You may have heard about a woman named Angelina Jolie. She is a pretty big deal over in Hollywood. Acting, directing, activism and modeling are just a few things she has in her repertoire. This celebrity A-lister has used her voice to speak out about various forms of inequality and injustice all around the globe. From performing in major blockbusters to helping refugees in Pakistan, it’s hard to believe that she still manages to be a very hands-on mom to her six kids, Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, Knox and Vivienne (all of whom she shares custody with her ex-husband Brad Pitt). But Angelina definitely walks to the beat of her own drum when it comes raising her kids. While there are some more common rules that she and her children follow, there are a few that, well, some other parents may question. She definitely has not had it easy the past few years what with a very public divorce from ex-husband Brad Pitt and a handful of potentially serious health scares. But one thing that she has made very clear is that her children are what get her through her chaotic life. Here are 15 rules Angelina Jolie makes her kids follow and 6 that she ignores.
21 Family Always Comes First
Angelina’s family is the most important thing to her. This may stem from her father, Jon Voight, leaving her family at a very early age, resulting in a complicated relationship later in life according to Closer Weekly. But Angelina did not want to estrange her children from their grandfather. Jon told Closer Weekly, "I'm not an armchair grandfather — I'm interactive. The happiest sound for me is sitting in my house and hearing children and their laughter. I'm crazy about her and my grandchildren." A mother is selfless. Regardless of her own feelings towards her father, she wanted her kids to experience having their grandfather in their lives.
20 Always Experience New Cultures
Angelina’s humanitarian work takes her all across the globe. Fortunately for her kids, she has the luxury of bringing them along for many of those trips. Being that three of her children are adopted, she feels that it is very important for them to connect with the place they were born as well as the surrounding cultures, according to Financial Times. The beauty of it is that all of the children get to experience new cultures and, therefore, learn more about themselves and each of their siblings.
19 Make Time For Therapy
Divorce is never just between two people. It involves the entire family. During their divorce, the family was in a very dark place so they made the decision to attend therapy together as a means to express those complicated emotions, rather than bottling them up. The family told People that they take part in both individual therapy as well as family therapy sessions. They also told Daily Mail that, “Kids are so delicate. They absorb everything. They need to have their hands held and things explained. They need to be listened to.”
18 Take Time To Practice Self Care
A virtue that Angelina drills into her children is that you need to take care of yourself and your health above anything. After losing her own mother to ovarian cancer when she was only 56 years old, Angelina was forced to take a step back and consider her current state of health. According to Inc, she found out that she had the BRCA1 cancer gene and decided to have a double mastectomy as well as her ovaries removed pre-emptively. It certainly gave her pause and forced her to slow down and focus on the doing the things that make her happy.
17 Be Your Own Person
Angelina is very encouraging about each of her kids being their own authentic self. They each have their own unique interests and she fully supports them. Funnily enough, none of them have expressed any great interest in becoming an actor. She told ET, “None of my kids want to be actors. They are actually very interested in being musicians. I think they like the process of film from the outside. Mad is interested in editing. Pax loves music and deejaying. I suppose that just means you don’t know who your children are until they show you who they are, and they are just becoming whoever they want to be”
16 Screen Time Is Monitored Very Closely
Like many homeschoolers, the internet can be an invaluable tool when it comes to education. With that being said, it can also become dangerous for children when left unmonitored. Fortunately, it seems that the Jolie-Pitt kids’ internet access is monitored, according to this Star magazine insider: “The kids are allowed to browse the net as much as they like, and the older ones use social media, though their security team monitors it for their own safety.” With an entire security team dedicated to monitoring their browsing, they should be in good hands.
15 Spend as Much Time Together As Possible
It is clear that Angelina and her kids are a very tight-knit group. She encourages them to stick together, which is indeed a good message to send. However, it is rumoured that the kids spend very little time with kids outside their own family. When you a celebrity’s child, I would imagine that it would be very intimidating for other kids to approach you. Besides that, they travel so much that it is hard to establish meaningful relationships. According to OK, “It’s really tough for these kids who are rarely in the same place for long, so they’re unable to develop decent friendships.” But Angelina believes that family members are the only friends you need.
14 Just Listen!
According to Daily Mail, she and Brad Pitt have very different parenting styles. And as quoted by People, “Brad has always been stricter. He has wanted the kids to have more structure. Brad will get frustrated sometimes and yell at the kids. Angelina always had a more relaxed attitude when it came to the kids. She definitely never yells.” With that being said, you would think that the kids would listen to their father more but it is apparently the very opposite.
13 No Good Cop/Bad Cop With Brad
Co-parenting can be extremely challenging, especially after a divorce that was less than amicable. It takes a lot of work on the parents’ parts to keep their feelings about their ex-spouses to themselves rather than sharing with their kids. As a child of divorced parents myself, I know how detrimental it can be for a child to have to witness their parents constantly playing good cop/bad cop. Luckily, Angelina and Brad have made a big effort to keep their opinions of one another to themselves and are currently co-parenting well.
12 If You Have A Village, Use It!
We all know the old saying that, “it takes a village to raise a child”. It’s extremely hard to go it alone, and parents will often rely on advice given to them by friends of theirs who also have children. It is a great way to share experiences and gain insight. Luckily, Angelina has no shortage of celebrity friends with children of her own. In fact, according to Zimbio, Angelina has been known to sit down with fellow celebs like Gwen Stefani and Drew Barrymore and discuss parenting techniques.
11 Try New Things
A healthy diet is also a key part of a child’s development. Kids can be picky eaters, but she encourages them to try new things. Like in this video from BBC where she shows them how to eat a tarantula in Cambodia and says, “See the hard part where you have the teeth? Take the fangs out. I think it’s always been a part of the diet, the bugs, but then I think there is a truth to the survival during the war, of course. When people were being starved, they were able to survive on things like this, and they did.”
10 Encourage Them To Learn New Languages
Since there are so many cultural backgrounds in this family, Angelina encourages the children to explore different cultures and learn new languages which can become a valuable tool especially since they travel so much. She told ET, “I asked them what languages they wanted to learn and Shi is learning Khmai, which is a Cambodian language, Pax is focusing on Vietnamese, Mad has taken to German and Russian, Z is speaking French, Vivienne really wanted to learn Arabic, and Knox is learning sign language,” at the kids.”
9 The Bar Is Closed Until Age 21
Angelina and Brad have publicly shared their past experience with substance abuse. According to Daily Mail, Angelina said that “I have done just about every drug possible”. Brad has also struggled with addiction, mainly alcoholism. His dependence to alcohol is said to have been a main reason for the split and his addiction peaked shortly after the divorce, according to GQ. Luckily, they’ve both turned their lives around and both vow to never allow their children to have to endure the pain of addition. Unlike many other celebrity children where drugs and alcohol are readily available, these kids will have to wait until age 21 to get their buzz on.
8 Always Pay It Forward
Angelina wants her children to be aware of their privilege that they have unlike many other children in the world. She will often bring them on her humanitarian work trips where they get to witness what poverty looks like. Fortunately, they have really enjoyed traveling and meeting new people and being given the opportunity to help the less fortunate. Actually witnessing the reality of some of these communities have inspired the kids to become more involved in their mother’s humanitarian work.
7 The Number One Rule: There Are No Rules
Angelina does not like being told what and what not to do and she expects that her children would feel the same way. Therefore, she doesn’t enforce rules the same way that other parents might. An insider told Star magazine that, “Angie doesn’t believe in rules. She thinks it’s important for children to have freedom of expression, but that doesn’t always work out well.” It sounds like the kids may push the limits sometimes, but that’s to be expected with all kids. But to what extent is what I’m wondering…
6 Bed Time? What Bed Time?
Bedtime can be an extremely frustrating battle for any parent with the phrase, “but I’m not even tired yet!” echoing throughout the house. But a bedtime routine is extremely important that a child is fully rested for the following school day. Living in Angelina Jolie’s house would be a dream for many but it must be especially for kids because they would never have a bedtime. Since the kids are homeschooled, they don’t often have a reason to wake up at a set time in the morning. Lucky kids!
5 Kids Are Not Responsible For Chores
Chores are often too an uphill battle for parents. But implementing a chore schedule will not only help to keep your home tidy, it will also teach your children about scheduling and responsibility. But at the Jolie-Pitt household, you will find no shortage of nannies or housekeepers. When the kids are home, they are not expected to perform any chores. While it is likely that they will continue to live a life of luxury even after they grow up and leave the family home, not knowing how to perform certain household tasks might not be a good thing.
4 School's Out For... Ever
Education is critically important for a child's development. Not only does school give them the tools to improve their cognitive abilities, it also gives them the opportunity to improve their social skills by interacting with a number of different people. But Angelina doesn’t believe in the standard school system. She prefers for them to learn through life experiences. According to a Star magazine insider, “She lets the kids learn what they want and ignore the stuff that doesn’t interest them. And they don’t take tests or do homework.” There are many debates regarding homeschooling, so we will have to see how this affects them in the long run.
3 Being A Friend Rather Than An Authority
When NY Times asked in an interview if she ever felt like the coach of a small team she replied that more often she felt part of a fraternity and that, “They really help me so much. We’re really such a unit,” she said. “They’re the best friends I’ve ever had. Nobody in my life has ever stood by me more.” Being a friend to your child sounds great in theory but it can be a very slippery slope since their respect for you as an authority change.
2 No Punishment
Being that she gives the kids so much free reign, it is to be expected that they must get up to a fair amount of mischief. Also, by having six kids in one house some of whom are in or entering their teens, there is bound to be a few fights. But regardless of that, there rarely are any consequences. Even when her kids play with unloaded guns. According to Hollywood Life, “Apparently, Angie actually thinks it’s funny when her kids pretend to shoot people. She laughs out loud. A lot of people think she and Brad need to put a stop to it, but that’s not likely to happen.”
1 Gender Neutrality
In the Jolie-Pitt homestead, it is known that your gender isn’t always the one that was assigned to you at birth. Take their spunky eleven-year-old Shiloh for example. Shiloh was Angelina and Brad’s first biological child. In 2010, Angelina publicly announced that Shiloh had been wanting to be called John since they were two years old. Angelina told Vanity Fair, “She wants to be a boy. So we had to cut her hair. She likes to wear boys' everything. She thinks she's one of the brothers.” While it seems like Angelina is still unsure about the correct pronouns, I’m so happy to see her supporting her child’s wishes.
Sources: GQ.com, hollywoodlife.com, nytimes.com, starmagazine.com, zimbio.com, inc.com, closerweekly.com, people.com, starmagazine.com, dailymail.co.uk, okmagazine.com, vanityfair.com