Selenis Leyva on Her Teen Daughter: ‘How Do We Get to the Other Side Without Killing Each Other?!’

05/18/2016 at 12:00 PM ET

The women on PEOPLE’s Mom Talk program have recently discussed everything from judgmental moms to body image, and this week they’ve moved on to another big topic: parenting teen girls.

Selenis Leyva is currently right at the beginning stages of that experience. Her daughter Alina is 13, and just starting to show signs of that teenage rebellion all parents experience from their children sooner or later.

“When she comes home and I’m like, ‘Hi, honey!’ she grunts — like, there’s no conversations anymore,” says Leyva, 45, who’s known for playing Gloria Mendoza on the critically acclaimed Netflix series Orange Is the New Black.

Selenis Leyva Mom Talk

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“I feel like, ‘I’m a cool mom, I’m hip!’ and, no,” Leyva continues.

“One day you’re hip, and the next day it’s like, ‘Oh God, you’re so embarrassing. Could you drop me off at the corner?’ ”

Every once in a while, Alina does still channel the childlike sweetness her mom loves — and Leyva adds that she is very much a “good kid” — but as new as being a teenager is for her daughter, the whole experience of being a mom to a teenager is just as unfamiliar to Leyva.

So how does Leyva navigate those uncharted waters? By reminding her daughter that she was a 13-year-old girl once, too.

“I always tell her, ‘Believe me, I was your age once. I know you can’t imagine it, but I was,’ ” she recounts, adding that a “magic word” for telling Alina “no” doesn’t exist anymore — that now they have to have real conversations for their communication to be effective, and even that doesn’t make their dynamic easy.

“We will not agree on everything, and that’s a new chapter that I’m in,” Leyva says. “How do we get to the other side without killing each other?!”

Jen Juneau


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Liz on

Going by what I’ve read on this woman in her recent interviews, she’s a complete moron. No wonder her daughter is acting out. Maybe if Selenis superglued her mouth shut and quit embarrassing her daughter, there would be less rebellion.

li on

People Rag to their writers… “Take some unimportant non-story. Change up the paragraphs, run it daily for a few weeks, changing it slightly or adding a few more meaningless sentences each day. Start with the Kardashians and Duggars, but don’t forget about Bristol Palin, Celine Dion, Selenis Leyva, etc blah, blah…..”

Anonymous on

Pick your battles carefully. Never allow disrespect and remember how hard it is to be a teen but maintain boundaries – oh, and make sure they play sports all three seasons!