It’s been a tough few years for Teresa Giudice, what with her 11-month stay in prison for bank and mail fraud, the death of her mother, and the burden of raising her four daughters — Gia, 16, Gabriella, 12, Milania 11, and Audriana, 8 — alone while her husband, Joe Giudice, is in jail serving out his own 41-month sentence for fraud.
So if the 45-year-old Real Housewives of New Jersey star is a little lenient with her parenting-style, it’s understandable. After all, she’s making up for lost time and doing everything as a single mom.
Still, it appears Teresa has some room for improvement — according to her eldest daughter Gia, at least, who confronted her mom about the lack of discipline at home on Wednesday’s all-new episode.
“I’m a good kid, I don’t do anything. And Gabriella’s a good kid. And Milania’s a good kid too, but she has no boundaries. She really doesn’t,” Gia said. “She needs discipline, but you don’t do anything.”
As an example, Gia pointed out that while Teresa took away Milania’s phone, she gave it back to her a day later.
“I don’t know what to tell you, I’m not the mom,” Gia said. “While you were away, dad — he was very strict. Like, he really was. When you came home, you don’t discipline much because I feel like you’re like scared we’re going to hate you.”
The comments hit Teresa hard. “I just want to be the best mom I [can be],” she said. “I hate to say no … I want us to have fun together.”
“Growing up so strict, I don’t want to be strict with my kids,” she confessed. “I want to lessen the reigns a little bit.”
Gia didn’t like that rationale though. “That’s not being the best mom,” she told Teresa. “We need discipline.”
It was a powerful moment to see, but not the first time Teresa has received advice about her parenting. On last week’s episode, sister-in-law Melissa Gorga told Teresa that she needed to lay down the law.
“Milania knows how to work it,” she told Teresa. “She knows what she’s doing to you. Don’t fall for it. She’s totally working it. You’re too nice to them because you never want them to be mad at you. You still have to put your foot down with them a little bit. You have to be a little bit more strict with them.”
“Teresa has her hands full these days, but when it comes to her kids, she will kind of give into them for anything,” Melissa explained. “She’s like Mr. Softee.”
Unlike with Gia, Teresa wasn’t open to hearing those comments though. “That was really ballsy of her,” Teresa said. “I would never tell anyone how to be with their kids and I’m pissed. She has my brother to be her co-parent with her children. I’m doing this all on my own so give me a f—— break.”
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Angry about her words, Teresa lashed out at Melissa over petty things in the days since — even saying that she was only a Gorga “by injection” as the two worked on their new family restaurant together. It was only when meeting with Melissa and husband Joe Gorga (Teresa’s brother) that she was able to apologize to Melissa and admit what was wrong.
“I had a lot on my mind. I overreacted and I just want to say I’m sorry,” Teresa said on Wednesday’s episode. “The reason I picked a bone with you is because you were knocking my parenting.”
Joe backed Melissa up. “You are too nice,” he told his sister.
No matter how much she may know that to be true, Teresa couldn’t admit they were right. “Joe and Melissa should not criticize my parenting at all,” she told viewers. “Even on my worst day, kids are off limits.”
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.