Talk show star and actress Kelly Ripa has three children with her husband, Mark Consuelos. These are 21-year-old Michael, 17-year-old Lola and 15-year-old Joaquin. And while that may be perfectly ordinary, much has been made in the media about Kelly’s parenting style. So is she too strict with her kids, or is she simply taking unpopular but appropriate steps? Well, you can be the judge as we look at 20 rules she says her children must follow.
20. Prevention is better than cure
Having a sick child can be awful, so Kelly goes all out to prevent that from happening. “My house is like the CDC. I’m all about containment,” she told WebMD in 2008. “We keep things really clean, really neat. The rooms are hydrated with humidifiers. When Michael was first in school, I had pinkeye six times that year. Now, it’s prevention, prevention, prevention. We do supplements, probiotics, you name it.”
19. Television time is strictly limited
Both Kelly and Mark are on television, but they still reportedly don’t let their kids watch much of it. It’s even been rumored that Kelly insists that her children only have one hour of TV during the weekends. The rest of the time they’re apparently supposed to find other ways to entertain themselves. But that would mean that they’d miss their dad’s hit TV show, Riverdale.
18. Definitely no arguing in emergencies
Unfortunately, all parents have to consider at some point that they might face dangerous circumstances. Kelly certainly has. “This is New York. There could be a terrorist attack,” she told WebMD. “And I can just see me having to debate with Lola about why we have to leave right this minute. I’ve literally had to say to her: ‘Honey, if there’s an emergency, you don’t have the liberty to argue with mommy, okay?’”
17. Junk food must be limited
A lot of parents have rules in place regarding junk food, and Kelly is one of them. She eats healthily, after all, so she expects her children to as well. “They don’t have a choice,” she told Shape magazine in 2011. “We don’t keep a lot of junk in the house, so they eat what’s there, which is a big bowl of fresh fruit.”
16. Thank-you letters must be written
Kelly is seemingly determined to raise well-mannered kids and that includes having them pen thank-you notes whenever they receive gifts. “I am very serious about sending thank-you notes – to the point where my oldest son, Michael, has asked to not have birthday presents anymore because he doesn’t want the burden of thank-you letters,” she told People in 2010.
15. No failing Spanish lessons
For Kelly, all studying is important – but especially learning Spanish. In 2014 she told Wendy Williams that she’d had to take Lola’s phone away because she was playing with it instead of learning the language. “I’m like, ‘You’re half-Mexican. Your grandmother is a Spanish teacher. You’re not allowed to fail Spanish. It’s the one thing you’re not allowed to fail,’” Kelly explained.
14. Phones are not a right
Speaking of phones, Kelly has seemingly reserved the right to take her children’s ones away at any time. That’s because she considers possessing one as a privilege. And she’s mentioned this on Live with Kelly and Ryan several times. So if one of her kids breaks curfew, gets bad grades or does anything else objectionable, away goes the main phone and any burner phones.
13. Family dinners are important
The tradition of family dinner is a very important one in Kelly’s home. In 2015, as her son Michael was leaving home for college, she explained her thinking to ABC News. “It means so much to the kids. It means so much to me. Does it always go as planned? Of course not,” she said. “But guess what? We are together. We have these meaningful conversations. We talk about the days of our children. That’s what’s interesting to us.”
12. Clothes are picked out by mom
Kelly told WebMD that she picks out clothes for her daughter, Lola – at least to some extent. “With Lola, everything is up for debate. Everything is a conversation,” she said. “First thing in the morning, it’s a major discussion about what she’s going to wear. I’ve learned to give her limited options: ‘You can wear this or this.’ That’s what works best.”
11. Punishments should be real
In 2012 Kelly did an interview with Good Housekeeping in which she pondered over whether she or her husband was the “good cop” parent. “He’s more apt to dole out discipline, but my punishments are real,” she said. “When we’re traveling, Mark will say, ‘If you don’t stop, I’m going to have the pilot turn this plane around.’ I’ll whisper to him, ‘They know you can’t do that. The airline isn’t going to turn this plane around because you’re punishing the kids.’”
10. Phones aren’t private
Kelly is open about the controversial matter of whether it’s okay to go through your child’s phone. In 2014, for instance, she detailed to The Wendy Williams Show about a time she went though Lola’s. “There was her phone, and it’s not supposed to be there during study hours. So I was like, ‘Let me just dial in her code.’ She knows I know her code, but she doesn’t think I would ever abuse that privilege.”
9. Nor is social media
Kelly also told Wendy Williams that her kids shouldn’t expect privacy on the internet. So if they post anything online, she is probably going to find it. “You can’t have privacy and be on Instagram,” she said. “Privacy is for if you want to write a letter or write in your journal. I’m not going to read that. But if you want to tweet about what a pain in the butt your mom is, I’m gonna see that.”
8. Call your mother
Despite being 48 years old, Kelly is still not afraid to call up her mom, Esther, when she has a problem. “My mother and I are very different… but I call her all the time for advice,” she told WebMD. And she’s also close to her mother-in-law, Camilla Consuelos. So it seems like her kids will have a great support system if they decide to become parents themselves.
7. No interrupting at dinner
In 2010 Kelly told People about her dinnertime rules for the children. One states that there is to be no interrupting. “I don’t tolerate piggish behavior in kids, and mine have learned the hard way,” she said. “Lola and Joaquin actually like to cut each other off, so we work on letting everyone finish their thoughts respectfully.”
6. Mom can be a prison warden
A lot of parents would be unsure about comparing themselves to as strong an authority figure as a prison warden. But not Kelly. This occurred when the TV star explained how she will look for her children’s forbidden phones. “It starts with me tossing the room like a prison warden because I know there’s a hidden device that I haven’t found yet,” she told Megyn Kelly. “I know because I just know. So I find the hidden cell phone that is buried… And I confiscate it.”
5. Curfews are enforced
Prom night is an important milestone, but Lola still had to have a curfew in place when she had hers in June 2018. So after being out with her date, whom Mom described on Live with Kelly and Ryan as “the loveliest kid,” she arrived home early.
4. Kids have to earn their privileges back
The talk show star also mentioned on Live with Kelly and Ryan that, thanks to her, the kids have become very good at negotiating. In fact, Lola had had an earlier prom curfew before she’d managed to talk her parents round. “She is a trained assassin. I had never seen a kid negotiate a contract this way, and then at a certain point she had us negotiating against ourselves. She is that good,” Kelly said proudly.
3. No contradicting in public
In 2017 Lola actually appeared on Live alongside Kelly. And while cooking, Lola was asked, “What drives you the craziest about your mom?” To which Lola told Kelly, “You tell stories about me that are just not true.” The answer got a big laugh from the studio audience, but Kelly nonetheless stood up for herself – and her stories. So some people think that a few new rules might have been put in place that day.
2. Keep to the schedule
Another thing Kelly shared with WebMD was that her children’s lives run very much on schedule. “I’m big on letting my kids know exactly what to expect. I think children are consistency junkies; they need schedules and parameters, and it’s up to us to provide them,” she said. “My kids understand that we love them no matter what – and they also know that ‘no’ means no.”
1. Mom is not your friend
Kelly may love her children, but it’s as a mother and not a BFF. In 2014 she explained to Wendy Williams how that worked in regard to Lola. “I don’t think she likes me, but I don’t care. I’m like, ‘I’m not your friend. I’m your mom,’” Kelly said. “I just feel an obligation as her mom to keep her living in the real world. I don’t care who you are or what you do, if you’re a mom, you’re a mom.”