Molly Ringwald Tackles Tough Topics With Daughter

05/06/2010 at 03:00 PM ET
Henry McGee/Globe

For mom-of-three Molly Ringwald, honesty is always the best policy when it comes to parenting.

“I’m not honest to the point where I’m talking about things that she’s too young for,” the Secret Life of the American Teenager star says of daughter Mathilda Ereni, 6½,

“But I’ve tried to figure out a way to talk to her about difficult subjects in ways she can understand.”

“We had a conversation yesterday about why there was war,” Ringwald, 42, tells Babble.

“I related it to the playground.”

That candor is equally apparent when Ringwald is asked about a passage in her new book Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family, and Finding the Perfect Lipstick, which touches on the touchy subject of disciplining the children of strangers.

“When I lived in France, I noticed every parent would reprimand other children just by saying, ‘Hey, that’s inappropriate’ or ‘Don’t do that,’ and other parents would appreciate that,” Ringwald replies. “But in the United States, moms tend to say, ‘Hey, that’s my kid, stay away.'”

While she has no qualms about others offering directives to Mathilda or her 10-month-old twin siblings Adele Georgiana and Roman Stylianos — especially if they are in danger — Ringwald says that tone is key.

“If it’s done respectfully and constructively, I have no problem,” she insists. “If another parent is saying something abusive to my kid, that’s not okay.”

At the same time, Ringwald admits it’s sometimes tough to let Mathilda blaze her own trail.

“My daughter is very headstrong, especially with style and how she wants to do things,” she reveals. “At one point she almost reduced me to tears because she wouldn’t wear these expensive patent leather boots I bought her.”

Although Mathilda “has a great sense of style,” Ringwald says that mom and daughter rarely see eye-to-eye when it comes to fashion — and that she’s learned to celebrate their differences.

“One of the hardest things parents have to accept is that they have to let their children express themselves, to love them and allow them to be different,” she adds.

FILED UNDER: Multiples , News , Parenting

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Jen DC on

Yeah, be careful with other peoples’ kids here! I formerly worked at a well-known and popular zoo and would pleasantly ask kids not to climb on the bars separating spectators from the electric fence around the cheetah enclosure… and ROUTINELY got cussed out by parents. My attitude to them was always this: There is enough power in that electric fence to stun a 100# cat; think of what it will do to your 20, 30 or 40# child. And let us not contemplate what happens if your child should fall INTO the enclosure… But yep, that’s *your* kid. I just work here.

People see it as judgment about their parenting style when in fact, most of it is simply an attempt to keep your kid safe or to avoid an embarrassing tantrum or mess caused by your kid. If there were more “home training,” we wouldn’t all be subjected to the brats showing out in public. I say if you can’t control your child, keep him/her at home.

Manon on

She is so right about France (I should know!) and I agree with her.

I find it incredibly refreshing that her “real issues” are actual issues like war instead of weight etc. too.

She sounds great. Always liked her as an actress too.

letters on

She is gorgeousssssssss!

Anonymous on

Laughing here b/c I have a friend who was at a party with Molly Ringwald AND her “headstrong” 6 1/2 year old. Long story short, I was told she was a terror. Love Molly as an actress, but maybe she should stick to acting and save the parenting advice to those of us who actually know how to say “No” when necessary.

Erika on

I agree about the discipline thing. When I was younger, other I was a very stubborn, headstrong child, and if my parents told me something was wrong, or not to do it, I usually wouldn’t listen and would need to be punished. However, if somebody else told me, it would definately make me stop whatever I was doing. So I actually think having other parents politely reprimand can be effective and I can’t understand why parents would be done if done appropriately, although it probably has to do with defending their parenting skills more than their child.

Rebecca on

Sure you did Anonymous.

wix.czakazi on