Words of Wisdom

7 Pieces Of Parenting Wisdom From The Great Denzel Washington

In honor of the beloved actor’s 68th birthday, here are some of his thoughts on raising kids.

by Fatherly
Originally Published: 

Denzel Washington is many things: Actor, director, husband, box office juggernaut. But his most prized role is that of a dad to his four children. In honor of his 68th birthday, here are some of his wise words on parenting and fatherhood.


On Being A Strict Parent

“I think children are born good,” he told The Guardian in 2010. “But a child doesn’t know right from wrong, so moral instruction is important. I remember my eldest boy saying ‘Dad, I always thought you were so strict ― now I appreciate it.’ Free will can be a double-edged sword. By the age of 21, my son could see that.”


On His Particular Parenting Style

“If you have kids, you know there is no style,” said Washington when asked about his parenting style in an interview with Reader’s Digest. “It’s a hybrid. It’s what my wife and I learned from our parents, and applying religious instruction, discipline, athletic activity, and academic excellence whenever possible. My wife’s done a great job. She’s been the consistent one, just trying to give them a normal life.”


On Keeping His Kids Grounded

“When it comes to the kids, I give complete credit to my wife, Pauletta,” he told Oprah. “Early on, we decided that we wouldn't drag them around to all the places I go. Pauletta was the consistent one who made breakfast every day and took them to school. She taught them their prayers.”


On Making Sure His Kids Know He’s Not Perfect

“When my oldest boy was about 14, I started to talk to him about some of the mistakes I made in life, just to put a few dents in that shiny armor,” Washington told Reader’s Digest.


On Being Home For Dinner

“I joined in as often as I could,” he told Oprah. “When my parents were together, my father worked a lot too. He always had two or three jobs, so he was never home either. Children adjust. My kids knew that I was always trying to get home to be with them. I’d tell them, ‘You have school Monday to Friday, and I have work. We both have our jobs to do.’”

On The Change That Occurs When You Become A Parent

“When that first one is born, you instantly understand the difference between making a living and a life,” he told Playboy.“Acting used to be life. It became a way to make a living. Those little ones, that's life.”


Thanks for reading,
head home for more!