Angelina Jolie: We Try Not to Spoil Our Children

You’ll hear a lot from Angelina Jolie as she grants interviews to promote her new movie Salt, but many of the interviews are focused on her fascinating personal life, not the movie. She recently discussed her philosophy on raising her six children with partner Brad Pitt, which religion they practice, feeling about her own mother, how she responds to criticism that she hasn’t adopted from the United States and how she was never teased as a child (of course not, look at her as a child!). Excerpts next:

On not getting teased as a kid: “I was actually quite a cool kid. I was not tough. I was certainly independent and bold. I was never teased. I never had any trouble from anybody. But I was never satisfied. I had trouble sleeping. I didn’t really fit. I always feel that I’m searching for something deeper, something more, more…You want to meet other people that challenge you with ideas or with power or with passion. I wanted to live very fully. I wanted to live many lives and explore many things.”

On raising children with an open mind: “First of all, as parents, we try not to spoil our children. Because we travel a lot, what it took me until my twenties to learn about life, our children know already. They spend time in Cambodia in a teeny hut and hang out with local children. They help me visit distressed areas. They have friends with no money. They see and live in different worlds. They also appreciate having nice things. They like this house [in Los Angeles] because it has this pool. But they also love Cambodia because it’s got the fun places to throw rocks and cut coconuts and ride on elephants. They love Africa because the kids are really fun to play with and the nature is so beautiful.”

On her mother: “She was a proper mother, constant. We never had a nanny or housekeeper. Mother worked every day of her life. I’ve always wanted to be useful, like her. She was our everything. I’ve never needed to be loved because I’ve had my mother. So I’ve never felt the need to be understood.”

On exposing children to various religions: “Brad and I are raising our children to respect everyone. We have a bookshelf in the house that has the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, everything. We will take our children to church, temple, Buddhist ceremonies, Mosques, teaching them about all faiths. Whatever religion they choose, the choice will be theirs.”

On criticism she hasn’t adopted from the U.S.: “Everybody likes to criticize people. It’s an uneducated moral snobbery. It shouldn’t matter where children are born. When I first started working with refugees, people would say, ‘Why aren’t you helping these people and not other people?” I simply looked to help. I make the choices I make because they’re the choices I feel are right. Becoming a mother was the most wonderful thing.”

Read the entire interview from Parade magazine here.

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