Kristen Bell Thinks You Should Discuss ‘Taboo Topics’ With Your Kids

From drugs to sex and daddy’s addiction recovery, the Frozen actress believes no topic needs to be off the table if you lead with vulnerability. Learn more about the one thing she wants to teach her kids here.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Assistant Editor
Published February 20, 2023
Kristen Bell on The Kelly Clarkson Show Season 4, November 2022
Image: NBC | Getty Images

Actress Kristen Bell has always been known for her honest, sometimes controversial, takes. And as she continues on her journey through motherhood, she’s bringing her signature, radical honesty, to parenting.

Appearing on Real Simple’s Game Changers cover—its first-ever celebrity cover—the Frozen star shares her game-changing advice on how she’s keeping it real with her kids and teaching them essential life lessons.

In a video interview with the outlet, the actress discusses therapy and the big takeaways she’s gotten from it. Chief among them is the idea that no topic needs to be taboo if you lead with a little vulnerability.

“I hate the word ‘taboo.’ I think it should be stricken from the dictionary,” she told Real Simple. “There should be no topic that’s off the table for people to talk about.”

“I know it’s shocking, but I talk to my kids about drugs, and the fact that their daddy is an addict and he’s in recovery, and we talk about sex,” she said, referring to her daughters Delta, 8, and Lincoln, 9. “There are all these ‘hard topics’ that don’t have to be if you give the person on the other end your vulnerability and a little bit of credit.”

Bell further explains that vulnerability is what she sees as the most underrated skill. “It’s the most attractive characteristic on the planet. I believe that vulnerability only begets vulnerability,” she shared. “We have so many issues as humans. Each and every one of us is so hard to get along with. It’s true. But if you can maintain a sense of vulnerability, people read you in a different way. You are more successful in every aspect of your life.”

With all that vulnerability and radical honesty, inevitability there comes a need for another big life lesson. The importance of making amends and apologizing.

“If there’s one thing I want to teach my kids, it’s how to make amends — and that it’s for themselves, so they can like who’s in the mirror a little bit more,” she said. “Making amends and apologizing is an important thing in our family, because humans leave carnage wherever they go. I really respect when someone does something wrong or hurtful and they apologize. I’m like, ‘Yeah, right on.’ That’s important.”

Loving Bell’s parenting advice? Check out her genius marble hack for better-behaved kids and learn why she makes her daughters share a room.

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