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Parenting

15 Funny And Sincere Parenting Quotes From Stephen Colbert

The "Late Show" host has three children — Madeline, Peter and John.
Stephen Colbert and his wife, Evie, have two sons and one daughter. 
Stephen Colbert and his wife, Evie, have two sons and one daughter. 

When it comes to the chaos and joy of parenthood, Stephen Colbert is no rookie.

The host of “The Late Show” and his wife, Evie, have three children ― Madeline, Peter and John. Over the years, Colbert has shared his experiences as a father in books and interviews.

In honor of his birthday, we’ve rounded up 15 funny and earnest quotes about parenthood from Colbert.

On Valuable Parenting Lessons

“Never underestimate kids’ tenacity. Raising a child is like wrestling a small but relentless opponent.”

On Mistakes

“You can’t spell ‘parentry’ without ‘try.’ Of course, you’ll make a few mistakes. The important thing is that the mistakes you make with your kids are the same ones your parents made with you. At least you know how those turn out.”

On The Best Age For A Kid

“Every year has its own special thing, but there’s something about 6 years old. They’re just old enough that they can feed themselves, clean themselves, and they still really like you. That’s when they say, ‘All right, we’re going to take them and put them in school.’ And it’s like, ‘Ugh, we just got them all perfect!’”

On Getting Kids To Eat Vegetables

“Any child’s meal ― breakfast, lunch or dinner ― can be improved by the addition of a toaster waffle. Want to get your kids to eat vegetables? Accept that waffles are vegetables.”

On The Nicest Part Of Parenting

“Conversations with your kids. Just having a conversation about what interests them, or them asking you about something that interests you. I mean, I remember when my daughter was first born, she was just a little lima bean. She was newborn, and we were rolling her around Chicago, and going, ‘That’s a tree! And that’s a dog!’ I just couldn’t wait till she could talk so we could have a conversation. And it really is the best part. You know, coming home, pouring yourself a glass of wine, and sitting there and having a conversation with your kid about how their day was. It’s not dramatic, it doesn’t seem exciting, but it’s probably the nicest part of it.”

On Being The ‘World’s Best Dad’

“I have a mug that actually verifies that I’m the world’s best dad. That’s a mug. That’s not me talking. You can’t just buy those.”

On Teens

“The 12-year-old still seems to like me. That’s nice! I think all three of them like me, but I’ve got two teenagers, and a 12-year-old. He’s within months of being a teenager. Then it’s all over. Then my wife and I might as well live alone.”

On Kid Humor

“For a solid year, Madeline and I made up jokes on the spot before she went to bed. One of hers was ‘What did the cow say?’ ‘What?’ ‘Ruff.’ ‘Why?’ ‘He had a dog in his mouth.’”

On Powerful Moments

“I think one of the most startling moments was when my then 6-year-old daughter won an argument in the most wonderful way. Our third child had just been born, and my wife had just about had it. So I said, ‘Go out with friends and I’ll watch the kids for the night.’ ... And five minutes later, all of them were crying, and I was yelling. And my daughter said, ‘Why are you yelling at us?’ and I said, ‘I’m trying to discipline you!’ And then she looked up at me with her tear-stained eyes and said, ‘This is how you teach children, by making them cry.’ And it was such a clenching reminder — she won not only the argument, but she won life with that statement. I just burst out laughing, and I think they were so surprised that I burst out laughing, that they did too.”

On Humor As A Parenting Tool

“It helps defuse sad or tense situations. It’s hard to laugh and cry at the same time. If my son scrapes his knee, I’ll say, ‘You seem to have scraped your ear very badly.’”

On Arguing With Children

“You can’t beat children in a logic battle. Their simple minds are better at it. Go with what adults are good at: tyrannical authority.”

On Screen Time

“During the week, the kids are allowed a half-hour a day. On the weekends, when Mom and Dad try to sleep in, all bets are off. I’ve instituted a new rule that when commercials come on, my daughter has to press ‘mute.’ Otherwise, Peter falls into a trance: ‘I want that. I want that. I hear, and I obey.’”

On The Truth About Parenthood

“No one tells you anything about being a parent. Here’s the thing, no matter what they tell you, they aren’t telling you anything, because you just can’t explain it, ya know? You just can’t explain what it’s like to be a parent until you are a parent. It’s like, poetry might get at it, but it’s such an experience, not an idea, that trying to explain it. ... There’s no explaining it. I didn’t know what to expect. But I think the most surprising thing is that, while it’s hard — it’s hard — but even the hard parts are just beautiful. Because they’re hard, sometimes.”

On TV Rules

“That’s my parenting style — ‘Go watch the TV.’ I’m one of 11 children, and my mother’s parenting style was ‘There’s the TV. Go watch it. Mommy’s got 10 other people to take care of.’ The only thing that I don’t like is my kids watching comedy that isn’t actually funny. There’s a lot of supposed tween comedy on TV that isn’t particularly funny, but it’s got a lot of laugh track. And I go, ‘Please don’t watch that. Please just watch something that’s actually funny. I’ll let you watch it ― you can stay up late ― just watch something that’s actually funny!’ And they take me up on that.”

On Providing Entertainment

“My kids don’t think I’m funny, but they think I’m silly. I do silly things like fall down and run into things. I talk to inanimate objects.”