Brad Pitt is accused of getting "verbally abusive" and "physical" with his oldest child with Angelina Jolie, Maddox, during a flight on their private plane, a source tells PEOPLE

By Mia McNiece
September 23, 2016 11:20 AM
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Credit: Charley Gallay/Getty

After 12 years and six kids together, Angelina Jolie files for divorce from Brad Pitt just after their two-year wedding anniversary. Subscribe now for the real story behind the split, only in PEOPLE.

While Brad Pitt faces an investigation for child abuse, a family source is speaking out defending Pitt as a dad.

“He is one of the best dads I have ever known,” says a source who knows the family and children well and has spent time with them for many years. “He’s very good at keeping things calm and telling them how they should be behaving, reminding them to be kind, to be respectful to each other. He has always been there for the kids.”

Pitt is accused of getting “verbally abusive” and “physical” with his oldest child with Angelina Jolie, Maddox, during a flight on their private plane, a source with knowledge of the situation told PEOPLE.

The L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services is investigating the allegations after someone anonymously reported the incident last Wednesday.

Pitt is cooperating with the investigation and maintains, “he did not commit any abuse of his children,” a source close to him told PEOPLE.

A source with knowledge of the situation tells PEOPLE that Pitt “put his hands on” Maddox, 15, during an argument but “did not hit his child” and “no one was physically harmed.”

The close family source, who wasn’t present at the plane incident, says that like most married couples, Pitt and Jolie would at times argue about what they thought was best for the kids, but that Pitt was never angry or mean towards the children.

“He does care so much about the kids and he cares about them having structure and routine, but that is because he is wonderful dad,” says the family source. “I have never heard him or seen him being pushy or hurting them, or being too tough with them, at all.”

For more on Jolie and Pitt’s divorce, watch People Cover Story: Brad & Angelina on the new People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to people.com/PEN or download the free app on your Smart TV, mobile and Web devices.

Other sources say differences over their parenting styles were a factor in the couple’s split.

Pitt has “always been stricter” says another family insider. “He has wanted the kids to have more structure. Brad will get frustrated sometimes and yell at the kids.” Meanwhile, “Angelina has always had a more relaxed attitude,” the insider adds. When it came to enforcing rules, “Angelina would plea, or not make the kids follow though.”

FLASHBACK: Brad and Angelina at the 2012 Golden Globes

The family source says Pitt was always patient and kind with his kids.

“He would always be the one to kneel down and talk to the kids. He would communicate with them on their level,” says the source. “He didn’t dismiss them or act like it wasn’t his problem. He cares so much about what they need and how to help them.”

“I have teenagers, I know the challenge they can be, but he is simply a good person, and he has a good heart and nothing can take that away from him. He comes from a wonderful family and is such a good person.”