Amy Brenneman’s Son Negotiates Dinner Table Terms

10/03/2010 at 02:00 PM ET
Courtesy Working Mother

Before Amy Brenneman signs on the dotted line, the actress ensures her children remain high on her list of priorities.

“With Private Practice, it’s part of my contract that my children have their own trailer so that they have someplace to come to,” the mom to Charlotte Tucker, 9½, and Bodhi Russell, 5, tells Working Mother.

“Charlotte is amazing on set. And the cranes fascinate Bodhi; he makes friends with all the grips.”

And according to Brenneman, 46, her son Bodhi seems to have inherited his mom’s stellar negotiating skills — especially at the dinner table.

“Charlotte is a good eater and was never a big sugar person,” Brenneman shares. “But Bodhi negotiates around food. I might say that if he eats a nice meal, he can have ice-cream afterward.”

But before he starts chowing down and making good on his promise, Bodhi is quick to firm up the rules! “He’ll ask me, ‘How many bites of food? What exactly will I get?’ I’m thinking we may have to take dessert off the table,” she laughs.

Fortunately for Brenneman, her partner-in-crime — husband Brad Silberling —  offers an unwavering support system. Planning their schedules so one parent is home often with the kids, Brenneman admits as a result of the extra time with dad, a close father-son bond has developed.

“What’s been incredible has been to see a change in Bodhi when he turned 3½. I had been everything up to that point,” she shares. “But then he was so in love with his dad, so proud of his dad. They continue to have this love affair. Often if Bodhi’s riled up, he wants his dad.”

The extent of that special relationship was particularly evident when Bodhi faced his first day of swimming lessons last summer — only to have a mini meltdown before entering the water.

“Neither Brad nor I could go, so his babysitter took him,” reveals Brenneman of the common working motherhood balance. “Well, Bodhi freaked out. His babysitter didn’t know what to do. I had a whole week of work, but Brad was able to go the next day, and he did a masterful job of being there for his son. I felt stabbed in the heart.”

— Anya Leon

FILED UNDER: Kids , News , Parenting

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Showing 20 comments

Jo on

Gorgeous little boy… She’s a lucky lady.

Shannon on

Oh my gosh he looks a lot like Amy! He definitely has her smile.

HoosierRN on

He is a cute kid, but I think that he sounds like a brat. This comment just bugs me: “But before he starts chowing down and making good on his promise, Bodhi is quick to firm up the rules! “He’ll ask me, ‘How many bites of food? What exactly will I get?”

I don’t think kids should be rewarded for eating their food. It sets a bad example, and the kid is being manipulative. The answer should be “you get the satisfication of knowing that you have enough to eat. If you don’t eat your meal, then there will be no dessert.”

I am sure I am in the minority here, but I don’t like manipulative kids.

Kat_momof3 on

he’s a gorgeous kid, but yeah, she needs to lay down the law and not be having dessert every night… kids need boundaries and structure… and they need to learn that dessert is not essential to every meal… I grew up thinking it was because we had it after every lunch and dinner… that was not good. My kids know it’s something we might have every so often (like once every few weeks) and when they see cake, they know it’s a birthday or a holiday. I’ve made a point to have them know that treats are just that… treats… and that they need to fill up on their healthy stuff.

On the nights we do have dessert, we often end up waiting an hour or two after supper because the kids fill up and need to digest awhile before they have room for two cookies or a scoop of ice cream.

Tee on

You’re not in the minority, at least not with me. I don’t like manipulative children either and it’s far too common to meet one in today’s day and time. However, it could have been that Amy was joking or exaggerating, given the tone of the article. It’s hard to tell with the written word.

Her little boy is gorgeous! I didn’t realize that she had two children. Love her on Private Practice and really miss Judging Amy!

Alice on

Wait – by dessert you mean something special, like cake or cookies right? Surely you always have some kind of dessert. I don’t know, I always did, a fruit, a yoghurt, a chocolate cream (not sure how you call them in English), just something to end the meal on a sweet note.

Bodhi’s food negotiations amuse me. I was a really picky eater so I’ve been there. It’s like the “eat it because you know, some children have nothing to eat and they’d love to have it.” “Well you can send it to them because I don’t want it.” It is kind of an idiotic argument if you think about it.

HoosierRN, you have to try to make kids eat healthy but at the end of the day there are some foods they just don’t like, just like grown-ups. While it’s normal to make them eat at least a little bit of every dish it’s kind of cruel to deprive them of dessert or of an entire meal (some parents do that) because they won’t eat a whole portion of something they hate. Would you?

HoosierRN on

I wouldn’t make them eat a whole portion of something they don’t like. But the kid setting the tone at the beginning meal with the kid saying “how many bites do I have to eat”? is not good. It is basically implying that the kid is in control.

It could just be the tone of the article too. Maybe she was joking. I was hoping she is joking about it.

jessicad on

I don’t see where she said he gets dessert every night, or how asking how many bites of food he has to have is him being in control or manipulative?

tiffany on

I don’t have children but I do work in a child care setting and I have children younger than five negotiating how much or what they want to eat, everyday. I can’t force then to eat but I do say “if you take three more bite (depending on their age) you can have fruits, chips, ice cream,fruit to go etc. Sometime those same children will exceeded the three bites ( and eat everything) and then they get their dessert.
I honestly all depends!!!

Ellea on

whats wrong with dessert every night? A cookie, a piece of cake, maybe a smoothie. I don’t see how thats bad.

CelebBabyLover on

Alice- Most likely, what you refer to as a chocolate cream is what’s called pudding in English.🙂

jessicad- And not only that, but nowhere in the article does Amy say she and her husband allow Bodhi to actually decide how many bites he eats, or that they really allow him to set rules.

Anyway, for some reason, I LOVE that she referred to her “babysitter” rather than her “nanny”. It makes her sound more “normal” somehow.🙂

Deni on

Hoosier RN, chill out! We don’t know the tone of the article and she definitely didn’t say whether or not she gives in to his demands or negotiations.

After all, she did say: I’m thinking we may have to take dessert off the table,” she laughs.

Jenna on

you can’t expect a 5year old to eat the same amount as an adult, and him asking how many bites he has to take is just fine. My parents never forced us to eat anything we didn’t want. As for dessert its okay to have every night, when we were little there were times when we had a big lunch and dessert for dinner.

Heather on

I think he sounds like a typical inquisitive child! I have a 3.5 year old, and he really likes to know specifics-how long will my nap be? How many days until Grandma visits? How much water do I need until my cup is full? I think kids are generally curious and like to be in the know, even with something small as how many bites of dinner can I eat? It’s all apart of learning, and it’s our job as parents to teach them. I don’t think he sounds manipulative at all, I think you all really need to look into your own lives-are you sure you children don’t ask questions like that?

h on

i love amy, i know this is going to sound lame but she’s one of the reason i got in law school and one of the reason i haven’t quit yet. Her son is so adorable, i love his name too… i wish we would have seen Charlotte’s face too.
Amy is so classy and so different from most of the actress in hollywood
Can you believe she’s over 45????????????????????????????

Kristen on

Gosh, I don’t see anything manipulative about it. He is just a KID. I gladly give my kids candy when they eat a decent amount of dinner. It gets the job done (they do eat dinner…) which is what matters IMO.

Jacqui on

I believe in not making an issue out of food. Food should never be a reward or a punishment. If you negotiate with food, then the broccoli inevitably becomes less desirable than the cookie.

In our house, we only have healthy options available, so if you choose to eat a cookie it’s homemade and just about as nutritious as having your kale or beans.

Anyway, I love Amy Brenneman. Great actress and a degree in comparative religion from Harvard. Pretty impressive.

Lyl on

I was growing up without any deserts and I was perfectly fine😀.

but I agree with the opinion that he is just a kid, when you give a kid chocolate once you should expect he is gonna want this chocolate every time

her boy looks a lot like her, and I’m sure her girl is amazing as well🙂

CelebBabyLover on

Jenna- I agree! My parents never forced my brother or I to eat anything we didn’t want to, either. We had to take at least a few bites of everything, but after that, if we truly didn’t want the food, we didn’t have to eat.

Also, once we were old enough to have foods we just plain couldn’t stand, our parents didn’t make us eat those foods (well, for the most part. They DID make me eat spinach or swiss chard, which is a leafy vegetable like spinach, on most of the few occasions we had it…YUCK!). On the nights supper included a main course my brother or I didn’t like, my dad (the cook in our family) would either fix us something different (nothing super-fancy, just a PBJ, grilled cheese, hot dogs, or something similar), or allow us to eat just the side dishes.🙂

I think he and my mom figured that they have foods that they can’t stand and avoid eating, so why should they force my brother and I to eat the foods WE disliked?

MomToo on

Just wanted to squash the “brat” comment. My daughter goes to school with Amy Brenneman’s children and was in Bodhi’s class last year. Both of her children are beautiful and well-behaved. She is a wonderful mother – always smiling, patient, kind and attentive. Bodhi is smart and bright and the furthest thing from a brat. It is so clear that both parents do whatever they can to be there for their kids – just like any other family. Take your jealousy and go elsewhere and never again make a rude comment about a beautiful little boy you don’t know.

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