Angelina Jolie ‘Learning Patience’ from Kids

08/16/2010 at 04:00 PM ET

Courtesy Stylist

Total acceptance is something Angelina Jolie strives for — not only for herself, but also for her six children with partner Brad Pitt.

The Salt star tells Stylist that while Maddox Chivan, 9, Pax Thien, 6½, Zahara Marley, 5, Shiloh Nouvel, 4, and 2-year-old twins Knox Léon and Vivienne Marcheline all have some things in common — “they’re so knowledgeable, they’re so self-aware, so gracious,” Jolie, 35, raves — their differences continue to predominate.

“One of them is a natural leader and has this kind of strength, and one of them has extraordinary grace and elegance and femininity that I didn’t realize you could be born with,” she says.

“Like every mother, I’m learning patience and all these wonderful things from them and I’m just so curious to see who they’re going to be when they’re older.”

When questioned about the decision to dress daughter Shiloh Nouvel, 4, in masculine clothes, however, Jolie insists that the decision was never hers to make. “It’s not my choice,” she says.

“I have a very strong-willed 4-year-old girl who tells me what she wants to wear and I let her be who she is,” Jolie explains, before revealing she all-too happily obliged Shiloh’s tearful plea for short hair.

“I’m not going to leave it long because somebody thinks I should,” Jolie adds. “I want to do what’s in her heart and what’s in her heart is to dress like that. I think it’s beautiful.”

Zahara, in stark contrast to her little sister, “dresses very much like a girl, very pink and flowery, very feminine,” Jolie goes on to point out.

“I think children should wear what they want and express themselves, so we give them different options of things,” she says.

And while Jolie might have made headlines as a daredevil on the set of action films like Wanted and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, she insists “a few” of the kids give even her a run for her money.

“[They] are so much worse than me,” she admits. “They make me nervous all the time.”

The couple — who recently hosted a go-kart-themed birthday party for Maddox — refuse to employ a do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do approach, however.

“There’s nothing I can do or we can say because Mommy and Daddy do it all the time,” Jolie explains, “so we’ve got to just keep bandages [around].”

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Mikaylah on

I think she is amazing. She is very aware and considerate of her children’s personalities, which I think is very important in their development. Kids should be able to express themselves.

Mare on

I totally agree with Mikaylah that the most important thing a parent can do is to respect their children’s personalities and allow them the space to be who they are while making sure they and others are safe while doing so. Of course it is important to protect them from harm but not to the point of controlling their every move so that they feel incapable of making choices on their own. By letting them learn through the choices they make, they develop their own sense of self. I’m all for allowing children to make their own mistakes and know that it takes a strong parent to allow that and watch while their child learns.

Lola Monroe on

Love this woman!! I don’t care what anyone has to say about her, she is an incredible mother, activist, woman & role model. Yah, I said it…role model. Whatever may have happened previously only God can judge…and I’m not him!!

andilea on

I think she is an amazing mother. Her children are lucky to have them as parents.

Laurie on

I have much respect for Angelina and Brad.They seem very determined to raise their children,” as normal children.” Shiloh’s clothes are not a big concern. I would be more worried about one of the boy’s stepping out in girl’s clothes!!

meghan on

I know everyone seems to think she’s great, but to me, she always sounds like she’s reading from a script.

JMO on

good for her!

Erin on

If Katie Holmes said this the sky would fall. I think the double standard is cringe-worthy. (And I happen to not care for either of them…)

Luna on

I agree 100%. Childhood is discovering yourself, finding out who you’ll be. It’s a time of trial and error. It’s beautiful and wonderful that Brad and Angelina allow the kids to discover themselves, through their appearance or what have you. Those kids are so blessed.

Faith on

I love this woman. She’s genuine and is completely devoted to her family, imo. She’s my favorite celebrity mother.

Brooke on

There were so many people that hated when Shiloh’s hair was cut, and when she was dressing like a little boy. I think Angie explained it absolutely perfectly here.

No mother wants to see their child uncomfortable in their own skin to the point where it makes them cry.

Good for Angie and Brad!!!

V.K. on

I think Angelina has the most beautiful pout on that picture 🙂
I wish I had lips like hers ^^

WhyNot on

While I agree with Angelina on allowing children to evolve into who they are, and not stifling them, I also believe some boundaries are required. She is a prime example of children going wrong in their teens without the perimeters of self-restraint instilled in them as toddlers.
How will she feel when her children derail, because they think they can do anything they want. Again, Angelina and Lindsay Lohan are prime examples of children raised without boundaries.
In theory, it sounds wonderful. In reality expect teenagers that run wild, unrestricted and unrestrained. They will go through hell if they think they are not subjects of the same laws the rest of us must follow.

lilly on

Erin i totally disagree with your statement, the difference is ang might let shi dress in boyish clothes, but at least the child is covered up, kate on the other side lets her daughter dress in little to no clothing in the coldest kind of weather. I think that if a child wants to wear dress, thats fine but not in winter or least make her wear boots, jacket, hat, etc… angie lets shi dress in anything, and that seems to be normal like anyone else in the world, katie dressed suri to get ppl to notice her it seems.

Tami on

WhyNot, how do you know how Angelina was raised as a toddler? And what makes you think the Jolie-Pitt kids think they’re “not subjects of the same laws the rest of us must follow”? Dressing a girl femininely isn’t exactly a law.

missy on

“katie dressed suri to get ppl to notice her it seems.”

I could just as easily say that Angelina dresses Shiloh like a boy to get attention. Look at how much attention Shiloh’s style has gotten. For what it’s worth, I don’t think that she does, but I agree with Erin about the double standard.

Ashton on

Actually, Whynot, kids who are allowed to know themselves and feel comfortable with themselves at a young age, not to mention the fact that they feel that their parents respect them, don’t grow up to be like Lindsay Lohan. That is careless parenting and/or over-controlled parenting. Why do you think kids who are extremely sheltered as kids/teens get to college and go nuts with all of the freedom? Having an open, honest, respectful and caring relationship with your children is great parenting. I’m not saying its the only way to parent successfully, but it is certainly a legitimate and effective attitude, especially for this family’s lifestyle. With all the Jolie-Pitt kids have seen, where they’ve been, and the way they are treated by their parents, I don’t think Angie and Brad have too much to worry about overall.

Bugs on

Sorry folks, but i also agree with Erin.

Both the Cruises and the Jolie-Pitts are somehow obsessed in showing the world how “different” their kids are, and it’s nothing but their word, cause those kids are still too little. However the Cruises are immediately bashed unlike Brad and Angelina. But the two families brag way too much on their kids. I just hope they won’t be disspaointed if those kids decide to be normal adults when they grow up and not supernatural beings as they wish. It’s pressure to be their kid if you ask me.

I know i exagerated, but that’s how i see it. If i were Shiloh, i would be like ‘mom please shut up already’.

Erin on

lilly, I wasn’t referring to clothing. I was referring to the broad concept of letting your kid be/do/act basically who/what/how they want. If this article was attributed to Katie, there’d be a breakout of – she lets the kid run her life! No limits! When you don’t like someone, you tend to ascribe the worst motives to their behavior. When you like them, the best.

Kat on

When I was 4 years old my mother forced me to wear dresses and skirts every day…I hated it. By the time I was 6 I flat out refused to wear skirts or dresses…now at 28, I still wear mostly jeans, but I do own dresses I wear from time to time when I am feeling girlie, but as a little kid I was a tomboy and I was happy to play soldier with my brothers and climb trees and stuff. I was never interested in playing with baby dolls or Barbies. I think it’s relatively normal for a little girl with brothers to have a bit of a tomboy streak, especially if they are older brothers. Shiloh looks up to her brothers and wants to be like them…and there is nothing wrong with that at her age. As an adult I have a nice balance between masculine and feminine…I wear makeup and do my hair, but I don’t cry if I break a nail or get a little dirty. I imagine at some point, Shiloh will grow more feminine over the years like I did, and as long as she is happy and healthy, there is no reason to worry.

Hippy Hop on

As kids, they may be allowed to express themselves and have what they want but with guidance. The parent’s role is to guide their children to be better not to just let the kids decide for themselves. We have a law that states that kids should be taken care of until 18 years of age.

momof4 on

Go Angie! You are an awesome mom.

Terri on

I don’t think Brad and Angelina concern with showing the world how different their children are, nor are Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise. I think they all allow their children to dress how they want to. Now I think Katie should make her daughter dress appropriately for the weather, but who really thinks that their children are being forced to dress a certain way for attention from the masses? Hardly.

CelebBabyLover on

Bugs- Do you really think Shiloh is reading Angie’s interviews?

Terri- I agree 1000 percent (except for the part about how Suri should be dressed “approprietly” for the weather. As someone’s who’s very “hot-blooded” and can’t stand the way sweaters and turtlenecks feel, I can relate to Suri!).

I also want to add that it’s not like Angelina just all of a sudden decided to tell the word about Shi’s choice to dress like a boy. She was asked about Shi’s style by the interviewer, so she answered him/her.

Anyway, I find this interview very sweet. When I read this part, “I want to do what’s in her heart and what’s in her heart is to dress like that. I think it’s beautiful.”, I’m not kidding, I just about got tears in my eyes. What a beautiful thing to say!

sgv on

I also agree with Erin.

KC on

I begged, pleaded and cried to my mother in the 2nd grade for a chili-bowl haircut, because my best friend was a boy and HE had one so I wanted one too. I refused to even look at a dress until the 5th grade. To look back at school pictures now it’s hilarious that I looked SO-MUCH-LIKE a boy but you know what? My mom let me play. I was on a farm and that was just what felt comfortable to me at that time. Today I’m a very well adjusted 26yo who loves dresses! LOL It’s all about finding yourself, and while we like to try and influence our children they have minds of their own. I think that clothing is a great way for a child to exert their independence. I purchase the clothing I’m comfortable with my 3yo son wearing, but he has the ability to go in his closet and pick out whatever he wants to wear that day. It’s all about balance and I think that Angie (and Katie) have that figured out.

urbanadventurertales on

My only concern here is if she ever disciplines her children. Letting them express themselves is one thing, but giving into every whim b/c it’s “in her heart” is another issue.

Ivey on

I’m perfectly fine with Shiloh dressing like a boy but I do think it is influenced by the parent. For instance we have never seen Viv dressed as a girly girl. Angie has always been a rebel and having children that are not in the norm would feed her soul. Again I don’t think its bad about the dress but do think that she constantly refers to it and makes it a ‘big deal’, might cause Shi to resent that later on.

Lyoness on

I’m glad she pointed out the difference between Shiloh and Zahara. From what I gather, they share a room. People tend to forget that she has two other daughters as well.

Baffled on

Ok, First of all she said that she lets them dress how they want, not that she doesn’t discipline them. Katie Holmes stated that she lets her daughter do whatever she wants. 2 completly different things. On to Shiloh, I had a spike when I was in the 3rd grade b/c my big bro had one and I idolized him. I look back now and wonder why my mom ever let me do that (lol). She also only had to give me that look and I knew I was going to be in big trouble, so I was most certainly not allowed to do whatever I wanted. You people amaze me with your rudeness!! I wonder, are you teaching your children to judge people’s whole lives on just a few sentences??

missy on

@baffled No actually, Katie didn’t say that, but whatever. I don’t want to turn an Angelina thread into an argument about Katie Holmes.

I like the way Brad and Angelina let the children express themselves.

ecl on

People appear to think that dressing like a “girly-girl” is somehow a biological preference. Guess what? It’s not. It’s a social convention. Whenever we see a celeb kid in a frilly dress we can know that they were pressured into that outfit, either by a parent or by socialization. So good for Angie for allowing her daughter to resist that. And stop acting like Angie somehow controls her children more than other parents. I would be much more worried about my daughter who felt it important to toddle around in heels and make-up than who dressed casually and for comfort. Do you really want to raise a man-pleaser? Still the majority of the people respondng to this post seem to understand that it’s good to let your child express him/herself so that is heartening.

Georgina on

I agree with baffled, the comments the two ladies made were completly different.

What I dont understand is why people are saying Angie thinks her children are something special? She just a typical mum, ANY mother gushes about their child/ren when asked, the only difference is when Angie or Brad say something about their sprogs it’s printed across the world and we all get to hear about it. Not long ago it was claimed Angie didn’t want Shiloh, so would you all feel better is she put her own daughter down? If she’s in an interview, obviously they’re going to ask about her kids, she can either say I’m not speaking about them or shes going to big them up, like when your child started talking it doesnt matter that millions of people have done it before you’re baby, you’re baby did it the best. Its called being a mum. Someone once said to me kids are like farts, you treasure you’re own, but you can’t stand anyone elses!

I think it’s quite sweet that she and brad can pretty much have anything in the world, yet its little mini people who have showed them real wealth.

Annie on

I completely agree with what she said. However, allowing her to swim shirtless with boy shirts is a little much. There’s nothing wrong with boundaries and saying, “you can wear the boy swimming trunks, but you have to wear a tank top too.”

Kristine on

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with letting her wear boy’s swim trunks with no shirt…she’s 4. I’ve seen many other little girls go shirtless too, at the beach, pool, etc.

Who cares how they dress?! Always makes me think of Big Daddy, when the little boy was wearing the flippers and cape and insisted on being called Frankenstein (LOL!) let children be children. If they’re happy and healthy that’s all that matters.

KIM on

ANNIE,there are pics of Heidi’s daughter Leni and Madonna’s daughter Mercy both swimming topless with bikini bottoms . Do you have a problem with that? Should those girls be wearing tank tops too? Just Curious?Anyway I think its interesting that Angie says Shiloh is just like she was as a child.Ivey, what is your theory why Angie dresses Zahara in girly girl clothes? What are her ulterior motives? As for Viv we have seen the child maybe 10 times in her life she appeared to be dressed in girls clothes in the pics I’ve seen. As for Suri, On GMA Tom stated she tells them what she will eat he wanted her to eat protein she didn’t so she ate carbs.Lastly all these interviews were done at the same time early to mid July, this interview is just being released now because Salt opened in London yesterday, this is a British magazine. I watched videos from Salt premieres and all the interviewers asked the same questions i.e. about Brad, the kids and if they are adding to the family…

Susanna on

I was that little girl forced into hair I could sit on in banana curls and froofy dresses from the time I was born. As an adult looking at 40, I can still to this day hardly stand to wear a dress and keep my hair short and manageable. I don’t think giving Shiloh the freedom of choice is going to harm her, I think it will help her develop a balanced outlook. Both of my girls have been allowed to choose and I have one who loves pink and ruffles and one who wants to play soccer and keep her hair short. As for the boy trunks, I know she’s only 4, but I think a top of some sort is called for. Just my opinion.

CelebBabyLover on

Kim- I agree! Zahara dresses VERY girly (Angie even mentioned in this very interview that “dresses very much like a girl, very pink and flowery, very feminine”). And as far as Viv….Just because we don’t see her dripping in pink or in ruffly dresses ala Suri doesn’t mean she’s not being dressed like a girl. Most of the clothes we’ve seen her in, as Kim pointed out, are very girly. Just two examples: Once, she was wearing a gray shirt that was a “girly” style and had some sequins on it. Another time, she wore a very “girly” looking jacket.

She also has pierced ears (you can clearly see her earrings in a lot of the pictures of her), and has been seen wearing bracelets on a few occasions. How that’s not “dressing like a girl” is beyond me!

Here’s a photo of Viv in the grey shirt with sequins. You can see that it is very “delicate” and girly….and you can also see her earrings:

And here’s a photo of Viv being taken (along with Knox) for ice cream in Jordan last October (it’s the second photo in the post). Check out that bracelet and those earrings!:

CelebBabyLover on

Also, as far as Shi wearing boy’s trunks is concerned…..She’s four years old, for crying out loud! At that age, boys and girls look the same up top. It’s not like there’s anything there that really “should” be covered up. I say let Shiloh enjoy being a kid. She’ll have plenty of time to cover up her chest while at the pool when she’s a teenager and a grown woman!

Also, I want to point out that this isn’t the first time Shi has been seen shirtless. BOTH she and Zee (who, incidentally, was the same age Shiloh is now) were photographed shirtless going out for lunch with their parents in France last summer. Nobody batted an eye then (granted, those pictures weren’t posted on CBB, but even on other sites people didn’t seem to making too big a deal out of it). I don’t get why it’s such a huge deal now!

Kim on

Celebritybabylover ,noone batted an eye with those pics because Shiloh’s hair was long and she wasn’t dressing like a tomboy so noone cared. IMO Most of this “Concern” about Shiloh’s style is homophobia

Mariel on

She should….mmm… MUST WRITE A PARENTING BOOK. I dont know where all this ideas came from but she is so real, and so lovely!!!! I LOVE HER!!!!!!!!!

Terri on

Are Shiloh’s and Zahara’s ears pierced? I know that I noticed the earrings on Viv, but can’t recall if Zahara and Shiloh had their ears pierced.

Akira on

I don’t care or judge the way someone dresses. I care about substance and what’s inside and it seems like Brad and Angelina are trying to instill great values within their children!

CelebBabyLover on

Terri- Nope, Zee and Shi don’t have pierced ears. My guess is that they pierced Viv’s ears to help the four older kids and/or the nannies tell the twins apart (as evidenced by their introductry photoshoot in PEOPLE, they DID look very similar as newborns!). 🙂

JM on

she put that so beautifully. one of my little girls reminds me so much of shiloh. she is a tomboy, strong-willed and likes many things that are “traditionally” masculine. i have no idea where she gets it from because i’m not really like that, neither is my other daughter, but i love her for expressing her opinion, being her own person and not caring what anyone thinks. the only problems i have are other people’s insecurities and judgement, if only we could all be a little bit more like angie.

oh and as for the bikini comment, saying she shouldn’t swim topless? do people who say that suffer from some sort of sexual repression? those comments are seriously WEIRD! she is 4, she her torso looks the same as a boy’s. i swam naked at that age. i loved it. it was allowed a carefree and certainly repression free childhood. jesus, some people and their insecurities really freak me out. who sees a topless 4 year old and even thinks that?