For Father’s Day: A book that teaches you to calm down, parent with humor

David Vienna has written a humorous, no-stress parenting guide called
David Vienna has written a humorous, no-stress parenting guide called “Calm the (Expletive) Down.”

David Vienna, who has a day job in Los Angeles producing online shows for Fox, drew the attention of the Huffington Post when he wrote an entry into his blog about his parenting theory: The CTFD Method, which stands for Calm the (expletive) Down.

It’s a simple method: calm down, don’t worry unless there truly is reason to worry (endangerment), and be a parent. Don’t helicopter, don’t go Tiger Mom, but also don’t be too permissive.

The blog got shared 58,000 times on Facebook and liked 347,000 times.

Vienna is the father of 6-year-old twins, who just finished kindergarten. “I’m sick of them not pulling their own weight,” he jokes.

When he wrote the blog, he was venting about all the bad parenting advice that floats around that makes parents feel inadequate and boosts their anxiety level.

“Part of the rage I felt, is there seems to be a lot of people preying on new parents,” he says. “It’s scary when you have a life in your hands. Parenting is hard enough without people making you worry about things you don’t need to worry about..”

50040_CTFD_Spread02_FlatThe blog was originally written as a satire, but has turned into a no-nonsense parenting book called “Calm the (expletive) Down: The Only Parenting Technique You’ll Ever Need.”

When he became a parent, he noticed that there wasn’t a whole lot out there that was for Dads. “Not only was there an unrealistic standard, but as a dad, there wasn’t a lot of books that spoke to what that experience is like.”

While dishing out practical advice gained from talking to real parenting experts, Vienna injects humor in every entry. (My apologies to the fellow families in the waiting room at ‘Specially for Children for my frequent outbursts of laughter.)

On what to do when your baby’s poop shoots out: “Congratulations! You’ve just earned a parenting merit badge. Sew it to your sash and wear it proudly because everyone who’s ever changed a diaper has experienced the poo fountain.”

On being freaking exhausted: “In time, you’ll get what could be considered a normal amount of sleep. (The first time that happens, you’ll feel euphoria akin to eating a plate full of marijuana brownies while riding a unicorn.) …. And as for parents of ‘dream babies’ — rug rats who sleep through the night from day one and have no trouble napping — when you meet these people, you can go ahead on stop on their feet. It’s like a freebie the universe provides for sleep-deprived parents.”

On always being late: “… adjusting the timeline to start the process earlier doesn’t help. It just gives your child more time to mess around. Toddlers simply have too much to do to adhere to your randomly chosen schedule.”

So he gives practical advice that reminds you to accept what is developmentally normal in your children. He does have a section called “Real Problems,” that lets you know you can worry about things like children who don’t seem developmentally normal, or a child who seems sick, or the fact that raising children is expensive.

Vienna admits he’s not CTFD all the time. “One of the things that sets me off is when our boys in some form disrespect their mom,” he says. And the way he reacts to that, “depends on how the day has gone. If I’m way too exhausted, I tend to react better. I’m too tired to get mad.”

Still there are definitely times when he does get mad and shows it to his kids. Then he has to apologize, as any person, especially a parent should. “Parents don’t like to admit when lose their cool,” he says. “I’m fine doing that. It’s better to admit it than to act like nothing happened.”

Calm the (Expletive) Down

By David Vienna

$14, Knock Knock

Author: Nicole Villalpando

Nicole Villalpando writes about families in the Raising Austin blog and the Raising Austin column on Saturdays. She also offers a weekly and monthly family calendar at She tweets at @raisingaustin.

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