You may think you’ve heard it all when it comes to celebrities. From their weird phobias and strange alter egos to laughable backstage demands, their tiniest quirks never seem to go under the radar — and that also goes for their parenting decisions.
Yet while many celebs may simply give their kids a lavish lifestyle, some actually have strange rules when it comes to raising their little ones. For better or worse, kids raised by celebrities grow up with a lot of perks… but a lot of restrictions as well.
To illustrate, here’s a look at how some celebs have been handling the parenting thing. Just in case you want to pass judgment, however, we invite you to heed to these words of wisdom offered by Mayim Bialik: “My kids are fine. You may not think so, but you get to raise your kids and I get to raise mine.” Duly noted!
Kristen Bell locks her daughter in her room at night
In an interview at the premiere of Pandas (via Parents), Kristen Bell revealed her latest parenting challenge: Delta, her 3-year-old daughter, would often refuse to go to sleep. “Every night, when we put her to bed, she turns the lights on, which annoys the 4-year-old,” said Bell. “She will move furniture, and she bangs on the door with different, hard toys.”
So what do you do when you’re an A-list celebrity — probably with early-morning call times — and your toddler is determined to keep you up at night? “We switched the doorknob,” admitted Bell. “We turned the lock on the outside.”
Surely, Bell knew what kind of reaction she would get from other parents, so she hit it head-on. “I’m sorry, I know that’s controversial, but we lock it when she gets in there, and we stand outside and say, ‘We love you, we will talk to you in the morning, but now, it’s time for sleep.’ And after about 10 minutes, she’ll wind herself down. And then, before we go to bed, obviously, we unlock it.”
While Bell and husband Dax Shepard are frequently criticized by detractors, this anecdote drew particular ire, as any online parenting debate tends to do. But we like what one commenter on Buzzfeed said: “Why are you inviting me to comment on someone else’s parenting? She doesn’t need our approval and she definitely doesn’t need our shaming.”
Madonna’s daughter had to wear the same outfit every day
You can imagine the pressure that the daughter of the original “Material Girl” must have felt as a teen, right? Well, don’t worry, because Lourdes Leon turned out just fine. While the mother-daughter duo eventually created their own line of clothing together, Madonna admitted that there was a time when she put a serious wrench in Lourdes’ fashion choices.
In 2005, Madonna told Newsweek (via USA Today) that when her kids left clothes on the floor, she took them away. “[Lourdes] has to earn all of her clothes back by being tidy, picking up things in her room, making her bed in the morning,” said the star. But in the meantime, that meant a lot less freedom for Lourdes when it came to getting dressed. “She wears the same outfit every day to school until she learns her lesson,” explained Madonna.
Seems a little extreme, but then again, it seems that Madonna herself isn’t afraid to rock the same outfit publicly more than once. She was spotted in 2014 wearing (gasp!) almost the same gym outfit over multiple days, much to the shock of paparazzi photographers.
Kim Kardashian dresses her kids in her own clothing line
Getting new clothes is kind of a big thing when you’re a kid… but maybe a little less so if your parents are Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. After the power couple launched their own kids’ clothing line, guess who was immediately got to sport all those new pieces on Instagram?
We couldn’t help but do a collective “awww” when we saw this video of their daughter North in a shearling coat and sequined top. “Hey, where’s our model?” we hear Kardashian say in the background. “I’m here!” North responds. Kardashian then explains, “You see, Daddy and Mommy are doing a kids’ line, and these are some of the pieces!”
Okay, so Kardashian is obviously the queen of branding, so it’s not that surprising that her kids model for her. And honestly, it’s probably better that way, since their “non-branded” clothes can easily trigger outrage. Remember that time the internet exploded over North’s corset-style top? It took Kardashian a good minute to calm everyone down by pointing out that it wasn’t a real corset. Apparently, when it comes to the court of public opinion, kids’ clothing matters!
Caitlyn Jenner wouldn’t let daughter Kylie wear makeup
Throwback episodes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians are the best. In one episode, we see that even though Caitlyn Jenner later changed her own appearance dramatically, she was once very strict about her daughter Kylie Jenner experimenting with makeup. When an 11-year-old Kylie showed up for dinner at a restaurant with her family wearing a tight dress, heavy eyeshadow, and lipstick, Caitlin was having none of it.
Like many dads would have done, Caitlyn ordered her daughter out of the restaurant before the bread even came. “Not only is she wearing all this makeup, but all of a sudden, her attitude is changing too,” lamented Caitlin. Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! Still, you can’t stop dads from being dads, so it makes sense that Caitlyn didn’t want her daughter to go on camera looking so grownup just yet. But obviously, it’s amusing for many reasons… including the fact that Kylie and Caitlyn each have their own makeup lines now — not to mention the fact that Kylie made nearly a billion dollars off of hers.
President Obama had his daughter Sasha learn Mandarin
We’re now in a global economy, so it makes sense for all of us to learn the most widely spoken language in the world, right? Well, that language would be Mandarin Chinese… and President Obama has led the way by having his daughter, Sasha Obama, learn to speak it while their family was in the White House. In fact, at age 9, Sasha became fluent enough in Mandarin to practice her skills with the President of China, Hu Jintao, at a White House welcoming ceremony in 2011.
While immersing your child in a brand new language unconnected to your own culture might seem strange, it clearly allowed Sasha to have an experience she’ll never forget. Said a White House security advisor, “Not every [child] has the opportunity to try out their first phrases of Chinese with the president of China, but she had that chance (Reuters via CBS News).” Talk about a special moment!
Jennifer Lopez only lets her kids use tech on Sundays
If you don’t want your kids to get hooked on screen time these days, you have to get creative about it. It seems like that hasn’t been a problem for mom-of-two Jennifer Lopez. Her at-home tech policy came to light when she posted an adorable Instagram pic of her chillin’ with her kiddos above the caption, “Around here we call this…Sunday Funday.” In the photo, one of her twins was using a tablet while another was on a laptop. Naturally, everyone wanted to hear more. What is Sunday Funday, exactly?
She later broke it down to E! News: “It starts with a late breakfast. We sleep in, even the kids sleep in. And Sunday Funday, they work towards that because they don’t get to use their iPads during the week. Or play video games or anything because it’s school time. And they have to be good in school and then they get Sunday Funday. It’s something I made up so they could work towards it and behave!” Sounds like a fair exchange!
Sarah Jessica Parker won’t let her kids blink too hard
One of the strangest stories of “celebrity parent rules” came from comedian and former host of The View, Michelle Collins. In her stand-up comedy show called “Magic Mich,” Collins rattled off a bunch of obsessively detailed instructions that she claimed Sarah Jessica Parker wrote down for her team of nannies. They included replenishing the Neutrogena face and body washes in her 14-year-old’s shower and refilling a Vaseline jar for the kids, using only hand-washed cutlery. Probably the weirdest claim, though, was that Parker told the nannies to make sure the kids didn’t blink too hard while giving them eye drops for pink eye (via Page Six).
Parker’s rep denies any knowledge of the claims, however. “We have no idea who Michelle Collins is,” a rep for Parker told Page Six. According to the tabloid, Collins said the emails were sent to her by one of her friends who worked for Parker.
Mayim Bialik switched up the standard for politeness etiquette
Former actress turned neuroscientist Mayim Bialik wrote a fiery blog post for TODAY back in 2011 detailing things she “[hates] to force kids to do,” which includes making her sons “be polite.” She explained: “Before our sons were old enough to do so spontaneously, my husband and I would say ‘water please’ when our sons needed water, and we would say ‘thank you’ when they got it. This taught them how society functions without us forcing it down their throats.”
While this sounds great in theory, some might wonder what happened as the boys got older. Did they start being polite on their own? “There were a handful of times when family members clearly expected a ‘thank you’ for a gift, and I was very tempted to whisper, ‘Say thank you!’ But we have stayed the course and our older son now remembers with just a gentle nod from us if he forgets,” wrote Bialik.
Bialik eased everyone’s fears by boasting that her kids are “fine,” and said that her own concerned parents “have learned to back off and watch the results; thankfully, our boys have not disappointed them yet.”
Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher don’t play Santa Claus
You’d think a kid who was born with two famous actors as parents pretty much hit the lottery from day one. Yet Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher have decided to humble their kids a little by not giving them Christmas gifts.
When it comes to the holidays, Kunis told Entertainment Tonight that while she appreciates the season as “family time,” she and Ashton are “building up [their] own little versions of tradition.” She explained, “So far, our tradition is no presents for the kids. We’re instituting it this year because when the kids are [younger than] one, it doesn’t really matter. Last year when we celebrated Christmas, Wyatt was two and it was too much. We didn’t give her anything — it was the grandparents.”
To make sure the grandparents don’t mess up the rule too much though, Kunis said: “We’ve told our parents, ‘We’re begging you — if you have to give her something, pick one gift. Otherwise, we’d like to take a charitable donation, to the Children’s Hospital or a pet [or] whatever you want.'”
Lisa Whelchel’s kids got ‘hot sauced’
Former 1980s TV star Lisa Whelchel (she played Blair on The Facts of Life) once told Good Morning America that she was in favor of “hot saucing,” which is the practice of putting hot sauce on a child’s tongue as a form of punishment. She said that while it “does sting,” she never would do it if it caused lasting damage.
“If you cause somebody pain, either by the words you say by lying and not being a trustworthy person or by biting, this is a logical consequence. It’s your mouth that’s the offender,” she said.
As for the inevitable criticism she was about to get, she was more than ready. Whelchel acknowledged the practice wasn’t kosher with everyone, but stood her ground anyway. “It’s totally against popular opinion in culture these days [but] I prefer my child receive a small amount of pain from my hand of love than to encounter a lot more pain in life,” she said.
Drew Barrymore forbids her daughters to get into acting
As an A-list actor and producer, Drew Barrymore could easily hand her daughters a Hollywood career on a platter…. but she refuses to do it while they’re young, saying she won’t let either of them start acting until they are adults. “I’m not going to let them be kid actors,” Barrymore told People. “That’s so not their journey.”
However, she acknowledged that the rule can’t last forever. “If they want to be actors [later] in life, I would be so supportive of it,” she told People. Sounds like she’s being a great mom by letting her kids find their own passions without imposing her own ideas on them. “Can you imagine me being [a] mom [who is] pushing her kids out there? That’s not going to happen,” she said.
While it seems like she gets asked about her no-acting rule a lot, she is always willing to explain. In an older People interview (via Entertainment Weekly) she reiterated, “Not until they’re 18,” adding, “I know it sounds crazy, but I want them to be kids. But I would by no means poo-poo a thing I love so much!”
Jennifer Garner usually says no to her kids… except once a year
Jennifer Garner calls herself a “strict mom,” but she said one of her rules is to actually throw out the rules on occasion. The star revealed that she carves out one special day a year where she says yes to everything her kids want. Garner explained on The View that she got the idea for “Yes Day” from a book by the same name, where the mom says yes all day to her kids’ requests.
“It’s just silly,” said Garner. “It’s like, yes we’re going to have ice cream for breakfast. Yes, we’re going to buy a lottery ticket.” Then, grabbing one of the cohosts’ hands for emphasis, she added: “It’s the longest day of the year.”
The women of The View asked the question we were all thinking: What if the kids ask for something crazy? They then played a video showing Garner careening down a giant slide that looked at least one story tall — with a helmet, of course.