Whether it’s Santa Claus or the sex talk, Kristen Bell doesn’t lie to her kids.
The Frozen II star is a proud mom to two daughters with husband Dax Shepard—6-year-old Lincoln and 5-year-old Delta. And, as she explained in an upcoming interview for the Motherly Podcast‘s season three launch on Thursday, hosted by Elizabeth Tenety, there’s a reason those little ones know Santa is not real.
“I was told by a mom that I really respect, ‘Don’t ever let, especially a daughter, look at you when they’re 11 years old and be able to think, What else have you lied about?'” Bell said she took the advice seriously and realistically, so when one of her daughters, then just over 3 years old, raised some questions about the holiday figure, Bell came clean.
“She said, ‘You know, something stinks about this whole Santa thing because if a flight to Europe takes that long, how can he make it back?’ And my husband and I looked at each other and I immediately thought, ‘Am I going to look at this little girl and tell her to stop the instinct in her body that tells her when something’s wrong and to ask questions? Or am I going to reward this behavior of critical thinking?'” she explained in the interview.
Bell said the decision to answer honestly felt “liberating.” “I thought I’m giving her this wonderful feminist gift. And then she was like, ‘Oh, that’s a bummer’…I said, ‘Well, you know what? It’s a wonderful imagination game that we play. We can still play it.’ By the way, her sister, her little sister has been told numerous times [and still believes].”
While Bell clarified that she’s not saying you need to tell your own kids, Kristen pointed out the potential discrepancies her daughter could have continued to notice. “If she’s saying to me, ‘Ok, so once a year breaking and entering is okay, I’m going to go,’ ‘Nah.’ And you know what? Good on you for saying something about it.”
As for the sex talk, “I do feel strongly about that. I would give advice to like the Santa Claus thing is up to every individual person, but the sex thing, I’m like, there is nothing wrong with knowing how the penis works and how the vagina works,” the actress said.
“I just don’t understand the American shame in that. In fact, I think it equips them to understand pregnancy way better. The agency they have over their bodies to say, ‘Oh yeah, this is how it works…Daddy has a penis, mommy has a vagina. Here’s how it works. And here’s the part of daddy’s DNA and the part of mommy’s DNA that grows you like a seed.”
“And by the way,” she noted, “they’re so bored by the second sentence.”