Biggest Parenting Problems: Michael Rapaport

Biggest Parenting Problems: Michael Rapaport


"My new show, The War at Home, is sort of a conventional family sitcom told in an unconventional way. Very edgy. It's very irreverent. Most of all, it's very funny," says Michael Rapaport, who plays a father with three teenage kids. "Some of the issues that we deal with on the show are sexuality, basic discipline issues, kids smoking pot, parents smoking pot. We've dealt with it all so far."

Rob Lotterstein, creator of the show, shares, "The War at Home is

based on all my experiences and the experiences of a lot of my friends, who now find themselves parents of teenagers."

Michael says, "At the end of the day, I think that the father has to be the boss. The mother has to be the boss. I think kids do better when you set up boundaries."

Dr. Phil plays a clip where Michael's character, Dave, is forced to give his teenage son a spanking.


"We had fun with it," Michael says. "You don't know what to do. Should you do this? Should you have done

that? And I think that character is going through that." He says he goes through that in his personal life while raising his kids. He uses time-outs with his 5-year-old and 3-year-old, but he doesn't think it works as a discipline technique. "Time-out is just like giving them time to go [to their room] and plot more mischief," he says. "It's literally like a time-out in sports. Time-out, we're going to come out with this play ... It's like he goes up to his room with a smile on his face. I don't know what the hell goes on up there."

"That's the problem," Dr. Phil jokes. "That's not time-out."

"What do you do?" Michael asks. "I tell him, 'If you turn the Xbox on, I'm
going to put it in the garbage," Michael explains.


"Don't turn the Xbox on. Are you kidding me?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I'm no pushover, Dr. Phil. I try my best," Michael says. "I'm struggling just like everybody else."

"Time-out is supposed to be a sensory deprivation. Kids have short attention spans," Dr. Phil explains "If you put them up in their room where there are Disney characters all over the wall, Simpsons all over the wall, and stuff that they can look at and study and get into, then that's not punishment ... What you have to have with time-out, is they are deprived of stimulation. That's why it started out in

the old days where you have to go stand in the corner. You put them somewhere that they can't entertain themselves, where it's boring for them."

"Where in the house?" Michael asks.

Dr. Phil tells him to pick a place, like a laundry room or a formal living room. "Something that is decidedly unpleasant for them, so they don't want to go there," he says. "They will do what it takes to avoid negative situations. They will do what it takes to have access to positive situations."

"Good. I got that. That's good," Michael says, smiling.

The War at Home can be seen Sundays at 8:30 p.m. on Fox. The spanking episode will air Sunday December 4, 2005.