Wait 'til You Have Kids

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Wait 'til You Have Kids!!
GenreGame show
Created byGary Jonke
Directed byRandall Neece
Presented byTom Parks
Narrated byBurton Richardson
Country of originUSA
Executive producer(s)Jay Wolpert
Producer(s)Shannon Dobson
Gary Jonke (supervising producer)
Running time30 Minutes
Production company(s)Jay Wolpert Enterprises
MTM Enterprises
Distributor20th Television
Original networkThe Family Channel
Original releaseSeptember 30, 1996 –
January 31, 1997

Wait 'til You Have Kids!! is a game show that aired on the Family Channel from September 30, 1996 to January 31, 1997. The show was hosted by Tom Parks, announced by Burton Richardson, and produced by Jay Wolpert.

Three male/female couples (most of the time parents, but occasionally grandparents or couples without children) match their own parenting styles with those of a professional parenting expert by answering questions dealing with a scenario involving a family's child or children in some way. The series was based on The Parent Game, a Chuck Barris-produced game that ran in syndication from 1972–1973; Parent creator Gary Jonke served as supervising producer on Wait 'til You Have Kids.


Main game[edit]

A scenario question was asked to the three couples, with three possible responses by the parents given, labeled A, B, and C. One couple at a time, the parents selected the response they would most likely use in that situation by placing a block labeled "A", "B", or "C" on the top of the score table in front of them, and explain their rationale for choosing that response. A question would be as follows:

Scenario: Your 17-year-old daughter gets grounded for her grades three days before prom. Do you...

A. Not let her go – no means no, she must stay home because she's grounded?
B. Make an exception for prom because it's a once-in-a-lifetime event, but make it clear she's still grounded beyond that?
C. Unground her altogether?

For each question, the host would nominate one member of each couple to make the actual decisions (i.e., either all the husbands, or all the wives), although the one not making the decision on that question would offer an answer and his or her rationale. After all couples had explained their choices, the expert revealed the answer she thought best matched the situation. Any couple whose answers matched the expert's received a set number of points.

  • Question 1—1 point
  • Question 2—2 points
  • Question 3—3 points

For the final question of the main game, the couples did not collaborate on an answer, but instead all six players chose an answer on their own. Each correct answer was worth 4 points, so 8 points were possible per couple for this question (for a possible grand total of 14 points for any couple at the end of the game).

After all four questions were played, the couple with the most points won the game and proceeded to a bonus round. If there was a tie, a toss-up question like the ones used in the bonus round itself (see below) was asked, with the winner advancing.

Bonus Round[edit]

The couple was shown a graphic of a large house with seven windows, all with the lights turned out. Host Parks read a statement (e.g., "Your two-year-old tries to eat crayons", or "Your 15-year-old wants to be a game show host"). The couple decided together whether the expert had determined that the scenario was considered a problem at that child's developmental stage, or OK, meaning there was nothing necessarily harmful with the child doing that activity.

The couple alternated turns, with the active player displaying his or her answer with a large, two-sided placard (one side reading "OK", and the other reading "Problem"). If the answer matched that of the expert, one of the windows was lit up, and lighting all seven windows within 60 seconds awarded the couple $1,000 and the grand prize: usually a trip, occasionally another prize, and sometimes—near the very end of the series—a car. If the couple failed to win the bonus round, each window earned the couple $100.

Production information[edit]

The expert from September 30 to November 22 was Dr. Ellen Winters. Despite her title, a large portion of the answers she gave were called into question by both viewers and professionals.[citation needed] Their questioning of Winters' credentials proved to ring true – it was reported[by whom?] that Winters was in fact not an actual parental expert.

When the series returned on December 30 following a five-week hiatus, Winters was replaced by radio and TV talk show host Dr. Marilyn Kagan, who held actual social worker/psychology credentials and experience.[1]