40+ Famous People Who Used “Controversial” Parenting Methods

40+ Famous People Who Used “Controversial” Parenting Methods

There are various methods to raise children, each unique to its own. For instance, some individuals prefer gathering knowledge by reading several parenting books, while some depend on their loved ones for guidance and encouragement. However, the celebrities enlisted in this list adopt some unconventional parenting style, varying from authoritative to carefree. They follow a unique set of rules and practices, ranging from unconventional diets to traditional parenting techniques. Come, let’s explore the peculiar approaches, habits, and principles implemented by celebrated parents.

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard

Our initial unconventional approach to parenting, which involves putting your child in their bedroom during bedtime, has gained notoriety among many parents. While some may consider it severe or unkind, others like celebrities Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard believe that it is acceptable.

The parents have acknowledged that they confine their child Delta in her room until she exhausts herself. Kristen has expressed that she understands this may be a disputable decision, but they stand at the door and reassure their daughter of their love while informing her it’s time for sleep. The conversation will continue in the morning.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith

The parental approach of the well-known couple in the acting industry, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, can be considered atypical. They are recognized for providing their children Willow and Jaden with a considerable degree of autonomy. One instance of such freedom was when they gave permission to Willow, their daughter, to shave her head while she was still 11 years old.

The Smiths follow the “circle of safety” approach in parenting, where their children are allowed to freely express themselves without any fear of being disciplined. Will elaborates that they believe in providing their kids with maximum autonomy at an early age.

Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder

Coming up next is a duo of performers, namely Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder. Normally, when a family has a new addition to the household, they would have guests and take pictures with family members. However, this did not happen in the Reed-Somerhalder household.

Instead, the two of them decided to switch off their phones and refrain from having guests for a period of one month. Nikki justified this choice by stating that if they didn’t do this, they would constantly be interrupted with requests such as “How are you feeling?” and “Can we take a picture?” which would prevent them from truly experiencing the first month of parenthood.

Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher

Although Christmas is usually linked with presents by a lot of children, the Kunis-Kutcher kids have a different view. Ashton and Mila, who are both actors, have a daughter named Wyatt and a son named Dimitri. Being famous parents, they did not want their kids to be overindulged and thus requested their family and friends to make a donation to charity in their children’s names instead.

However, in this family, there is not just a single parenting approach that is considered controversial. Mila and Ashton also disclosed during a podcast that they only give their children a bath whenever they detect dirt on their bodies. How intriguing!

Keira Knightley and James Righton

A lot of young girls usually watch Disney films while growing up, however, Keira Knightley’s kids are an exception. Being an English actress, she did not want her daughters to encounter outdated gender notions. Due to this, Delilah and Edie were not permitted to watch classic Disney movies such as Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid.

The probability is that kids will have a stronger desire to see something that is forbidden to them. Eventually, the assistant’s daughters watched the movies and were upset to witness the prince kissing the princess without her consent, and the assistant cheers for her daughters.

Alanis Morissette and Mario “Souleye” Treadway

On this list, there are multiple famous individuals who strongly support breastfeeding. We comprehend their reasoning behind this. Nonetheless, it can be a contentious topic when it comes to nursing your child for more than a few years.

Alanis Morissette, the Canadian-American musician, permitted her offspring to determine the appropriate time to end their breastfeeding. She explained that some children may discontinue it after two years while others may do so later on, and that it solely depends on the child. She also noted that she will halt the practice once the child indicates that it’s time to stop.

Kelly Preston and John Travolta

There are numerous debatable topics in regards to Scientology, one being silent birth. This involves mothers being required to deliver their baby without making any noise.

According to Kelly Preston, the wife of John Travolta, silent birth means minimizing the use of words as much as possible during the delivery process. It is okay to moan or cry out, but the goal is to bring the baby into the world as peacefully and gently as possible.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Did you certainly anticipate the inclusion of actress Gwyneth Paltrow in this list, correct? This leading lady is recognized for her wellness brand Goop and her disputable beliefs regarding health and nutrition. During her children’s younger years, she restricted their television viewing to Spanish or French language programming.

According to Gwyneth, she goes to Boulevard Beaumarchais in France to purchase all their cartoons, suggesting that her children Apple and Moses may also have multilingual abilities similar to their mother who is fluent in English, Spanish, and French.

Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem

Spanish celebrity Penelope Cruz, among other famous stars, adheres to the parenting philosophy called Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE). This approach emphasizes treating infants with respect, avoiding over-involvement, such as being a helicopter parent, and not using baby talk or giving them items like sippy cups.

Together, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem have a son named Leo and a daughter named Luna. Children who are brought up according to the RIE method do not use items such as bouncers, high chairs, baby walkers or pacifiers.

Candace Cameron Bure and Valeri Bure

Several countries, such as Brazil, Iceland, Kenya, New Zealand, and Venezuela, have banned parents from spanking their children. While in the UK, spanking is permitted as long as it is considered as “reasonable punishment,” but parents might face legal actions for assault when they leave a mark on their child.

Despite the fact that spanking is legal in all states of the US, it is still a commonly used practice among many famous parents. Candace Cameron Bure, an American actress and talk show panelist, has publicly expressed her support for spanking as a means of discipline.

Kourtney Kardashian

If you are a follower of the Kardashian-Jenner family, you may be aware that the eldest sibling Kourtney is highly concerned about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As a consequence, she enforces a fairly rigid diet for her children. Mason, Penelope, and Reign avoid consuming gluten, sugar, and dairy products. Additionally, Kourtney has refrained from installing a microwave device in her home.

Not long ago, Kourtney revealed that her son Mason requested McDonald’s French fries but she declined by saying, “Apologies, today is not suitable.” On a separate occasion, the celebrity disclosed that her son labels people who provide him with unhealthy snacks as “unfavorable.”


According to sources, the famous Pop artist admits to being a somewhat strict disciplinarian when it comes to parenting. In a somewhat controversial move, the celebrity revealed that on occasions when her daughter Lourdes would leave soiled clothes on the ground, she would take them away and require her to work for their return. Specifically, she asserted that Lourdes would need to wear the same outfit to school each day until she learned her lesson.

Additionally, it is expected that Madonna’s children adhere to a rigorous macrobiotic eating regimen. They are limited to consuming Kabbalah water, which has been sanctified by leaders within the Kabbalah community.

Jenny McCarthy

Jenny McCarthy, an actress and panelist on talk shows, has been vocal about her views on vaccines for a long time. McCarthy’s son is autistic and she thinks that his vaccinations during childhood caused his autism. However, it is crucial to mention that there is no evidence to support a connection between the two.

It is crucial to understand that individuals with autism are excellent just the way they are. Jenny McCarthy’s controversial views on vaccines have faced severe backlash, with many labeling her as risky, careless, and ill-informed.

Kim Zolciak-Biermann and Kroy Biermann

Those who follow the Real Housewives series are aware that Kim Zolciak-Biermann does not conform to the traditional image of a mother. Kim and her husband Kroy, a former NFL player, have been subject to backlash for permitting their five-year-old daughter Kaia to wear makeup.

Although some parents allow their children to try out cosmetics in the comfort of their own homes, Kim went a step further and posted videos of Kaia putting on lipstick on social media. To add to that, Kim’s oldest daughter Brielle disclosed that they buy makeup for Kaia, which stirred up more interest in the matter.

Ice-T and Coco Austin

In 2002, Coco Austin, a TV personality, and rapper Ice-T tied the knot. They welcomed their daughter Chanel in 2015. Recently, the couple faced criticism for treating their daughter like a baby even when she wasn’t a toddler anymore. For instance, Chanel was breastfed until reaching the age of five.

On top of that, the couple’s daughter was still getting pushed around in a stroller when she was six years old. Generally, this stops at around three or four. The couple wasn’t bothered by online criticism, saying they would continue to do their own thing.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

Now separated couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have a similar parenting method to Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. The couple didn’t believe in keeping secrets from their kids.

Brad shared, “We have a policy in our family, no secrets […] I mean, there’s an age of understanding, so you’ve got to present it in a way that is age-appropriate, but we know our children very well […] We want everything to be on the table and any questions they have, for them to ask.”

Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott

Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott raise their kids in a very different way than Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher do. While Mila and Ashton give their kids no Christmas gifts, Kylie and Travis shower their children with expensive items.

Little Stormi Webster, who’s still a toddler, has diamond jewelry and designer clothes. Interestingly, when Stormi was first born, Kylie wore surgical masks when interacting with her. She also had a strict guest list and sign-in sheet for visiting family and friends.

Michelle Duggar and Jim Bob Duggar

Clearly, the Duggar family is extremely controversial in general. The former reality stars have faced serious criticism about their handling of eldest son Josh, who’s currently in prison. Asides from that, the parents of 19 follow very controversial parenting practices.

Michelle Duggar has shared that she used “blanket training” on her children. This involves setting young kids on a blanket with a toy just out of reach, and punishing them if they left the blanket to get the toy.

Farrah Abraham

Another reality star that has faced criticism over her controversial parenting methods is Farrah Abraham. The Teen Mom cast member waxed and plucked her three-year-old daughter’s eyebrows because she decided she had a unibrow.

She also called her child “stupid” when she was too ill to attend her birthday party. Controversially, Farrah’s daughter Sophia used a pacifier when she was five years old. Generally, it’s recommended that kids stop using a pacifier between two and four years old.

Jessica Alba and Cash Warren

Parents have lots of different opinions and methods when it comes to disciplining their children. Actress Jessica Alba uses time-outs when her kids are acting out. Controversially, the star makes her young children stand in the corner with their noses against the wall.

The actress has shared, “My two-year-old can last 15 seconds before she’s like, ‘Okay, I’m done!’ and then I’m like, ‘Wait, it’s not up to you!’ My five-year-old can go for some time, like a minute or two.”

Julia Fox

Italian-American actress and model Julia Fox is a mom to son Valentino, who was born in 2021. The star seems to believe in a similar parenting style to Penelope Cruz, where you don’t baby your child.

She has said, “It’s not really teaching your kid anything, you just end up raising a kid that’s like helpless and doesn’t know what to do.” Julia Fox recently shared the mini mop and broom she bought her son. She wants him to know how to do things for himself.

Kathy and Rick Hilton

Several celebrities have been sent to “therapeutic boarding schools.” This usually happens when teenagers are “out of control” and their parents don’t know what to do. Paris Jackson, Drew Barrymore, and Paris Hilton were all sent to these types of facilities.

Paris Hilton has been outspoken about her experience at Provo Canyon School in Utah. She was sent there at 17 and stayed for 11 months. The star has revealed that “children were restrained, hit [and] thrown into walls.” Plus, her communication was monitored and censored.

Pink and Carey Hart

We’ve seen one celebrity spanker so far, and here we have some more. Singer Pink has said that physical discipline helped her through her rebellious years. While she hasn’t admitted to hitting her kids, she seems very open to the idea.

However, the mom of two is also a fan of attachment parenting, which seems to be contradictory to this. To add even more controversy, Pink shared in 2014 that her daughter Willow regularly swears. She described the then three-year-old as an “adorable little sailor.”

Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott

We haven’t mentioned it so far, but many celebrity parents are fans of bed-sharing or co-sleeping. While this isn’t very popular in the West, it’s completely standard in other cultures. Kourtney Kardashian is a fan of sleeping with her kids, as is American actress and reality star Tori Spelling.

Tori has revealed that she sleeps with four of her kids, and a couple of dogs. Apparently, this bed-sharing started when husband Dean McDermott was away filming for six months.

Lisa Whelchel

Now, this one is really controversial. American actress and singer Lisa Whelchel turns to hot sauce when it comes to disciplining her children. That’s right — hot sauce. When Lisa’s kids act out, she puts hot sauce on her finger and then puts that finger in their mouths.

She explained, “It does sting and the memory stays with them so that the next time they may actually have some self-control and stop before they lie or bite or something like that.”

Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler

We’ve had Jenny McCarthy, and up next is another anti-vax pair of celebrity parents. TV personality Kristin Cavallari is also concerned about childhood vaccinations causing autism. Again, we reiterate — this is not a thing. In fact, the only thing vaccinations cause is immunity to illnesses.

And really, that’s pretty invaluable. Now separated, Kristen Cavallari and Jay Cutler have three children together. None of them are vaccinated. Kristen has said, “I understand both sides of it […] it’s our personal choice.”

Christina Aguilera

Singer, actress, and TV personality Christina Aguilera has a rather unusual parenting habit. The star has two children — son Max with ex-husband Jordan Bratman, and daughter Summer with fiancé Matthew Rutler. Back in 2010. Xtina shared that she has “naked Sundays” where she walks around nude.

The star believes that her kids should be exposed to nudity and not see it as shameful. She added that there are many nude paintings in her home, which reinforce this parenting choice.

Jamie Oliver

TV chef Jamie Oliver has shared that he once rubbed his daughter’s apple slices in hot chili because she was rude to him. He said, “Poppy was quite disrespectful and rude to me and she pushed her luck. In my day, I would have got a bit of a telling-off but you are not allowed to do that.”

He continued, “She asked for an apple. I cut it up into several pieces and rubbed it with scotch bonnet and it worked a treat.”

Kelly Clarkson

We can’t seem to get away from spanking. Singer and TV personality Kelly Clarkson is another celebrity advocate of the controversial practice. She has said, “My parents spanked me, and I did fine in life, and I feel fine about it, and I do that as well.”

The star did acknowledge that spanking is “a tricky thing, when you’re out in public because then people are like, they think that’s wrong or something.” Generally, the argument against spanking is that it teaches children violence.

Nia Long

We’re now moving from one extreme to the other. On one end of the spectrum, there are the celebrities who hit their children. On the other end are the celebs who sleep in the same beds as their kids. For example, actress Nia Long slept with her child for almost a decade.

Back when her son Massai was nine years old, Nia shared, “My son still sleeps in bed with me and I love it.” Co-sleepers argue that the practice lowers stress levels for parents and children.

Alicia Silverstone

Similarly, actress Alicia Silverstone shares a bed with her 11-year-old son. Over the years, the star has shared various controversial parenting methods. For example, in 2012 Alicia posted a video of her son Bear eating her pre-chewed food out of her mouth.

While many of us associate this with baby birds, the actress maintained that it was a type of weaning. She said, “While I’m still breastfeeding, it’s just a way to introduce him to food when he doesn’t have teeth.”

Ellen Pompeo

Veganism is an increasingly popular choice among celebrities. However, it can be controversial to raise your kids to be vegan. Some argue that a totally vegan diet can be dangerous for small children who need more protein, calcium, and vitamins in order to grow.

Because of this, it’s rather controversial that actress Ellen Pompeo raises her kids as vegan. She said she returned from a doctor’s appointment and said “That’s it, we’re all vegan.” Apparently, her kids found it “fun.”

Michael Jackson

There’s no denying that Michael Jackson is a controversial person. As a parent, he made all sorts of unusual choices. Most famously, the Jackson children always had to conceal their faces in public. Considering their father’s fame, this makes sense.

However, Paris, Prince, and Blanket also had a very sheltered life. The trio were homeschooled and didn’t have any friends their own age. They practiced bed-sharing, had rationed amounts of toys, and MJ didn’t ever raise his voice with them.

Nick Cannon

TV host Nick Cannon has nine kids with six women. As of 2022, he’s expecting another two. So, what type of father is he? Well, when speaking about his twins with Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon revealed that he’s the disciplinarian.

He said, “I’ve got the loudest voice in the house, so they’ve always responded to that ever since they were newborns. They hear my voice and they freeze.” In 2013, Nick tweeted, “Spare the rod, spoil the child! […] The time-out generation has no real discipline!”

Leah Remini and Angelo Pagán

Once more we’re swinging to the other end of the controversial parenting spectrum. While Nick Cannon seems like a very strict parent, actress Leah Remini is the opposite. The star shocked the public when she revealed that her three-year-old daughter Sofia was drinking “six or more bottles a night.”

Sofia was also co-sleeping, which many assumed was a choice by Remini. In fact, Leah admitted that her daughter just ruled the house and that she was a bit of a pushover as a mom.

Shaquille O’Neal

Unfortunately, some parents treat their sons and their daughters differently. In 2022, this has to be controversial! Former basketball player and sports analyst Shaquille O’Neal has admitted that he has different rules for his kids. The former athlete is a dad of six, with three sons and three daughters.

The star told Ellen DeGeneres, “Well, my sons can date when they’re 18. And my daughters can date when they’re 24.” As well as that, each child must complete two degrees to be part of his will.

Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker

There are different recommendations when it comes to potty training. Many kids show signs of being ready between 18 and 24 months. Others start when they’re around three years old. However, Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker’s children start potty training between four and eight months old!

Singer and reality star Kandi uses a baby toilet seat. She has said, “It helps to get them used to the concept early. I don’t expect [them] to be fully potty trained early but it does help.”

Clint Eastwood

It’s perhaps not that surprising that director and actor Clint Eastwood used physical punishment with his kids. However, it’s certainly controversial for people that don’t agree with spanking. Clint’s son Scott Eastwood has said that his dad had a “very old-school” style of discipline.

In fact, Scott shared that Clint once threw him against a wall when he left his younger sister at a party. He said, “If you did something wrong, you were going to get punished. I learnt quickly.”

Kate Gosselin

Likewise, TV personality Kate Gosselin uses physical punishment with her kids. In a leaked journal entry, Kate wrote about an incident with her son Collins. It said, “I have never felt that I may seriously injure a child but today was that day.” The then two-year-old Collins had just spilled a bag of beans.

Kate has defended her use of spanking, saying, “I am a mother first. I love my children and when they misbehave, I discipline them as I deem appropriate for the situation.”

Mayim Bialik

Actress and game show host Mayim Bialik has made clear that she does believe in vaccinating her children. However, she doesn’t believe in giving her children medications or antibiotics when they’re sick. This includes remedies like cough syrup, antihistamines, and mild painkillers.

The mom of two has said, “I’ve learned from talking to other moms that almost everything you have right now in your home and your heart is enough to deal with most everything. I’m not arguing to be negligent.”

Kris Jenner

Where do we begin with Kris Jenner? Well, it’s pretty controversial to let your two young children be on reality television. Kendall and Kylie Jenner were just 12 and 10 years old when TV cameras first came into their home. Then, Kris seemed to approve of the relationship between a then-underage Kylie and rapper Tyga, who was in his 20s.

Plus, Khloé Kardashian has shared that when she was nine years old, she overheard her mom tell a friend that she “needed a nose job.” Yikes.

Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady

Here we have another celebrity family with an extremely restrictive diet. Brazilian model and American NFL player Tom Brady got married in 2009. The couple and their children all follow a rather specific mainly plant-based diet.

In fact, lots of it comes from their home garden. The Bündchen-Brady bunch doesn’t eat white sugar, white flour, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, eggplants, or strawberries. On Halloween, the kids are allowed to eat one single piece of candy.

Cardi B and Offset

We know that Stormi Webster has her own designer wardrobe. Well, so does little Kulture Kiari Cephus. In fact, Kulture, born in 2018, owns several baby Birkin purses. Rapper Cardi B has explained that her daughter saw a rainbow purse in Claire’s so they replicated the design on a Birkin bag.

That involved over one hundred hours of work and over 30,000 crystals. Cardi B defended this controversial decision by saying that “if I’m fly and daddy’s fly, then so is the kid.”

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West

While Kimye has now split up, they still made some controversial parenting decisions during their time together. And, they’re still hashing out some details. For example, rapper and designer Kanye West has decided that eldest daughter North isn’t allowed to wear makeup or crop tops.

When North was first born in 2013, Kanye didn’t want her to wear any pink as he didn’t like the color. All of the Kardashian-West children wore neutral colors in their infancy. Of course, most of them were designed by Kanye himself.

Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr.

Here we have actor-producers Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. Despite being worth a lot of money, these celebrity parents don’t want their two kids to be wasteful.

Sarah Michelle has said, “My daughter was doing this thing lately where she was asking me for a cup of milk and not drinking it. So I told her that every time she’d ask me for a cup of milk and not drink it, I would take a quarter out of her piggy bank.”

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