With two teen girls, Academy Award winning actor Laura Dern certainly has some experience when it comes to parenting, developing her own unique discipline style.
The star of Pretty Little Lies, and mother of 19-year-old Ellery and 16-year-old Jaya recently revealed that she doesn’t believe in punishment for her girls. While many parents around the world often resort to removing privileges like phones or being with friends, Dern has a different take on parenting.
“A very wise person advised me to ask my children, ‘How do you think I should handle this?’ As opposed to ‘You’re grounded.’ Or ‘you’re losing phone privileges,’” Dern shared with TODAY Parents. “You want to try and have a real dialogue around consequence. It made them more accountable. Whenever there was punishment involved, it didn’t always work out so well.”
How does she keep her kids honest and accountable without throwing punishments around?
“Not shaming them by declaring punishment, I think that’s one of the reasons they are so honest with me”
When talking to her kids, she also learned that sometimes it’s not what they’re saying, it’s what they’re not saying. Sometimes when they’re not comfortable revealing everything, the reality is within their story.
“You need to really learn to listen to what your kid is saying, buried in a larger conversation,” Dern shared. “You know when they’re like, ‘my friend is using E-cigarettes, and she says it’s like totally safe. I would never do it, but my friend says it’s cool.’ There’s good chance that they’re the ‘friend.’”
Dern is not only an award-winning actress and busy mother, she’s also a passionate activist. On Instagram her feed is filled with her support for anti-gun violence, and now she’s also rallying to stop vaping amongst kids, a growing problem in America, and other nations around the world, including Australia.
“I remember being told by some adult friends that it was a safe alternative to an E-cigarette and there’s no nicotine,” Dern recalled. “Now, it’s a public health emergency.”
When it comes to parenting teens, do you think no punishment is the way to go?