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Antonio Banderas talks about parenthood

04/20/2008 at 01:29 PM ET

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Actor Antonio Banderas — who sadly lost his father to a long-suffering illness in February — says it’s his influence that inspires him to take on the pragmatic approach to easing his children, Alexander Bauer, 22, Dakota Mayi Johnson, 18, and Stella del Carmen Banderas, 11, into adolescence.

I’m not big on discipline and neither was he. I’m much more focused on talking and showing affection. I think that way you can understand your children a lot better. In Stella’s case, we’ve had an easy ride, but now she’s entering a new stage. I’ve had experience with my other children, Alexander and Dakota. Alexander’s 22, and lives his own life in New York where he’s studying music. But they both suffered. It’s the hormones!

[Stella] wants independence and thinks she’s right for it. It’s a balancing act. I think discipline which kids don’t understand properly leads them to distance themselves even faster and more radically. Having said that, I don’t believe in being their friend. You’ve got to go gently, but you’ve got to go carefully.

While many may know that Alexander and Dakota are his wife Melanie Griffith‘s children from her previous marriages to actors Steven Bauer, 51, and Don Johnson, 58, Antonio insists that they’re classed as his own.

I consider them my own children, naturally, and when I talk about them, I say ‘my children,’ not ‘my stepchildren.’

Click below for his worries as a father, and what he plans to do when Stella starts bringing boys home!

As a dad, he admits the things that worry him most about them are "the dangers of life,’ adding,

Particularlyat this age when they can’t tell good from bad — the type of peoplethey’re mixing with, drugs, that kind of thing. In the case of mychildren, there’s the added risks that come with this fame that theydidn’t choose.

Alexander hates it. He studied six months in Malaga andnobody knew he was our son. He never told anyone. Dakota is different.She’s got her mind on so many things at once. She’s 18 and everythingis going at breakneck speed for her. Stella is more like Alexander. Ithink she’s going to deal with the whole business very discreetly,unless she chooses acting as a career. She reminds me a lot of myfather and of Alexander.

When the time comes that Stella starts bringing boys back home, the 47-year-old hopes she chooses wisely.

Ihope she doesn’t end up with the kind of scalliwag I was at 20! I’malways teasing, ‘I’ll put my Zorro suit on and that will teach him.’

Source: Hello! Magazine, Issue: 1017, April 22nd 2008

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Showing 5 comments

Mari on

Two thumbs up for Antonio! As far as possible, let’s get rid of the terms “step” and “half”. All children benefit from having as many loving, supportive adults in their lives as they can.

Naughty Cal on

LOL, if Antonio really wants to put fear into their boyfriends, he should just get into his character from Four Rooms.

Lexie on

I applaud him for his attitude towards the older children, but I wonder what the genetic father’s think of his opinion? I hope they are supportive of his role, he seems to really love them all equally. And as much as I think children deserve to know about, and have a respect for, their genetic heritage, I agree in principle with Mari, the more people that love a child, the better. Beautiful family :).

Carol on

He seems like such a great dad and Stella looks a lot like him. I remember pics of him whispering something in Dakota’s ear when she was just a little girl and they were at a Spanish awards banquet…it was the cutest picture and you could see he was crazy about her.

brooke on

He sounds like a great dad and stepdad

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