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Jennifer Garner opens up about parenting with ‘benign neglect’

‘Their lives are their own. I’m not trying to live their life,’ actress says of her three children

Kaleigh Werner
New York
Tuesday 28 November 2023 22:42 GMT
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner look deep in conversation in Santa Monica

Jennifer Garner has divulged an important aspect of her parenting methods.

Speaking to Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Today, the 51-year-old Alias star said she doesn’t feel the need to smother her three children – Violet, 17, Seraphina, 14, and Samuel, 11.

When asked about her parenting method, Garner explained: “I don’t know that I have some overarching philosophy. 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 okay if they suffer from a little bit of benign neglect.”

“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,” she continued during the 28 November conversation.

In tandem with a discussion about her “Pretend Cooking Show,” which is regularly showcased on Instagram, the Hollywood icon inadvertently offered another parenting pointer. Garner admitted she isn’t afraid to take on a baking project, and welcomes mistakes in the process.

“I don’t want to let a mistake get in the way of me wanting to try something new,” Garner noted.

To Kotb, the idea of accepting mistakes and using them to fuel future endeavours was a concept that could be encouraged more in parenting methods. As a mother to Haley, six, and Hope, four, Kotb said she knows a little something about what it’s like to see your children mess up.

“I feel like one of my children, like, if something goes wrong, she wants to throw the paper away and get rid of [it],” she candidly told Garner.

In promotion of her upcoming film, Family Switch, Garner has been amping up her visibility online, posting hilarious TikToks and movie sneak previews. But although she finds social media to be beneficial, and entertaining, the Yes Day actor’s children seem to be less interested in the platforms.

“I have an 18 year old coming up … I really feel like who knows what my kids are online? I do not judge,” she remarked. “They are not on TikTok or Instagram or Facebook or anything like that, and I’ll call that a win. Who knows, that could change. You never know.”

Speaking to Today in April, Garner confessed that out of all three of her children, who she shares with ex-husband Ben Affleck, Violet is the one who appreciates not being online the most.

“My eldest is grateful. It’s a long haul. I have a couple more to go, so just knock on wood. We’ll see if I really hang in there,” Garner said.

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