It's really no secret that children of the rich and famous usually have a totally different upbringing than most. Their parents have giant mansions, tons of cash, and privilege galore, and their upscale way of life often inevitably trickles down to their children, who might grow up not knowing any different. But in an interview with The Kyle and Jackie O Show Monday, actress Mila Kunis explained that she and husband Ashton Kutcher plan on raising their kids to know the value of a dollar the same way they were both raised growing up. She may be a movie star, but Mila Kunis doesn't want to raise spoiled kids, and honestly, her down-to-Earth perspective is refreshing.
According to Babble, the Bad Moms star — mom to 22-month-old daughter Wyatt, with another child on the way — discussed a bit about her own parenting experience in the interview, and how acutely aware she and Kutcher are that their children could easily have an entirely different upbringing than they had. Kunis, after all, is a Ukrainian-born immigrant who arrived in the United States with her parents when she was 7 and watched her parents build their family a new life from scratch. Eventually, they found their footing (and clearly Kunis did very well for herself professionally), but shared that there were definitely rough times and nights when they'd "have ketchup soup for dinner." Kutcher also grew up in what Kunis described as a "pretty solid poverty [background]," and so when it came time to discuss building a family together, figuring out how to raise their kids with the same kind of humble, hard-working values they themselves learned was a top priority. Kunis said,
The one topic of conversation we had even prior to ever having kids was always, ‘How do you raise a child to not be an a**hole?’ It’s so important because we both came from pretty solid poverty backgrounds and grew up very poor and are very much self-made and are very aware of what a dollar is worth. Nothing’s been handed to us.
So how do Kunis and Kutcher specifically plan on not raising entitled or spoiled kids in Hollywood? According to People, Kunis says it comes down to one important reality:
It’s a matter of teaching them from a very early age that, you know, ‘Mommy and Daddy may have a dollar, but you’re poor'. ‘You are very poor, you have nothing. Mommy and Daddy have a bank account.’
As far as parenting philosophies go, that seems to be a pretty brilliant one. When you're a parent, it's only natural to want to give your children a better, easier life than you had, but when you know that you have the ability to give your kids so much that they could lose out on some really valuable life lessons about gratitude and the importance of a good work ethic, it definitely seems important to rein it in. And best of all, Kunis' approach isn't even unfair or untrue: technically, every child is born totally poor, whether their parents are billionaires or whether they're scraping by. Kunis and Kutcher might have the means to afford whatever their children need, but their kids? Well, until they earn their own cash, they'll still be totally dependent on Mom and Dad for everything.
That perspective is a smart one, according to Amy McCreedy, author of the book, The Me, Me, Me Epidemic. In an article for TODAY Parents, McCreedy reminded parents that by holding their ground and not giving in whenever their kids want something (even if they can afford to give it to them), they'll be teaching their child important life skills about prioritizing wants and needs, and the value of working for what you want and becoming self-sufficient — something which, in turn, will turn them into happier, more successful adults.
Kunis didn't specify whether she plans to eventually give her children an allowance, but McCreedy said allowances can be really valuable tools for teaching children "delayed gratification and fiscal responsibility — how to spend wisely, save, budget, and give charitably," which sets the stage for how they will manage their own paychecks later in life. And if you have the means to provide your kids with a comfortable life (even if it might not be, say, Hollywood celebrity-comfortable), you can use that as a tool to teach gratitude and generosity, as well as that, wealthy or not, the world around them owes them nothing. According to McCreedy,
When you practice daily gratitude rituals at home, actively seek to do random acts of kindness, and find opportunities to serve others throughout the year (not just during the holidays) — you are helping to set your children and your family on the path to a much more rewarding life.
Since their children are still very young, Kutcher and Kunis still have plenty of time to decide how they will deal with their kids' eventual realization that they want everything, and that they want it now. But given that they already seem to be crystal clear on ensuring that they won't be raising their kids to be spoiled or entitled, it sounds pretty safe to say they are off to a great start.