The Parenting Strategy John Stamos Learned From Full House

“Have mercy.”

John Stamos was catapulted to heartthrob status when he uttered those two words on the 1987 premiere of Full House. As time went on, it was almost impossible not to develop a crush on his character, the swoon-worthy Jesse Katsopolis. Sure, part of it was that he had a rebellious streak, rocking a mullet and spending his free time riding motorcycles and singing Elvis Presley songs. But when it came to his young nieces, Jesse was a family man through and through. (And if you dared to forget that for even a few minutes, a resounding awwww echoed from the studio audience almost every time Jesse interacted with the Tanner sisters to remind you.

The original series ran until 1995, and even though we saw Stamos’s character settle down and start a family of his own, he never lost that cool factor. Although, if you ask Stamos, there are a few things he wishes he could erase from that time in his life, which was so gloriously captured onscreen. “The mullet was pretty scary,” he told InStyle, while hosting a Lindt Chocolate tasting in New York City. “All of it was pretty scary, actually. You don’t think this stuff is going to live on forever — I learned from that. But it was the ‘80s, and everything was certainly ‘in’ at the time. Some of the stuff we wore on the show was kind of cool, but some was definitely not.”

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While fans couldn’t get enough of Stamos — or his gravity-defying hair — he struggled to embrace his role as a collective uncle for America after the series wrapped. “There were certainly times in my life when I was like, ‘Enough with the Uncle Jesse thing already!’” said Stamos, who tried to distance himself from the sitcom by touring with the Beach Boys and opting for more dramatic roles. In the end, the magic of Full House proved to be too powerful a force to escape. “I’m pretty proud of it now, and I’m glad that it makes people happy,” he said. Stamos reprised his iconic role for the Netflix’s spinoff, Fuller House, in 2016 and continues to star on the reboot.

Full House is already a phenomenon — it’s still on,” he said. “ It’s, like, the fourth generation watching it now, and I think it’s needed now more than it was when we did it originally. There’s a time-released goodness about it. People are creating something home-cooked that feels safe and warm.”

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Stamos also has a whole new appreciation for his family-friendly character since welcoming his first child — a son, Billy — with his wife Caitlin in April. And there’s one parenting trait in particular that he hopes to have taken away from his time on the show. “Patience — I think I learned to be patient,” he said, adding, “I always just had an affinity towards kids; I loved kids.” For years, “people would say, ‘Oh, you should have a kid. Why don’t you have your own kid?’” he recalled. “Now I’m a dad finally, right? But I will probably do nothing [that Uncle Jesse did].”

While he may not try to channel his onscreen persona IRL, Stamos has a similar mentality when it comes to raising kids. “What I liked about Full House — and what I try to do in my house — is that we didn’t talk down to our kids,” he said. “A lot of shows during that time had kids that were smart asses, but on our show they always respected us and we respected them as humans, not just little kids. So I will try to do that with my child.”

And yes, he’ll also be sharing haircare tips with his son. “I’ve been Googling a lot about where the kid gets the hair from — is it from the mother’s grandfather or the father’s side, all of that stuff,” said Stamos. “He hasn’t been outside a lot, but we were outside [recently] and I thought, ‘Is his hair red? It looks like he might be a redhead.’ Some babies are born with crazy hair — people have sent me pictures. But he has nice hair. I mean, it better grow…!”

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The Stamos boys take Manhattan.

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Billy may be way too young to understand just how genetically blessed he is when it comes to his hair, but Stamos has big hopes for him. “I was on this Fourth of July special where I got to say nice things about what I wanted for him in life and the way you should treat people, and how to be good and decent, and I made a promise to him,” said Stamos. “I said, “If you’re a good boy and go home tonight, say your prayers, and go to sleep, I promise one day you’ll have my hair. And your mommy’s heart, hopefully.’”

While Stamos hopes that his son inherits his wife’s kindness, he’s been struggling to adapt to one of her newfound skills post-pregnancy. “She has this unbelievable sense of smell from being pregnant, and it hasn’t gone away,” he said, so she can sniff out everything from the last time he spritzed cologne to whether he did the laundry to what was on the menu that day. “She’ll be [like], ‘What is this? Oh, you’ve been eating chocolate today?’ I’m like, ‘How do you know?!’”

#HappyFirstMothersDay/Birthday !! As if it were even possible, when you became a mother, you became even more beautiful. You’ve brought more love and joy to my life than I ever imagined. Thank you from the luckiest guy on the planet. XOJS @caitlinskybound

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His wife’s heightened senses didn’t keep Stamos from teaming up with Lindt Chocolate to celebrate the brand’s line of Excellence Dark Chocolate. “This was my mother’s favorite chocolate,” he said. “When I was younger, I remember that [my family] would hide the colorful round balls, the truffles, around the house. They’d be underneath stuff, and eventually, you would find them.” Now, Stamos hides them around the house himself — but more so because it’s been declared a junk-food-free zone. “I have to hide them from Caitlin!”

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