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Katherine Schwarzenegger on what her parents taught her about handling criticism

The new mom says she tries not to let negative comments get to her.
/ Source: TODAY

Growing up with two famous parents, Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt has learned plenty about living in the public eye, including how to handle critical comments.

Schwarzenegger Pratt, 31, opened up about how her dad, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and her mom, NBC special anchor Maria Shriver, taught her to take criticism in stride.

katherine schwarzenegger
Schwarzenegger Pratt opened up about how her parents helped her handle public criticism.Getty Images

“People can say whatever they want behind a screen, and they do! I feel a little bit lucky in the sense that I grew up in a family where my parents were kind of very up to speed on dealing with criticism, whether it was behind a screen, or written down or face to face,” she said during a recent interview on the “Meaning Full Living” podcast. “And they raised me with the understanding of kind of how to deal with that in the best way possible.”

Especially since becoming a mom — she welcomed daughter Lyla with her husband, Chris Pratt, last August — Schwarzenegger Pratt said she is trying not to let any negative comments get to her.

“Whether it’s criticism about certain things that I do as a new mom, or being a wife, or a daughter, or a sister or a woman, people have a variety of different things to say, and they’ll write it and be very vocal about it,” she said. “For me, I try to look at those things and try to not let them affect me, which can be harder some days than it is other days.”

The 2008 Women's Conference - Day 2
Schwarzenegger Pratt with her parents in 2008.Gold Wong / Getty Images

She also shared that her mother taught her to approach her critics with "empathy."

“My mom always said to me when I was growing up that when people write those things or say those things, that they must be in so much pain, to be able to say that or to write that, and to try and have empathy for whatever it is that they might be going through that you don’t know about,” she said.

Schwarzenegger Pratt also gushed about her close bond with Shriver and said she calls her mom “several times a day just about everything.”

“If I have moments of feeling overwhelmed about things, I always think, what would my mom do?” she said. “Because growing up, she had four kids under 8 years old, a big career, a husband with a big career, a very big family … and I remember just watching her do it all with such ease and such grace — and also having so much fun doing it.”

As much wisdom as she has gleaned from her mom about parenting, Schwarzenegger Pratt said some aspects of motherhood have still come as a surprise.

“Something I wish I had known before was more about the kind of instant postpartum experience that you have — of the hormone change, which nobody decided to tell me about, the fun night sweats and chills, these little postpartum wings that I have, breastfeeding," she said. "I mean, my mom breastfed so I knew about her experience with it, but I think those things that I guess people consider to be TMI or unique to every single person’s experience, that I didn’t feel as prepared for, that I maybe wish I would have known.”

She added that nothing could have prepared her for the emotion she felt when meeting her daughter for the first time.

“Everybody always says to you the love that you have when you see your child for the first time is unlike anything that you can explain, and I would say that I had heard — but I didn’t really fully know it,” she said.

Schwarzenegger Pratt also opened up about her marriage to Chris Pratt, 42, and shared that friendship and faith have always been important foundations for their relationship.

“We met in church, and we went on our first date and really just talked about absolutely everything, like what our beliefs were, how we wanted to raise kids, how we wanted to live our life, what was important to us," she said. "We really kind of dove right into it and talked about pretty much everything.”

She also shared that she and Pratt participated in premarital counseling, as it's a requirement in the Catholic Church before tying the knot, and described the experience as “an amazing gift.”

“(Counseling) has been such a helpful thing to be able to have in our relationship, of having that guidance, talking about things that maybe you wouldn’t necessarily have talked about before getting married,” she said. “And being prompted to talk about those things is also a really helpful thing to do early on that I think helps as you add children, add new experiences, new locations and jobs.”

Schwarzenegger Pratt’s parents parted ways in 2011, but growing up, she credits both her mom and dad for setting a healthy example in their relationship that she hopes to emulate in her own marriage.

“I also just remember growing up and watching my parents always be each other’s biggest support system and biggest cheerleaders,” she said. “And that was always something that I wanted with who I envisioned to be somebody that I marry, is always wanting to have that same support system and that same dynamic.”