Actress Julianna Margulies spent six seasons alongside George Clooney on "ER" in the 1990s, and now that he is soon to be a father of twins, Margulies told TODAY Parents she has already given her former co-star her best piece of parenting advice.
Backstage at the 2017 Mom 2.0 Summit conference, sponsored by Dove and held in Orlando, Florida, recently, the former star of "The Good Wife" and mother of 9-year-old son Kieran said that both her mother and her father gave her the parenting advice on separate occasions, and now, she passes it along to others.
"They told me, 'Something you have to remember is that you don't own your children, you can only guide them," Margulies said.
Margulies said she thinks that so often, parenting is "a reflection of yourself, so there's sort of this micromanaging anxiety to it."
She added, "I find myself constantly saying, 'Did you say thank you? Did you say please?' and all I can really do is lead by example and say 'please' and 'thank you' myself."
The New York City resident said she was relieved recently to see that her example is working. "When we were getting out of a taxi the other day, I noticed that Kieran said, 'Thanks! Have a good day!'" said Margulies.
"I just thought, 'Oh, he's hearing it,'" she said. "And they do, kids hear it. So my advice to all parents is what my parents told me, which is that you're only his guide, you're not his owner."
Margulies said she practices this advice not just by leading by example, but also by giving Kieran the space to be himself. "You need to let children breathe and discover who they are, to make mistakes and learn from them," she said.
"And now that he is nine, he'll argue my own argument back to me now. If he forgets his homework, he'll say, 'Mom, I learned a really good mistake, and it won't happen again.' How can I argue with that?" she laughed.