Ingo Rademacher "General Hospital" jax hw
Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

“It’s been two, three years since I’ve played the ‘Hulk’ to get my kids to listen,” the actor says.

In Maurice Benard’s latest State of Mind vlog, the General Hospital star, who plays Sonny, is joined first by castmate Ingo Rademacher (Jax), then also by Rademacher’s son Peanut, 12. The topic: Rademacher’s past anger issues, which at one point became so concerning that, as he recalls, “my wife pulled me aside and said, ‘You need to change. You have a problem.'”

In Rademacher’s estimation now, “anger’s a little bit of unhappiness that in my case I don’t think is justified.” You blow up, and “you think it’s OK to do that.” But, in fact, “it’s a mental weakness when you get angry for no reason.”

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His hotheadedness did not come about only after he and wife Ehiku had Peanut and his little brother, Pohaku. “Before I had kids, I would have my little anger tantrums just about something that wasn’t right, because I thought it was OK,” the actor says. “If I look at that guy now, I’d be like, ‘Dude, what is wrong with you? Don’t do that.’”

As the co-stars’ conversation goes on, with Benard sharing details of his once-tense relationship with son Joshua, Rademacher confesses that “I did hit Peanut and Pohaku a couple of times. I think that ended maybe two and half years ago. That was the last time that happened ’cause I was like, I feel bad every time.

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“I think that’s a major parent fail,” he adds, “because [it signifies that] you don’t want to put in the effort to sit down and have a conversation with your child, you want to just shut him up and be able to talk to your wife and not have them disturb you.”

The worst that it ever got, Rademacher remembers, was when he chased Peanut into the bathroom, grabbed him and pushed him against the wall to yell at him. The boy was about 8 at the time, Rademacher estimates. “To physically scare a little child like that is just the dumbest thing that you can do, and not just that, but it’s damaging” to the youngster. It was then that Ehiku stepped in and gave her mate a wake-up call.

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When the soap stars are joined by Peanut, things get extra emotional. The 12-year-old admits that “usually, after my dad gets angry at me, I go in my room like, ‘I could freakin’ kill him!'” When a tear rolls down his cheek, Benard assures him that there’s nothing wrong with that; in fact, keeping it in does more harm than good. And, as Rademacher reminds, “We’re doing this today to hopefully stop other dads from doing this to their kids.”

It certainly sounds like Rademacher’s efforts over the last few years are paying off. He beams when discussing his more recent conversations with his boys. And Peanut says, “I can actually talk to you now. I feel like I’m not fighting you constantly.”

Elsewhere in the interview (which you can watch in full above), Benard and Rademacher revisit the Sonny/Brenda/Jax triangle that remains such a big deal. Though Rademacher admits, back in the 1990s, “I was such a cocky bastard… I didn’t think it was such a hard thing to pull off.” To rewind to that complicated threesome and more, check out the below photo gallery of soaps’ all-time greatest love triangles.

Video: State of Mind/YouTube