Jennifer Garner is throwing it back to the ’90s (and ’60s!) in a new way to bond with her daughter.
The actress — who’s mom to son Samuel Garner, 8, plus daughters Seraphina Rose Elizabeth, 11, and Violet Anne, 14 — opens up about all things parenthood on Friday’s episode of Dear Media’s Raising Good Humans podcast, revealing that she recently watched a classic (albeit raunchy) comedy with one of her girls for the first time.
“Here’s something I’m not very proud of: I even watched Austin Powers with her. Talk about not appropriate. But I just needed to see that laugh,” Garner, 48, told Dr. Aliza Pressman. “I felt like, ‘Okay, so it’s fake. I don’t care.’ We just have to remind our bodies of how to have joy and I’m just letting it happen.”
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“It’s so naughty, but it’s not awful. I mean, it’s pretty awful,” adds the 13 Going on 30 actress. “She’s learned a few things, but it’s funny.”
The movie session came after Garner’s child stopped finding as much comfort in one activity they used to share together on a regular basis: reading.
“I can’t even list the amount of books I’ve read aloud to her — out of the blue, she just didn’t want to read anymore,” she says. “When [the coronavirus pandemic] started, it just didn’t feel good to her. And we have been sneaking and watching America’s Funniest Home Videos on my phone.”
Garner’s daughter is still “reading to herself so it’s not like there are no books, but it’s always been one of our main forms of connection and I’m just letting it go right now and hoping that it’ll resolve.”
“I really do believe in healthy habits. And it just seemed like, ‘Oh, I could be really screwing this kid out of her healthiest [habit],’ ” she explains of some of her guilt surrounding the movie-watching.
In the meantime, all three of Garner’s children are getting ready to go back to school — and for Violet, that means beginning her first year of high school virtually.
“She’s taking an incredibly tough load of classes, and I just want to support that for her,” says the star. “I feel like the transition into school for her feels almost unfair because I know she’s going into a real crunch of a year, but without the anticipation of being with her classmates and just [physically] going to school first day.”
“I just want to help her shift gears in a healthy way, and also to set the boundaries that I would set if she had an early bus ride or whatever, that she does have to go to bed,” Garner continued. “I stay up till they’re all asleep and I can only go so far, but definitely we’ve all pushed later than we normally would.”
For Serafina, who’s entering her final year of elementary school, “I just want her to have a great time, and I want to find a way for her to engage with friends safely and to feel like school is alive and vibrant, because she’s a great student and she deserves [it],” Garner says.
And her “little guy,” Samuel, is “really eager and excited” to start his academia again. “I just want to keep that alive for him and want him to see himself as having agency in his education and as intelligent and a hard worker,” she tells Dr. Pressman. “And I think remote learning can suck that idea of yourself from you a little bit.”
While she doesn’t “get [her] kids a new backpack every year,” as she believes they “have too much stuff,” Garner may just make an exception this year, considering the circumstances: “I think this is a year where … I think that [they] do need to get a new backpack and a new lunchbox.”