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September 16th, 2010 by Dr. Phil

Mommy Meanest?

blog9039_1In all the years I’ve been doing this show, I’ve never seen an audience react as strongly as during the taping of “Mommy Confessions.” I happened to look around the studio and noticed my wife, Robin, in tears. The video of a child’s sobs as he’s forced to stand in a cold shower as punishment literally took over the stage. It brought up emotions so powerful, I don’t know that there was a dry eye in the building. In fact, Robin told me that it was the first time she ever wanted to get up and walk out.

Jessica, a mother of six, sent me that shocking video. She admits to having difficulty disciplining her adopted 7-year-old son, Kristoff, and says that she’s tried other methods, but nothing works. Before you judge too harshly, remember that this 35-year-old, college-educated mom came to the Dr. Phil show for help and guidance. For Jessica, the cold shower — along with other punishments, such as pouring hot sauce in the young boy’s mouth — is a last resort to scare her son into behaving.

I want to make one thing clear: the video you see was not taped by the Dr. Phil show. Had it been, we would’ve intervened immediately. Jessica’s 10-year-old daughter shot the video, and Jessica sent it in as a desperate cry for help. Here’s what I want you to think about as you watch this episode: There are more mothers out there like Jessica than you think. In fact, in a recent study about anger, the University of Toronto found that among 1,800 Americans, moms with young kids are the angriest.

blog9039_2You may call women like this “Mommy Meanest,” and think only bad moms allow their emotions to get out of control when disciplining their kids. But it was brave of Jessica to show us her true colors, and admit to how angry and overwhelmed she feels, and to show us exactly who pays the price. Like so many mothers, her day begins at the crack of dawn and is spent getting all six kids ready for school and out the door. She says she only has two hours to finish the household chores — laundry, bills, cleaning. By the end of the day, she admits that she’s exhausted and quick tempered, and says Kristoff’s behavior pushes her to the edge.

I’m sure many of you have had days when you’re at the end of your rope with your kids. You may even have a moment or two where you’ve snapped at your children that you wish you could take back. I’d like to hear from you. What parenting mistakes have you made? Or, on the other hand, what did you do to control yourself and defuse the situation? Do you think it’s possible for a mom like Jessica to change? This is an important conversation we need to have.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

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564 Responses to “Mommy Meanest?”

  1. Tammy says:

    I feel so heartbroken for this little boy..all I wanted to do is hug him hold him and tell him it will be okay.I was watching this show and all I could think about are my 3 teenage sons whom I love with all of me and could never imagine what kind of life they would have if I were like this woman.This woman may get help but the damage is done.Kristoff will always remember what she did to him.SHAME ON YOU.

  2. Sharon Dunlap says:

    In regards to the mother pouring hot sauce in her child’s mouth and putting him in a cold shower- are you people serious? I cannot believe that people could possibly be so outraged over this, yet they turn away blindly to the horrors that are actually happening right outside their own front doors. I work in a rural elementary school in Georgia. I have students who are burned, beaten, starved, molested, and abused constantly on a daily basis, and Robin is sitting there crying over a cold shower? Give me a break- come to my town and look in horror at the things that happen to the children I teach every day. That will make you cry- that will make a cold shower look like a walk in the park. Grow up people and cry over the things that really matter in this world.

  3. Rhonda says:

    I made my 7 and 10 year old watch this show with me. Sometimes they don’t always understand why other children “act out or don’t use their good manners” at school or at church.
    I agree with Robin I had trouble watching and I also was crying not only for the child but, also for the Mom who doesn’t have a clue. She seemed so cold.
    Look my child has gotten a bad mark at school. As adults / isn’t it more important that we teach our children everyone has bad days. It’s not life or death. Teachers have bad days, Mom’s have bad days, kids have bad days, it’s ok we will try again tomorrow. Cut each other a break, I’m sure even Dr. Phil has a bad day!

  4. Valerie Jewett says:

    Its been a week since the show was aired and its all I think about. I found it very hard to watch also, how could a mother do this to her child? No one is perfect but she definetely needs some help. I know Dr Phil that you will help her and make sure that all of her children are safe. Please keep us posted about Krissoff, hopefully he gets the love he deserves.Thank You.

  5. Hattie Wiginton says:

    It’s been a few days since this show aired…and I can’t stop thinking about Kristoff. I sit in my office and cry…I go home and sit on the couch and hold my 5 year old and 2 year old sons and tell them how much I love them. My boys are no angels and can be quite onery when they want to be. I don’t care what it is they do, nothing….NOTHING…is deserving of a punishment like Kristoff gets. There was an earlier post of a lady named Sharon Dunlap who said that his abuse isn’t even close to abuse she has seen. I don’t think we should start judging the harshness of child abuse. All abuse is abuse. These children all end up scarred and damaged inside due to their own unique abuse. None of them are deserving of any type of this treatment.

    I am a mortgage loan officer at a bank. As I said earlier I sit in my office and cry and wonder about Kristoff….and every other child in the world who right at this second could be experiencing abuse. My heart hurts…my throat has a lump in it…I’m sad inside. I am a very smart person. I have worked my way up in a bank from a teller to a loan officer. I’m proud of that accomplishment. But, something is missing. Deep down inside I’ve always wanted to get into social work and/or therapy for children. I always told myself that I would be a bad therapist because I would be too emotional. That might be true. I guess I’m at the point where I don’t care. I don’t know how I’m going to tell my husband about this, since I do make good money at what I do, and I carry our families health insurance (because my husband is a teacher and they have horrible insurance that would make us go broke). I’m on the verge of telling him I want to quit my job and go to school full time. How we’ll manage that I have no idea! I will definitely have to look into some student loans…but you know what? It will so be worth it. When I think about how bad my day is…I think about Kristoff…and every other child in the world. I know I can’t save the world. But it can’t hurt to try.

  6. Lilianne Maccaro says:

    Dr PHil I have had a hard childhood , my father was abusive to all of us . This woman is out of control i cannot stop crying and its only 5 mins into the show .I will adopt her son i am trying so hard not to tell you all the names i have for her . she does not deserve to have ANY kids , OMG i have been thinking about should i watch the show are not because i thought it would be too hard and so here i am watching it and oh i wish i was in the audiance please Dr Phil SAVE that child …. poor kid i send him alllll my love and hope he can one day live past this misarable time in his life God knows it is not easy . She has no idea how she just messed up all is life … i wish i could help

  7. sheela says:

    Like many other people, I just cannot stop thinking about that seven year old little boy getting abused. A week has passed and that show literally haunts me. I think about the fear he felt while being dragged to the bathroom. It is so hard for me to comprehend how much thought she put into coming up with punishments for him. She doesn’t just use hot sauce – she also makes him jog in place till exhaustion, prolonged knee bends, ear pulling, spanking. Who on earth could possibly think of all these things and yet so calmly and rationally sit on stage and discuss them.
    Statically, I am very similar to Jessica. I am a nurse, I have seven children. My middle daughter is adopted, having come from a broken home, I have eight year old identical twin girls, and my youngest son is six. My first three kids are from a previous marriage and it is true that some days I feel like I want to freeze dry them all and defrost them when they turn twenty five. But as a mother I stop myself and realize, my job is to deliver them into society as whole human beings.
    As a nurse, I wonder if this woman has ever to considered the danger of forcing a young child to hold hot sauce in his mouth while crying so hard he can barely breath? He could easily inhale the hot sauce into his lungs and die. The fact that children have a harder time regulating body temps in extreme conditions. Repeated forced cold showers on a seven year old is reprehensible.
    She is a mother with no instincts. If she loved Kristof, it would break her heart to hear him try to explain in his little terrified voice why he shouldn’t lie. If she loved her other children it would break her heart to let them witness their little brother being abused like that.
    Personally, I don’t care how much counseling she gets, I don’t think people like her really change. The best she can ever do is change her methods of discipline to more acceptable ones. The mental scars she has caused these children are going to last a lifetime. Is she prepared to deal with the aftermath of all these traumatized kids? She would have to change her entire belief system about right and wrong. To recognize humor in raising kids when nothing seems to be going as planned? This is a person who sits up at night figuring out multiple ways to terrorize a little boy. I don’t know how she became the way she is, but it is going to take a lot more than counseling to help her. I’m just praying for those kids,

  8. Dr. Khorsandi says:

    I agree with pretty much all the posts, even the lady who said this is nothing. I am a Pediatrician and I also seen way worse situations, deaths…BUT this will not change the fact that abuse is abuse.Also is very important to acknowledge that her other children are also being abused by just witnessing this,hearing all that screaming, yelling.They feel helpless, scared, confused.In my opinion this lady must get apart from at least this child until she get serious help.She said it she didn’t connect when she saw him for the first time,any mother falls in love with the first look. why did she adopt when she already had other kids and she is so angry?I can never look at a hot sauce bottle anymore:-(

  9. mary says:

    This lady needs helps…. My husband had me watch this show. All I could do is cry. It is so sad that any one could treat a child like this. I wish I could just bring him into my home and show him that a mother can love and care for her child. There is no reason to treat a child like this. Jessica needs to get helps. But I really hope that Krissoff can get the LOVE that he needs. It may be that he needs to go to a new home. I wish him the best of love. Please update us on him….

  10. Joseph says:

    Is there a way I can watch this online, I missed the day it was on :(

  11. J.King says:

    Nobody has the right to judge this woman, how can anyone possibly know how she feels – unless of course you have been where she is. Parenting is no easy task and everyone has their limits, my son is 9yrs old, he drives me up the wall with his bad attitude and his lying and trouble making, and cruelty to others. I have never put him under a cold shower – i never thought of doing that, however I have realised kindness doesn’t work, sympathy doesn’t work, beating doesn’t work, timeout doesn’t work, forfeiting things that he likes doesn’t work, getting him professional help doesn’t work, yelling doesn’t work, been firm doesn’t work. Nothing works and I know how frustrated this woman feels, I don’t think shes cold, the fact that she has asked for help, shows that she is VERY affected by this. It is time that people woke up and realised that we mothers have a hard job, we are expected to run a household single-hand and never show any negative emotion, those of you who have the perfect kids and family – good luck to you, I envy you, please share your success tips with us, but until you know what its like to have a child that seems bent on making their life and your life a living hell, you don’t have the right to judge!!!!

  12. Lynne says:

    I was appauled by what I witnessed, and as a mom with a child who has RAD,,,,well if react like that,,just shoot me. Through out that portion of the show I kept waiting for you to talk about what RAD is, how many parents who have adopted children are dealing with RAD, how many are “rehoming” their children,,way before it comes to blows,,,,,,like Jessica. There is an underground world where these children who were adopted and diagnosed with RAD,OCD,ODD etc..are being moved out of the adopted home into others,,it is like human trafficking……….Anger management for Jessica is NOT enough for this family,,,,,,,,,,,,,I hope the therapist that you offered is one who specializes in RAD or something simlilar. One that comes to mind is Bryan Post,,,,,,,,he along with Nancy Thomas and Heather Forbes are the best.
    Thank you Dr Phil and Robin for being you!!!
    Happy Holidays and Congrats on that new grandbaby!!

  13. Dana Bury says:

    While witnessing this abuse to the poor child Kristoff, I knew just what he was going through. My stepmother would talk to me the same way, thankfully, she did not torture me like she did to Kristoff, but that is abuse!!

    Oh, Kristoff…..I have not been able to get that little boy from my mind. I could not bare watching any longer, after she put him in a freezing shower, while making him answer to her. I could not sleep that night, worrying about Kristoff, and hoping he was well. I have witnessed some pretty bad things on the media, but this just shook me to the core. Kristoff NEEDS to be taken from that home!! What else goes on when the cameras are off??! And what about the other children…..what do THEY go through from that woman.

    I would call her their mother, but she is not, she is a bullying abuser. She is a very, very sick person, with no conscious. I will never forget little Kristoff, ever…..I hope there is a follow up show about him, and how he has been removed from that torture home, and living in a warm, loving family. I pray everynight that Kristoff is safe. God bless all the children with no voice!! They need us to make stand!!

  14. Amy says:

    I do agree that this woman is angered and frustrated and letting it all out on her son, but just as JKing above said, I have a 5 year old son with behavior just like hers. There is literally nothing that changes his behavior. He is so strong headed that he will always get the last word or action that makes him feel better that he is doing what he is doing. He is simply a bully in my eyes and I have never once taught him to be that way. I limit his tv and what he can watch, he does not play video games, he has had all his toys taken away–this does not seem to matter. I am a single mother, but I now have a boyfriend who has lived with me for a year now and has put his best foot forward and helped to discipline my children, but my 5 year old takes him and I past the point of no return. He does not give in to anything. My boyfriend literally spanked him for a solid hour with his hand then the belt because there was no response. My son kept pushing his way to the living room because he just wanted to watch tv, but he was not going to stop. I know this is not good, but I got up and slapped him across his face to see if using a different method of spanking would make any difference. He then quit pushing his way to the living room. These type of children do not give in. They cannot take no for an answer which means they are not going to listen no matter how you discipline them. I tried the be kind in your discipline route, when he was younger I wanted to have that sweet mother son love with him, but I despise him many of times I even look at him.

    In fact, I had a conversation with my good friend last night, and she is the kindest woman ever and loves kids to death. She works at a daycare with toddlers. She has a 2 year old son, and even she says she just wants to give him back at times and she cannot always look at him with the same kind of love at times because he is acting out so badly. Just think, when the person you love treats you badly how much do you love them for treating you this way? It is human nature to lash out against those that have bad behavior against you even if it is your own children. Children in their good times are great but when they act badly with no signs that you have ever disciplined them becomes the most frustrating thing in the world as a parent.

    So before you all go teary eyed over this womans behavior, think how she must feel when her very own children will not behave, even with the simplest methods. Many responses give me the impression that parents simply think loving your child will teach them how to behave, then you have another thing coming and will soon face something with your children down the road that you will not be able to control. I hope it is not something as severe as drugs or alcohol because many kids with “NICE” parents are the ones who end up doing these things because they were never disciplined, only loved and told ” its ok, just do not do it again.” The ones disciplining our children and having to go to the extreme really do care about our children and we want them to be the better person in life and this is why we are so hard. My boyfriend was abused by his dad and beaten just for breathing many times and beaten for his siblings mistakes. Now he is the most disciplined man I know, but he faced many challenges growing up that he should not have. So, I do agree that discipline can get out of hand, but when your child does not give in to your reasonable discipline, then its a whole different story.

  15. margaret martin says:

    i have 4 kids. i could not dream of doing that to one of my children.when i watch that show i was hurting for that little boy.please dr.phil do an up date on that little boy.

    i will keep him in my prayers

  16. I watched some of the show but could not watch it all. It just churned my stomach. I have 3 grandchildren & I do have a problem with my daughter’s boyfriend with the way he is so controlling towards my daughter & his children. Two from him but the oldest is not his own daughter & I know that he does not treat her the same way. My oldest grandchild has told me on one of her visits that he has abused her & I tried to help even though they live so far away. Nothing was done about it. I did report it to the right agencies in their area and my area. I felt that I let my grandchild down but I’m still there for them and hope that someday my daughter will see what is happening to her child & her 2 youngest ones whom are the boyfriend’s children. I have great concerns and I am in contact with the right people and I just have some hope that someday things will change..There is so much to this story that is impossible that I can even put here but at least I can speak out against any form of abuse.. Alienation is the number one factor in my daughter’s life with this man & I do feel so terrible for her & my 3 grandchildren but more so for my oldest who is not his biological father…

  17. Bmp Freddy says:

    I watch the show and directly I hate it be cuz the acts that woman did is impossible and unacceptable, a small boy need more love then what she did.
    That woman must be punish by low through hight court for abusing little boy mentality and behavior.

  18. Annie says:

    Poor Baby!! I have 2 kids, 13 & 7yrs., of course I lose my temper sometimes–but OMG!! My daughter doesn’t always behave, she doesn’t always do her homework, and teenagers lie! My son has the same color code thing she was freaking out about in the clip–well Dammit–do you have Perfect Days every day??? I doubt it!! My son gets his motivation from being rewarded for getting “Green Days” 5 in a row is a special prize, we do this with my older one too, she does her work, no phone calls home, etc. then she gets a special movie, or makeup, one on one time, whatever she decides on. You get more flies with Honey than you do with Hot Sauce, and before ppl start looking at this child’s “behavioral problems” MOMMY needs an evaluation!!!! And why just one child?? Sick Sick Woman!!!

  19. raisedintwoworlds says:

    I didn’t get to see the episode but I saw the clip in question. Remember people we are watching what goes on in someone’s home. I think her punishment worked and the child was scared to receive it and if it was the only thing he responds to then I don’t see what she’s doing wrong. It looks and sounds horrific but isn’t that what punishment is supposed to be about. He was told why he was reciving it while administered. I bet he will think twice when he goes to do naughty things during classtime again. Who are we as Amercians to judge and say our way is the right way? So many infamous serial killers out there were while males that could have been just like this boy at 7…unresponsive to any punishment. I call it CREATIVITY. At best the feeling was UNCOMFORTABLE to feel COLD sensations and HOT sensations! If it were summertime and a cold pool the kid would be all over it! When I was young, the belt was common abuse. It worked yet I do not believe children should ever receive it! I think a lot of people here need to be introduced to different cultures. I know many latinos that use hot sauce and kneeling on rice as punishment, thos make children UNCOMFORTABLE. No permanant scars people.

  20. Casandra Ruybal says:

    I am a 21 year old mother of a 2 year old nd a 1 year old, i have never been so angry or frustrated with my children to feel they need that bad of a punishment! No child, no matter how bad they are being, deserve anything i have seen this lady do! My heart was hurting so bad for her son. There are people in this world who are not blessed to be able to have children of their own and when i see pple that treat their children like this and people who do not put their children first i get discussded and feel they do not deserve the right to have children! I was 18 when i had my first child and 19 when i had my second, i could not have asked for anything better then to be a mom! It truely is the greatest blessing God could have given me and would not trade it for the world! I would die before i would hurt my children the way i saw this lady do. I wish all people would think the way i do and cherish every second they have with their children because at any second it could all be taken from you!!!

  21. Cindy Busse says:

    Dear Dr. Phil,
    I can’t stop crying. As I watched that show, I felt that same scared feeling come over me that I used to feel as a child. I hated that lady. No other show has ever aired that I have had such a hard time watching. I almost deleted the whole thing but I needed to see what you would say to her. I need to see you fix this.
    My heart goes out to that little boy. I would have lied too. I hate what I saw and I hope she is not allowed to continue this now that it has been brought out in the open.
    Please help that little boy.
    I cant write anymore.

  22. Tania Reid says:

    I was limited to only viewing the video clip the mother sent in. I’ve read the posts.

    Agreed, the abuse is traumatic. Yet the attacks and judgements place on this woman are equally traumatic. What use is there to be melancholy and filled with tears, comparing your own status as the ‘good’ mother, to that of the ‘bad’?

    It’s sad that this woman is asking for help, brining attention to not just a national problem, but global, and now she’s being written off as some evil demon.
    What I hear in many of these posts is a sense of righteousness;

    “She is a mother with no instincts. If she loved Kristof, it would break her heart to hear him try to explain in his little terrified voice why he shouldn’t lie.”

    I’m sorry, but it should make you sad that the average child has watched over 12,000 simulated murders before their 14th birthday, all of which have taken place in his/her living room on cable and commercial television. It should break your heart that millions of North American children are living below the poverty line, that assent to war as means eat, or that more kids are victims of hate crimes in the schools and communities then in their home… How does this relate to demonizing this woman? It’s a compliance to privilege.

    “Privilege means you can walk away from the conversation whenever you like because the issues being raised aren’t important to you, and you can always imagine that the marginalized people you are walking away from don’t matter.”

    — Garland Grey.

    This mother needs just as much love and compassion as the child does… just sayin.

  23. Kelly Layne says:

    I have read all of the posts concerning this mother and am astonished by how people can put aside all of the things that seperate them from each other and band together and display such love, prayers, and concern for one small boy… It renews my faith in humanity. The world would be a better place if we could manage this on a regular basis!!
    I am a mother of 4 teenagers who try my patience on a daily basis–and as a fulltime nursing student, I understand being overwhelmed. But my first responsibility is to ensure the safety, security, and wellbeing of my children. PERIOD! I give this mother credit for coming on the show, but doubt she can or really wants to change. I think she seriously needs serious psychological examination and support. What made her adopt more children in the first place when she is so clearly deficiant in mothering skills and maternal instinct? I worry about how much the others are suffering too. Perhaps they are just as scared and effected as Kristoff, but are not as obvious in the ways they show it. Something needs to be done to protect all these children quickly.

  24. Barb says:

    Abuse is abuse! Although it’s true that some forms of abuse seem more horrific, it is always damaging to the abused. Sadly, the reason for the abuse isn’t necessarily caused by the one being abused. Think about it!

  25. shanel says:

    i think this lady is crazy no one in there right mind would do this to a kid…. when i saw this i started crying some people should not have kid if u dont know how to treat them

  26. Emily says:

    I could not watch this video I had to turn my head away. I do not think I will be able to sleep tonight. I know that people do terrible things to each other but to witness a mother abuse her power, her child (adopted should make no difference). I am shocked, saddened, horrified by the unnecessary way in which she bullied her child over and incident at school. No bad behavior warranted that cruel reaction.

    My mother was also very cruel to me when I was a child and watching that I remembered to fear, I used to wonder why she hated me, does this boy feel the same? I hope this women’s child was taken away until she received some form of therapy. Please please tell me that this abuse did not continue? This woman is obviously sick and needs help but please tell me that the child was protected.
    Horrible viewing. I feel sick and my face is wet with tears.

  27. Constance Brown says:

    Dear Dr. Phil,
    I watch a lot of your shows and this one was the most difficult to watch. “Mommy Meanest?” needs to know the lasting effects her actions towards her “difficult” son will have on not only the abused child, but it will affect all of the children. I came from an physically and mentally abusive home, I was the “difficult and chosen” one to get the brunt of the abuse. Many of the terroist methods that woman delivers are the same I suffered. I am 55 years old now with three siblings, who have all (in spite of years of therapy), suffered as the abused or the witnesses of the abuse. The pain NEVER goes away!

  28. Caroline says:

    I cannot believe what i have just seen on this show. Being a mum myself it was very difficult to watch this child go through that. That is child abuse and to be honest I would rather see that child taken from this woman, along with his brother, and given to a proper family who will love, protect and cherish him. This kind of abuse happens way too often and nothing is done about it, until its too late, she will seriously hurt that child. She sat there the whole way through and not once did i see any kind of remorse for her actions. Get him out of there to a proper home.

  29. Amy says:

    I originally saw this clip posted on Face Book and I was so upset about it, I came to your website to see what the end result was for the mother. I really hope that this child is taken from her care. Obviously children will have behavior problems and parenting is never easy but it is your job as a parent to remain in control and set a good example for your children through love. I cant stop thinking about this poor child and how if she would behave this way knowing she is being filmed, how has she treated him when the camera isn’t rolling. I can’t imagine what she has done to ruin this child emotionally. Why on earth are people like her not only allowed to have children but able to adopt? How is it that our system is failing these children, it is our job as citizens and parents to protect children from mental ill people like this. I pray for this child and all the children in this world who suffer from abusive from the people who are supposed to love and protect them, I know this is one child of the many but doesn’t every good cause start with one case? Please stand up and protect the children that can’t protect themselves by reporting abuse, you never know when you may save a life!

  30. Lone says:

    Bully moms, I cried so much Dr. Phil.. I have a daugther of my owm, it was just sent to Denmark.. Im so thankfull for that you a their.. I will just right here because I don´t know where els ?

  31. chicagoannie says:

    Dr. Phil – may we have some follow up as to what is going on with Kristoff? How is he doing? Is he warm, safe and happy?

  32. Sharon from Canada says:

    Dr Phil,
    I so look forward to your show everyday but I just can’t get what Jessica has done to poor little Kristoff out of my mind. I cried when I saw your show and thought…..Oh My Gosh!!!!How could this woman have been allowed to adopt these children?
    She stated that Kristoff’s brother is the opposite of him….I would be too if I saw what could happen!!!
    The “card pulling” procedure that the school uses is their way of letting the children know that they are doing something that is not proper or unacceptable.
    This child should not be afraid to come home from school–as I am sure he must be.
    All I could think of during the show was–What I would give to meet this monster in a dark alley!!!!
    I have a thirteen year old of my own, and yes, at times he tries to test both my husband and myself , but I regard myself as a very lucky parent…he is polite to others, enjoys sports, has lots of friends, and to us is a “pretty good kid!”
    The reason our son is this way is because of the way he was raised….We are NOT super parents, but, we have always told our son to “treat others as you want to be treated”, and to respect others.
    I wish I could take poor Kristoff from this woman and the abusive environment he is in and bring him here to our home and show him what LOVE can do for a child.
    I as well as millions of your other viewers would love an update on Kristoff…
    I would also like to applaud Robin for coming to Kristoff’s aide and being a voice for that beautiful child….she hit the nail right on the head with her remarks to Jessica…

  33. Kate says:

    I am also an adoptive mother. Do you realize that the majority of us who adopt are loving and caring parents. I have a daughter and a son who dies 4 years ago from an infection acquired playing football. They are and are the loves of my life. This little boy and mom need counseling, if not there are many loving and carign peole who woudl not abuse this precious gift. I would give anything to have my son be 7 again and yes even bring a note home from school.

  34. Pursuit says:

    I could not stop crying about this video. It was a painful trigger for me. Sure, I’ve never been forced to have a cold shower or any of that as abuse comes in manner forms, but I could identify with the child.

    I disagree with you Sharon. That child was in pain and for you to pull that “apples and oranges” crap tells me you don’t actually care about children who “have it worse” nor are you versed about abuse in all its forms.

  35. Understanding Mom says:

    I also just saw the clip and read the reviews but I know from experience how hard it is to maintain control. I don’t agree with what she has done but I don’t believe we should wash our hands of her as a parent either.
    First, to the person who wonders why this woman would lay awake at night and come up with these crazy punishments… Have you ever laid awake at night trying to trouble shoot your children’s behaviors. If so, can you imagine years of troubleshooting the same behavior? Lest we not forget she has multiple other children also.
    To a lot of the other posts on here…I am genuinely happy that you have never had to deal with an extremely difficult child which is why you simply wont understand how good people to bad things.
    I however have four children. My 8 year old has Aspergers. He is very high functioning which basically means incredibly difficult. Just a few examples are peeing in inappropriate places…everyday for 6 years (closets, toy bins, refridgerator and on the dog). Regrouting my bathroom tiles for 6 months daily with toothe paste. Ripping down my wallpaper that I have worked so hard to hang. Spray painting my walls or car. These are just a few irritants of mine.
    Thank the good Lord I have a bond with him since birth and I see him struggle daily and mostly feel bad for him that he has such a hard time with his impulses. I have also tried as much as humanly possible to do the “RIGHT” thing but even the strongest of us break.
    On top of the daily attributes of my son i have another son who is physically and mentally disabled a baby girl and a sixteen year old who has had a psychotic break because of the stress level in our home at times. Oh and BTW if you’re curious about outside supports, I have a sick mother and busy friends and family and my husband got out to have a happy normal life.
    I have aquaintances who have actually said they would hate to be as miserable as us. That is from the outside looking in. Regardless of all of this we keep our humor and love and protect each other. We are the tightest, protective and loving family you would know and I am sooo proud of that.
    So please don’t judge her. Yes she needs help. If you want to help that boy, help his family by offering to chaperone or babysit but dont abuse her too.

  36. Chris says:

    I saw this video on Ebaumsworld and was floored!! I recalled times with my own mother!! My mom was sexually abused by her father and it caused great anger in her and she never to this day has gotten a grip on her anger!! When I was young I experienced her lashes of anger when I gotten in trouble and even when she was just in a mood!! I understand that sometimes a child needs to be punished to bring their attention to the wrong , but what do you tell the child when the punishment goes beyond punishing and becomes an outlet for ones anger to channel?? Being a punchingbag for ones own issues is flat out abuse, that I know well!! Today my mom has created a false reality to cover up the past and as far as she is concerned the abuse she delivered never existed and I am just a liar and troublemaker for standing by the truth!! This behaviour has also been pumped into my own daughter causing her to believe that I have done nothing more than lied about the abuse that I suffered from my mom!! The only thing is that I have discovered that my daughter has experienced spurts of what I dealt with and now in her teens she would druther back my mom ,who has convinced her that I am full of the devil and I am a liar!! Seeing this video not only angered me, but seeing the picture of Jesus on this womans wall made me wonder if it ever crossed this bitch’s mind of ” What would Jesus do??” Probably not!!!

  37. no one says:

    i have been in worst situation when i was kid and my parents punished me. actually they beat me with cable and belt, they had putted me in dark base room and my father slapped me with his boots. when i became young i did some thinks like my parents with my sisters at home without thinking about it. now when i remember those i sense shame in myself and i tried to compensate but really i now my younger sister still hate me and she do not want to talk with me after several years which it passed. now i think we should research about her childhood time may be she had same situation and it’s gone to her personality and she did not understand what she did. god help all of us

  38. Corinne says:

    I watched the show and I have to say that I can relate to Jessica. If she were a real abuser and really hated her kid she would not have come to the Dr. Phil show. It is clear that she truly cares for him. If she didn’t care, she would not invest any energy at all into making sure she was raising him to be a responsible member of society. I think if she used her energy in a more constructive way she would get the results she is seeking.

  39. Rebecca Olesen says:

    She acts like a 7 year old “sword fighting” in school is some horrible action. Sounds exactly like most 7 year old boys. I think the fact that she said she felt an immediate bond for one twin but not the other is very telling, and then of course, the one she “felt the bond for” is the one who is “good”. Her face was completely emotionless during the show, and when people spoke out, she had no reaction and actually her face looked like it was burning with hatred or disgust at everyone else, not herself. She appears to have no real guilt or shame or remorse for what she is doing. That child was terrified, and that was obvious as soon as she started yelling at him about pulling cards. She stupidly asked him why he lied about it; well as an adult I lied to my ex-husband because I was afraid of him. He was too frightened to talk. Wow he acted out in a class, I wonder why. If I had to hold tobasco sauce in my mouth and swish it around I would probably be crying in pain. Children’s bodies are so much more sensitive than adults, and alot of adults I know can’t use tobasco sauce either. I wouldn’t be surprised if his tongue is permanently damaged by that. She comes off as a cold emotionless psycho. If she couldn’t handle 6 kids, why did they adopt 2 more?

    Sure we all lose our temper, but that’s not what this is about. Losing your temper is in the moment, she is repeatedly abusing that boy. The worst I ever did was yell & tell my son to please leave the room for a minute, and that was only 1 or 2 times. Which he did, and then a few minutes later we had a talk about whatever the problem was. Assuredly, it was not about a stupid card from school.

    I absolutely hate this woman. WOMAN I hope you are reading these. Everyone hates you !! Sorry Dr Phil but that is the truth and she needs to hear it. EVERYone is disgusted by her actions, her lack of remorse, and horrible intimidation bullying and screaming of basically a baby. I would move heaven and earth to have a beautiful son like that boy, as I lost my only child 4 years ago.

  40. Michelle Robinson says:

    About the mom here!People do what they know and hopefully when someone educates her she will know and do better. As someone who had a very hard childhood. I think it’s better to lite a candle than to rage at the darkness. Become a foster parent,as I have. Or do SOMETHING to change the lives of hurting kids. In my opinion ,if you are not willing to help you have no reason to rage! I especially find it humorous when people have not attempted to raise a difficult child, but are sitting back aiming those stones right at her temple!!

  41. Corinne says:

    What a joke. I don’t hate you, Jessica! I am surprised Dr. Phil allows comments that say some of things that are being said about you. Bullying, in any form, is wrong. These women are running high on emotion and are targeting you. I do not condone what you were doing, but I fully understand it. I applaud you for seeking help. I know that you truly care for the well being of your children and I guarantee with the help of that was offered to you, you will turn things around!

  42. Joan says:

    I know of a great way to control anger. Don’t fight rage, you will never win. Instead, get into animal form. Get down on all fours and GROWL and BARK. It’s a great way to release anger without hurting anyone. It works! Be a wolf, bear, or lion. Dragons and monstrous creatures are good outlets for abusers. It has been said that there is no cure for rage when it’s in progress. That’s why embracing your anger and transforming it into your own individual creation can be empowering and healing. This works when YOU are the abuser. Don’t attempt this at an abuser who is not understanding why you are barking and growling. They might get very angry at your nonsense. But, this is not nonsense. It works!

  43. Jane C says:

    I can’t believe there are people on here condoning this woman’s behavior. Does she not realize this is not a last resort and this child will grow up with so much hatred in his heart. Anyone who has ever been abused knows that the abuse itself only last for so long but its what it does to your mind that destroys you for the rest of your life!! The woman doesn’t need a pat on the back and a little reassurance that she can get help and things will get better she needs to be PUNISHED. We love and cherish our babies we don’t hurt them:(

  44. Melissa James says:

    I’m a 29 year old mother of a 6 year old little girl here…I happened to be at work last night when I saw the video clip of Jessica and Kristoff that had been posted to my Facebook wall. I can honestly say that I went from rage and sadness to the WORST horror and sick to my stomach feeling I’ve had in a really long time, all in a matter of 3 minutes. What a roller coaster – I had to leave the room to go collect myself in the bathroom after bawling my eyes out and feeling like I was going to throw up before returning to my shift.
    My little one’s school and her class uses the pulling a stick/card method, as well as numerous school districts in our area. Now, trying not to repeat what hundreds of people on tons of threads about this have already said, this method is used for LITTLE KIDS who are taking their first steps in learning discipline. For you ignorant ones ready to jump down throats without understanding this system, let me explain: Typically, every system runs the same. Let’s say “Blue” is the best color to get that day for great behavior. If you cut in a line, talk without raising your hand, don’t listen to the teacher – minor things that are YES, rude and not acceptable, but let’s keep the word “minor” in mind, here, considering – you pull a green card or stick and lose a privilage like a snack, movie or piece of candy on Friday when all of the other kids that got all blues that week get to pick a treat. In that same day if you repeat an offense that is MINOR (all really bad stuff like punching, kicking, spitting on people, etc. get sent to the principal immediately; there is no color card or stick), you pull a yellow and lose your recess for that day. It then goes to orange (recess, candy or snack and letter sent home to parent requesting a meeting) and finally, red, which is sitting in the hallway at a corner desk right outside the classroom or principal’s office for the rest of the school day in silence doing busywork, plus the above added to that. This system runs Kindergarten up to 1st grade.
    Is my child good all of the time? Nope. Does she drive me nuts sometimes? Yep. I would be lying if I said no. But here’s the deal – she is my CHILD. I love her with every single bone in my body and would die for her in a heartbeat. A child is born a blank canvas that must be painted by the parent/caregiver…it’s up to the parent to try their very best to paint a beautiful picture – there is no paint by number here. You can’t just leave it go for someone else to paint. Human beings grow up healthy and well-balanced with a sense of security, safety from these people called “parents” whom these little ones look up to and just want to be like and be held by, encouragement, love, a good work ethic, patience, respect, and a firmness that if, done properly from the beginning, gives the child a sense of purpose and a wilingness to help mom and/or dad. I don’t give a flying **** what so-and-so’s parent’s did and it worked, how you beat your kid and “nothing helps, I can’t figure out why!”, how we should leave this “poor, poor woman alone – mothering is hard!!” Well hold on – let me go and grab my violin for you really quick. My friends just lost their 1 1/2 year old sweet little girl to cancer last week – and she suffered a painful death. NOT mothering is hard, too. Their lives are forever changed, and I hope that she doesn’t see the video clip of this because I can’t even imagine how her empty heart would feel having lost her baby girl and know that she suffered…only to see that…that…thing – purposely make her little one cry and YES, suffer (Hot sauce is not for everyone, ok? You may pour Tabasco all over YOUR food, but your average little kid gags and hates spicy, spicy foods. It’s painful if you’re not used to it. It’s meant for eating, not torturing a little one…YOUR little one, at that. IT IS MEAN!!!!) for pulling a not-so-horrible stick/card. And I guess she’s perfect, eh? Doesn’t have bad days? Naaahhh. Gunnery Sergeant Hartman just wants to take her own daddy issues out on the weak and innocent, say “poor me” and probably blame his “behavior” on ADD/ADHD immediately and fill him up with Ritalin or Adderall which seems to be the trend these days. So sad. He’s LEARNING discipline. Isn’t that why we went to school in the first place?
    I’m sorry guys, but I have no sympathy for her. Makes me ill to think of what else is going on in this world – this is but only one case. I was physically and mentally abused as a child myself, and with this rehashing so many, many horrendous memories of my own childhood, my family and I vowed to get fully involved in a program to help small children find comfort and a friend when pulled out of an abusive home in my city. Now…GO HUG YOUR KIDS AND TELL THEM YOU LOVE THEM…TOMORROW IS NOT A GUARANTEE!!!

  45. Vicky Bowman says:

    This is to Sharon D. –

    I am appalled that an educator would think this is not abusive. You are a state mandated reporter and I would hope something like this would not go unnoticed by you and at worse completely dismissed, altogether. I work in a large city school district that has 45 schools and I have seen some pretty horrific things, myself, but that does not mean I get to pick and choose what I deem abusive. In terms of helping our most vulnerable citizens, you cannot judge abuse by degrees. It either is or it isn’t and, clearly, this is. Any child that suffers from any kind of neglect or abuse needs an advocate to fight for him/her and your special kind of apathy is just as bad as someone who turns a blind eye to the worst kinds of cases. I just hope and pray that there is someone at your school more compassionate than you that would reach out and help a child in a similar situation.

  46. Raija Carlsson says:

    Poor child. He is being adopted to a foreign country, come to strangers who promise to take care of him and love him. To lie, he has learned from his adoptive mother. hope both the boy and his siblings must come to new loving families. This woman should not have to do with children.

    In Sweden it is illegal for parents to hit / beat up their children.

  47. Wild Rebel Rose says:

    To Sharon Dunlap,

    It makes me very sad to see that you are willing to taxonomize, or “rank” if you will, manifestations of abuse. As a victim of lifelong emotional abuse myself, I can tell you that it is just as damaging as being beaten or burned or molested. No abuse is better or worse than the next. People feel comfortable with creating a hierarchical system for it. But THERE IS SIMPLY NO HEIRARCHY. Abuse is simply abuse.

    I think the reason that people don’t understand this is because emotional abuse like Kristoff endures is harder to notice and harder to prove, and because often no one can do anything to stop it, people shy away from it and sometimes pretend it isn’t there or that it’s not that bad. But the only difference between the abuse you’ve described and emotional abuse like Kristoff experiences in the video is that, in cases like you have described, there are people who see how bad it is and organizations and such that can help.

    I will also say that one of the most devastating things about being emotionally abused is that when one discloses, people often minimize it and say thing such as what you said in your message: things suggesting “it’s not as bad.” I have often thought “if only they had done ____ to me…then maybe someone would care.”

    I do not blame you for holding the view that you do/did, as many people see it the same way. Unless you have faced what I am talking about, it is impossible to really know what it is like or how had it is. However, as you say you work at a school, I hope you will remember what I have said and perhaps notice the victims who are suffering in silence: the ones no one else sees. They are suffering too. They are suffering just as much as, maybe even more than, the ones whose suffering is visible to others.

  48. kelsey jackson says:

    Dr. Phil,

    I do not think this woman needs help, i think all off her children need to be taken away from her. I have a 2 year old and i know it is not easy raising children but the fear she has put into this child brings me to tears. NO child deserves this i would personally like to come to this womans home and take her children away from her then pour hotsaice in her mouth and put her in a cold shower and scream at her. The moment i watch this i cried and i want to tak ethis little boy to my home and show him what it is to be loved. He clearly has no idea what that feels like. I hope her children get taken away and she is sent to prison!

  49. Brenda B says:

    I was appalled at the video of this “Mom’s” treatment of this poor kid. As an Abuse survior I felt deeply for him and could easily imagine how he was feeling and thinking. Abuse is Abuse the emotional abuse she inflicted on him leaves scars as serious as any physical abuse however it is scars only he can see or feel, the damage she has caused will never go away. I hope he recieves the therapy he needs. I don’t know the circumstances of why he was adopted but maybe that is at the root of his “bad” behavior. This “mom” should know that kids work out their turmoil by acting out and should be seeking professional help for him.
    As a Mother of a child who can be extremely trying (he has severe ADHD) I can understand her anger and frustration, but I would never discipline him while angry! It is perfectly acceptable to send him to his room for a cooling off period. I am often called to pick my son up from school because of behavior difficulties and have numerous Doctor appts with all sorts of professionals. It is hard being a Mom, but I chose to bring him into the world so I must make it a priority to see that he succeeds in life. This “mom” has even more of a responsibilty since she chose to bring this child into her home and take over where his biological parents left off. Shame on her!

  50. Mom says:

    Getting professional help when your kids are out of control is wise, but be cautious if a doctor tries to put your kids on drugs. It can really mess a kid’s brain chemistry up for years. This is a form of abuse. I was put on Ritalin at age 7. I was out of breath in sports, and I use to be full of energy. One day, I started throwing up blood…ulcer caused by Ritalin. My parents were too naive to listen to their hearts, so they were dependent on the doctors for parenting me. I ended up being on 15 different types of anti-depressant/ anti-psychotics by the time I was 18. I thought taking drugs was normal, but I started realizing as an adult the effects it had on me. I winged myself off the drugs at age 19. I am left with one major scar: severe anxiety. I have not driven on the freeway in about one year. The freeway has too high of speeds, claustrophobic feeling of having to wait for an exit, and cars everywhere has put me in many anxiety attacks. I can’t feel my legs or feet, I’m not sure if my eyes or open, and I get really fidgety…music on, music off, air conditioning on, off, on…sunglasses on, off, on. Where’s the exit! I’m trapped, I want out! So I gave up driving on the freeway. I take the back roads to bring my kid to daycare and go to work everyday. Dr. Phil is probably my favorite professional doctor, but I can not do to my daughter what my parents did to me. I forgive them, but I just simply don’t trust the doctors that drug people up. If my daughter should have some major behavior problems…I’m turning to GOD and natural remedies.

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