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Funnyman Chris Rock Is Serious About Parenting

Chris Rock: A Strict but Loving Dad

As a father, Rock claims to be a disciplinarian, but nothing like his own folks. "I try to be strict," he says. "But the circumstances aren't as grave. I grew up in the 'hood! Paying attention to authority was very important to my parents. I definitely got spanked, but the circumstances, especially for a black boy, [were different]. Not listening to authority? You could get shot by a cop! My kids don't live there, you know what I mean?"

He chuckles, then says: "I don't have to be as strict. When we ran out into the street after the ball when my mother told us not to, of course we got a spanking. Because cars and buses and trucks could get you killed! You can run into my street now and get a ball. My strictness will come in later when the girls are in college. I'll crack the whip more then."

With not one but two preteen daughters, Rock is preparing himself for the inevitable dating scene on the horizon. For a man who can get pretty graphic in his routines about sex and relationships, he's surprisingly mellow about what lies ahead. "I am not gonna flip out!" he insists. "If a guy comes in, well-mannered, holds out his hand, and gives me a firm shake, I'll be OK. Honestly. I mean, it's gonna happen! There's nothing you can do about it. All you can do is be a presence. Just being around stops a lot," he says, setting up the punch line. "That's all you need. In New York they have cops on horseback. Tell me, what is that good for? It's good because when people see cops, they calm down. Because who the h--- can a cop catch on a horse?" But, fellas, do be warned: "I got no problem, however, being the bad cop," he says.

Of course, he does worry. Zahra has asthma and must also contend with a peanut allergy. "We had a toddler scare early [with her asthma], but she's doing great now," Rock says. "No peanuts in the house -- it's a peanut-free zone. I love a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but I haven't had one in 8 years."

Anxieties notwithstanding, parenthood pleases this comedian to no end. "I love it all," he enthuses. "I'm a fortunate man: I've got some money. Because we all know the toughest thing about being a parent in general is providing for people who don't work." He snorts at his own joke.

Chris Rock on Boys vs. Girls

But it's clear he's a total softie when it comes to his kids. "I've got way more patience than I ever would have had with boys," he says of his daughters. "They're sooo emotional. My hostage negotiator skills are very attuned right now. Little things are humongous crises, and you gotta negotiate them down. Tears come at the drop of a hat, especially with my youngest. You gotta talk 'em through it a lot of times, and you can't get mad!

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