Nikki Reed: ‘Your child is born exactly who they are, your job is to help them navigate’

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This story came out last week and I forgot about it, honestly. Also I have to open with the fact that I’m worried about Nikki Reed. I think her husband, Ian Somerhalder, is a controlling partner and that she’s struggling in that relationship. (Go here if you wonder why I assume that. Also photo assumption.) She recently got bangs and she looks adorable, but it also makes me worry about her as usual. (She hasn’t cut her hair short, as I assumed from seeing the photo on People’s site, she just has it tucked up.) Anyway Nikki is promoting her partnership with baby food delivery service Raised Real. Apparently she used their services for her daughter Bodhi, two, and reached out to them to see if they wanted to work with her, which was smart. She told People about that service and about the weaning process, which she’s going through naturally with Bodhi.

“I was finding myself feeling deflated by the cooking process,” [Nikki Reed] tells PEOPLE. “Before she was born, I had this vision of cooking everything, giving her plenty of greens … then you quickly realize the greatest lesson, which is that your child is born exactly who they are and your job is just to help them navigate the world.”

“I actually approached the company myself as a fan, consumer and mom,” Reed, an advisor to the brand, says. “We organically formed a partnership that ended up growing into something so much more. Now I’m involved in different aspects of the company, from marketing and product development to the everyday brainstorming of it all, to being an actual customer myself.”

With Bodhi, now 2, she’s focused on a more plant-based lifestyle and dedicated to eliminating food waste in her home, a commitment shared by Raised Real.

“Honestly I eat it as much as she does,” Reed adds. “I’m really busy, too! They do everything for you, adding nut butters and oils, chopping the fruits and nuts, those little added benefits. Kids love the color and flavor — it makes it as fun as nutritious.”

Though Bodhi’s feelings about the food can change by the day — “I love the chickpea/broccoli combo, but broccoli can sometimes be an interesting texture for Bodhi,” Reed says of one of the meals — Mom considers her daughter’s preferences “just par for the course. It’s the same kind of challenge any parent faces,” she adds.

Another challenge the actress recently faced was winding down her nursing journey with her daughter.

“I feel so lucky to have been able to do it for more than two years,” she says, adding that she’s “comfort nursing” here and there. “And I think it’s nice there’s such a good discussion and global movement around nursing right now — it’s important for women to celebrate their experiences as moms, their bodies, their struggles. And it provides space for people to talk about what happens when they can’t breastfeed, too. Moms need other moms to lean on.”

[From People]

Nikki said that she’s been feeling sad as she’s weaning Bodhi due to the hormones. I don’t really remember that as my baby nursed past two as well and I don’t remember when he stopped exactly. I think I was kind of relieved it ended. As for the nature vs. nurture debate I mostly agree with Nikki. Until I had a kid I didn’t realize how much personality they would have and how their preferences would come out so early. The things my son liked as an infant and toddler, learning, exploring, figuring out how things work, are the same interests he has now.

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Photos credit: Avalon.red and via Instagram

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15 Responses to “Nikki Reed: ‘Your child is born exactly who they are, your job is to help them navigate’”

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  1. Kittycat says:

    I completely agree with Nikki.

    I find it so sad when I hear my friend tell her daughter she shouldn’t do things because my friend doesn’t believe they matter.

  2. Well-Wisher says:

    Well said Ms Reed.

  3. SM says:

    I disagree. Parents are supposed to also teach and help them learn by example. If you say that you are just born one way, you can never hope that you do. And honestly this is what I see as pattern among parents now. They rationalise their kids behaviour by saying that they just are like that and they won’t change anything. That goes for tantrums, for anger and other things that are extremely hard to manage or to navigate, but responsible parent does that in any case. I stead of talking repeatedly with their toddler about anger and appropriate behaviours with other kids, they just tell me well your kid is just different, mine was born stubborn. Which is bullshit. All toddlers are stubborn, but I keep talking to my son about it and hope and see how slowly he learns. The same goes for food habits specifically. In 5 years his habits changed radically, it looks more like there are passing phrases with passing age. My job here as I see it is expose him to different things and encourage not to love just candy. As a result he eats a lot of gains, vegetables and now got into red meat.

    • Hannah says:

      I think there’s a big difference in teaching behaviors and how to handle emotions (tantrums, for example) and respecting your child’s preferences early on.

      Many aspects of my personality are the same as when I was a kid. And there can be a lot of good that comes from accepting that and showing your child that it’s okay. That could be their love of imagination, or their interest in dressing, or building things. Or of course, gender and sexual orientation.

      There a big difference between those things and letting your kid behave however they want. You can understand that we as people, are generally born with the preferences and personality traits we have our whole lives and that we still have to be taught adversity and discipline. They’re not mutually exclusive.

  4. Digital Unicorn says:

    He has always given me douche vibes – there is an intensity about him that is not positive.

  5. Eliza says:

    My daughter used to eat everything. Now she’s 2 and it’s day to day different. Plant based wouldn’t work – she’s never met a meat she doesn’t like, so we cater to that but she does love beans too so she’s not binging on meat. I always have veggies there (green, colorful ones and/starchy) as well but she’s more picky there so it’s 50/50. It’s more about exposure. She’ll demolish beets one day, and reject the next. And it can not be pureed/ mashed!! Give her mashed potatoes and you’re getting dirty looks. You just got to encourage curiosity, but not force anything. Just keep giving them what you’re eating too. I didn’t give special meals, just less salt on hers.

  6. Originaltessa says:

    I agree, but if your kid is angry, destructive, and abusive to other kids and animals, please don’t smile at me on the playground after he pushed my kid 8 feet off of a slide and say “He’s just rambunctious!” No, eff you. Your kid is terrible.

  7. Claire says:

    Weaning was very difficult for me emotionally. Felt very depressed. I did extended nursing and I thought she would just stop on her own. Nope. Finally had to force her to wean just for my own health. It’s been a couple of years and my body has gotten so much healthier and my mood has stabilized. My hair is growing back along my hairline and my skin has improved. I lost those last ten pounds of baby weight. I am grateful for the time we had to nurse. Wouldn’t change a thing. We however shouldn’t underestimate the toll it can take on the mothers mental and physical health both during nursing and weaning.

    • Eliza says:

      Mine wouldn’t self-wean either. It’s been months of cold turkey, but she’ll still signal for them. Everyone said they’ll stop asking immediately. Not for me, sadly. I’m pregnant again now, so I’m looking forward to the days my body is mine again. No nursing. Hormones more normal. Eyelashes that grow to a normal length (they’re so stubby now!!). But still have a while to go. Although I’m sure it’ll be bittersweet once I get there.

  8. DS9 says:

    It’s true and yet it’s not.

    What’s closer to the truth is that the vision you had of what kind of parent you’d be pre kids doesn’t always match up with the personality of the child/ren you end up raising. Your overall goals may not vary much but the priority and means likely will.

  9. Susannah says:

    That was a difficult one for my dad to learn because he LOVES sports but my no one in my family is really interested. He was sure my younger brother, who was 6,5″ at 14 would be the sport savior of the family but when he was more into computers and video games than football and baseball, my father eventually realized that every kid has their own path and we’re not just clones of our parents. He hasn’t entirely given up though, as he’s said, there’s always the grandkids!

  10. Lala11_7 says:

    Growing up…my Mama had a home-based daycare, which I helped her with from a young age…and did so for YEARS…

    LIFE…has taught me that what Nikki says is true regarding children….

  11. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Yes. Babies are born and grow into their own personalities, likes and dislikes. Rambunctious or chill. Sporty or artistic. High maintenance or self-pacified. Obviously we’re born with our personal set of genes. But I’ve never been a nature vs nurture person.

    Psychologically speaking, I don’t believe genes or environment are at opposite ends and at odds. I think they’re an ongoing symphony. I have a responsibility to teach right and wrong. Our psychological outline is just that, a foundation upon which to build and construct. And many times, lessons take years and untold amounts of patience.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Yes, this. The current science is that we’re about half and half, half nature, half nurture. There are cultural swings that emphasize one over the other – but people are born with innate personalities that can be tempered by their environment/experience. This is evolution making us incredibly adaptive – and responsible for that incredibly long maturation period, too.

      In any case, no matter how ‘rambunctious’ you are, you still have to learn good manners.

  12. sparker says:

    Attachment mom of teenagers here, she’s totally right and it works. In fact, you need to figure out who they are and then protect that for them until they’re old enough to own it. Parenting is a kind of stewardship of your child’s future self, and good luck if that sounds like crazy talk to you. Mutual respect or mutually assured destruction, it your choice.