Game Shows Wiki
Tom Parks
Parenting Experts
Ellen C. Winters, MFCC (First Half)
Marilyn Kagan, LCSW (Second Half)
Burton Richardson
Wait Til You Have Kids 2.jpg
Wait Til You Have Kids 4.jpg
FAM (Daily): 9/30/1996 – 1/31/1997
Jay Wolpert Enterprises/MTM Enterprises, Inc.

OPENING SPIEL: "(insert children's funny stories)." BURTON: "(And) that's just some of what you hear when you're a parent. And if you don't believe us…" CHILDREN: "Wait 'Til You Have Kids!!" BURTON: "And today on Wait 'Til You Have Kids!!, our couples are… (insert three couples with description). And now, here's/let's meet the host of Wait 'Til You Have Kids!!, Tom Parks!

REST OF SPIEL (1): Welcome to Wait 'Til You Have Kids!!, where three couples will be tested of their of parenting against our expert, she a family therapist, she's been in practice for 15 years, say hello to Ellen Winters."

REST OF SPIEL (2): Welcome to Wait 'Til You Have Kids!!, where three couples will be tested of their of parenting against our expert, she a licensed cycle therapist, she's been in practice for 16 years, she had her own TV show, and she has her own radio show, say hello to Marilyn Kagan."

Wait 'Til You Have Kids!! was the short-lived game show based on the Chuck Barris-produced game show The Parent Game, where three couples answered questions about children and how to deal with them with the help of a parenting expert.


Main Game[]

In the main game, host Parks asked dilemma-typed questions focusing on child behavior & parental guidance. Each question had three possible answers labeled A, B or C.

A sample question and it's answer would go like this:

Your 15-year-old son Steven could not join the football team because he was not enough qualified. But he loved sports although football was his favorite one. What should you do?

  • A – Try to make him stay with it and try again
  • B – Let him quit and not play sports anymore
  • C – Find another sport he can do

Each couple in turn came up with a team answer that was the most likely to solve the problem, they also made explanations about their answer and why they think it was correct. They marked their choices by placing a big block (with A, B or C) in front of them on their table. There was only one vote between then, and if they didn't agree, one member from each team (all of the same gender) had the final say. Once all the couples gave their answers, the child expert gave her own answer she thought was the best answer. A match from any of the couples scored points.


Here are the scores for each question:

  • Question #1 – 1 point
  • Question #2 – 2 points
  • Question #3 – 3 points

Final Question[]

On the fourth and final question of the main game, teams no longer worked together in terms of answering. All six players chose their own answers all by themselves. Each correct answer was worth 4 points, meaning that 8 points could be scored for each couple (for a possible grand total of 14 points for any couple at the end of the game).

The couple with the most points at the end of game won prizes and went on to play the bonus round. If there was a tie after the last question, a bonus round typed tie-breaker question (see below) was asked. Each couple involved in the tie each decided whether the question was either a problem or OK. The expert's answer was revealed out of an envelope and the couple with the correct answer was declared the winners.

Bonus Round[]

The winning couple was shown a computer graphic of a house (shown in the opening) with seven windows, all with the lights turned out. They had 60 seconds to light up all seven windows of the house. They did that by answering a series of statements about children (example: "Your five-year-old likes to be around strangers." 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 big 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 in front of them. If the situation was a problem, they held up the red "Problem" side of the card, but if the situation was not a problem, they held up the green "OK" side of the card. If the answer matched that of the expert, one of the windows was lit up. Each lit window was worth $100 and lighting up all seven windows within 60 seconds awarded the couple a grand prize (usually a trip and $1,000, other time a Yamaha WaveRunner and by the end of the run, the prize was a Geo Metro).


Before some questions, a video of a child who talked about his/her run-in with a situation leading up to that question was played for the couples.

This was the only show to have two different sets in its 13 week run.

For the first 40 episodes, the set looked like it was from a cartoon and the theme music sounded like a child wrote it. For the show's final 25 episodes, the set had the feel of a living room and the music was much classier.

The expert from September 30 to November 22 was Ellen C. Winters. Despite her title, a large portion of the answers she gave were called into question by both viewers and professionals. Their questioning of Winters' credentials proved to ring true – it was reported 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 Marilyn Kagan, who held actual social worker/psychology credentials and experience.

Misc Images[]


Mark Northam


Stage 1, Empire Studios, Glendale, CA (First Half)
CBS Studio Center, Studio City, CA (Second Half)


Based on The Parent Game by Chuck Barris

End-of-Show Disclaimers[]

"The opinions expressed on this program are not necessarily those of The Family Channel, it's parent or affiliated companies." - (September 30-November 22, 1996)

"Opinions expressed by the participants on this show do not necessarily reflect those of the producers, the production company, or the Family Channel." - (December 30, 1996-January 31, 1997)

"The general advice given on this program is not intended as a substitute for professional counsel. Please consult your family doctor for specific assistance." - (September 30-November 22, 1996)


"Well, there you have it. Those of you who are parents you may or may not agree with what you heard today, but I bet it rings a bell. For those of you who aren't parents, well… Wait 'Til You Have Kids." - Tom Parks (1996-1997)

"(This is Burton Richardson speaking.) Wait 'Til You Have Kids!! is a production of Jay Wolpert Enterprises, in association with MTM Enterprises, Inc." - Burton Richardson at the closing of Wait 'Til You Have Kids!!


Rules for Wait 'Til You Have Kids (1)
Rules for Wait 'Til You Have Kids (2)
Wait 'Til You Have Kids @ Game Show Garbage

YouTube Videos[]

Full Episode
2nd to last episode featuring a Geo Metro as the grand prize
Clip of the bonus round
Clips of kids Michael Marquez and Peter-bop Marquez

More Videos[]

Debut of the new living room set, theme song and expert Marilyn Kagan