'Real Housewives' Star Caroline Manzo Preaches Tough Love When It Comes to Raising Kids

Caroline ManzoWhen it comes to how she raises her children, Real Housewives of New Jersey star Caroline Manzo is all about tough love. The mother of three, who is currently filming her Housewives spin-off Manzo'd With Children, firmly believes that her kids Albie, Christopher, and Lauren need to make their own mistakes in order to learn and sometimes that means watching them fail.

We recently caught up with Caroline in an exclusive interview and asked her about her time on Real Housewives and for her tips on raising kids, in and out of the spotlight. You may be surprised by how down-to-earth this Bravolebrity really is.

Read on for our interview with Caroline Manzo, here:

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We saw how hard it was for you to deal with Lauren, Albie, and Chris moving out of the house. What tips would you give to a mom in that situation?

It's all right to cry. I always say when you're expecting, you have this little seed inside you, you give birth, and it's this little plant, and then you nurture it for all those years. You shield it from storms and you feed it, you take care of it and watch it grow into a mighty oak.

Well one day the mighty oak is gonna stand by itself. It's a bittersweet moment. To be proud of them wanting to go out, you raise them to let them grow. It's hard on your heart, it's supposed to be. At the same time allow yourself that time to cry and to feel bad because it's just a natural emotion. After that, though, find yourself again. Live and do what makes you happy. They're gonna be back and the relationship will shift. It's not over, it just shifts. It gets better.

Talk to me about your parenting style.

It's not sugar-coated, we've never sugar-coated anything in their lives, but they got so much love. When we were with them, we were with only them. Cellphones are down, the Internet was off, and it's always been a very one-on-one experience with our kids, and it still is now.

As old as they are now, we're still together a lot. That's not because I insist, it's because of Mom, Dad, come hang out with us. For kids in their mid-20s, I think that we've earned the right to say we did a hell of a job, because we have three tremendous kids. Not just because they're mine, but because they are nice people.

You say you spend a lot of time with your kids. Do you think you're over-involved in your kids' lives?

I am there. You look to the side, and even when I'm not there -- I'm there. I'm a phone call away. I'm a text away. Same with their father. I don't pry into their lives at all, they tell us what they want to tell us. I can go a day, three days, four days without seeing my sons -- and then I'll get a text from them saying, "Love you." I just wanna know you're alive.

I don't meddle, we do have an extraordinary relationship with our kids. Maybe there are things that they won't necessarily tell Mom, but they'll tell Dad. We are extraordinarily close but we don't burden each other at all.

I'm curious, would you have signed up for Real Housewives the show if your kids were younger?

Absolutely not. There's a fine line. I mean define younger ... when you have little ones -- toddlers, preschool -- that's all right just keep it in the background a little bit. You see them on the show, but they're not really involved. When kids are school-age they've got enough to deal with finding out in their little brains who they want to be. As an adult it's hard to navigate the waters of celebrity. Can you imagine what it's like for kids and in school?

What do you think about Caroline's parenting style?

 

Image via Caroline Manzo

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