Kids don’t come with instruction manuals and it can be tough to know the right thing to do. Some parents use the buddy approach to parenting, whereas others like to lay down the law like prison guards with inmates. Others are so out of control themselves that this behavior spills down into their kids’ lives, leading the kids to spin out or grow up faster and ultimately resent their parents.
Celebrity parents have demanding careers and the paparazzi to face for their parenting crimes, and as members of the court of public opinion end up having their parenting style opened up wide for the entire world to see.
Some parents have harsh rules that end up backfiring on them as their kids age and grow more independent or rebellious, while others feel their approach, whether it’s lax or demanding has been what’s right for them and their families. These celebrity parents have been noted for their extreme approaches to parenting. Some of them have advocated for others to parent the way they do, whereas others find themselves at the mercy of their kids who are reacting and over-reacting to parents who thought they were doing what was best, or were too self-absorbed to give much thought to child rearing. These are 15 celebrity parents who have no rules for their kids, and five who remain stiflingly strict.
20 Leah Remini - The Absolute 'Yes' Mom
Leah Remini publicly outed herself as a pushover mom when she asked Rachel Ray to help her affirm her authority when her four-year-old daughter was clearly the boss. Remini’s daughter was four years old and constantly keeping her parents up at night thanks to her insistence on up to six bottles each night, and still wearing diapers when most children are attending school.
Remini fessed up to her pushover parenting problem saying, "I'm very consistent; I give in. We're definite pushovers and at the end of the day you have to follow your heart." Any attempts at weaning and sleep training her daughter went very badly because Remini kept giving in, unable to let her daughter cry it out, or show her any inkling of tough love.
Remini had a lot of guilt over her daughter’s crying and said, "It just doesn't feel right for me to have a screaming baby and to say no to a bottle." Remini even let Rachel Ray place 24-hour cameras in her home to allow for parenting tips to help improve things at home. Hopefully, it was worth the effort. We’re wondering if now that Sophia is a teenager, mom has a better sense of putting her foot down and laying down the law with her daughter.
19 Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes' Hot & Cold Parenting
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes make quite the pair of parents. Because of his beliefs founded in the Church of Scientology Cruise believes children should not be treated like kids since they are just like adults only with smaller bodies, so they don’t need the additional support that many parents know kids need to thrive. When the couple divorced and Katie didn’t want her daughter to be involved with Scientology any longer Tom cut off most contact with his daughter.
Perhaps Holmes has overcompensated for dad’s hands off approach to parenting by letting daughter Suri do whatever she wants, whenever she wants.
First, Holmes made the news when she failed to wean her daughter off a bottle until after she was three years old, no big deal even though most pediatricians recommend ending the bottle habit sometime between a kid’s first and second birthdays, but there’s more.
Katie started to let Suri wear make-up on a regular basis when she was just five or six years old and was spotted taking her on full-blown shopping sprees at Sephora from the time she was barely beyond toddlerhood.
As for toys, it’s been said that Holmes has gifted her daughter a $62,000 dollar diamond tiara. That’s quite the dress-up wardrobe. Her regular wardrobe has an estimated value of 3.2 million and she’s still growing. This seems like the set-up for quite the spoiled child!
18 Mayim Bialik's No Life Parenting
Some people call it attachment parenting, others may see it as helicopter parenting, but either way, Mayim Bialik is 110% there for her kids all the time. The star refuses to use nannies or babysitters for her children, despite presumably having a very busy acting schedule thanks to her role on The Big Bang Theory.
Bialik has said about her choice to spend so much time with her children, “[It's] not because we think we're better than anyone else, but it's just a personal decision that we want to be the caregivers for our kids. So we're making it work that way, because that's what we feel is best for our children, and everything else fits in around that. To us, nothing is more important than being with our children at any given point of the day."
While this is admirable, Bialik also admits that she doesn’t take as good care of herself as she could, because she places her kids' needs far above her own. The mom of two also admits that she has literally no social life outside of her family, which may be problematic for the mom when her TV role ends and her kids grow up.
17 Will & Jada Smith - No Rules
Jada Pinkett Smith go for a collaborative, not authoritarian approach to parenting that many may disagree with. When the children screw up they’re allowed to negotiate both the rules and their own punishments. Jada told Style Magazine,
“We don’t have rules. We come up with agreements. Kids are little people, and we’re in life to guide them. Trying to rule someone is always an illusion, and it’s no different with children.”
Some parenting experts think that this type of parenting has the adults acting more like peers, and since kids like to push limits this could completely backfire on them – because kids need limits and to be parented.
Will Smith is on the same team as Jada when it comes to his parenting philosophy saying, "We don't do punishment. The way that we deal with our kids is, they are responsible for their lives. Our concept is, as young as possible, give them as much control over their lives as possible and the concept of punishment, our experience has been—it has a little too much of a negative quality. So when they do things—and you know, Jaden, he's done things—you can do anything you want as long as you can explain to me why that was the right thing to do for your life."
16 Victoria Beckham & The Polite Police
Posh Spice is also apparently Polite Spice, and has very important rules when it comes to raising her children. Victoria Beckham says that she and hubby David are both on the same page when it comes to setting boundaries for their kids. Posh says, "We've always been strict with the children. They have great manners and they always say 'please' and 'thank you' and I think that's very important."
The Beckhams may have specific rules, but also recognize that sometimes kids need to be kids and there are times when you need to pick your parental battles.
Victoria also said of her family, "They're still fun and they run around the house and they're crazy and they're singing and they're dancing and they're kicking footballs around. Which I don't allow them to do, but that seems to be one area that I can't discipline them in." The Beckhams have come under fire from some haters for posting photos being affectionate with their children on social media, but the duo pay no attention.
Victoria told Vogue Magazine that she is a “very, very, present” parent and the family loves spending their weekends “doing normal things” together. It takes hard work to be successful in your career and with your family, and apparently Posh is all about supporting this!
15 Kim & Kanye's Kids Are Raised By Nannies
While Kim and Kanye all want everyone to believe they’re hands-on parents, they’re really hands-on micromanaging their paid help. All the Kardashians have strict rules for those caring for their kin, which must impact their kids in a negative way, because everyone involved is raised like a product for consumption, not an actual genuine kid.
There is a rumor that Kim wants her staff and entourage to walk where she demands and that they follow behind in a V formation. The Kardashian’s all work long hours, so because they’re always on-call for work before family, so is their staff. Nannies travel with the family, so even when they’re away, the staff is caring for the kids. They must also love dogs as pet-care is also part of the Kardashian contracts.
In addition to long hours, and demanding parents, nannies must be camera-ready in case they make it into a paparazzi frame with the famous family. As such, the odds are good that nanny-dearests might be spending more time primping for cameras, likely managing the bags under eyes, instead of paying attention to the kids – although odds are that mom and dad would be ignoring the kids just the same.
14 Dina Lohan Partying Hard
It took many years for the Lohan parents to admit to responsibility in Lindsay Lohan’s laundry list of problems as the star has been in and out of rehab and trouble with the law. Dina admitted on the Steve Harvey Show, “You know, I think when she was little, she saw most of the [mistreatment]. And so Lindsay did witness a lot, and I absolutely think it takes its toll on children as well."
Both parents admit that their divorce hit Lindsay really hard – as did both parents, treating their kids like their peers and soaking up their fame for their own personal gains for years. Relationship therapist Dr. Jenn Mann pointed out, "We tend to make the mistakes of our previous generations until we get enough therapy to do it differently."
Lindsay saw her parent’s hard-partying ways and followed suit because she didn’t know any better.
Many of us have seen tabloids with Dina Lohan playing the role of Lindsay’s partner in crime and partying hard with her daughter. Mom even partied with Lindsay when she was on probation. In one story of the two partying hard together, they got into a whiskey mean fight with each other and the police were called to break things up. Good grief!
13 Pam Anderson Encouraged Her Teens To Experiment
It really shouldn’t be surprising that Pam Anderson and her rocker ex-husband Tommy Lee aren’t typical parents. Both understand that their kids are going to experiment, and want them to do so (within reason).
Pam posted on one of her websites about her parenting philosophies saying, "We want them to practice safe [intimacy], drink, and experiment with drugs in moderation, find true love." At least she isn’t fighting her kids like Tommy who has a storied past filled with accusations of maltreatment.
This past March, Tommy was hospitalized thanks to a fight that turned into fisticuffs with his now 21-year-old son. Lee posted a photo to social media (which he later deleted) of a fat lip with the caption, “My heart is broken, you can give your kids everything they could ever want in their entire lives and they can still turn against you. Good job Brandon. Great son!” Brandon was reportedly acting in defense of comments Lee had made about his mom, who recently commented about his 1998 case, which led to their eventual divorce when Lee came after her physically while she was holding their then infant son Dylan.
12 Jackie Chan - Bust Ambassador
Jackie Chan seems like a great guy. He does stunts, he’s in kid’s movies, and he was named an anti-drug ambassador by the Chinese Government in 2009. It must have been embarrassing for the star when his son Jaycee was caught up in an enormous bust for illicit substances in 2015 and police discovered over 100 grams of marijuana in his apartment. Jaycee was then given a six month prison sentence.
Apparently, parenting has been a long struggle for Chan and he and his son don’t have the best relationship. When his son is brought up Chan has less than flattering things to say. In an interview for the 2010 Karate Kid Movie Jackie said, “I don’t want to talk about him. Every time I talk about him, it makes me so angry. He just... I don’t know. Maybe because as a father I always want my son to be perfect."
Jackie has also mentioned regretting not 'sending Jaycee to the army' to help calm his temper.
Jackie admits that his relationship with his son is more like that between friends than a traditional father-son one, which might be the basis for some of Jaycee’s current problems.
Chan reflected, "I really don't know if I'm a good father or not, because I've never looked after my son or sent him to school. The one time I went to pick him up, I went to the wrong school." Ouch.
11 Vanessa Paradis & Johnny Depp - Dealing Dad
Johnny Depp first made headlines for his unconventional parenting style when it was rumored that dad would much rather be the person providing herbal ‘supplements’ for his teenage kids than them getting them from anywhere else – and ex-partner, model Vanessa Paradis seems to have dad’s back in just about every regard when it comes to parenting.
The dad also was photographed with something that looked like a certain kind of bubbler when he was hanging out with his bromance buddy Marilyn Manson shortly after dropping his daughter off at school for the day. There has been numerous controversy about the dad recently when Amber Heard came forward with allegations of drunken mistreatment from the star.
Stoner parent aside, his daughter was quick to come to his defense. After Heard hit the news, daughter Lily posted her own commentary, 'My dad is the sweetest most loving person I know, he's been nothing but a wonderful father to my little brother and I, and everyone who knows him would say the same.” Johnny Depp shares his daughter’s affection saying, “She's blowing up, it's incredible. It happened very quickly. She handles it so well and she's so low to the ground and very cool about it.” Controversial parenting, it seem like their family is going to be okay after all.
10 Kate Moss - Absent At Best
It’s hard not to notice when someone is a parent and in the news for their bad behavior and not to think about how it will impact their kids. Kate Moss was the 1990’s it model known for her willowy presence. She was also nicknamed “The Tank” by friends who knew how hard she was able to drink and blow through a lot of white powder.
Moss lost a lot of modeling contracts when she was caught on camera indulging in ‘the powder room’. That being said Kate feels that she is a strict parent, and has mastered the ultimate stare-down to intimidate her daughter saying, “You’ve got to get a look down. Girls, you have to scare them, otherwise, they will take over.”
Kate’s parenting mottos aside, her daughter Lila admits that Kate regularly embarrasses her, but not for picking her up from school uninvited, for doing things like being escorted off of a plane for bad behavior and calling the pilot bad names.
When daughter Lila asked if her mom was her idol, she scoffed, “‘No, like every mum she's embarrassing and annoying but u love them really.”
Now that Lila is modeling we hope that mom hasn’t influenced her daughter to model with a side of hard drugs. Kate Moss believes she’s down to earth and quipped, “I think I’m normal. I don’t know why everyone makes out I’m mental.”
9 Rosie O’Donnell's Teetering Discipline
Rosie O’Donnell’s daughter Chelsea says Rosie isn’t the same person we know from TV. Her daughter Chelsea confessed, “Since I was 12, Rosie has been verbally [mean] and that was something I didn’t like, making me feel that there was something wrong with me.”
Then in 2015, O’Donnell placed a message on her website saying that her daughter was missing and had run away from home, but Chelsea says her mother kicked her out of the house and knew exactly where she was. Things got ugly when O’Donnell, who was allegedly under the influence, got wind that her daughter had gotten a tattoo (thanks to spyware she’d installed on her daughter’s phone), which infuriated her.
Chelsea has said that O’Donnell tried to force her to undress to show it to her and threatened to hit her with an empty wine bottle if she wouldn’t comply. In the time since Chelsea has said “(Rosie) tried to make people think I’m just crazy and she’s this great mother that’s trying to save her daughter when none of that’s really true." The teen married her boyfriend when they found out she was expecting, but Chelsea later miscarried and had a hard time coping.
8 Courtney Love - Daughter Knows Best
Courtney Love first made headlines when it was speculated that the goddess of grunge was using a certain illicit substance while she was pregnant with her only daughter Frances Bean Cobain. In the years that have passed since, things have been hot and cold between mother and daughter, particularly when mom has angry outbursts and often asserts wild accusations on social media.
In 2009, 19 year old Frances Bean filed a restraining order against her mom when the two got into a fist fight. Since much of the help that had been hired to help raise Frances Bean corroborated her stories of Courtney’s erratic at best behavior a judge granted the request. Sworn testimony revealed that Love was constantly under the influence, was convinced everything was a conspiracy against her, and had hoarding habits that led to the death of Frances Bean’s pet dog after he ate a bunch of mom’s "candies".
Love also dragged her daughter along when she confronted her ex-boyfriend in a loud and violent fight. Way to set a good example! Bean also said, “‘she rarely eats... She often falls asleep in her bed while she is smoking, and I am constantly worried that she will start a fire (which she has done at least three times) that will threaten our lives.” All the same, the two seem to have reconnected and have a better relationship now that Bean is all grown up – even when mom accuses Dave Grohl of being inappropriate with her daughter.
7 Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson Take The Blame
Parents who can afford to, want to be able to share their wealth with their children, but that isn’t always for the best, particularly when their kids have addiction problems. Chet Hanks, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson’s second son, has struggled with addiction problems, and spent time in and out of rehab.
Chet got into trouble with the law when he rear-ended a car and was believed to be under the influence at the time. Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks both found themselves named as co-defendants on the case because the car was in their name and they knew how he struggled to maintain his sobriety, but let him use it anyway. Sometimes even good intentions can backfire on parents, and celebrities are no different.
Even though there have been rough parenting moments Tom is appreciative of his children and good fortune, and has said he knows what’s really important as a parent at the end of the day,
“My kid could get a bad x-ray and I could get a call from the doctor saying I have something growing in my bum and that would change my perspective on everything instantaneously, on what is and what is not important.”
6 Whitney Houston & Bobby Brown - History Repeating
Unfortunately, Bobbi Kristina Brown followed in her parents’ footsteps, but not as a famous singer, but as someone who struggled with an addiction that eventually led to the end of her life. Bobbi Kristina left us only three years after her mother Whitney and was just 22 years old when she was discovered in her bathtub.
The ending was eerily similar to that of her mother who was only 48 when she passed away, which was also declared as a drowning, but also connected to heart disease and cocaine addiction. In 2012, there were signs of trouble for Bobbi Kristina when a video was released that appeared to show the young woman indulging in the white stuff, but her parents were hardly supportive role models.
Expert Radhika Sanghani has examined the link and impact that a parent’s death can have on their kin. Houston’s struggle with addiction was highly publicized and the diva admitted to Oprah Winfrey that she took copious amounts of illicit substances, some of which with her ex-husband Bobby Brown. Houston said, "I had so much money and so much access to what I wanted. I didn't think about the singing part anymore. I was looking for my young womanhood.”
5 Candace Cameron Bure, The Punisher Mom
In case you’re wondering, Candace Cameron Bure doesn’t parent like her TV father Danny Tanner taught her.
The outspoken star has received numerous critiques for a parenting style that has been dubbed as ‘similar to The Duggar’s’.
In 2004 Bure wrote a blog entry (which has since been removed) saying, “The books that guideline raising our children are the Bible, Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp and To Train Up a Child by Michael & Debi Pearl. My parenting tip of the day is consistency; it’s key."
Consistent parenting isn’t what people are complaining about, it’s that the Pearl method relies on strict corporal punishment to force children into complete obedience, and it’s been reported that at least three children from families who practice this parenting strategy have ended tragically.
While Bure has only admitted to spanking her kids and withholding all of her teenage daughter's clothing for a few months as punishment, the Pearl methods include using plastic plumbing tubing to discipline children and even wearing said plumbing as a reminder to children of who is in charge.
Older kids are hit with rulers, paddles, belts, or larger tree branches. Bure has written other articles and spoken about the importance of being a tough parent and setting boundaries. We’re guessing none of this is going to make it to an episode of Fuller House.
4 Lisa Whelchel & Jamie Oliver's Spice-Filled Parenting
Lisa Whelchel was once a teen TV Star in the 1980’s thanks to her role of Blair on the show The Facts of Life. Today the mom is a self-proclaimed parenting expert who hit the headlines for “hot saucing” her kids as a form of punishment.
Critics believe that this is an archaic approach to parenting which is more likely to strike fear in your child since it borders on child mistreatment, while Whelchel says it’s a “logical consequence". She told Good Morning America about feeding your kids hot sauce when they’re naughty, “It does sting and the memory stays with them so that the next time they may actually have some self-control and stop before they lie or bite.” Apparently, Whelchel isn’t alone when it comes to this controversial method to discipline.
Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver was called out as cruel by Victoria’s child commissioner who noted, “It's just not appropriate to use cruelty as a form of discipline," after the star admitted to rubbing incredibly hot Scotch bonnet chillies on some apple slices and feeding them to his 12-year-old daughter to punish her. In 2011, a precedent was set when a mom who gave her child hot sauce to get onto the Dr. Phil show was found guilty of child mistreatment.
3 Tobey Maguire - RIE Parenting
Tobey Maguire is one of many celeb parents who doesn’t want to overstimulate his kids and is a big follower of RIE Parenting (pronounced wry, short for Resources for Infant Educarers). Experts aren’t so sure about this approach which involves kids playing with simple toys and keeping their lives extra chill.
Parents using this method are discouraged from rocking or singing to their children, using playpens, mirrors or mobiles.
A Beverly Hills psychiatrist Dr. Carole Lieberman says, “Any philosophy that teachers respect and sensitivity towards babies can’t be all bad, but no lullabies? No rocking? No dangling mobiles? These are longstanding techniques that have been shown by research to be very nurturing and important in a child’s development.”
Lieberman adds, “RIE seems to be throwing the baby out with the bath water,” she says. “Parents need to be careful that RIE’s alphabet lessons don’t spell C-U-L-T.”
Remember what everyone used to think about Dr. Spock’s parenting methods? This seems eerily similar in terms of extremes for child rearing. Let’s hope that Toby’s kids and the other celeb parents following this 'so trendy it hurts' parenting approach. Sure we need to stop relying so much on electronic toys for our kids, but this seems a little extreme.
2 Strict Madonna Mommy
At this point, we’d argue it’s the parents who are out of control, and not the kids but just the same it makes for some pretty shoddy parenting. Madonna enforces very strict rules when her son Rocco is under her care.
She embarrassed him online by posting a photo of him wearing blond pigtails, won’t let him watch any television, and wants him to follow in mommy’s footsteps eating nothing but her macrobiotic diet (meaning no candy, dairy, salt, and many other hard restrictions).
Madonna has been so in Rocco’s face that he blocked her from his Instagram account and then deleted it. A source close to both Rocco and sister Lourdes said that both kids have complained that their mom is way too controlling and Rocco has said that his mom treats him like a trophy, not a regular kid.
When Rocco didn’t want to go back home to his mom, and why would he - when he’s with dad Guy Ritchie it’s all about matching tracksuits, eating chocolate and going for bike rides - Madonna had a judge order him back. Her son still didn’t go. Apparently, this strict authoritarian parenting is completely backfiring on Madge. Maybe she’ll learn something and loosen the reigns on her other children. Only time will tell.
1 Family First With P. Diddy
Some parents take their helicopter parenting habits all the way to college with their kids. You know those signs at organized sports for kids that say things like “remember they’re just kids, and the coaches and referees are just people”?
Apparently, P-Diddy didn’t take those very seriously. It’s been alleged that Sean Combs decided to threaten his son Justin’s UCLA football coach with a kettle ball, cause that’s what every kid needs during their college years. Diddy didn’t like that the coach was yelling at his child (which is something that coaches are known to do) and ran after the coach while shouting numerous threats.
The school wanted a resolution that didn’t involve charges, but clearly, dad needs to get a grip. He’s not the first parent to get overly involved in his child's when they should be out fending for themselves and exploring all the independence that college life has to offer. Apparently, parents also need to learn how to play nice when it comes to butting out of their adult children’s affairs. Apparently, Justin doesn’t mind. The entire family is very fond of the hashtag #FAMILYFIRST, but others suspect that Combs PR team was behind the son’s support of dad’s embarrassingly bad behavior.