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Ethan Hawke wants rules for kids

Published 16/01/2016

Ryan Shawhughes and Ethan Hawke
Ryan Shawhughes and Ethan Hawke

Actor Ethan Hawke encourages divorced couples never to criticise each other in front of their children.

Father-of-four Ethan Hawke is adamant children love rules – because it gives them something to rebel against.

The 45-year-old star has Maya and Levon with his ex-wife Uma Thurman and Clementine and Indiana with his current spouse Ryan Shawhughes. Ethan and Ryan’s experience of parenting Maya and Levon as a blended family led him to create a book called Rules for a Knight, which is aimed at young adults and attempts to advise them on how to live a successful life.

“I already had my kids from Uma and it was hard for them,” he told Britain’s Hello! magazine of the early stages of his marriage to Ryan. “Ryan was having our baby and was reading a book about step-parenting and how difficult it can be and that book was talking about rules. People think that kids don’t like rules but in fact they do, even if they’re just something to rebel against.”

The couple began talking about how to make the process as easy as possible, which is when they hit on the idea of coming up with some lessons all kids should know.

“What’s hard for people raising children who have two homes is you are meant to have the same set of rules, to create consistency,” he said. “But both houses don’t need to be the same as long as there are rules for the kids in both.

“The trick is not to pass judgement on the other house’s rules. You just have to worry about your own. So we set out with the question, ‘What are the rules for this house?’ At first it was all about bedtime, stuff like that.”

Having a blended family hasn’t always been easy, but all the children have now adjusted to it. For his part, Ryan’s realised how vital it is to put his kids first.

“These days you have to do a lot of movies to make a living as they pay you less,” he explained. “The upside is that, to keep the pay down, they make the shoots shorter. My deal is I can go on location with the kids when they’re on school break or I fly home every weekend.”

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