Home Invasions

December 7, 2012
John and Jenn say that when they moved in together a year and a half ago, they were faced with the challenge of blending their families — including eight children under the age of 12 — and it’s taken a toll on everyone. Outnumbered, Jenn admits that the household is out of control, and she’s checked out. John says that on a typical day, Jenn will sleep until noon and spend the rest of her day on the couch, usually playing on her phone and talking to a male friend, whom he’s never met. Dr. Phil sends psychiatrist and Medical Director of Los Angeles’ Department of Children and Family Services, Dr. Charles Sophy, to observe John and Jenn’s home and provide his insight. When Dr. Sophy stages a family meeting, find out what the children say they want from Jenn. Can he help get this family back on track? And, can Dr. Phil help Jenn check back into her family and her relationship? Then, Debbie is a mother of four who says she hates her own children and refuses to let them touch or hug her. Debbie admits that she often yells at the children and once spanked one of her kids so hard that she bruised her hand and broke a blood vessel. Debbie’s husband, Chuck, says that Debbie told him that she could, “walk away from this and never look back.” So, why doesn’t she? Dr. Phil delves deep into Debbie’s past to uncover the source of her pain and anger. Can he help her get to the root of her problem in time to turn this family around?







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JennJohnDr. Charles SophyDebbieChuck

A Family of 10

Jenn, 30, says that since blending her four children with her fiancé, John’s, four children, she’s felt overwhelmed. “I’ve checked out from daily life,” she says.

John says Jenn can’t handle stress, and he quit his job to stay at home and help her with the children. “Energy-wise, I’m a machine. I don’t get exhausted keeping it all together,” he says.


“What did you do to prepare merging 10 people into one home?”

Dr. Charles Sophy makes a visit to John and Jenn’s house. What do the kids say about their home life?

Who is this male friend whom Jenn says she spends her evenings talking to?

Dr. Phil tells the couple that there can be order and leadership in the home, and offers John and Jenn resources to organize family meetings and chore charts, as well as weekly babysitters so they can enjoy time together. “Just don’t get pregnant,” he says in jest.

The couple accepts the help.

"I Don't Love My Kids"

Debbie says that she could handle being a mom of two, but when she had two more, she felt overwhelmed and wanted out. “I didn’t want to be a mom anymore,” she says. Debbie says she shies away from showing the children affection and doesn’t like for them to even touch her. “I push my kids away. I don’t want their love,” she says.

“I’m the one holding their hands. I’m the one cradling them,” Debbie’s husband, Chuck, says, but admits Debbie is often at home alone with the children.


“I don’t get how you can get up and go to work every day, how you go to bed every night, knowing that your wife is in the house abusing these children.”

Debbie explains why she can’t stand to touch — or be touched by — her own children. “I’m protecting them from me.”

Debbie says that her children are starting to act out. Find out who is their target.



Dr. Phil tells Debbie that he believes she is severely depressed and has the signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety and dissociation. “You have to decide that you’re going to find your way out of this hole,” he tells her, and offers her resources for help. “You get a turn, and this is it.”

Debbie accepts the help.