Parentdish Exclusive: Peter Andre talks about competitive celebrity dads, changing nappies and how his children love his Greek cooking!
We caught up with Peter Andre for a bit of a natter about being a 'celebrity' dad. Twice winner of Celebrity Dad of the Year, Peter, 39, is dad to Junior, seven, and Princess Tiaamii, five, his children with ex-wife Katie Price.
Tell us about your parenting style – are you a strict dad?
I am quite strict. I think what's really important is if you're going to tell your kids off, or you're going to tell them you're going to do something, you've got to do it.
So consistency is key?
Yeah. You can't say 'right, if you do that one more time you're going to bed', and then they do it one more time and then you just go 'right, you're in trouble', and then a minute later they're fine.
You've got to do what you say. And this is where I think I'm quite strict.
Are you a very hands-on dad?
I'm very... I'm a modern dad. Back in the day, we had to go in our rooms by ourselves to read and write, and now I like reading with the kids and we like doing stuff - hanging out together and cooking together.
Has your own upbringing influenced how you parent Junior and Princess?
Hundred percent! Hundred percent! But, what I've been able to do is balance it with a bit more of an open mind.
When our parents cooked we sat patiently in the other room and we waited. Now, with me and my kids, I'll still cook, but I'll want them to cook with me, it's different.
What particular memories from your childhood have had an effect on how you parent?
I was quite scared as a child, because my parents were very strict. I had to go to bed really early and I was always lonely - it's not my parent's fault - but I just felt very scared and lonely at night.
Now I've put little things in my kids' rooms like these little glowing universe and I tell them that the angels are watching over them. I got this from the movie "Crash". I tell them it's an invisible necklace that protects them both.
Princess always says, 'Dad, I slept through the night because I just kept touching my invisible necklace'. And I say, 'While you've got that necklace, nothing can harm you'.
These are the things I wish someone had told me when I were younger. But my parents didn't know, I mean the movie "Crash" wasn't out then!
You've been Dad of the Year twice – you are obviously doing something right!
I've been very happy to have won Father of the Year twice. People say to me 'what makes a good father?' And I say what makes a good parent is simple - you put your kids first.
If your children come first, you're a great parent.
And if your kids are first you become selfless, but that doesn't mean you let them do everything they want.
So did how did it feel to see YOUR crown going to Gary Barlow this year?
That was really funny because Gary and I had a chat about it at, of all places, Number 10 Downing Street. We were there for Children In Need. He said 'Mate, this is going too far, you've won it two years in a row, my kids are giving me so much grief.'
I said 'Gary, if I win it this year, I'll share it with you.' But he won it and didn't share it with me. But that's fine, thanks Gaz.
Is there a bit of competition between you celebrity dads then?
Absolutely not (under his breath, Peter jokes 'Yes there is' through gritted teeth). He so deserved it. But I think when Sir Elton John got nominated, he deserved it. I think there are amazing fathers out there.
Look at David Beckham. I mean the guy's been married how many years? And he's got a family, and they're a whole unit. I think it's brilliant. But any dad is good if they put their kids first.
What sort of dad would your kids say you were?
They say 'Dad, you're nuts, crazy, funny'. Thankfully they say funny. They love my cooking, and I mean love it. 'Cos I'm Greek, so I add all the flavours and stuff. They must have it in their blood.
Do you ever embarrass them? Show them up by singing in the supermarket, that sort of thing?
Yeah but in a funny way. All they'll do is turn around and go 'stop showing off dad' and I'll go 'yeah, you're right', and then I'll carry on.
What are you most likely to fall out with the kids over? Tidying rooms? Bed times?
No, as long as they say please, thank you and they're respectful and they don't expect anything from anyone, they're a dream. They always do their homework, so I'm not worried about that.
So are you trying to instill confidence and independence in them?
Confidence is one thing - obviously the kids are on the reality show. We document our lives and it's fun and it's great. It's the one job dad does they can be a part of, which is brilliant. I have the Bad Boyfriend Club, which doesn't involve them at all, and I've also got the album which doesn't involve them.
Can that whole school thing be difficult to navigate, having friends over, parties, sleepovers, that sort of thing?
I speak to the teachers and I ask them 'do they act any different?' And they say 'absolutely not, they're the most polite children, they're really considerate to other children, they never say anything that makes them stand out different'.
The only thing they say sometimes which is quite funny is 'I drove in dad's Ferrari'!
Their friends come over to our house and my kids go over to their houses. I keep them as normal as possible, in so many ways.
The thing is kids can be spoilt, but it's how they're spoilt. They can be spoilt in the sense that they don't have to wish for nothing, you know, they've got everything. But you don't want them spoilt as in 'where's my present?' or 'where's this?' or 'I want this'.
That's a different kind of spoilt and that's a spoilt I will not put up with.
What would you say has been your worst parenting moment?
I think it was when I first changed Junior's nappy and of course it looked like mustard. I couldn't forget that when I went out for a steak and they brought English mustard. I couldn't eat it (pulls face).
I remember when I wiped it, it stayed a bit on my hand, my thumb. No matter how much I washed it off, that smell just seemed to remain. It just put me off, and the nappy quite weirdly smelled like English mustard, which I thinks a bit bizarre.
And what about your absolute best memory ever of your kids?
Best memory ever was when my first child was born. That moment I'll never forget.
Do you think you changed from that moment on?
Hundred percent. That's when you start becoming selfless.