Bryce Dallas Howard’s parents taught her to ‘control your kids’ friends’

UK gala screening of 'Pete's Dragon'

Bryce Dallas Howard, 35, is still promoting Pete’s Dragon, a fantasy kids’ film in which a feral child has a dragon as a protector. She plays a park ranger who finds the child. It’s been out about a week and a half and is just doing ok at the box office (for a Disney movie) and is currently at number five after opening at number three. I like seeing Howard’s interviews because she comes across as grounded and not full of herself, which is not what you would expect from the daughter of a Hollywood director. Last week, we covered an interview she did with People where she claimed that her mother wanted to make sure that she and her three siblings did not grow up entitled. In a new video interview with People, which you can see here, Bryce was asked for the most important thing that her parents taught her. Her answer was surprising.

When you see a pregnant woman, what is one thing you wish you could tell her?
Whenever I see a pregnant woman, the one thing that I wish that I could tell her is that it doesn’t end when the baby comes out. I thought after I had my first child, that I was like “I’ll just have the baby and jump out and everything is going to be great.” While it was great because he was healthy, it took a long time to heal after that.

What is your secret to losing baby weight?
My secret to losing baby weight was to not be obsessed with losing baby weight. To focus on what was important which was my child’s health, my health, my mental health. To understand that it takes a year to create a baby and sometimes it takes years to return to that pre-baby state or whatever state you’re in. My body changed a lot after having children. It was really healthy for me to not put focus on it needing to be a certain way and embracing what it is.

What’s the most important thing your parents taught you?
The most important thing my parents taught me about raising kids was to control your kids’ friends. What they said is at a certain point your child’s friends have more influence over them than you have as parents.

What do you miss most about your life before motherhood?
Freedom. Just the ability to be whimsical and say “oh I’d like to do this today.” Definitely having kids has brought a lot of structure and routine into my life… [but I miss being] spontaneous.

[From Video on People.com]

These questions sound kind of asinine, but I think they’re standard for People videos as I’ve heard other celebrity moms being asked the same things. I really like what she said about how she focused on her health and her children’s health instead of on getting bikini-ready after she had a baby baby. Howard has been open about the fact that she had postpartum depression after her son was born and said she felt disconnected from him as a baby. I think that’s what she’s talking about when she says it took her a long time to heal and that she focuses on being healthy and not perfect.

Also, in terms of controlling your kids’ friends, I never really thought of it that way. I do notice that my son tends to hang out with the other kids with the moms I like the most, but that’s also because they’re the most reliable and easiest to make plans with. So maybe I do control his friends without admitting that’s what I do.

Jennifer Klein's 2016 Annual Day of Indulgence Party

photos credit: WENN and Getty

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52 Responses to “Bryce Dallas Howard’s parents taught her to ‘control your kids’ friends’”

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  1. iralagi says:

    what happened with her face?? she’s a beautiful girl, but it is clear that her face has changed a lot since Jurrasic World.

    • CTgirl says:

      She is one of those people who’s weight fluctuates and it changes her face. She hasn’t had any surgery or procedures. In Jurrasic World she was very thin and she is average size in these photos. As she stated, she’s healthy and that is what matters.

    • GGKURAI says:

      She’s just put on a little weight, is all, and looks fantastic for it! Gorgeous woman.

    • Rachel Phelps says:

      She had her eyelids done and had something injected into her top lip. She looks completely different, and not for the better.
      I wish actresses would chill with the plastic surgery

  2. Kkhou says:

    A mom friend and I were just having a conversation about this- while my kids are young I definitely foster and encourage the friendships that I think are healthy, by encouraging play dates and activities that keep those friendships alive. I Don’t think of it as “controlling”, but more that I am helping to show them what healthy friendships look like so that they will hopefully continue that as they grow older and more independent.

    • Krista says:

      My mother definitely helped cultivate my friend group as well. I guess it worked, because 25 years later my kindergarten girlfriends are still my best friends. I know its very rare and its very special to me.
      Moms: If your kids meet other good kids, foster those relationships.

      • Locke Lamora says:

        But how do you know what’s a “good” kid when they’re 3?

      • Lynnie says:

        All kids are innocent and good up to a certain age true, so I think you have to make those judgements based on their parents and how compatible they are with your value system.

      • Krista says:

        Well, 3 year olds still do parallel playing. But as they get older, I think its important to look for friends who generally bring out the best in each other. Also, my friends parents were not afraid to parent me, and vice versa. I definitely have the “it takes a village” mentality because of that. It can be hard to find good friends and I just think that when you do its worth it to invest in those relationships.

      • Erinn says:

        I’m best friends with a girl I met in pre-school as well. It’s a nice feeling.

        Honestly- for a large part – if you look at the way they’re being raised, and the kind of things that are important to the parents, you’re getting a pretty good look at how the kid is going to turn out. It’s not always the case – lovely kids have terrible parents, and some lovely people have terrible kids. But I think it gives you at least a little idea of how a kid will be. And really – at 3, if you observe a child being a holy terror all the time when you’re doing the pre-school drop offs/pickups, you can get an idea of how they’re going to treat your kid.

      • Locke Lamora says:

        But isn’t judging kids by heir parents quite dangerous? And what kind of values are we talking about? Doesn’t that make kids insulated, if they can only play with kids who are similar to them?

        I’m best friends with the girl I met in preschool too, and I don’t know if we would still be friends if my parents chose my friends because she was a devil when she was a kid. Very hyperactive, she constantly got into trouble. But she’s the kindest, nicest person I know, so I’m glad we stuck it out as kids.

      • Snarkweek says:

        I don’t anyone is ‘judging’ a child based on his/her parents but it is extremely likely that the child will reflect the values and behaviors learned at home, at least up to a point. If we didn’t believe this we wouldn’t bother to influence our own kids.

      • Lynnie says:

        @Locke Personally the values I’m talking about kindness, how the parents treat people who are “below” them/can’t do anything for them (service staff, homeless, people they can’t get favors from, etc), how they treat their family members, are they racist/sexist, is money the be all or end with them, how do they take care of their kids, is education important to them, what hobbies/things are they interested in , etc. For me, stuff like kindness, how the parents treat family and friends, not being racist/sexist are non-negotioables, because it’s the 21st century. Everybody should be a decent human being lol. Also these values have the added benefit of not even being that exclusive/vague anyway. I.e you can be kind and think politics is the most boring thing ever. Or not be racist, and think books are boring. I would still let my child hang out with that person’s kid even though I might not agree. The danger is when you start taking specific things like religion, party affiliation, wealth/status and start judging people off of that. As long as you’re not deliberately creating echo chambers and being selective within reason I feel you can still have a well-rounded experience people wise.

      • Wren says:

        I judge kids based on their parents all the time, I don’t think it’s wrong. They are the models, How to be a Human 101. How parents treat others (and themselves), respond to stress, honor their values (or not), and just generally live their lives is what the kid is absorbing all the time. Especially young children. They internalize all of it and incorporate it into their worldview and attitude towards life.

      • minime says:

        @ Locke Lamora

        Many of my best friends from childhood/adolescence are from a bit dysfunctional families (bad area of the town, social housing…). I remember that at first, when I started to get along with some of them, my parents were a bit puzzled and sometimes they voiced their concerned about my “clique” but they never forbid me and were always very open to know them…that worked wonders for me, since I never felt I needed to lie to my parents and I got a lot of good orientation in distinguishing the positive and the negative “friend” influences. My parents love the influence of many of these friends in my life and how close we still are. They thought me a lot of important lessons…how hard work is important (I got my first summer job because of them), how lucky I was with my family, how grateful we should be for some opportunities in life. It’s not like I was sheltered before and my parents are very normal people, but it goes a long way from having a stable family life to a very unstable one.

        So, while I understand that any parent just wants the best for their kid, I have to agree with you that it is really dangerous to judge kids by their parents and I’m not sure it makes us better human beings.

      • JenniferJustice says:

        I have encouraged friendships with kids I know are nice kids with good attitudes, responsible and most of all…kind! I will not tolerate a mean child. I got involved in my son’s school and spent time in the classrooms. It was easy to pick out the ones who were considerate and fun. They are still his best friends. I did the same thing at the campground where we have a seasonal lot. I observed a lot and then actively sought out the kids that were nice and who I knew he would mesh with. They, too, are his best buddies. And all of their parents are my good friends now too.

    • Jen43 says:

      I found that by about age 10, I lost my influence. I notice that early on my kids were friends with the kids of the moms I liked. After that, my kids lost interest in most of my hand picked friends. It was kind of sad, but I noticed it with other kids as well.

    • Goats on the Roof says:

      See, I didn’t take her comment as her wanting to control her kids’ playground friends. I got the impression she was talking about as her children got older she would need to control their friends–as in, she doesn’t want her kids hanging around with people who are skipping school, drinking at a young age or generally just acting a fool because friends have a lot of sway over a person when they are young.

      • Wren says:

        That’s what it sounded like to me too, and frankly it’s a bit “well, duh”. I think we all had at least one friend or acquaintance who was heavily side eyed by our parents. Some parents simply express their displeasure and don’t step in, others forbid contact with the undesirable person. I think she was saying you should really encourage the good friendships and steer your kid away from the bad ones. It’s not picking their friends, it’s making the good friends easy to hang out with and the bad ones hard.

      • lizzie says:

        i agree – i think she meant older kids. my parents didn’t forbid me from having certain friends but they put subtle restrictions on the ones they thought could be a bad influence. my very best friend all through life was (and is) a wild child and she was a trouble magnet. at some point in high school my parents started developing boundaries like – i wasn’t allowed to go to sleepovers if she was there with one or two other specific girls. the three of them were trouble and my parents didn’t want me to even have the option of joining. i was allowed to hang out and stay out later with them but not spend the whole night. little things like that. i think it made a big difference. i understood why they did it at the time and about 5 years after high school i realized how grateful i was that they did that.

  3. erni says:

    Most parents do that too.
    Like, they screen schools that shares the same values. I went to visit/ survey dozens of primary schools for my daughter. She’ll go there next year. School surveys started like 2-3 years ago.

    • Locke Lamora says:

      Private primary schools are super rare here, so pretty much everyone ends up going to the school they geographically belong to ( and we don’t really have neighbourhoods segregated by wealth, so you have kids from all kinds of economicall backrounds going to the same school). I don’t think my parents had much choice in who I played with at school. And I think that’s nice. Sure, when they’re teens some friends can have a negative impact, but I think it’s healthier for little kids to choose their own friends.

      • erni says:

        That is actually the school I want for my kids as well Locke. I believe, it is healthy for kids to meet people from all walks of life. I wish it could teach them about appreciating diversity. We all need it right now. Hope it can prevent bigot to flourish.

      • Sixer says:

        It’s like that living rurally in the UK, Locke. Virtually all the kids go to the nearest school geographically and the pupil population is drawn from rich and poor, highly educated and low educated, all ethnicities.

        I think, rather than controlling your children’s friendship groups (which essentially means picking only people like you), you do more for your kids by exposing them to all sorts of different people.

        It’s true that adolescent friendship groups exert great influence, though. So I think your kids’ friends are worth paying attention to once they hit puberty.

      • Snarkweek says:

        But aren’t you making dangerous connections between values and socioeconomics?

      • Sixer says:

        I think Locke’s intention/opinion is quite the opposite of that, Snarkweek.

      • Wren says:

        There’s controlling, and then there’s facilitating the good friendships and discouraging the bad ones. Yes, kids do have to figure it out for themselves, but there is an amount of influence that can be exerted. My parents did it; they certainly didn’t pick my friends but they encouraged me towards spending time with certain people and maneuvered to limit the time I had available to spend with people they didn’t approve of.

      • Snarkweek says:

        Right lol, I posted under the wrong indentation. Totally agree with Locke.

      • Valois says:

        Yeah, in the country where I’m from, most people end up going to the school they’re geographically assigned to and the type of school they can attend. But we have different types of secondary schools and stuff.

        After primary school, my teacher recommended sending me to a boarding school with a focus on languages because she noticed that I got bored in class (among other things). I passed all the entry tests but my mother changed her mind last minute because she thought I was too young to go to boarding school.
        After that, I had to go to the only grammar school in our area and I got bullied for years, one reason for that was the fact that my family stood out in terms of socioeconomic background and the fact that the pupils thought my awkwardness was me thinking I thought I was better than them, their parents telling their children my parents were snobs etc pp.
        It took me years to not be angry at my mother anymore because in my eyes, she caused this situation.

        So yeah; I’d say diversity in terms of socioeconomic backgrounds is a very good thing, as long as there’s actual diversity (and not just a few students sticking out like a sore thumb).

  4. Mrs. Welen-Melon says:

    I am your shoe mother, Bryce. I say which shoes you will and will not wear. You will not wear ankle straps.

    • detritus says:

      Can you tell her about tight tiny straps too? Because those black lace ups look super uncomfortable. Her outfit and lip are great though

  5. paolanqar says:

    I love her. She is also incredibly beautiful. I love red head women and I wish I was one Lol”!

  6. ShinyGrenade says:

    She really don’t know how to dress her fuller figure.
    She is beautiful, but no ankle straps and pin up skirts!

    • Josefina says:

      That’s what I was going to say. Her face looks great with some weight on, but the clothes look unflattering.

  7. Lynnie says:

    Pete’s Dragon’s commercials have been running non-stop whenever my sister watches Disney shows. It simply doesn’t look that interesting even from a kid’s perspective lol.

    Who you’re friends with is incredibly important and parents should monitor that, but at the same time they have to be slick about it/trust that they’ve instilled the values they want. Also there has to be a (preferably healthy) family support system in place, or else everything is moot.

    I remember being a lonely freshman who didn’t know anybody at my new school and just latched onto the first person who was nice to me. In hindsight, she was drama-seeking and just a terrible friend overall, and my mom was very vocal and adamant that I end it. You couldn’t tell me nothing though, and I ended up spending two years with her before I finally realized that I could do better. I only had that moment of realization though because this girl violated a key motto of mine that I learned from my parents, and I had the familial support to know that I didn’t have to accept that. Friends are basically a second family, and if your first one is nonexistent/up-in-the air then you’ll just latch on even tighter to the people who do give you that connection for better or worse. As long as Bryce and her husband foster healthy connections at home then I don’t think they’ll have to worry too much about being in “control” of their children’s friends. Kids are smarter than we think.

  8. Josefina says:

    I have yet to decide wether I like her or not as an actress. I think she was alright in The Help, she was really annoying and loathesome and that was the whole point. I didn’t like her at all in Jurassic World, though. She was so wooden. Maybe she’s just not very charismatic and should stick to playing non-likeable characters?

    I like her, though. She seems nice and she looks SO much like a friend of mine. It’s creepy. I just like watching her on movies because it feels like my friend is in the screen, lol.

    • mkyarwood says:

      Jurassic Park was pretty terrible. I liked her in The Village, that was her break out role, and the only ‘good’ part of the whole thing.

  9. Konspiracytheory says:

    The boy who terrorized the other toddlers in my son’s playgroup years ago turned out to be my now college-age son’s best friend (and a kind, generous, funny guy as well). Go figure!

  10. Ji-Yun says:

    I always thought the way she was raked over the coals and hounded after she had her baby for not ‘snapping back’ into her pre baby shape was horrendous. It was pure bullying on the part of some media outlets.

  11. justme says:

    Mr. & Mrs. Howard did an excellent job raising their children. I have never heard a single bad thing about any of them and never seen them living it up in clubs like a lot of celeb kids. Kudos to them.

  12. Bridget says:

    All the questions you can ask someone, and they choose “what’s your secret to losing the baby weight”. That is so inane, props to her for still giving a real and respectful answer.

  13. Malificent says:

    My mom really liked my group friends in high school — so she was much more flexible when she knew I was with them. She knew that we looked out for each other. (I was also the youngest of 5, so my parents were pretty much broken in by the time I was a teenager!)

    Now I have a 9-year-old son. We live in an area that has some dodgy elements. A lot of parents at my son’s school tend to be cautious when their kid makes a new friend because it’s a very real possibility that their playmate’s parents have a meth lab on their basement. My son has a new buddy that we’re taking to the science museum with us in a few days. The mom has only met me to say hello, so I’m not offended that they are sending his Grandma with us to make sure that I’m not dodgy as well.

  14. nicegirl says:

    I love these BDH stories, and the pics! She is such a beautiful lady.

    I am taking my youngest son to see Pete’s Dragon on Weds with a couple of his pre-approved friends, lol. I’ll have my review ready on Thursday morning. :-)

  15. paranormalgirl says:

    I don’t “control” my kids’ friends as much as I guide them. My malespawn has a friend who is known as a “bad apple.” I actually encourage that friendship while guiding my son to be the good influence on his friend rather than having his friend be a bad influence on him. I think it’s working because this summer, his friend didn’t have to go to summer school for the first time in 5 years. I know if I control this friendship out of Sean’s life, I am not really allowing him to see the options that he has regarding friendships and how he can be the positive influence in one.

  16. Bread and Circuses says:

    “The most important thing my parents taught me about raising kids was to control your kids’ friends. What they said is at a certain point your child’s friends have more influence over them than you have as parents. ”

    You know, that was only shown in studies somewhat recently — that the biggest risk factor for kids getting into trouble is who they’re friends with — so kudos to the Howards for having a grip on that fact before it was verified by science.

  17. Cirque28 says:

    Wow, my parents never offered a single opinion about my friends. They simply modeled healthy friendships in their own lives which was (IMO) the best thing they could have done. In contrast, when my partner was a teenager, his parents actually offered his group of friends money to stay away from him. They didn’t need to worry so much; he’s really quite discriminating about people. As a teen, he saw these bedraggled kids and recognized their essential goodness. And those same people are still his dearest friends today.

    • yvrjanice says:

      Awesome! Modelling healthy friendships is, in my eyes, the best way to show your kids how good families behave.

  18. yvrjanice says:

    I hate it so much when people criticize women’s bodies that have just had kids. We’re all so very different. I was just like a Kim Kardashian type – I gained a lot of weight but lost a lot after the baby was born. In fact, I suffered all my life with being overweight, but after my kids were born, it was the one time I was actually considered “thin”. Please everyone, we all have different body types – please don’t judge how your body reacts compared to the next person’s. God, I just wish everyone would just get this message:(