How Celeb Parents Like Jessica, Kate, and Jada Discipline Their Kids
From having no rules at all to banning television altogether, these 16 celebrity parents run the gamut when it comes to disciplining their children. As every mom knows, parenting is so not one-size-fits-all.
1. Vanessa and Nick Lachey on saving strictness for important things: "I don't think we turn away and say, ‘Hey! Let the kids do whatever they want,'" Nick told People, "but we also don’t want to be helicopter parents where we’re constantly berating and berating, and after a while I think it just falls on deaf ears." Vanessa says the couple is strict about manners. "You have to say please. You have to say thank you. Look someone in the eye when you talk to them. Make sure that you keep your hands to yourself," she explained. "That is a constant — and I say it’s exhausting because it’s a constant lesson." If things ever get out of hand, though, she counts on Nick to use "the dad look." "Literally, he can look at them and they'll get the quiver lip," Vanessa says. "I think it's because...they love and respect him so much that they don't want to disappoint him."
2. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi on ignoring her kids tantrums: “I literally just walk into the kitchen, ignore them… and then they come over and they say, ‘I’m okay now.’ I’m at the stage of parenthood right now where I just need to stop entertaining them. The more you pay attention to that [kind of behavior], the worse it gets.” The mom of two also revealed that she’s not down with spanking her kids, either. “I grew up with spanks and it terrified me,” she explained. Way to parent your own way, Snooki!
3. Kirstie Alley on never spanking: "I have amazing children. I wouldn't dream of solving ANY situation with them by 'swatting' or spanking them...I was POPPED a lot...doesn't work." Alley voiced her opinion on spanking on Twitter a few years ago, and needless to say, she isn't a fan of the way her parents disciplined.
4. Jada Pinkett Smith on having "agreements" with her kids: "We don't have rules. We come up with agreements. Kids are little people, and we're in life to guide them. Trying to rule someone is always an illusion, and it's no different with children." From the sound of things, it's very egalitarian in the Pinkett-Smith household.
5. Kate Gosselin defending her choice to spank her children: "I love my children and when they misbehave, I discipline them as I deem appropriate for the situation." Not surprisingly, Gosselin's actions—and justification—didn't sit well with a lot of people.
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6. Victoria Beckham on running a tight ship: "We've always been strict with the children. They have great manners and they always say 'please' and 'thank you' and I think that's very important." Though Beckham did add that there are some areas she has no control over, saying, "They're still fun and they run around the house and they're crazy and they're singing and they're dancing and they're kicking footballs around. Which I don't allow them to do, but that seems to be one area that I can't discipline them in." Can't win them all! But hey, it sounds like the Beckhams know how to keep things in perspective.
7. Cate Blanchett on being the bad cop occasionally: "I don't enjoy being the bad cop but sometimes I have to be. My husband and I worry about our generation trying to be friends with their children rather than parents of their children. If you're going to try and make your children like you, you're in dangerous waters I think." No doubt Blanchett is a good mom, but clearly she wants her kids to know who's boss.
8. Nick Cannon on keeping his kids in line: "My kids—it's a blessing—they're extremely disciplined. They try [misbehaving] with other people because everyone gives them so much attention, but when it comes to [Mariah] and I, we only have to say something once. We ask them to have a seat, they sit down, cross their legs, and put their hands in their lap. I hope it lasts!" We do too, Nick...but every kid goes through a wild phase.
9. Jessica Alba on her time-out technique: "My kids are constantly snatching things out of the other one's hand. So now it's, 'Stand in the corner and put your nose against the wall!' My 2-year-old can last 15 seconds before she's like, 'Okay, I'm done!' and then I'm like, 'Wait, it's not up to you!' My 5-year-old can go for some time, like a minute or two." That's pretty good. Fifteen seconds for a 2-year-old is an eternity!
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10. Kate Winslet on whether or not she's a strict parent: "Not at all! But we have a structure, of course, or there'd be chaos. I'm not someone who lets their kids stay up until 10 p.m. Mine are in bed by 7.30 p.m. Kids need to sleep. If they don't, they don't function properly and don't get the most out of life. But my kids know the difference between right and wrong—they know jumping on the bed isn't allowed, for instance." Sounds like Winslet has managed to strike a happy medium.
11. William H. Macy on light bribing: "Our kids love to read, so the carrot is reading. The stick is 'Hey, the longer it takes you to brush your teeth and get your nightgown on, the less reading time.'" We get it, Bill! Everyone says they won't do it, but once you become a parent, bribing is almost inevitable.
12. Julie Bowen on setting limits: "[B]eing your kids' best friend is not always the best parenting choice. It's not about everybody being happy all the time. It's about setting limits. In my house that makes my kids very unhappy, like tantrums-on-the-ground-twice-a-day unhappy. But the limits are set." Stick to your guns, Mama. Also, good luck!
13. Madonna on cracking the whip: "[My kids don't] have it easy. Late-night TV, junk food, and mess are not tolerated in my house." Madge added that if her kids' clothes weren't picked up off the floor when they left the house, "they're gone when they come home." Sounds a little harsh, but hey, nothing Madonna does is conventional.
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14. Michelle Obama on screen time: "We have rules about it. The girls have limited television and screen time—none during the week unless it's school-related, because now kids are doing these...video-chat study groups. And when they're doing that, I always go in their room to make sure they're actually talking about school." Who ever said living in the White House as a teen was fun?
15. Jamie Oliver on serving his daughter a spicy punishment: "Poppy was quite disrespectful and rude to me and she pushed her luck. Five minutes later, she thought I had forgotten and I hadn't. She asked for an apple. I cut it up into several pieces and rubbed it with Scotch Bonnet and it worked a treat. She ran up to mum and said, 'This is peppery.' I was in the corner laughing. [My wife] said to me, 'Don't you ever do that again.'" From the sound of things, Oliver can't seem to leave his work at the office.
16. Jennie Garth on the technique that's not working very well: "I had to give my 6-year-old four time-outs two days ago. She kept hitting. I don't spank, though sometimes I think, 'These time-outs aren't working! What's next?' [I strive for] consistency, and not making idle threats. They have to know there are consequences for violence, name-calling, and not doing household chores." Good for Jennie. Empty threats will only wind up back-firing.
17. Candace Cameron Bure on the decision to spank: "I'm not afraid to admit it: We do spank our children. We get much of our parenting information from the Bible—that's my heart source. There are several passages that refer to disciplining your child." Of course, Bure received a lot of flak for numerous parts of this admission.