Norwalk couple to be on 'Dr. Phil' Monday

Episode titled 'Mama’s Boys' explores whether unemployed son in college is taking advantage of mom.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Dec 9, 2012


Joe and Barb Widman, of Norwalk, plus Barb’s son, will appear on today’s “Dr. Phil” episode entitled “Mama’s Boys.”

According to the show’s website, Joe says his stepson, Rendall, is a 25-year-old mama’s boy who is currently funding his college education with a $50,000 loan, which Joe’s wife, Barb, co-signed. Rendall insists he’s not taking advantage of his mom.

Currently unemployed, does he have plans to pay back the loan, or will he let his mom foot the bill? Can Dr. Phil help Rendall get traction to succeed on his own?

The show also will feature Barbara Streisand promoting her new film with Seth Rogan about a mother and son on a road trip.



Everybody has an opinion don't they? I probably shouldn't bother commenting, but, I've read these comments, some are very hurtful, some, very supportive and I can no longer sit idly by. First, if you "bloggers" had any integrity, you'd use your real name. I realize there is something in all of us that cheers when we think others have failed. There's a sick pleasure in that because it makes us feel better about ourselves. I get that! God forgive me...and you! Being on national tv does not give you the right to sit in judgment of me or my family. Serioulsy, you must have better things to do with your time, it is the (Merry) Chirstmas season!

For the record: Rendall attended Kent State for a year and a half, just after graduation from NHS. Like many kids, he struggled through school to maintain a decent gpa. He always thought he was headed in the college degree direction, but things changed. Rendall worked and also attended Firelands and finished his general ed requirements. He lacked direction, until he found his passion in music. He moved to LA in Sept of 2011. He took out a loan, I co-signed, yep, just like many parents do for their kids.

The reason I wrote in to Dr. Phil:
I watch Dr. Phil nearly every day. He recently wrote a new book called Life Code. My hope was that he would help Rendall develop a plan once graduation was upon him (March 2013), because the jist of the book is being successful in our world today. And, Dr. Phil said some very valuable things. The part that none of you saw, was the shock on our faces when they told us that the show was titled "Mamas Boy" a few moments before we went out on stage. Is Rendall a mama's boy? I suppose some would say yes... you know, he was mainly raised by his "mama"!

You people don't know our life history or why I've made the choices to parent Rendall like I have, so stop pretending that you do.

Did we get out of it everything that I thought or hoped we would, probably not, but it was a learning experience.


They should have Titled the show Government Boy since he is using all of us taxpayers to support himself while he networks. I find it very offensive that he thinks we should support him at this point in his life.


it was like he thought it was acceptable and a good business decision to live on government benefits... people that are able to work and choose not to make those that actually NEED to be on government assistance programs look bad... Rendall looks healthy. pretty solid actually. probably never missed a meal... but the government is going to cut back on assistance programs and hurt the families that actually need them because there's too many Rendall's abusing the system... he seems mentally competent. looks physically fit, judging by the awkward jumping he does on stage... so again why no job? if parents can go to night school and support a family, why not him? only having to support himself? Barb, hun, it's hard to hear, but you cut the umbilical cord over 25 years ago... i know that when the day comes that i have to do the same to my child it won't be an easy day, providing they don't take it upon themselves to be a productive member of society, but it's for the better... do you honestly want the movie Step Brothers to remind you of your actual life? because it will if this carries on... just putting that one out there in the open... i apologize if i've offended you, but sometimes the truest truths are also the most offensive...


Please, do tell what he is doing to abuse it? go on...


Rendell stated on the show that he isn't interested in working at the present time, says he doesn't have time. A requirement while accepting unemployment is that you actively pursue and accept employment. What he is doing is fraud and he could be required to repay benefits he has accepted up to this point. He should have kept his mouth shut.


Did you watch the show? or just the clips? either way- I believe he said "i want more than unemployment." does that say anything to you? He wants to get a job, and is working on getting one. He also said, that he looks for jobs every week- his school has a line up of jobs that are hiring in the area, every week. So what he is doing is not fraud- he is looking. and have you looked at the economy lately? There really isnt a plethora of jobs out there.


yes, and after his reply was, "i'll get a job, or 2, or 3, or 4," while counting on his fingers, it was quite clear that he was taking nothing seriously...

Lillie Chaos

@Barb You obviously love your son very much and you are trying your best to be a good parent. No one on God's green earth can find fault with that. This is a good community who will always support you and admire your intestinal fortitude. Many people read these comments and do not post but I am confident you have far more support than negativity from this community.


Obviously livin' out loud has its disadvantages in Mayberry RFD.

Best to seek confidential professional and reputable family counseling rather than some wealthy entertainer.

Most Wanted

Barb, Merry Christmas.


I actually think Dr. Phil exploited the situation to plug his own childs musical career, since he used the similarities to advertise for his 25 year old sons band....tacky. I for one didn't hear him him offer any good solid advice. He simply said just to cut the, I am sure the family found that extremely helpful, and worth going all the way to California for, Dr. I would seriously like to know if Dr. Phil is really even a doctor, or just another mouth with an opinion?


My thoughts exacty

Kottage Kat

Thank you
Using phone

Dr. Information

Wake up parents and kid. Go to Nashville and watch the many bands that never make it sing. There are millions out there. There is nothing wrong with trying to make your dreams come true....but off the back of the government.....nah, I don't think so. Talk about GROWING UP.


Such a narrower state of mind..... Man didnt you hate it when people told you, that you couldn't accomplish a dream. What did you want to do when you were a kid "Dr. Information" ? come on...tell people- we are waiting. Are you doing it now? If so, that is great! Let this kid also have that shot instead of putting him down. If not, then let this kid have a shot. What is he doing to abuse the government, and do you have proof?



If Ms. Widman thinks that her appearance was misrepresented, she may want to seek out an injury atty. Might garner enough through a lawsuit to help pay off the $50K loan.

"Dr. Phil's Son Jay McGraw Accused Of Humiliating Guest On TV Show":


To the Widmans..good luck to your family. Realize that some have no life. They also knew a better economy also. They live in their past. You folks remember this too, "Small towns - small minds." Best wishes & Merry Christmas to your family.



Lillie Chaos

I found this article and postings extremely interesting. All things considered I have to say: Congratulations Joe and Barb!! This is a good strong family value scene with ideas and opinions and a few facts. I darn sure would rather read this than another drug arrest or overdose or someone being maimed or murdered. I hope they got a wonderful relaxing vacation and some quality time with their son. I am sure the young man's mother counts her lucky stars that this is his "issue". This young man is not sitting in some jail or out doing drugs or worse yet victim of some horrific incident. GOD Bless them everyone!


Soooooo what is this kid doing with unemployment benefits that is so bad? Did he say he was partying or using it on tattoos, drugs, or spending it on stupid stuff, etc? Did you know that he actually worked for 4+ yrs before getting his unemployment benefits and moving to California? He also was a tax payer when he was in Ohio. The reason he is getting unemployment is because he was laid off by the School System, where he worked with children with multiple disabilities- and showed up to work everyday and early. As for VicariouslyAlive- or whatever...are you seriously commenting on a song that this kid did at his school? Wow.....find something more important to talk about.

Norwalk, you are really disappointing me, by how childish you are being. A wise man is slow to anger and to speak- A fool is quick to speak and anger. Norwalk is supposed to be a town people should feel where they can come to for peace, and not be turned on by people that dont know the whole situation or do. It the Midwestern style, we can all bicker and get upset and mad- but what are we really proving? what are we really doing? just causing more drama in a town that doesn't need it. We are better than this! I know we are. I am not in favor of any party, i just want to see this community come together and not be torn apart by a tv show.


Whether is was leaked to the paper or not it doesn't make a difference. The kid got publicity. As did this comments section when him or his friend decided to come on here and reply to every comment, thus , creating more publicity.

So that people can check out the vids, perhaps?

I guess mission accomplished.


cwrucrew--Where do you get that working in retail is just like being unemployed? I am 27, work in retail, and as a single mom I am making it just fine. I have my own apartment and I pay EVERYTHING myself with no help from anybody includng the government.

Sitting In The ...

These people are from Norwalk? NO!!!!! say it ain't so !!!! I would of never guessed someone living here would ever do something so completely stupid like giving her unemployed "momma's boy" a check for Fifty Thousand dollars without pondering this far hahahaha.


psychsixx... for someone that has been going around this thread and telling people to find something better to talk about, your nearly 4 dozen comments really isn't setting a good example. the abuse of the welfare system that everyone is talking about is a moral thing. he is young and more than capable than holding a job. the fact that it took going onto the show to let the world know that he hasn't had a job is a pretty good indicator that he hasn't held one for quite some time and has shown no interest to ever hold one... it wasnt until Phill started busting his balls that he said he "wanted" a job. well every mcdonalds and walmart nation wide is constantly hiring... so why doesnt he have a job yet? he's openly choosing to use the money meant for the disabled and otherwise unfit. to me he's at the same level as anyone else accepting government assistance benefits and making no effort to earn a living. psychsixx, you seem to be casting a ton of stones in the name of not judging others... seems a bit hypocritical if you ask me, and then to boot calling me out about not using my real name while you galavant this thread berating anyone with a negative opinion on the matter under a pen-name yourself? use what ever quip, quote or axiom that you choose, but the pot calling the kettle black doesnt even come close to describing your own actions. a-thankyou.


Unemployment Compensation is NOT welfare. Get some sense, man!


blah blah blah semantics. games with words is for dames and turds. everyone understands the meaning, arguing over proper terminology is a bs game of semantics. the point is he's getting money for choosing not to work when there's people that need the money and have no choice... the kicker is the government is looking to step in because of the system abusera.


Listen, at the end of the day- the only thing that matters is if this guy is happy. if he makes it-its up to him. If he fails, let him. there is no point on going on about this, because what is it doing, really? ALL of our comments dont mean, jack.


the comments stand as a bench mark as to what the general society thinks is acceptable or not. if the comments really didn't mean jack, then they wouldn't warrent a response.

Dr. Information

Everyone that is on the systems payroll has an excuse or they claim that they have worked and paid their dues. If one had worked for 4 years, but has been on unemployment for 2+ years, I will tell you this, they have used and abused the system.


Employers fund the unemployment compensation system. Not until Pres. Obama was a 99 wk. extension funded by the Feds.

Unfortunately, the unemployment extension was only a loan from the Feds; they want the money back.

BTW: I have personal experience with tough love.

Without going into sorted detail: I ordered my twenty-something daughter whom I love very much out of the house for "acting out." I didn't speak or hear from her for almost two yrs.

It was one of the hardest times in my life. I worried about her often and sometimes wondered if I would ever see her alive again.

She showed up on the doorstep one cold winter's day almost two yrs. later and had "straightened up."

She had to discover for herself that much of what I told her was true.

I told her that I had never stopped loving her, but I was not nor was I ever going to enable what I perceived to be poor life choices.

Today she is a fine responsible adult working in retail mgmt. with a good career path.

IMO, as demonstrated on the Dr. Phil show: Rendall can certainly talk the talk. He needs to prove to himself that he can also walk the walk.