An actor’s thoughts on raising daughters.
Fathers today desire to be different from their own dads; they want to be more involved with the daily ins and outs of raising their kids, and they want to avoid the phrase, "because I said so." But for actor Schirripa (The Goomba Diet: Living Large and Loving It, 2006, etc.), from The Sopranos and The Secret Life of the American Teenager, "because I said so…is the most underrated sentence in a dad's vocabulary." He believes that parenting—which is "not a verb. It's a noun. You're a parent….You're not there to be a friend to your kid"—means being present, up-close, personal and loud, extremely loud—and, in Schirripa's case, full of profanity. Through sarcastic humor, the author shows the importance of tough love and tough choices. He has no patience for modern parenting methods: none of this nonsense about praising a child for his or her efforts, no putting up with back talk, no trying to hang with the kids and be "cool" in their eyes or the eyes of their friends. You get one shot at being a parent, he writes; better to be honest and let them know from the get-go who's in charge. Throughout the book, Schirripa relies on stereotypes about both genders: "boys…they're pretty straightforward. You toss them a ball…you roughhouse with 'em a bit, and when the time comes you give them money for condoms”; "Girls are complex. They're really smart. But they're really, really cunning, too." That's when Big Daddy melts "like a Good Humor ice cream somebody dropped on the sidewalk in the middle of July."
Schirripa's rough-and-resilient child-rearing practices will not appeal to everyone but may raise a laugh or two from other wiseguys.