Kate Hudson's successful approach to parenting doesn't involve punishment: 'I'm not into that'

Kate Hudson knows that the big secret to keeping it all together is actually contradictory in its nature.

“When I started structuring my life a little bit better, I actually felt more freedom,” she says.

The actress and WW ambassador spoke exclusively with AOL to talk about her wellness journey and balancing motherhood with self-care without losing that Oscar-nominated smile.

“Structure for me was a great lesson for me growing into my adulthood,” Hudson shares. “Mentally, we need the ability to be flexible. What that means is that if you’re too structured, if you start creating too much pressure on yourself to stay so structured, you’re probably not going to be so fun.”

The actress shares that WW’s newest program, myWW+, has been a way for her to find that balance in a trackable, livable way.

“[WW] has done so much research, they really know how to create the right kind of structure that helps you live a more flexible lifestyle,” she says. “It is a community where people want to help people. And I think I think things like that are really needed right now.”

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“Look, I’m no expert,” she says candidly. “I just know that for me, I have the natural ability to be more to be disciplined. I don’t know that if that’s because I was in dance my whole life — I don’t know what that comes from. But I also know how hard it is to stay disciplined. I know how daunting it is, to feel like you have this sort of wellness road ahead of you and that you’re just not going to, you know, hit the markers, and how discouraging that can be.”

The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t been easy on anyone, with many people seeing parts of their physical and mental well-being deteriorate or take a back seat.

Hudson checks in with herself on a holistic scale, measuring wellness as “how you wake up to the day and how you feel in that moment,” versus quantifiable numbers and metrics, like calories and weight.

It’s something that the mother of three hopes that her children — sons Ryder Russell (16) and Bingham ‘Bing’ Hawn (9) and daughter Rani Rose (2) — will learn to do, too.

“I like creating a world where ‘I understand and you do by action’ … for me, it’s more about what you’re teaching them versus what you’re punishing them for doing that’s wrong. I’m not into that latter.”

Hudson follows this top-down approach across all areas of parenting: “I’m more strict with emotional, behavioral things than I am with food,” she notes — and it’s been especially impactful for her daughter, Rani, who will often run to join her mom in yoga practice and daily meditation.

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The star also indulges her family in “Friday funday” where the kids get to choose whatever they want to eat that day, which often calls for fast food and the West Coast-coveted In-N-Out burger.

“You want your kids to feel the freedom that they can enjoy and do things that they see other people doing,” she says. “I want them to have fun in their lives. I want them to be happy and I want them to know what it is to be healthy and I want to be able to create an environment where they can [experience that].”

It’s something that she learned in her own childhood from her mom, Oscar-winning actress Goldie Hawn, who followed a “trial and error” approach to wellness.

“I was raised with a mom that was bringing home crazy mushroom tinctures from China because they helped her immune system back in ’87 when that was sort of very fringe,” Hudson laughs. “But now we know how mushrooms are amazing immunity support … it’s like science catches up, as it should, as it does.”

But the ever-bubbly and laidback mother of three admits that this holiday season, it’s more difficult to stay positive amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m optimistic by nature, it’s just in me,” she points out. “But that being said, I can’t help but feel so much loss. Sometimes I’ll go out and I’ll look around, and I’ll be like, ‘Wow, this is weird. This is really weird.’ And I don’t want to be in denial of that. There is a bittersweet nature to the holidays for me this year. And I’m just gonna go with it. It just is what it is.”

Though there is much to look forward to in 2021, Hudson emphasizes the importance of taking time to send out “healing energy” to those who need it most.

“We want to try to count our blessings and feel the love of our immediate family and closeness and not take those things for granted,” she says. “But at the end of the day, I really do feel a weighted-ness to this year … we just keep moving, hopefully, towards better days and more connectivity.”

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