Dr. Phil goes backstage to speak with Brandon and Shayna privately. He greets the children and sits down for a talk. "Tell me why you think you all came here to see me today."
"Because of my mom's yelling and her swearing on a daily basis," says Brandon. "And her temper."
"What's your biggest worry? What are you scared of most?" Dr. Phil asks.
"The stick," says Brandon.
"Would you be happy if you knew that I was going to have your dad send that stick to me?" he asks.
"Yeah," says Shayna.
"Will he get in trouble?" Brandon asks.
"We know it's against the law," says Shayna, "but " "
"Like, when we do get hit, it hurts, but when we don't, well, we don't get hit very much, like, it was never on camera when we got hit," says Brandon.
Dr. Phil tells them, "The most important thing that I want you to understand is that what your mom is doing is not about you. It's not because you're a bad little girl. It's not because you're a bad little boy. And I don't want your mom to get into trouble; I want your mom to get help. It's like, if you're sick, you take medicine. We need to get your
Shayna wipes her eyes. "I want to see that happen because I don't want her to do it anymore, and it just makes me sad, and not good." Dr. Phil hands her a handkerchief, and she wipes away her tears. "Inside, it just makes us not feel good, because she's putting words into our heads that we don't need to know, all these swears and everything," she says.
"Would you be happy if you knew that that was going to stop?"
"Yeah, we would," says Shayna.
"So you all could just be kind of one, big, happy family?"
"Everybody swears, but it is way out of control," says Brandon.
"I've talked to your mom, and she's not a bad person. She's just in a lot of pain, and it's not because of you two. It's not your fault," he tells them.
Brandon is not done telling his side. "She'll scream and then the neighbors, my friends, will be like, 'What's that? Did your mom step on a tack or something?' And I'll be like, 'No, she just got upset,' and they'll say, 'About what?' I'll just be like, 'I don't know.' We won't really tell them anything because it's kind of private."
"My goal is that this doesn't ever happen again," says Dr. Phil. "And you're not going to be in trouble because of anything you've told us, and your mom and dad aren't going to be in trouble. Y'all are a couple of great kids. You two stick together, and you take care of the little ones, and you've done a great job, and I cannot tell you how proud I am of you. I have not met two kids in all my put-together who I'm more proud of than you two, and the way you've hung in there and taken care of things. I'm really proud of you. But it's not your job to fix your mom, OK?"
"OK," whispers Shayna.
"I just want, maybe, you to take away the stick," Shayna reiterates.
"You will never see the stick again, I promise you," Dr. Phil tells her. "It's gone. It's gone, gone, gone, gone. I'm going to have him send it to me, and you know what I'm going to do with it? I'm going to break it in like 50 pieces and put it in the fireplace. OK?"
"OK," says Shayna.
Brandon adds, "It's not their fault though, about the stick. I don't know, it's just a stick."
"The stick's gone. Forget about the stick. I just wouldn't sleep right if you guys didn't go home knowing that you are two great kids who I am really, really proud of. And we're going to get your mom some help."
Dr. Phil hugs Shayna and shakes Brandon's hand.
"Thanks, Dr. Phil," says Brandon.
Dr. Phil rejoins Karen and Jim. "They are absolutely amazing children," Dr. Phil tells Karen and Jim. "What do you think about the fact that even though they've been subjected to this, their primary focus and concern is for you?"
Dr. Phil asks Jim, "So, how do you feel about that stick you got from your buddy at work?"
"Yeah, it's got to go. I had no idea it had that kind of effect, for them to be worried about it all that much. But yeah, you can take it and burn it," he says.
"I can't," says Karen, crying.
"I know that I can do my part by staying home until they go to school and help her out in the morning," says Jim. "We'll make this stop."
"It's not up to me what happens in this, but do I have your guarantee and assurance that you will not leave those children in her care unsupervised until we get an intervention in place?" he asks Jim.
"Absolutely," says Jim, shaking Dr. Phil's hand.
Dr. Phil tells Karen, "You obviously have a seething rage inside of you that comes out when you feel safe to express it. We've got to go in there and figure out what that is and get beyond that, deal with that in some way. And then you need a new parenting compass."
He addresses Jim, "You said, 'They kicked me in the butt all the time, and I turned out OK.' Well, maybe, maybe not. If OK is kicking your kids, and getting a stick and threatening them with it, that ain't OK to me. You guys need to learn some parenting skills, and you need to handle stress differently, and there are ways to learn to do that. The number one priority is to protect these children. So we have a plan? We're going to get you some help right away."
At the end of the show, Dr. Phil thanks Karen and Jim for having the courage to reach out for help.