Jo visits the Tsironis family in Minnetonka, Minnesota where Elizabeth (37) and Bob (39) have three children: 4-year-old daughter Kate and 3-year-old twin sons Teddy and Nicholas.
The twins Teddy and Nicholas were born prematurely at only 23 weeks gestation, weighing only 1 pound 6 ounces and mom Elizabeth was told that the boys had a low chance of survival. Even though they are now healthy, their experience with the boys' premature birth leaves them struggling to discipline them.
As a result of their lack of discipline the twins are acting out. Both Teddy and Nicholas throw, hit, misbehave at dinner time by throwing food and drinks make a mess and bite. Teddy shoves Nicholas while bouncing on the bed and Nicholas breaks his leg.
Meanwhile, well behaved big sister Kate feels left out and resorts to lying about having foot cramps to get attention from her parents.
Can Jo help the Tsironis family let go of the past to discipline the boys and can Kate finally get equal amounts of love without having to resort to lying?
Jo arrives to meet Elizabeth, who is holding Teddy and Kate is sitting at the dining room table making cookies out of Play-Doh. Nicholas, who is not feeling well, is half asleep on the living room couch. When observation begins, Elizabeth tries to get Teddy dressed, but he runs off, making Elizabeth and Jo chase him. Kate comes up trying to show Elizabeth her cookies, but Elizabeth continues to focus on Teddy, who is hiding under the table. Teddy begins to cry when Elizabeth tries to put shoes on him. He finally calms down when he gets to put on his rain boots to play outside with his mom.
Meanwhile, Jo goes downstairs, to the kids' playroom with Kate. Jo says that talking to Kate, she felt as if she were talking to a teenager. Jo goes outside to find Elizabeth, who struggles to communicate with Teddy who refuses to tell his mother what is wrong. Jo asks if Elizabeth has any me time. She says that she goes to a twins group once a month. Elizabeth sits in the hammock with Teddy and tells Jo about everything they had been through with Teddy and Nicholas, who were micro-preemies.
Late that day, Bob comes home but proceeds to leave again to run some errands. Meanwhile downstairs in the basement, Elizabeth plays with the boys while Kate sits on the couch banging pots together to get her mom's attention while she was busy dealing with the boys. Nicholas hits Teddy on the head, making him cry. Elizabeth tells Jo that her boys are unable to share. Afterwards, Kate whispers to Elizabeth to rub her feet. Elizabeth tells Jo that Kate has foot cramps, but Jo thinks that Kate merely wants attention because Kate looked bored rather than in pain. Elizabeth briefly rubs her feet, but then stops. When Kate asks her to continue, Elizabeth tells her that she cannot stop whatever she is doing every time Kate's feet hurt, so Kate needs to rub her own feet.
When Kate runs out of the room, sobbing, Jo goes upstairs to check on her. Kate cries that she wants her mommy, but she always plays with the boys. Kate admits that she lies that her feet hurt so Mommy will give her cuddles and she cries in Jo's arms.
At dinnertime, Teddy and Nicholas once again misbehave. The boys throw their food and drinks on the floor and climb on the table. Mom and Dad were telling them to stop but the boys didn't listen.
At the meeting, Jo goes over how both parents are living in the past and are letting them get away with bad behavior. In addition, she even addresses how the parents need to be aware of how Kate feels so ignored, she has to lie about having foot cramps.
Jo comes in with a routine for the family to stimulate the family. She also brings a new discipline technique called the Naughty Point arrow. It faces down and the child has to sit and do their timeout. During lunch, Teddy started to kick off. While mom is helping Kate on her sandwich, Teddy refuses wait his turn and then he turns around and hits and then push Kate and hit her back on the dishwasher, and she started crying. Mom gave Teddy a warning for his behavior. Jo however showed mom how to get Teddy to understand the impact of his behavior. She told him to give Kate a kiss and to say he's sorry. Teddy refused and got sent to timeout. Teddy escaped a few times.
When dinner approached, Kate was relaxing on Dad’s lap and was enjoying it. When mom called for dinner, Kate reluctantly went to table. A few minutes later as dinner began she started to get upset, but to hide her real feelings she used that foot cramp excuse claiming her foot hurts really bad. When she pleaded to have her mom rub her feet, the excuse goes to far, and Jo showed mom and dad how to deal with the situation by giving Kate a warning and then letting her know when she will have the time again with mom and dad. After a warning, Kate calmed down and sat back at the table and when mom and dad sat down at the table too and they all started to eat, all of a sudden Kate's cramp excuse was gone. Mom realized that Kate's foot didn't hurt, because she noticed she was fine 10 minutes later.
The next day Jo brought mom and Kate together to discuss the foot cramp excuses. When mom talked to Kate, she came right out and said "No my feet didn't hurt, I just said that because I your cuddles and your attention."
After that Jo introduced the Magic play technique. It will show the family how to play together and show their imagination without conflict. The theme is the pirate ship. Kate was princess pirate. Mom, dad, Jo, Teddy, and Nicholas were actual pirates. They went out on a treasure hunt. They found a map, a wand, etc. At the end Nicholas and Dad had a fun sword fight. Kate told the viewers that it was the funnest game they ever had.
Then it was time for Jo to go. Jo will be watching the family.
Family Test Run/Parent Evaluation
Mom saw Teddy and Nicholas rough housing in her car. She told the boys to get out her car. They refused so mom had to follow through with the Naughty Point. The boys escaped timeout for 28 minutes before they gave in and stayed there. Jo is proud of Elizabeth for following through.
Mom had to go to the meeting and couldn’t miss it so Dad had to do dinner by himself. The boys misbehaved and threw food around the table. Dad asked them why they're doing it, but he didn't give them a warning and go to the Naughty Point. Jo pointed out that the boys should get in trouble for throwing food. The boys acted out and dad didn't did nothing but give them excuses. Mom was very angry because now her job to deal with the children is harder.
Sure enough, Elizabeth’s job to deal with the children was a lot harder. It’s play time and Elizabeth didn't seem to get involved in playing with them. Instead she got frustrated with them, as all three of the children started to test their mom’s patience. It's the twins taking each other's stuff and their sister Kate's stuff without asking. When the twins took things from Kate, Kate put up a fight with them which descends into chaos.
It's mom yelling at the kids. The kids were so intimated they ran off to a corner to get away from the angry mom. When she went after them and caught up with them, she kinda dropped her tone of voice with the kids. At first she gave both boys a warning but then it got out of hand because she started yelling at the kids even Kate got yelled at. After that Kate settled down a bit.
Although the boys got a warning, Jo pointed out Kate also should be given warning too because she was fighting with her brothers. Then the kids started fighting with each other as it gets out of control. At the end the boys also began settle down as mom blamed the children when she talked to the camera. She blamed Nicholas for taking things from his siblings which is true. She even blamed Kate for throwing toys all over the basement, when Kate didn’t throw anything. Then mom realized that she was just frustrated. She realized that chaos wouldn't have gone to a snowball if she also dealt with Kate the way she dealt with the boys. However none of the playtime chaos would've happened if mom did the Magic Play technique with the children. They would've had lots of fun so the kids won't get bored and end up fighting.
Mom is still getting frustrated with the children so Jo intoduced a game for the children to play with mom so there wouldn't be any hostility and boredom during play time. It was called the fishing game. Kate was the time keeper, Jo and mom were the cheerleaders, and Teddy and Nicholas were the fishermen. In the game Teddy and Nicholas should catch all the fish in the toy fishing pond and try to catch all the fish in 10 minutes. It went well. Everyone gave lots of praise to the fishermen for catching fish. Nobody fought, nobody screamed. It was a great experience.
Dinner time is still chaotic so Jo has to teach the parents especially Dad how to discipline the children especially the boys during dinner. Teddy was refusing to put the toys away to side and eat his dinner. Dad gave Teddy a choice, to put the cars away and eat dinner or he will take them away. A few minutes later Teddy did as he was told and Dad was proud.
It was time for Jo to leave and mom wanted her to stay because she's a good teacher and she doesn't make them feel that they're “looser parents of the century”. However mom realized that she needs to stay strong and she will.
The family went apple picking and they were having fun. They also played outside. They're just a happy family. The boys are now well behaved and Kate got the attention that she needed. The boys know now that they will end up in the Naughty Point if they misbehave. Kate hasn't had her foot cramp excuses since Jo has been gone and she’s a lot more happy. The kids are now taking care of each other. Mom is not frustrated with the kids anymore and dad is not lazy anymore. The household is very harmonious.
- Bob Tsironis, 39
- Elizabeth Tsironis, 37
- Kates, 4
- Teddy and Nicholas, just turned 3 - they were born on July 5, 2002 and Nicholas' middle name is James.
- This episode marks the first issue of the Naughty Point.
- This was filmed in July 2005.
- Kate's birth weight was 8 lb 3 oz as mentioned in the family's YouTube channel
- Tsironis Boys micro preemie March of Dimes - Story about the twins' struggle as preemies, from Elizabeth's YouTube channel
- Obituary for Elizabeth's mother
- Kate's YouTube channel
- Sophomore Kate Tsironis a front-row force for Forest Hills Northern
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