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Diane Lane on Her 'Shifted' Approach to Parenting

10/06/2008 at 09:30 AM ET
Courtesy Redbook

When asked by Redbook magazine what it’s like to watch as her daughter Eleanor Jasmine, 15, and step-daughter Eden, 14, enter into their formative years, actress Diane Lane doesn’t sugarcoat her answer: "Scary. Humbling. Poignant. Challenging. Frustrating." Now that boys are coming onto the scene, Diane says she’s been fielding questions that "just knock my socks off…But hey, bring it on!" Her can-do approach to parenting was "completely shifted" recently after reading Get Out of My Life, But First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall?  So impressed is Diane with the book, she feels that "they should hand a copy to every mother when their daughters hit 12."

"The basic premise is, you do not need to justify your decisions as a parent to your children. Your job is to set the boundaries and keep your kids safe. So now, when my daughter says, ‘Why, Mom? It’s not fair!’ my smile just gets bigger and more beatific, but I don’t budge and I don’t explain. I might say, ‘I know it’s not fair,’ but that’s all."

By giving into their kids or trying to be a friend instead of an authority figure, "you watch your status and your usefulness as a parent disappear," the 43-year-old actress says. From the sound of things Eden’s dad — Diane’s husband, actor Josh Brolin — didn’t need a book to figure it out. "He tends to be a little more strict," she explains. "I can roll with a lot of ‘tude from the young’uns…Josh, no way! He’s much more comfortable being unpopular than I am. I tend to be a pleaser."

Click ‘More’ to read about how Diane and Josh deal with discipline in a blended family.

With that said, Diane acknowledges that discipline in a blended family can be "complicated."

"Iremember I was upset with the girls about something once and mydaughter said to me — in front of my stepdaughter — ‘You takeeverything out on me!’ My stepdaughter said, ‘Hey, I’m right here.’ Butit’s true — the way I understand stepparenting is you’re more thecheerleader than the disciplinarian with your stepchildren."

BecauseJosh has a "different style" of parenting, Diane admits she issometimes grateful that he is willing to be more stern with the girls.Regardless of who is in the wrong or who is in the right, Diane revealsthat "the great news is [that] the girls are good friends." "I thinkgrowing up together is making them better people," she adds. Eleanor isDiane’s daughter with ex-husband Christopher Lambert. Eden is Josh’s daughter with ex-wife Alice Adair, with whom he also has a son, 20-year-old Trevor. Diane and Josh have been married since 2004.

Diane’s latest film — Nights in Rodanthe — is in theaters now.

Source: Redbook

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Kerri on

I actually think explaining why rules are rules instead of just having them seem arbitrary would be a better idea. At 14 and 15, the girls can surely understand the reasons behind her decisions…I’ve never been a big fan of the “because I said so” stance. You can be authoritative and still teach your children the “whys” of the way things work.

Jean Marie Kennedy on

I love hearing ‘hands on’ parenting by celebrities.

Gina on

Kerri, I agree. As someone just getting out of the teenage years, the whole “because I said so” reasoning was one of my biggest annoyances. It felt so dismissive. But thankfully, my mom did explain many of her decisions to me. While I might not have always understood her right then, it would eventually sink in and help me to understand my mom’s position better. I think I would’ve felt a bit patronized if she had just smiled at me and refused to explain.

Harley on

Like anything, it all depends on the kid. I know that regardless of what my mom’s decision was, even if she explained it to me, it was still, “Totally unfair”. No teenager wants to hear, “It’s this way because you are the girl and it’s safer” when you have older brothers who don’t always fall under the same guidelines. Yes, now that I’m in my 20′s, I get it. Whether mom explained something to me or not, it depended on the situation of the rule. “Why can’t I go out with my bf past 10?” didn’t really need an explanation. However, “Why am I grounded” always did.

A parent isn’t there to be your friend and you’re explain all, they are there to set boundaries and limitations, reason or not.

Harley on

Also, let’s remember to take everything with a grain of salt. She could mean, “everything” or she could mean a majority of decisions don’t need to be explained.

kaya on

OMG! Diane Lane has a child with Christopher Lambert? The Highlander??? what, where, hu? LOL I just fell off my chair. (To my defense, I’m too young to know, this is just sooo random to me.)

Jasmine on

I have two daughters and two sons and survived the teen years! I Love Diane, and happy she named her daughter after me: Jasmine!

Emily on

Kerri I agree with you, if you can’t give your child a valid reason for your decision then do you even really have one? And I’m sorry Harley but the “because you’re a girl” excuse is not a valid reason to me. Infact not only is it an invalid reason but it contributes to sexist attitudes.

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