Arnold spies on his kids while they shower

But that’s actually not as creepy as it sounds. (I think.)

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger addressed the Commonwealth Club of California at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco today to mark three years since he signed into law AB 32, which set ambitious goals for the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in coming decades. Among the hundreds in attendance was a class of fourth-graders, one of whom sent up a question about what the governor tells his own children about global warming and climate change.

The governor responded by describing his childhood without indoor plumbing in postwar Europe, and how it inculcated in him a lifelong passion for conserving water and energy in his own home.

He said that as a father of four – Katherine, 19; Christina, 18; Patrick, 16; and Christopher, who’ll turn 12 on Sunday – he has been unrelenting, taking umbrage when his kids sat on a stool soaking in the shower for up to 15 minutes at a time. He said he has been known to walk in, open the shower door and shut off the hot water without warning – evoking screams as the water went ice-cold – but more recently has taken to enforcing a five-minute limit on showers, with violations leading to a loss of recreational privileges.

And Schwarzenegger said he’s been known to enforce the policy by lurking outside the bathroom door, timing his kids.

He also said he encourages them to do only full washer-loads of laundry and to take an active roll in recycling, even as he has installed solar panels to heat his pool and trading in his gas-guzzling Hummer for a hydrogen-fueled model. “How we teach our kids is extremely important.”

At the very least, he’s teaching his kids to keep the bathroom door locked.

UPDATE @ 5:10 P.M.: We’ve got the audio now, so listen to it here; the fourth-grader’s question is addressed right at the one-hour mark.

“I’m standing outside and I’m timing it now and saying, ‘This is now 15 minutes that this kid is taking a shower,’ so I open up the shower door and I turn off the hot water and then all of sudden, y’know, he starts screaming because now the water is cold. So I finally had to implement rules at home and tell them that if they take showers that are longer than five minutes that there will be consequences, like they will not be able to go out or they will not be able to bring friends over … I will sometimes spy on them when they come for the showers and time them.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.


  1. You know you have these images of these spoiled pampered celebrity lives and they are just as nutty and messed up as everyone else with more money. Maybe more nutty….

  2. I hate it when the truth gets twisted like in the headline. What people don’t understand is that this nation is wasteful enough! I mean, look at our landfills and think about things. If he is trying to teach his children not to waste valuable resouces and is not being a pervert – he does not watch his children bathe people just turns off the water – then he deserves praise not criticism. Being ex-military I know that 5 minute showers are possible, but although I don’t go to that extreme with my children, I do require them to take less than 10 minute showers, turn off lights when they are not in the room, and have been preaching about laundry. Doing so saved me hundreds of dollars on my utility bills, so this is not only in our world’s intrest, but its also in YOUR best interest. I know I enjoy having an extra couple of hundred dollars every month to go have fun with my kids with.

Comments are closed.