Bully Dads: Hidden Cameras

Bully Dads: Hidden Cameras

Cameras in the couple's home reveal a typical day of fighting. Kevin gets into a heated argument with his stepson, with his other children in hearing range. "You want to give me the finger behind my back!" Kevin shouts at Tony.

"He gave you the finger because of all the stuff that you did to him," Shannon explains, her voice rising.

"Look at him smiling. Look at him laughing!" Kevin says in a huff.

Their toddler wanders in the middle of their shouting match, and the fighting escalates.

"Don't think you can hide behind [your mom] and do whatever you want!" Kevin shouts, making an obscene gesture at his stepson. 

When Kevin approaches Tony in rage, the pre-teen says, "Don't touch me or I'll kick your ***. I'll ******* slit your throat, you piece of ****!"


Shannon acts like a human barrier between her husband and her son. "You are a big bully. You are a grown man, and you are intimidating him!" she shouts, restraining Kevin.

"Are you kidding me? What in the hell are you thinking?" Dr. Phil asks Kevin in disbelief when the videotape ends. "What do you see there?"


"My anger is coming out from the whole situation. I feel like I've been backed into a corner," Kevin replies.


Dr. Phil isn't moved by Kevin's explanation. "Are you telling me you're a victim here? Are you kidding me? That is criminal behavior!" he exclaims.


"I don't know how to express myself in this situation anymore," Kevin says.

Dr. Phil interrupts, "You seem to be doing it now. You seem to be sitting there now like, 'Gee, I'm just communicating.' So you, obviously, have the ability to talk with some control. That is abusive. You are a bully!"



Dr. Phil wants Kevin to see how deplorable his behavior is. He instructs Kevin to look at several images of Shannon restraining him. "I'd give my front seat in hell to have been there!" Dr. Phil says angrily.


Kevin clings to his defense. "That's what four years of what I've been dealing with behind their mother's back has escalated to," he explains.


"He's been angry since before we got in the picture," Shannon says.


"You know that's a crock!" Dr. Phil says of Kevin's excuse. "You've got a 12-year-old kid a third your size, and you're jumping up, 'Come on. Bring it, buddy!'"


"And then when [Tony] gives a little bit back, he's mad," Shannon explains.


"Tell me how that's making you a victim," Dr. Phil asks Kevin.


"I never said I was a victim," Kevin replies. "I don't have any other answers or actions to deal with."

"What's it going to take for you to understand that you're standing up, a full-grown man, calling out a 12-year-old boy to bring it?"


"I understand that," Kevin says. "But this is what it's comes to. I don't know how to behave to the situation. As my wife goes to school three nights a week for five hours, I watch those children. As soon as she leaves, it's a dog-and-pony show. She doesn't see what they put me through."


"Apparently, nobody ever taught you about boundaries. Nobody ever taught you about lines you don't cross," Dr. Phil says. "I don't care if they don't do their homework. I don't care if they lie their face off. I don't care if they leave the doors unlocked, don't pick up their toys, don't pick up their room ... there is no theory under which that behavior is OK. If you feel like you just have no other options or alternatives, you need to ask for help."


Dr. Phil mentions that Kevin has also been verbally abusive to his wife of three months. "Mom, mother of these children, he turned to you and said, 'No wonder you got your a** beat before. You deserve it,'" he recounts to Shannon.


"I lived it. I know I didn't deserve ever to get a hand laid to me, or to be called names. I don't deserve what I deal with now. I'm ready for a divorce today," she declares.

Shannon explains that on the way to the show, she and Kevin got into an argument over Tony. "He said, 'You force your son down my throat. You force me to love him.' I said, 'I don't force you to love him; I force you to show him respect,'" she tells Dr. Phil. "'Well, when he shows it to me, I'll show it to him.' I said, 'No, you lead by example. You teach him how to respect. He doesn't have any respect for you by the way you treat him.'"


"You've been married for three months. You say he's been bullying you and the kids for three years," Dr. Phil observes.


"Correct," Shannon replies.


Dr. Phil questions her judgment. "So, based on two years and nine months of that, you said, 'Let's make it official'?" he quizzes.


"It was to save face, basically," Shannon admits.


"For whom?"


"For family members, for him, because he had more family coming [to the wedding] than I did," Shannon says.

When Shannon says that a judge couldn't resolve her predicament with Kevin, Dr. Phil is incredulous. "Do you need a judge to tell you if your kids are being abused? What are you, blind?"


"How about when I have nowhere to go when I have four kids, and [Kevin] says that's my problem?" Shannon says.


"You can go to a shelter. You can live in a box under a bridge before you let him do that!" Dr. Phil says. "Is that the equation here? Is it down to, 'He gives us a roof over our heads, and therefore, I will take what he dishes out'?"


"So far, yes," Shannon says, tearing up.


Turning to Kevin, Dr. Phil says, "You say, 'I put a roof over their heads. I spend all of this money on them,' and you resent that."


"I resent it because it's not reciprocated as far as a simple chore. That's pretty much what these issues have led to, just trying to teach them responsibilities," Kevin explains.


"But you command respect, you don't demand it," Dr. Phil says. "And you certainly don't buy it."


"My wife has said to me I have to, basically, kiss their a** and show them respect, and then I'll start getting it from them. I have tried those avenues, and it still continues to backfire," Kevin explains. "I don't know where to go."

Dr. Phil says Kevin can't keep justifying his behavior toward his stepchildren. "I'm trying to give you a wake-up call. I'm trying to get through to you. I'm trying to tell you this is not OK, and you say, 'Oh, I know it's not OK, but,' and then you immediately start saying, 'But they won't listen, but they have no respect, but I spend all this money on them, but, but, but.' Hell, there is no but!" Dr. Phil declares.


"[Tony] should be accountable for his actions. I am exposed to them every day, and every day, it's something new," Kevin argues. "So I stay away from them."


Dr. Phil explains that as a professional, he cannot stand idly by knowing the children may be in jeopardy. "Either Child Protective Services, or family court " somebody is going to get involved, and they're going to stop this," he warns. "I consider this to be a reportable offense."

"I'll walk away before I lose my kids," Shannon asserts.

Dr. Phil points out that Shannon's former relationship was abusive. "You're being abused now. The kids are being abused now," he observes. Turning to Kevin, he says, "I have a very strong position about bullies. I think bullies are cowards, and I think they're users and abusers."


Dr. Phil acknowledges that Tony may be displaying rebellious behavior, but Kevin cannot continue to act like a victim. "You need to do one of two things: a) get out. Just get out and go down the road, or b) learn how to parent and communicate without being a loudmouth bully," Dr. Phil says. "You are the adult, and you are expected to rise above the level of children."


Shannon needs to step up and start protecting her children. "If you don't, I will," Dr. Phil cautions. 


Dr. Phil promises to provide counseling for the couple, and they accept his help. He also wants to keep cameras in their home to closely monitor the situation.