Molly Ringwald Talks Parenting A 16-Year-Old When You're An '80s Teen Icon

The actor opened up about social media, family dinner and more ahead of her Super Bowl ad.
Molly Ringwald and Mathilda Gianopoulos attend the "Dabka" premiere on April 27, 2017, in New York City.
Ilya S. Savenok via Getty Images
Molly Ringwald and Mathilda Gianopoulos attend the "Dabka" premiere on April 27, 2017, in New York City.

Molly Ringwald may have been an ’80s teen icon, but when it comes to raising a teenager, she admits she feels as lost and clueless as other parents.

“I thought I would’ve had a little bit more edge or info or intel or something. But I feel like I’m very often just as confused and perplexed as anyone else,” she told HuffPost while discussing her upcoming Super Bowl ad for Avocados From Mexico.

Ringwald and her husband, Panio Gianopoulos, have three children ― 16-year-old Mathilda and 10-year-old twins Adele and Roman.

“My 10-year-old girl is basically a teenager already,” Ringwald joked, adding that things are different for young people these days.

“I think it’s a lot harder to be a teenager today. I feel like all of the insecurities, the highs and lows, the way that teenagers feel is the same. But there are so many other aspects that aggravate their lives,” she explained.

“We didn’t have 24/7 Instagram and other social media. I think that makes things very hard,” the actor said. “It makes it harder to focus, so they miss out on a lot of great things. I was really into films when I was young, and I could sit down and watch a long, slow-paced film. But I think kids are sort of losing their ability to do that now.”

Still, in many other ways, “they’re doing great,” she added. “My daughter has amazing taste in books. She loves Kurt Vonnegut, which I’d say the average 16-year-old isn’t reading today. She really just gets books.”

In this way, Mathilda is very similar to her mother, who is also an avid reader and has even published three books.

“Reading was a huge part of my life growing up,” Ringwald recalled. “Books gave me a lot of solace and made me feel less alone in the world. They gave me that feeling that there’s something else out there. I feel like that’s so important for teenagers to have that feeling ― that it’s not always going to be like this, that the world is a big place and there’s a lot of things to do and places to go.”

In addition to reading time, family dinner and breakfast are occasions for unplugging in Ringwald’s house.

“We decided family dinner would be the time everybody puts their devices down and hangs out and talks. I think it’s really important,” she said. “I credit my husband because he’s the one that gets it done. I like to say I’m a fancy chef and he’s the diner chef. He can cook a bunch of different things for a bunch of different people and get it on the table. He kind of reminds me of my mom in that way.”

Although Ringwald is a proud avocado fanatic and spokesperson for Avocados From Mexico, she said her kids don’t quite share her love.

“My kids are not adventurous eaters. They basically live on air. I don’t know how my kids survive with how picky they are,” she said.

Still, they do share her interest in performing. Ringwald noted that both of her daughters have said they want to pursue acting careers and that all three kids have done some modeling. Not all of them have seen their mom’s biggest films yet.

“My 16-year-old has watched ‘The Breakfast Club.’ I am getting ready to show the other ones the movies, but I’m not quite there yet,” she said. “I feel like it’s a rite of passage and I’m just not ready. There’s time though.”

In the meantime, Ringwald’s kids have become big fans of “The Mandalorian” and have nightly discussions about the TV series before bedtime. They also recently watched another iconic teen movie.

“We just watched ‘Mean Girls,’ which is funny because I feel like in certain ways, it channels the John Hughes films,” said Ringwald. “There are definitely nods to them.”

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