Published May 15, 2013
Steve Schirripa, who will forever be known as Bobby Bacala on The Sopranos, has a new book out. It's called "Big Daddy's Rules: Raising Daughters Is Tougher Than I Look," and it's an extremely funny call to arms for parents to return to old-school values.
Schirripa, who currently plays a much gentler father on ABC Family's The Secret Life of an American Teenager, has two daughters of his own — Bria, 21, and Ciara, 17.
In the book, he's not afraid to shed a light on what he can't stand — parents who want to be friends with their kids, children who run amok in restaurants and parents who get matching tattoos with their kids as a bonding experience.
The book, he said, is "a love letter to my daughters to tell them how I really feel about them; maybe I don't say it as much as I should."
And don’t be confused by the title, being a "Big Daddy" has nothing to do with heft, but everything to do with being a present and committed parent.
“'Big Daddy' is a guy who’s not afraid to take charge, OK?” he told FoxNews.com. “He’s got a big heart, a big mouth, and he’s got a big temper, and he wants to teach the kids right from wrong. And he’s present, physically or not, his presence is felt. Dads are always bumbling idiots in movies and TV. Well, I’m not an idiot, OK? And I’m going to get involved.”
In particular, Schirripa holds parents who coddle their children in contempt.
“I’ve worked too hard all my life to have my kids control my life,” he said. “I’ve been with parents and the kids drive them crazy every two minutes, ‘What do you need? Are you OK?’ Let the kids be!”
Schirripa is fully involved in his daughters' lives, something he stresses in the book.
“I get involved with what they’re doing,” he confessed. “I want to know who they’re with, why they’re there, what they are doing (and) how they are getting home. I just don’t send them out with, ‘Yeah, see you later honey.’”
In his interview, he said it's not a good idea to be 'friends' with your children.
“I tell my kids, 'I’m your father, not your friend — but I’m also the best friend you’re ever going to have because no one is going to care for you the way I care about you.' For a lot of parents, it’s easier to be friends, to give them whatever they want,” he said scornfully.
That’s not to say everything runs peacefully in the Schirripa household. There are arguments and the requisite eye-rolling, but that doesn’t seem to bother him.
“Look everything’s not perfect, but this is how I’ve done it, and it’s worked for me," he added. "I’ve got two beautiful daughters, they’re respectful, (and) we have our ups and downs. I’m not big with negotiating. I hear my wife in there, ‘You can’t wear that, it’s not appropriate, it’s too short.’ I hear the back and forth 'til I come and say, ‘Did you hear what your mother said? Did you hear her? Because I heard her.’"
This brings us to Schirripa's favorite words.
“Because I said so!" he exclaimed. "They are the most underrated four words."
Check out Schirripa's interview with Dr. Manny in the video above.