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Arnold Schwarzenegger has opened up about the unusual, but effective parenting methods he’s used over the years.
The former governor of California is the father of four children: sons Christopher, 26, Patrick, 30, and daughters Christina, 31, and Katherine, 33, who he shares with ex Maria Shriver. In an interview with People he explained just how memorable his tactics were.
“You could talk to them about what they liked about their upbringing because they have very humorous stories,” the actor told the outlet.
“The first one is Katherine ... As a matter of fact, Katherine comes over with [her three-year-old daughter] Lyla and she says: ‘Lyla, I told you already not to put the shoes there. Keep your shoes on or you put them away, but you don’t leave them there by the stand in front of the fireplace because you know what Daddy did? When I left my shoes there twice? The third time, he burned them in front of me and I cried.’”
Not only did he confirm that he did in fact burn a pair of his daughter’s shoes once, but he jokingly pointed out that it is a tactic that Katherine now uses on her own daughter. “Now uses the same methods which she cried over and that she complained about,” Schwarzenegger said.
He also discussed a time when his son Patrick was nine years old and he’d thrown his son’s mattress out the window because he didn’t make his bed. “I opened up the door to the balcony, picked up the mattress and threw it down with the bedsheets, the pillows, everything. I said, don’t ever make someone come in and clean your room, clean your shower or make your bed,” Schwarzenegger said.
“I said: ‘Because I taught you how to make the bed.’”
According to the actor, he and Patrick also used to battle over long showers. He said his first attempt was to simply tell his son to take shorter showers. “It’s over, no more showers. Five minutes, one shower, and then that’s it and we’re turning it off,” Schwarzenegger recalled.
Although the method worked for a few days, Patrick quickly went back to taking long hot showers - so Schwarzenegger came up with another idea. “In Munich, they have the showers that have those timers that people put money into and then after the money ran out, the cold water came out. I said: ‘I’m going to get one like that,’ and that’s exactly what I got,” he explained.
“And so when he got the shower on and he was whistling and singing in there and thinking Daddy’s not around, all the sudden the ice-cold shower came on. And all of a sudden, we heard downstairs, the scream.”
Despite his children’s reactions to his methods, The Terminator star said it’s now become something they joke about, to the point of Katherine “bragging” about how tough her father was.
He said his goal with his parenting techniques was never to “be a drill sergeant,” but rather because he “just happened to grow up with nothing”.
“Every pair of shoes that I had, of which there was only one pair, I washed every day and cleaned every day and I put them away. So I said: ‘I want you guys to do the same thing, even though you have many shoes. Just put them away in the mudroom. We have a mudroom, put them in the mudroom because I don’t want to go and clean up your shoes,’” he said.