A Mother's Rage: The Kids' Side

The Brunt of Her Anger

Brandon, 10, and Shayna, 9, have not seen any of  the home video footage. They reveal what it's like to live with an out-of-control mom. 

"My mom, she has a temper," says Brandon. "She yells a lot, and she swears quite a bit."

"She screams her head off," says Shayna. "We hear all these words, and it just goes into you and really hurts your feelings."

"My mom hits us across the head with her hand, or when our dad does it, it hurts. Then, yeah, we'll usually start crying," says Brandon.

"Sometimes, I look after the baby. I ask my mother if she can hold him for just a second because he starts to grow really heavy, and she just starts yelling at me and everything when I want her to hold him," explains Shayna.

"I get more from both of them than anybody else because I'm the oldest, so all the blame goes to me," says Brandon.

"I feel like just running away, but then when I got home, I'd be grounded for the rest of my life," says Shayna.

"There are a few things that we're scared of. There's a stick. It's called the Thou Shalt Not stick," reveals Brandon.

"My dad got it from one of his friends, and it's up on the shelf. He hits us with it," explains Shayna.

"They both do," says Brandon.

"That's what I was going to tell you, but I was scared to tell you," Shayna confesses to the producer.

"I used to get grounded for everything, but now that we've got the stick, that's the cure," says Brandon.

"We're never allowed to tell anybody," says Shayna.

"Because then she might get in a lot of trouble," explains Brandon.

"We don't like it when he hits us, and that's the thing that I want fixed too. I want them to stop hitting. I think it is against the law," says Shayna. "He has steel boots."

"He doesn't kick us very often with those, and if he does, he'll just use the side of it, not the toe," Brandon explains as Shayna wipes away her tears and hides her face. "It's hard saying this because, well, my mom's going to hear it."

Shayna shows off a mirror with writing and hearts on it that reads, "I love you. I love Brandon. I love my mom." She explains, "I wrote this on the mirror. When I'm sad, I look at it. When my mom yells at me, I say, 'She still loves me, and I still love her.' Sometimes I just touch the hearts because I do love her. It just makes me happy. My mom never saw it. I never told her."

"I just want my mom to find a new way to handle all the problems," says Brandon. "It's way too bad. When she screams, people all over

the block can hear her."

"I just really want Dr. Phil to help us with that," says Shayna.

"I want him to try to help my mom not yell so much. If she's not having a good day, don't blame it on the kids," says Brandon. "I'll be proud of her if it gets fixed. I don't know what we're going to do if it doesn't."

Dr. Phil tells Karen and Jim, "They were afraid to tell us some of those things because they fear that they're going to get you in trouble, and that they're going to pay for it when you get them alone. Are y'all beating them with a stick?"

"It isn't the way you would believe," says Jim. "I got that from a guy at work, and I brought it home, just more of as a warning. I don't know why I brought it home, really."

Dr. Phil cuts to the chase. "Have you hit the kids with the stick?"

"I've hit them both once with it. Not extremely hard, it was a hit on the butt, because, to me, they pushed past their warnings," says Jim.

"Have you kicked the kids?"

Jim admits that he has. "I kicked them in the butt. I was [kicked] my whole childhood. I got kicked in the butt. I turned out, I think, to be a fairly good person, and I try to discipline the kids the same way I was."

"How do you feel about rethinking that a little bit, given the intensity of what's going on here?" Dr. Phil asks. "Do you think y'all might need a new compass, a new standard?"

"We certainly do, and that's why we're here, Dr. Phil," says Jim. 

"Do you hit them with a stick?" Dr. Phil asks Karen.

"I have, yes," she says.

"So you take the stick down, and you use that to hit them, because you want to inflict extra pain on them? What is the theory?"

"Just that they're more afraid of it, because they think that it's going to hurt a lot more than if you just spank them with your hand," she says.

"I suspect they're right about that," comments Dr. Phil. "You're afraid you're going to hurt one of them badly, aren't you?"

Karen nods. "I just know that it's just been getting worse," she says. 

Dr. Phil asks Jim, "Do you realize that you're living with an abuser here?"

"I realize now, yes," he says.

"And that by failing to step in, you're as guilty as she is?"

"Yes, I do realize that."


Dr. Phil tells Karen, "I think you are way out of control, and I think you need serious, serious help." 


He tells them he will get some ongoing professional help for their entire family. "As you know, we had y'all scheduled for a show two weeks from now. And they brought me this tape, and I said, 'I want these people here right now.' That's the urgency with which I view this," he says.