Parenting Trend: CTFD. ~ Katharine Spano

Via Katharine Spano
on Jul 22, 2013
get elephant's newsletter


My son doesn’t do meals.

At 13 months, he’s a dedicated grazer. This sends me into a tizzy, daily: Are 14 Goldfish crackers good enough for lunch? How many strawberries provide a daily serving of calcium? Does he have rickets?

I’ve read a lot of parenting guides, focusing especially on the hand-wringing-est parts about nutrition: how without a proper serving of Omega-3’s from fresh caught fish, or a supplement (but not a gummy one!), or breastfeeding well into school age, he will never pass the 2nd grade. And then I saw this gem from David Vienna at “The Daddy Complex”:

I know many people want to stay current with the latest parenting trends—attachment parenting, minimalist parenting, Tiger Mother parenting, et al. Well, I’ve stumbled upon a new technique that will guarantee your child grows up to be an exemplary student and citizen. It’s called CTFD, which stands for “Calm The Fuck Down.” And that’s not a message to give your kids. It’s for you.

This profound parenting advice includes a list examples, to bring the trend into real life situations. A sample:

Stressed that your child exhibits behavior in public you find embarrassing? Calm the fuck down.

So, the next time my son escapes from the high chair in a restaurant and takes french fries from someone else’s plate?  CTFD. At least he’s eating, right?

Spoiler: here is the method itself,

  1. Calm the fuck down.

  2. There is no second step.

It’s so simple.

I’m trying to put this into practice: My son ate gravel for lunch? My son has a strawberry the size of, well, an actual polyploidy strawberry on his forehead because he fell on the pavement again? My son calls me daddy instead of mommy?

Kate, calm the fuck down.  

And read this again.


Like elephant family on Facebook.

Ed: Bryonie Wise


About Katharine Spano

Katharine’s been a lot of things, but thankfully, not everything stuck.  Her personal yoga practice has been a source of continual purpose, challenge, and growth since her teenage years. To share these experiences with a broader community, she committed to becoming a yoga teacher; less than 3 months later, she found out she was expecting her first child. Now a grateful mother to Luke and a yoga instructor, Katharine is taking a step back from planning and instead mindfully living each day.  To remember these times when the pace of life inevitably picks back up, Katharine writes to keep a record—in case she ever forgets how to enjoy herself again.


4 Responses to “Parenting Trend: CTFD. ~ Katharine Spano”

  1. Val says:

    If it helps, my niece called my husband "Aunt Bill" for years. I giggled along with everyone else, he grimaced every time. Then, they grow out of it and you get a little wistful about things like that.

  2. Lindsey says:

    This isn't really a parenting trend or style, it's just a general way of being, being calm is a good idea because you can respond better to crisis or if you are overly worried about trivial things then it might help to let those things go but you really should be concerned that your child is receiving adequate nutrition and isn't going to kill itself, which they could easily do. But as far as a philosophy goes a parent would probably want one more robust than simply calming oneself. If life was only a process of calming down our emotions we would have to be way less attached to outcomes including ones we might otherwise want to avoid.

  3. Renee says:

    Dear Katherine,
    When my children were small, I would make a huge platter of cut up fruit, veggies, crackers and cheese and put it on the coffee table. Even when they were toddlers, they could choose to eat what they wanted to all day. It was not an issue or a problem or a cause of conversation. This was true all through their lives…if they wished to share a meal with us it was lovely and they often made that choice. If not, they had their snack area. They are now 37 and 33, and are healthy, happy with their bodies and and
    not food obsessed. It's food, not love. Give up that control thing…and do something fun. Enjoy this baby and they will always let you know what they really need. Listen. Smile. Breathe.

  4. Kai says:

    LOVE. Applies to more than just your children. 🙂