a group hug put a smile on Sindo Sr.’s face. Jo then directs them all to a family website that she set up where they can all post messages back and forth to each other and keep in touch. This proves to be a great idea throughout the show as the kids send and get private messages from their father, helping to strengthen the bond between them.
Jo wants the family to have fun so she takes all of them to a bounce house environment where they can play together and laugh. They all have a great time but Michelle is worried about Ashley throwing a tantrum when it is time to go. Jo tells her to give warnings about when they are going to leave, let them know when it is half way, and then start counting down the minutes as it gets closer. With three minutes to go Michelle is very panicked as Ashley runs away from her. However, when time runs out she is surprised and happy that Ashley gets ready to go quickly, and only asks if they can come back.
When they get home, they prepare for a party with five of the kids' friends. Everyone is excited, Michelle tells all the kids the rules and the party begins. Sindo, in his excitement, throws something at the ceiling that hits the lamp on the fan and breaks it. Jo is worried about Michelle’s reaction but Michelle surprised them both by saying that it was an accident, cleaning it up, and continuing to have fun with the children. During the party, Jo says her goodbyes and leaves Michelle to handle the situations alone for the next couple of weeks.
In many episodes of Supernanny, Jo is horrified to see the rules fall apart as the parents and kids revert back to their old behavior once she is out of the house. This time however, was different than the others. Jo came back and watched several videos with Michelle where the kids were behaving, Michelle was doing what she needed to do, and the home was calm. Jo praised her continuously on succeeding.
Then the pair watch a video of Mikey picking his nose and biting his toe nails. They also watch the boys arguing with mom about brushing their teeth, Mikey going as far as stating that he wants his teeth to fall out so that he can get money from the tooth fairy. They also see a video of Sindo calling Michelle names and hitting her butt with a hockey stick. Michelle and Jo decide that they need to go over manners with the kids a little more.
Jo gives the kids a “test” where she asks them about what Mikey needs when he puts his finger up his nose, and Mikey jumps up and says he needs a tissue. Jo then asks what Sindo thinks his mom should do when he calls her a bad name and he mentions that she should follow the steps for punishment and he says that he knows it is against the rules for him to call her names. Michelle is excited to see that the kids know the rules and Jo says they did great, while tearing up the test.
Jo’s last assignment in the house is getting the kids to brush their teeth correctly 2x a day. She has a 5′ toothbrush made that lists all the rules for brushing teeth and proceeds to pretend to demonstrate what they are supposed to do. She then tells Mikey that the tooth fairy won’t take or pay for rotted out teeth that don’t fall out naturally, but rather because they were not taken care of. Mikey seems to understand.
Jo leaves the house for the last time confident that Michelle can handle it. More importantly though she leaves Michelle confident that she can handle it. Jo helped Michelle find a way to achieve the peace and harmony in her home that she craved.
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