"It’s OK if they suffer from a little bit of benign neglect" actress Jennifer Garner's anti-helicopter parenting approach is a breath of fresh air

She co-parents the children with ex-husband Ben Affleck

 Jennifer Garner, Violet Affleck, Samuel Affleck & Seraphina Affleck
(Image credit: Sarah Stewart/Alamy Live News/Future)

Hollywood actress Jennifer Garner has opened up about how she parents her three children. 

When it comes to parenting, the advice from others can be overwhelming – you could go down the gentle parenting route that experts say is a positive and peaceful approach, for example, or do everything in your power to avoid becoming helicopter parents, so you don’t smother your kids. 

But one thing we can probably all agree on is there’s no ‘right way’ to raise children – and it might take a little trial and error to find a parenting style to suit you. 

One celeb who seems confident in her parenting methods is mother of three, Jennifer Garner. 

Speaking on the Today show, the Family Switch star admitted that she didn’t have an umbrella strategy for children Violet, 17, Seraphina, 13, and son Samuel, 11: “I just think they’re such cool people and I want to hear everything, and I want to be around. But I also think it’s OK if they suffer from a little bit of benign neglect.”

Jennifer, who co-parents her three children with ex-husband Ben Affleck, continued: “Their lives are their own. I’m not trying to live their life, and I don’t mind that they see that I love mine.” 

The 13 Going on 30 actress also alluded to a trusting and patient parenting style in reference to mistakes when asked about her YouTube series Pretend Cooking Show. “I’m game for baking – and I don’t mind mistakes. They usually still taste delicious and I don’t want to let a mistake get in the way of me wanting to try something new.”

In the promotion of her new Netflix movie Family Switch, Jennifer also spoke about an “exciting” time for her eldest daughter who is looking for colleges on Live with Kelly & Mark.

“I can see the stress, even though the excitement and stress go hand in hand. But she's handling it like a champ and she's totally in charge. I'm not having to say, 'Are you doing this, are you doing this?' She's a self-starter. And I'm just proud of her no matter what."

Jennifer Garner and actor-director Ben Affleck at the Oscars in 2013

Jennifer Garner and then-husband Ben Affleck at the Oscars in 2013

(Image credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Like a lot of parents, Jennifer might be looking for some guidance on how to navigate being a parent to a young adult. Turning to Instagram, the actress liked a video from @drbeckyatgoodinside who explained how to deal with teens who are having conflict with their parents.

The caption read: "So many of you have been asking for more help with your teens. I get it. When our kids become teens it can feel like we’re brand new at parenting all over again.

"Teens need room to find their independence - this might mean pushing you away at times in order to find it and feel independent.

"Finding the balance between giving your teen space to grow their independence and maintaining connection and closeness can feel impossible... But I promise it is possible."

With the festive season fast approaching, Today hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager were eager to know what Christmas is like in her home. The 51-year-old said: “There’s just a lot of fun, I mean, it’s a lot of forced joy because I really do feel like any traditions you force when they’re little, they appreciate when they’re older, so it’s a lot of that, it’s a lot of music boxes going off wherever you walk by, lots of music – I want all of it.” 

In other parenting news, find out how Kate Middleton's parenting style mirrors Princess Diana's and why Princess Eugenie's 'laid back' parenting style as 'authentically fun' mum was praised by experts.

Daniella Gray
Family News & Wellbeing Writer

From building healthy family relationships to self-care tips for mums and parenting trends - Daniella also covers postnatal workouts and exercises for kids. After gaining a Print Journalism BA Hons degree and NCTJ Diploma in Journalism at Nottingham Trent University, Daniella started writing for Health & Wellbeing and co-hosted the Walk to Wellbeing podcast. She has also written for Stylist, Natural Health, The Sun UK and Fit & Well. In her free time, Daniella loves to travel, try out new fitness classes and cook for family and friends.