Christian Slater Grows Up For His Kids

10/13/2008 at 03:00 PM ET
Kevin Parry/WireImage

For years, Christian Slater says he delayed adulthood — any way he could. A high school dropout battling drug and alcohol addictions, he entered rehab and got his life back on track for the sake of his children — Jaden Christopher, 9, and Eliana Sophia, 7. "I wanted to be able to look them in the eye and feel they were looking in the eyes of somebody who was making an effort to take care of himself and be a better person," the 39-year-old actor tells Parade. With his sobriety in place, Christian turned to his education. Admitting that high school was not something he "remotely took seriously," Christian enrolled in courses to obtain his GED to again set a good example for Jaden and Eliana.

"Now I’ve got these kids…So it’s like, ‘Oh, gosh, what am I going to do?’ I obviously care for them to get an education, and I want them to take it seriously, so I’m going to have to do something."

After he "squeaked by" the math portion and aced the reading portion of the test, Christian received his GED credential, and found himself with newfound leverage when it came to things like helping the kids with their homework. On a safari to Africa in 2006, however, he realized that finishing high school wasn’t quite enough. Jaden had brought homework with him on the trip, but was having difficulty at the time with his reading. "There was just nothing in him that wanted to do it, and he felt like he couldn’t," Christian recalled. "And he got so pissed, because I just said, ‘You’ve got to do this,’ that he actually kind of spit on me." Shocked and angered by what had just transpired, Christian took a step back.

"I had to say, ‘All right, that just happened. So what choices can I make in this particular situation? How can I respond to him?’ I said, ‘Listen. Clearly, I’m very upset that you’ve just done this to me, and I don’t approve of it, but I want to show you that it is possible to make another choice. We’re going to move through this moment, and it’s not going to be a big deal.’"

Click ‘More’ to read about why Christian is happy to be back in California.

Christian said that the lesson he was trying to impart to his son was that "it’s possible not to be at the whim of how you’re feeling at that particular second and give in to your anger or frustration," and he credits Jaden and Eliana with forcing him to ask the question "who is the adult here, and who is the kid?" He’s now in a position to answer that question more often, as he has recently relocated to California for his new show My Own Worst Enemy. The move has been a happy one.

"Being back here and getting to spend some real quality time with my kids — just to get to be a parent is great. I love it. We’re going into the sixth book of the Nancy Drew series now."

Jaden and Eliana are Christian’s children with ex-wife Ryan Haddon; My Own Worst Enemy premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on NBC.

Source: Parade

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Anais on

As someone who almost dropped out of high school because of major frustrations throughout life because of math, I totally remember how Jaden feels. And I remember how my parents struggled with me, and know how Christian feels. And I think it’s great that Christian can step back and see what’s going on with his son, and be able to work through it. Sometimes patience is all you really need.

leana on

What an excellent example for a father to be. He’s being a great role model to his kids.

Carrie Jo on

I think it’s wonderful that Christian has gotten his life together for his kids. It’s amazing how kids can make us better people in so many ways.

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