Kristen Bell: ‘I talk to my kids about drugs, and we talk about sex’

I’m going to start this on a nice note: Kristen Bell is doing good work to combat children’s hunger. Her snack brand This Saves Lives was acquired by Good Worldwide, which will expand their charitable reach. I don’t approve of everything Kristen does, but she deserves credit for that. Real Simple magazine made her one of their Game Changers, with an accompanying interview. With Kristen, that means everything is on the table. Of course, her homelife with Dax Shepard came up. And their daughters Lincoln, nine, and Delta, eight. Kristen said that, like her interviews, when it came to their kids, she and Dax hold nothing back. There is no topic that they won’t go into with the girls, including Dax’s addiction and recovery, sex and any other “hard topic” they want to address.

Kristen Bell believes in keeping an open relationship with her daughters.

Appearing in REAL SIMPLE’s Game Changers print and digital issue — it’s first-ever celebrity cover — the Frozen star, 42, talked about why she thinks keeping total honesty with her kids is one of her keys to parenting.

“I hate the word ‘taboo.’ I think it should be stricken from the dictionary,” she tells the outlet. “There should be no topic that’s off the table for people to talk about.”

Bell notes that conversations she and husband Dax Shepard have with daughters Delta, 8, and Lincoln, 9½, might be “shocking” for some, but make sense for her parenting style.

“I know it’s shocking, but I talk to my kids about drugs, and the fact that their daddy is an addict and he’s in recovery, and we talk about sex,” she says. “There are all these ‘hard topics’ that don’t have to be if you give the person on the other end your vulnerability and a little bit of credit.”

The Good Place actress later discusses why some of the rules that she and the Armchair Expert co-host, 48, have for their family are about teaching life skills.

“Making amends and apologizing is an important thing in our family, because humans leave carnage wherever they go,” Bell says. “I really respect when someone does something wrong or hurtful and they apologize. I’m like, ‘Yeah, right on.’ That’s important.”

[From Real Simple via People]

In theory, I don’t have an issue with this. Technically I’m the same with my kids. When they were Kristen’s daughters’ ages, they would ask what something was or meant and I’d generally say, “it has to do with sex, do you want me to tell you?” and let them make that choice. Like Kristen, I didn’t want sex to be taboo, but I also didn’t want to put them into a discussion they weren’t ready to have. They’re very comfortable discussing sex with us now. There are boundaries but also a safe space for them to come to us with questions and concerns. I also agree with discussing Dax’s addiction. I think there’s a way to do that, but I don’t think parents should necessarily hide their issues from kids. I say that, though, not having openly discussed my eating disorder with my kids so I’m kind of a huge hypocrite.

This makes for a great segue to the making amends part of Kristen’s comments since apparently, I’ll be apologizing to my kids soon. I absolutely agree that apologizing is important. And I think that parents, if they are in fact wrong, should apologize to their kids. I wonder how this translates with the amount that Kristen and Dax talk about fighting and not speaking to each other because of fights. Are the girls witness to these blowups between Mom and Dad as well? And worse, are they dragged into them? Apologies are good when they are amends. But they lose their effectiveness when they are turned into weapons or punishments.

Photo credit: Real Simple, Instagram and Cover Images

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12 Responses to “Kristen Bell: ‘I talk to my kids about drugs, and we talk about sex’”

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  1. Southern Fried says:

    That real simple cover is hideous. I agree with being honest with your kids although some things we waited until older for certain conversations. Questions about using drugs was a a topic we played down until later in their development. We used recreationally in college. Hypocritical? I don’t care, our choice.

  2. Leonelda says:

    My daughter is 4 almost 5 and extremely inquisitive. She has even watched amputation and surgeries on YouTube. So when she asked me about how babies were made I couldn’t just get by saying “dads put special seeds in mommy’s” or something like that. So I researched and found the “Clementine” app. It was perfect and explained everything in a great straightforward age appropriate way! It even discusses adoption and surrogacy.

  3. LaraK says:

    There are age appropriate ways to talk about almost anything. Honestly if a parent or sibling actively struggles with addiction, you kinda have to talk about it. Otherwise it would be really confusing for the kids.

    With mine, I just try to be an open as possible, while staying age appropriate. Sometimes I will ssay outright “I think we should wait til you are older, but we can talk about it now if you want”. That way they can help decide. My daughter for example is nine and has full understanding of her reproductive system, except for how the sperm gets in there. She has a vague idea but has decided she did not want the details right now.

  4. minnieder says:

    While I often find her annoying, I do agree with her here. I’m 100% open with my children (1 in middle school, 1 in high school and 1 in college). And apologizing and acknowledging when you screw up is so important!

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      Exactly this. I’ve always been this way, and with two adult men and a 17yo, they tell me everything (except when I have to shut them up lol), and I swear it makes a difference…always talking and listening in equal measure. My 25yo could use a filter. My youngest curses like Ozzy Osbourne lol, but then again, so does my husband. But we’re very close and my sons love each other so much. I’ll knock on my son’s door and he’s on the Oculus with his older brother who’s 2000 miles away. They really look out for each other, and I swear it’s because we’re very verbal. And huggy. And embarrassing. My cackle tends to make people laugh and embarrass the family at which point I sheepishly stop lol.

  5. Becks1 says:

    I talk about everything with my kids if they ask. I try to make it age appropriate but also honest and matter of fact. My kids know the proper names for body parts, they understand (generally) how a woman becomes pregnant, etc. I try to make it simple for them to understand. We talk about alcoholism, drug use, whatever they ask about, and I answer their questions but I try to do so in an age-appropriate way.

    My “thing” with raising them is so that there is never a real point when we have the “sex talk” or something bc its been an ongoing conversation. And I take that perspective with a lot of harder topics. We talk about the Holocaust, about September 11, about Ukraine, etc. They are really interested in history and really interested in current events so that guides a lot of our conversations, but again we try to make it something they can understand. Sometimes doing that (making it so they understand) is the hardest part bc I want to give them entire history lessons and my husband is like, soooo maybe they’re not quite ready for that part yet? Or their eyes start to glaze over and they’ve lost interest lol.

    As for making amends – I think learning to apologize is very important and I try to apologize to my kids when I’ve messed up so that they understand its important. But, it can be a weapon – some people think they can say or do whatever they want and as long as they apologize its fine. So I’m also trying to teach them that everyone makes mistakes and that’s okay, but an apology is also not an excuse for just general poor behavior.

    • Green girl says:

      I apologize to my kids and make sure I am clear why I was wrong. I don’t think it’s enough to say sorry.

      On another note I don’t recall my parents ever apologizing even if they were clearly wrong. That was hurtful.

    • Kate says:

      haha the eyes glazing over is so true. I will tell them the truth but I tend to want to explain too much that that I totally lose their interest. Last summer a stargazing session with some questions about how stars are made turned into me explaining the big bang theory and looking up charts to show the passage of time and when different things were formed. They were so spooked afterward lol. Probably should have had that discussion in daylight

    • Northstar says:

      I have always apologized to my son when I am in the wrong. If I lose my temper, or accuse him of something I later find out he didn’t do (eating the last doughnut etc.) then I apologize. But I am also trying to teach him that a true apology means acknowledging exactly what you did wrong, saying and MEANING that you are sorry for it, and then saying what you will do in the future to make it better (not jump to conclusions, take a deep breath before getting mad etc).

      Also am open but age appropriate when it comes to sex, drugs and/or drinking. I want him to know that I don’t judge, but I explain some of the consequences and that I hope that he waits until he is older to begin any of them.

  6. SussexWatcher says:

    I don’t have kids myself, but am an auntie to 6 nieces and nephews who I love dearly and try to support in many ways. But raising kids seems like the hardest job in the world!! All of you celebitches who commented above seem like awesome, thoughtful parents. Thanks for taking care of the next generation 🥰

    As for Kristen and Dax, I just can’t stand them and feel they share way too much information about their children (publicly) while simultaneously saying they want to protect their privacy. Protecting their privacy is about more than just paparazzi photos IMO!

  7. TIFFANY says:

    Her comments were….fine. They were fine. Hell is getting warm out here on these CB streets.