Top Celebrity Parenting Tips From… Christie Brinkley

Supermodel, actress, businesswoman – Christie Brinkley has spent her life in the spotlight, but she's generally kept her role as a mother more private.

Christie Brinkley, with daughter Alexa Ray Joel and son Jack Brinkley-Cook.

Her success as a model has spanned decades – Christie Brinkley was the face of several major brands, including cosmetics giant Cover Girl for 25 years. She’s also known as an actress, photographer, environmentalist and an animal and human rights activist. She has three children, two daughters and a son, and the youngest is now 20 years old.

1Make time to bond

It’s important to spend time with each child individually, focusing on what you like to do best together. What works with one might not be right for another.

With youngest daughter Sailor, Brinkley is more likely to spend time outdoors – biking, running or swimming. With Alexa, it’ll be indoor activities – singing or drawing. Even their daily communication is different. Whereas Brinkley will talk to Alexa on the telephone five times a day, she and Sailor are more likely to swap texts.

2Demonstrate self-love

When she was younger, Brinkley says she remembers complaining about her ‘jiggly’ legs. Her own mother told her she never wanted to hear her daughter talking badly about herself. The model says she realises her mother was right – and nobody should feel bad about the way they look.

“I look back at old pictures of me and I can remember standing there feeling like I’m squirming. I felt like, ‘Oh, my hips are too big. I don’t know what to do.’ I look now and I go, ‘My gosh, I was fine. Why didn’t I realise that?’,” recalls Brinkley. “You see that all the time with young girls. There’s more pressure to look a certain way than there ever was.”

3Focus on what’s important

Even though she’s spent her life in an industry where appearance is everything, Brinkley believes it’s vital kids learn that appearance doesn’t matter.

“Try to compliment your kids about their achievements, not their looks,” she urges. “I’ve consistently pointed out how important it is to focus on being kind to others – the rest doesn’t matter.”

4Teach them to see beauty in the world

Brinkley’s youngest daughter says her mother always encouraged her to look for the good in every situation. She credits this with helping her develop a more positive attitude to life.

“She taught me to look for the beauty in where I am and around me,” explains Sailor. “That has helped me with optimism and happiness, especially living in New York City which can sort of drain you and make you cynical.”

5Be grateful for everything you have

Back in 1994, Brinkley was in a near-fatal helicopter crash in Colorado. Since then, she says, she has learned to appreciate every moment of her life.

“I celebrate every day. I really thought I was dying,” she says. “When I made it through that, I really looked at every single day of my life as a gift.”

As a result, she says she has tried to teach her kids to have ‘an attitude of gratitude’. “I think that enters the room first,” she says. “All the rest comes later.”

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