On last night’s premiere of “My Dysfunctional Family,” fixer of families, Dave Vitalli believes that every dysfunctional family deserves another chance to be a family.
Dave received an email from Kandace Cornell, a single mother from Virginia with three children that are completely out of control. Justus, her 16-year-old son is repeating the ninth grade again, and openly admits to doing all sorts of drugs. Amber, her 17-year-old daughter is a complete party animal and drinks alcohol. Ashton, her 13-year-old daughter is starting to lash out and is violent and nasty with the rest of the family. Kandace feels that she tried to be their friend instead of their parent.
Dave is on his way there, and just hopes that it is not too late. When he arrived, he sat with Kandace. She told him her kids rule the house and she has always had to work two or three jobs, which caused them to act this way. There is no father in the picture, because he lives in another state.
Dave went through Ashton’s room, and asked if she was violent? He found brass knuckles, half-empty liquor bottles. He found a bong belonging to Justus. He realized that Kandace has just given up. When the kids arrived, she introduced the three to Dave and he questioned each of them after Kandace introduced Dave.
Ashton would not say anything, and sat with her hoodie over her face. Amber stated that Kandace’s boyfriends were the root of much of the trouble. She felt that because they each had separate rooms, they were able to cut themselves off from the rest of the family. After speaking alone with Amber, he did not feel she was a major problem.
He then went to speak with Ashton, she spurned his offer to help her. She continued to tell him that she did not like him and wanted to be left alone. He decided to give her some space for now, but will get to the bottom of what is bothering her.
So he spoke to Justus, who told him that his life has been a roller coaster. His mother’s boyfriends, not having a relationship with his father, and never having a father in his life just made him cry. Dave hugged him and told him that he must remember that the way things are, are not the way they have to be. They sat down together and Dave told him that smoking weed, may dull his feelings, but will not solve any problems. He has his entire life ahead of him, and he does not want his actions now to dictate his future. Dave knows that Ashton and Justus are in the most pain. So he took Justus for a ride and asked if he did more than weed? Justus admitted that he did try cocaine. He wanted to give him a wake-up call and took him to the Chesterfield County Correction Facility and left him in the custody of them. He was placed in confinement, while Dave watched from the security office. When he arrived, he thought it was a joke, but the joke was over when Kandace came to visit him and was, herself detained.
She was treated like a criminal, and was Dave’s way of showing her that allowing her kids to live the way they were living, while she stood by, was not allowed. He gave both ample time to think about their actions.
Dave then left to deal with another family matter; Ashton. He took Ashton to the gym where he let her take out her aggressions in the boxing ring. She told Dave that her mother told her that she hated her, and he was shocked. He asked her when was the last time her mother told her that she loved her? She did not remember, but said her mother blamed her for everything that went wrong with her life. Her brother and sister call her names and Kandace does nothing to stop it.
In jail, Kandace was taken for a professional visitation. It was Dave, who spoke to her between the glass, and told her she had to wake up or lose her kids. He told her she must take control, but there was one more thing he wanted her to do in there. He brought Justus to her cell. When he saw that she was there because of his actions, he was angry. She now knows what must be done.
The next day, Dave took Justus for a ride again, just to talk. He knows it is new territory and the family situation has to change. He took him for lunch, and told him that he will need Amber’s, his and Kandace’s help with Ashton. He wanted to know if anyone ever said anything nice to her? He said that when her mother said something nice about her hair she turned it into a negative and told her mother that she now has to redo her hair. He said that she took it as a joke when nice things were said, because that was all she ever knew.
Dave sat around the table with Amber, Justus and Kandace talking about Ashton. It was difficult to get Amber to understand his point, but had to remind them all that Ashton was only thirteen. The must give her some positive reinforcement. So he set up a camera and had each of them say three things positive about her. Then he met with Ashton and showed her the video of all three family members and she was overjoyed, especially at Justus. When Dave was leaving, he reminded them that he was just a phone call away, but after he left the family started home counseling on this episode of “My Dysfunctional Family.”