Top Celebrity Parenting Tips From… Nicole Richie

Actress and designer Nicole Richie is a big believer in honesty, teamwork and discipline when it comes to raising her children.


The adopted daughter of singer Lionel Richie first became known for appearing on the reality television show, The Simple Life, alongside Paris Hilton. Since then, Nicole Richie has made her mark as a fashion designer and appeared as one of three mentors on NBC’s Fashion Star show. She’s been married to Joel Madden, lead vocalist with the band Good Charlotte, since 2010 and the couple have two children, a son and a daughter.

1As a parent, all you can do is your best

There’s no such thing as a perfect parent, and Richie is the first to accept there are always things she could do better. But she says nobody should beat themselves up or feel they’re not doing a good job.

“I do the best that I can,” she explains. “I’m probably constantly, every day, talking to other moms figuring out the best way to have a strong relationship with my kids. There’s no one right way to be a mother. It depends on your house and lifestyle. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is not to judge and to be open and honest with other women.”

2Tell kids the truth

Richie believes children can handle far more than we often think they can, and says she is always honest with her kids.

“I always come from a place of love and compassion with them,” she said in one interview. “My kids operate best when I let them have a voice and I really explain things to them. Because, really, kids want to be told the truth. They just want you to be truthful.”

3Both parents should work as a team

When they first found out they were going to be parents, Richie says she and Madden realised neither of them had an example of a healthy family life to follow. Both their own sets of parents were divorced, so they had to figure out parenting for themselves.

Recognising the challenge, Richie says: “We agreed, ‘Let’s work at it and let’s go through this together as a team.’ It’s been great.”

4Routine is important

Admittedly, most of don’t need to worry about our kids begging to go on a world tour with their rock star father. But ensuring they have a consistent home life is something we can all do.

Richie says she spent a lot of time touring with her father, but she doesn’t think that’s a healthy way to raise daughter Harlow and son Sparrow. She prefers them to stay put. “It’s important to me that they have stability,” she says. “I like them to be home.”

She’s also not afraid to say ‘no’. The unlimited freedom she was allowed as a child, Richie believes, did her no good at all and may have contributed to her later issues with substance abuse.

“My parents’ way of making me happy was to say yes to everything I wanted, but I don’t think a little girl should have that much freedom,” she is on record as saying.

5Encourage their creativity

She may be known as a fashion designer, but Richie says she lets Harlow and Sparrow dress themselves. It’s a way of coaxing out their creativity and letting them express themselves in their own way.

“Sparrow does his own thing. He likes to wear all black, like his dad,” she says. “Harlow has her own style. She likes to experiment with different looks. I am totally fine with that, what she looks like is ultimately up to her.”

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