Kelly Rutherford Plans for a Parenting Manual

04/14/2011 at 08:00 AM ET

Actress … and author?

“I want to write a book, Everything Starts at the Playground,” Kelly Rutherford tells PEOPLE at The Garnier Cleaner Greener Tour Monday in Times Square.

The Gossip Girl star and mother of Hermés, 4½, and Helena, 22 months, explained why childrearing is so crucial.

“It’s very important. I think it’s really the best thing you can do to equip your kids, to travel with your children and teach them manners and how to deal with people is huge.”

Why that title? “Because it does start at the playground. You see the parents that don’t intervene, that don’t take the time to say, ‘No this is not appropriate behavior’ and this is why when you get older this won’t work. When they’re younger, they need to know.”

Rutherford also uses rewards to teach her little boy.

“I always say to my son the reason you get so many toys is because you’re a gentleman. I use the superheros to give examples of that. Superman helps little ladies across the street, he’s there to help people. Robin Hood, the same thing.”

Another parenting tip? “I tell him to visualize what he wants in his life. You can use the tools that are there that the kids love, as examples of how to be.” Rutherford, 42, explains. “We try to give examples in a nice way and an easy way that they can understand.”

The busy working mother laughed when she envisioned how she would fit being an author into her busy schedule: “It would be fun. I need time — I need a little Tuscan villa for six weeks.”

— Mary S. Park

FILED UNDER: Exclusive , News , Parenting

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Ashley on

Doesn’t this seem like a dig at Alyson Hanigan, who said pretty much the exact opposite?

Georgina on

Shame no one bothered to tell her the same thing.

I doubt people will want to take advice from her based on her previous behaviour.

mommyof2 on

I do not care for this lady. she seems very much of a know it all, and if it is not done her way than it must be wrong.

Tee on

Wow, I can honestly say that I would not take advice from this woman, especially parenting advice!

rudi on

I don’t know about that, but I have to say I concur with the other posters and I have my doubts that any book produced by this woman will be a success (critically or commercially).

Schuyler on

Too bad this book already exists. It is called “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten” by RObert Fulghum. Not a revolutionary concept.

Emily on

What is Kelly’s previous behaviour? I’m not sure what you are referring to. And what did Alyson Hannigan say?

Amanda S. on

Ugh,is she still around? She’s such a fame mooch. She will say/do anything to stay in the spotlight. I would never take advice from this woman and I don’t really think anyone that has a nanny and has only been a parent for 4 years, knows enough to produce a well written ‘manual’ on parenting. She seems like she would be a ‘Mommy Dearest” type. Very cruel and strict.

Grace on

Just because you have a few children, doesn’t make you a parenting expert nor does it mean you need to write a book. Go get a few degrees in child development, do some serious research and then maybe I’ll buy your book.

And as a mom of three little boys, there’s something to be said about letting kids on playgrounds figure it out on their own (as long as no one is in danger).

Jenner on

Hahahaha, this woman is full of rubbish. It does seem like a jab at Alyson Hannigan, who actually knows something about child development.

Lorelei on

As a mom of 3 teens and preteens I’m a firm believer in letting the kids try to work it out in most cases instead of instant and constant intervening. Letting kids try to handle age appropriate issues is a huge skill they will definitely need in life instead of talking and explaining things to death and visualizing. There’s a time to assist and a time to back off.

Really people? on

How about focusing on the content of her message and its general applicability, whether you see potential in it working or if you disagree, or if you would perhaps nuance it somehow—not just spurting childish, judgmental nonsense based on her private relationship with the father of her children — essentially you are each asking for the scolding you so obviously wouldn’t give your own children if they behaved in such a disrespectful manner! I, for one, generally agree with Kelly and find her interviews refreshing!

mrs. r. on

Advice about teaching manners in public from the woman who took her ex husband to court over potty training their toddler? NO WAY.

Jillian on

I agree with you all. I wouldn’t read or listen to anything from her.

laurelcanyonfashionista on

oh, doesn’t she sound so sanctimonious! seriously- i was wondering if this article was a joke.

are we REALLY supposed to be taking parenting lessons from HER? really… really??????

God forbid if one of her children has an issue that makes him or her act less than perfect- she honestly sounds to me like one of those people who have never had kids but act like they know SOOOO much about parenting. you know how they say, “I was a better mother before i had kids?” yea…

Let’s just say with my kids, I have dealt with a whole host of issues…and have learned that in the BIG picture, there is so much more to parenting than boiling it down to what you teach them at the playground…

Allie-Rose on

I’m not sure I’d like to take parenting advice from a woman who didn’t bother to call/have someone call her ex-husband to let him know she was delivering his child.

loumin80 on

I’m not too sure what everyones beef is with this actress -I have no idea of her history as Im in the UK and she’s not very famous over here, but in her defense – I agree with a book that should be given to every new parent about how to teach your child right from wrong as many dont seem to bother!

I have a 4 year old and a 10 month old and I find it infuriating at playgrounds when parents are not teaching their children right from wrong and how to play nicely. For example, there may be 15 children all playing nicely and waiting their turns on a park slide – and then 1 child will start climbing up it the wrong way and pushing in and ruining it for eveybody but the parents ignore it. Its so frustrating because I can’t tell that child off, (although I do say very loudly how that little boy/girl isnt being very fair!) but you get no support from the people who are supposed to be teaching them how to be sociable and share.

Im all for kids working it out on their own, but if you dont put the basic skills out there for them to do this, they are never going to learn! just my opinion though 🙂 x

E on

While I agree that this woman is sanctimonious, Amanda S, your comment about people with nannies not knowing enough to produce a manual on parenting is grossly insulting. I grew up in a family where both parents worked so we had a nanny to pick us up from school and look after us for a couple of hours until M&D got home. We absolutely loved our nanny, but she was NOT a surrogate parent, and she did not bring us up. There is a huge difference between looking after someone and parenting. There are a lot of sanctamommies on this site that dont seem to be able to see the difference, and quite frankly, it is insulting to all the working mothers that also enjoy this site. My mum is still the best mother I know and I just look up to her all the more because she was able to pursue a successful career as a very well-respected doctor and bring up a healthy, happy, loving family.

Rex on

E- that’s a wonderful story, yet, unfortunately not the case for many children left with help. A working woman who is away at work for 8+ hours a day, misses out on 8 hours of parenting (while leaving the real work for the nanny.) Tucking a child into bed isn’t parenting. You call people “sanctamommies”, but a nanny IS a surrogate parent, and blatant denial doesn’t change that fact. On that note, I’ll buy Kelly Rutherford’s book when hell freezes over.

Terri on

These comments read like the comments that used to get written about Denise Richards. Anyway, good luck to her on her book!

Jillian on

Having a nanny doesn’t make you unable to make a parenting book, make you a bad mom or hands off mom. Not all nannies are full time and even so, some parents need to work.

stacey on

Not all parents have the ability to stay home all the time with their children, some are forced to work to be able to provide for their children. As a result the child is placed in day-care, school or with a family/nanny during the day. That doesn’t mean you are any less of a parent – would you rather someone not work and live off of the government so they are with their children 24/7 vs providing for their children. Complete ignorance to say someone who places their child w/a day-care provider is any less of a parent than someone who is home all of the time. As a working Mom, I face this challegen daily -I have no choice but to work a full time job. My Children are happy, well balanced and get every minute of my time when I’m not working during they day. When I leave them every morning I have immense amount of guilt, but I know I’m doing the right thing as I have to provide for them.

Really people? on

Still kicking yourself for not having any identity beyond your children, huh? You can continue to point fingers and pat yourself on the back, but if all women were like you, then we would really turn back the clock on women’s lib, no?

Lala on

Good luck with that, Kelly. Her kids will most likely end up resenting her. She seems like the type of person that would suffocate her children with her type A ways.