MATERNAL WISDOM

Famous Mom Advice

She's an early child development expert who raised an Oscar-winning actor. Just in time for Mother's Day, Matt Damon's mom dishes on her parenting philosophy. Plus, we hear from the mothers of Chris Colfer, Shaquille O'Neal, Rebecca Black and Lindsay Lohan.

Karyn Colfer, Mother of Chris Colfer

Housewife
Clovis, Calif.

Her Parenting Secret: "I always just tell [Chris], 'Don't forget where you came from,' and 'You have to be true to yourself.'"

On Parenting Surprises: "It's really surreal to be grocery shopping and hear him singing over my head, or to have people pick up magazines and see [them] looking at him. I sometimes want to say, 'Oh, that's my kid!' But you just sort of chuckle to yourself and move on."

On Unconditional Love: "I love my son. Period. What his choices are, those are his choices … If people have a problem with it, that's their problem. All I want is for my son to be happy."

Gregg DeGuire / Getty Images

Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Mother of Matt Damon

Professor/Author
Cambridge, Mass.

On Goals: "I wanted my two sons to grow up having a sense of inner security that they could depend on, no matter what ups and downs life might bring. It seemed to me that more than anything, each boy's own internal compass would be his best guide in life."

On Being Supportive: "When my sons expressed themselves and their budding opinions and will, I did my best to listen deeply and tried to see the world as they did. When there were conflicts, I tried to 'let go of the rope' and get on the same side of problems with them and solve things from that shared place.

On Listening: "Matt and Kyle listened to me the way I listened to them. [They] took my advice, sensing I had their best interests at heart, and that I was in fact their mother whom they knew they could trust."

Ron Schwane / AP Photo

Lucille O'Neal, Mother of Shaquille O'Neal

Author/Speaker
Orlando, Fla.

On Communication: "I have four [children] and Shaquille is my oldest. I've learned to listen a lot more, and just by listening it allowed me to have greater respect. That's something that a lot of parents don't even try to do; we're so busy instructing and teaching that we don't take time to listen."

What She's Learned: "That you can never know enough. There's always room for improvement in every area of your life, so strive to get better in all the things you do, from sports to real life. Continue to learn as long as you live."

Her Advice to Other Parents: "I want to tell parents to be careful how [you] speak to [your] children, because the words they speak can either lift them up or break them down. Words are very powerful. And don't forget about unconditional love. It's exactly what it means. We need to love [our children] at all times. They don't always do what we want, but they should be allowed to speak their opinion, and do what they feel they need to do in their lives."

Mark Sullivan, WireImage / Getty Images

Georgina Marquez, Mother of Rebecca Black

Veterinarian
Anaheim, Calif.

On Rules: "I just think there are pretty basic rules to parenting. [Number one]: Kids always come first. Two: I teach them to be respectful, [and] to understand there are certain boundaries. I ask them that wherever it is they are, and whatever it is they're doing, to be present, be engaged, and give it their all. It doesn't matter if you're at school or in the recording studio, give it all you've got."

On Lessons: "Own what you do, hold your head up high, believe in yourself … If people are not kind to you, don't drop down to their level and be unkind back."

On Discipline: "One time, [Rebecca] forgot her schoolbooks three days in a row, and we went back each time to get her books. I gave her a warning that if she forgot again, she was going to lose all her stuff. So, the fourth time, we didn't go back to get her book, and I took all her toys away. That drove the point home. She never again forgot her schoolbooks."

Georganne Hemmer, Mother of Fox News Anchor Bill Hemmer

Proud Housewife/Entrepreneur
Cincinnati, Ohio

On Humility: “The humility to me is very, very important. And it’s hard too. I think it’s hard when “celebrities,” of course we don’t consider Billy a celebrity, but being the fact that he’s well-known, I’ve been up to New York, and I do find it very surprising how much people flock to him at restaurants and want an autograph. It’s hard to keep your head on straight.”

Parenting Tips: “In a nutshell, pray and consistency would be my secrets to parenting. You have to be consistent, and that’s very difficult. Children go to one parent or another and try to get one to give in, but you need to remember what you tell them. But prayer and god is first. To be humble, I think, is very important, too. We have five kids and we taught them all the same way; to be truthful, sometimes that hurts and you can get fired for that, and to be someone people can trust.”

Follies of Youth: “When he was 16, he got his license of course, and my husband went out driving with him. Someone gave [Bill] a cowboy hat, and he looked rather arrogant with the hat on behind the wheel. We have a stretch of road down by the Ohio river and you can pretty much get up speed down there. He did. And my husband kept saying, ‘Billy, slow down, slow down!’ And he got caught and ticketed his first day. I don’t remember if we immediately took away his license, but he didn’t get another for a long time.”

AP Photo

Dina Lohan, Mother of Lindsay Lohan

Manager/Entrepreneur
Merrick, N.Y.

On Being a Single Mom: "The secret to single parenting is to just teach them what you can teach them ... And you pray that instills in them for the rest of their life. You let them go, and if they fall, you're there to pick them up."

On Discipline: "The boys got into more mischief. Lindsay, I'm trying to think… she was always good in school and was like my little buddy. She never really got into too much mischief young. She was a late bloomer."

On Being in the Spotlight: "No child's perfect. They're going to get into trouble, whether it's big or small. Unfortunately, we're a global name so they know about it in Indonesia. But just be there for your child, and if you see signs that they're doing things they shouldn't be doing, get them help."