Interview: Cristina Ferrare On Raising Caring Kids An Interview with Hallmark’s Co-Star of "Home and Family," Cristina Ferrare, on juggling multiple responsibilities while nurturing a strong family unit. BY ANNE LEEDOM
Courtesy Hallmark Channel
Cristina Ferrare of Hallmark's "Home and Family" now in its second season.
“ He [my husband] taught me to not be judgmental, validate what I’m feeling (yes, I know that is a cliché) and most important, to listen.”
Raising caring kids is a difficult job in today’s busy world. It can be even more challenging for women who work outside of the home and have extremely demanding lives. Cristina Ferrare, TV co-star with Mark Steines of Hallmark’s Emmy-nominated "Home and Family," makes this look effortless.
At the early age of 16, Cristina Ferrare, mother, wife and chef, started a career in modeling with the Ford modeling agency in New York. Her career as a super model spanned over 25 years. She sat on the Board of Directors for "The Women’s Conference," which was headed by California’s former First Lady Maria Shriver. Her fifth and most recent cookbook, A Big Bowl of Love was released on Mother’s Day 2011 and has been widely accepted and has received raving reviews. Home and Family just began its second season and Cristina squeezed in a few minutes to share her valuable tips on how we can all raise kids with strong values, in spite of the often chaotic world around them.
Cristina, you're a very busy woman with an amazing career. Now you're hosting a top-ranked show, Home and Family. What are the most important tips parents should know when life is full of demands and kids can get lost in the shuffle?
CF: Try to remember that you can’t be everything to everybody all of the time. Yes, your kids are going to get lost in the shuffle at times but it’s a shuffle and not a kick out of the way. Your kids know you love them and are forgiving of you more than you are of yourself.
How crucial are "family rituals?" Is this a quality versus quantity issue? If so how do you define "quality?"
CF: Family rituals are the key to a healthy family life. It is something that will live inside of your children for the rest of their lives. It gives you something to look forward to and treasure. Having rituals to celebrate the home and family makes them feel secure, loved and appreciated. For me, it’s neither quality nor quantity it’s about "being in the moment."
If time is limited, how do you juggle effective? Husband, kids, siblings, their friends, how do you make everyone feel "special?"
CF: Everyone has to juggle these days, including your children. Remember they are just as overwhelmed by their day as you are with yours. Today with all the technology that’s available I send, "I love you messages," (probably too many), I let them know how my day is going and what I’m up to, I ask about their day and I make it a point to have family dinner every single night. Even if my husband and I are going out we still sit together as a family and talk. Our dinner table is a "no phone zone!" Only humans aloud at our table!
In your focus to nurture family and home, how do you handle meltdowns... starting with your own? Do your kids see you cry?
CF: I never had a meltdown in front of the kids when they were young. I did it one time in front of them when they were young adults. I’ll never do that again! They were devastated to see me in that state, not to mention the fact that to see me in that way truly frightened them.
Now, I will have my meltdowns when they happen in front of my husband who, after 30 years of marriage, knows how to navigate through those crazy waters and still be standing when I’m done. He taught me to not be judgmental, validate what I’m feeling (yes, I know that is a cliché) and most important, to listen. I have learned after seven children to listen and observe very closely because your kids will sometimes communicate with you without using words.
How do you balance future family goals? Do your kids fit into your dreams as adults or do you fit more into theirs?
CF: My children are my dreams.
Cristina lives in Los Angeles with her husband, entertainment executive Tony Thomopoulos. They have a blended family of seven children and four grandchildren. For more information visit www.parentingbookmark.com.