My parents used to deny that their approach to parenting was different with my sister than it was for me, but so much in my life as a mom has indicated that they were totally lying. In a new interview with People, Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos also admit that this was the case for their three kids. Not that Michael, Lola, and Joaquin ever doubted as much.
“As you get older and you learn more, that youngest kid hopefully benefits from a little bit more wisdom … and hopefully fewer nerves,” Ripa said in the cover story of People’s Family Issue.
From 23-year-old eldest son Michael’s perspective, it looks more like this: “Younger siblings get to do whatever they want right out of the gate.”
What’s also interesting is the fact that Consuelos and Ripa acknowledge that they knew they’d treat their daughter Lola differently from their sons.
“I think I had definitive ideas about raising girls versus raising boys, even though I don’t really believe in gender stereotyping,” Ripa said.
But as both parents got to know their growing children’s personalities, they also allowed their approaches to evolve.
“As overprotective as I thought I would be when she was born and I was holding her in my arms, I’ve mellowed a bit,” Consuelos said of Lola. “Because I’m really aware of what a good head on her shoulders she has.”
That mellowing meant allowing Lola to make her Instagram public at 18. Joaquin, now 17, said he thinks his parents have “softened up” now that he’s older.
“You’ll have conversations with Joaquin where you realize you’ve just learned something new about the way he thinks,” Consuelos observed.
The conversation gives parents of younger children something to look forward to, and to aspire to. We can never truly hope to be “experts” at raising our own kids, since they keep changing every single day. Instead, we can change with them, and make sure we enjoy the people they become.
We’re also looking up to these celebrity parents for the ways they talk to their kids about racism.