In the Zone with Hank Azaria
Actor Hank Azaria discusses the golden rule of parenting, best parenting advice he's received and "Fatherhood," his new web series on mom.me and AOL.
Actor Hank Azaria began the new documentary web series, Fatherhood, with the intention of asking dads about their experiences as he contemplated becoming a father himself. Along the way, Azaria’s girlfriend, Katie Wright, became pregnant. As a result, his questions changed from the theoretical to the specific in the most humorous yet touching way. Azaria brings us along on his journey, in addition to interviews with fellow actors and fathers like Bryan Cranston and Kevin Bacon, and experts in the parenting field, like Michael G. Thompson, Ph.D. The result is a poignant, hilarious and informative look at what it is to be a father today.
Read on as Azaria shares some of his thoughts on parenting, pasta and being a proud dad (his son, Hal, is now 4 years old):
What’s your golden rule of parenting?
This might sound cute, but I don’t think there is one. Wait, I take that back. I think the best thing you can do for a child is be authentic. Be genuine. Be real. I think in most cases, kids can sense when you are not telling the truth. I think the best thing you can do for a child is let them know how you’re feeling and what you really expect of them.
What’s been your best moment of parenting so far?
Hmm… let’s see. My son loves basketball, so we decided to sign him up for a toddler basketball class. On the first day, the coach yelled at him, and he got really scared as a result. I decided to start playing basketball with him in our backyard and work with him on a few things, and one day we were walking back into the house and he said to me, “You’re my best coach, dada.” That was amazing.
And the worst?
As a child, I spent a lot of time alone, and when I became a parent, I felt I had to overcompensate for that experience. I never wanted him to be alone. And I’ve learned since then that sometimes playing by yourself is good for a kid. Also, because I always wanted to be with him, sometimes I would be next to him, but on my phone—distracted and not focused, which isn’t good for anyone. I’ve really had to stop that.
What’s the best advice you ever received about parenting?
I was interviewing Bryan Cranston for Fatherhood, and he was telling me he’d asked the same question to a rabbi. The rabbi answered, “Be a loving husband.” The best thing you can do for your child is to show him what a loving relationship is like, and I couldn’t agree more.
What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
I’d have to say pasta, because it’s my son’s all-time favorite food. Sure, he could go maybe a day or two without it, but a week? I’d hate to see how that would play out.
Finish this sentence: You know you’re in the toddler zone when…
… the only songs you know are the most ridiculous children’s songs. Or Disney. I couldn’t tell you any of the performers on Saturday Night Live these days, but my son has been singing the songs from Frozen over and over. I can’t get them out of my head!
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