Jennifer Garner Says She Was A "Nightmare" When Parenting Her Oldest Daughter
She also revealed why her kids prefer to watch Ben Affleck’s movies.
During a recent cover story interview with Allure magazine, actor Jennifer Garner opened up about single motherhood, always being the “nice girl,” and some parenting choices she wishes she could re-do — especially when it came to her eldest child, Violet.
Garner admitted to the magazine that raising kids in 2023 is totally different compared to when she was growing up. She pointed out that her oldest daughter “didn’t have a shot,” joking that she was a “nightmare” to be around.
“We didn’t have the eyes on us that our kids have. I was such a first-time mom. [My eldest daughter] didn’t have a shot. She couldn’t have a free thought — I was all over her. I was a nightmare for everyone around me,” she said.
Since her kids — Violet Anne, 17, Seraphina Rose, 13, and Samuel, 10 — have grown into teens and tweens, Jennifer has learned to “have a lot of faith” in them. Although she doesn't “love every behavior all the time,” she trusts they will come into their own in the best possible way.
“Your kids will really figure out who they are and what they are when they're older,” she added, “and most likely they will hew toward lovely.”
In April, she revealed to Today that she hasn’t let any of her kids on social media, something that she won’t budge on and something that she says Violet is finally grateful for.
"I just said to my kids, 'Show me the articles that prove that social media is good for teenagers, and then we'll have the conversation,'" she told Today. "Find scientific evidence that matches what I have that says that it's not good for teenagers. Then we'll chat. My eldest is grateful. It's a long haul."
Garner — who is currently promoting her film, The Last Thing He Told Me, streaming on Apple+ — admitted that while she trusts her kids will be nice people, she herself struggles with her perceived “nice girl” image.
“The problem with, ‘Oh, she's so nice'," she told Allure, “is that when I have any kind of boundary, people think of it as much more than it actually is.”
Garner confessed that there’s pressure to put on a nice face even on the worst days because of her public image. “The problem is being recognized on a day where I'm not so nice or when I have blackness in my soul,” she continued. “I've definitely had days where I just can't do it. I scowl at people before they can walk up to me. I'm not perfect, and I don't think I'm rude, but I'm not good at being fake.”
The 13 Going On 30 star also told Allure that her kids prefer to see her in a “mom” role over her on-screen performances. In fact, they opt for watching their dad — Garner’s ex-husband, Ben Affleck — on screen over Garner.
“They don't mind watching their dad," she admitted, "but they kind of want me to be their mom. They don't want to see me upset and women cry more in what we do. And they don't really want to see me in a romantic thing.”
Affleck, 50, also alluded to this during a Hollywood Reporter interview, saying Violet, Seraphina and Samuel only like films where they can “make fun of” him.
“They just [find] the whole thing kind of preposterous,” the Air star said before sharing their opinions of Armageddon and Goodwill Hunting.
Garner also revealed that she always knew she wanted to be a mom.
“Being a mother was one thing I knew I was going to be,” she said. “I really could have been a mother in any way. I could have adopted, I could have fostered, but there was no doubt I was going to be a mom. I mean, I was the kid with the doll everywhere I went.”