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‘Modern Family’ Alum Julie Bowen Gets Real About Parenting: Teenagers Make ‘The Stupidest Choices’ (Exclusive)

Julie Bowen has three teenage boys, and she says the older they are, the bigger the problems.

“They make the stupidest choices sometimes, but they are funny,” the Modern Family alum, 53, told Us Weekly in an exclusive interview while promoting her partnership with Life Cereal. She joked about when her son Oliver, 16, and twins Gus and John, 14, were younger, they were even more dangerous.

“They [were] putting fingers in sockets, pulling stuff by the cord off of high counters and smashing themselves in the head,” Bowen recalled. “That was exhausting.”

Now she has partnered with Life Cereal on a national hotline to ask fans to share their parenting tips on a national hotline. Bowen wants mothers and fathers to call the “If You Know, You Know” hotline, 1-855-4-IFYKYK (1-855-443-9595) to either share their best parenting pointers or discover new tips and tricks submitted by fellow callers. A few lucky parents who call the hotline will even get a chance to share advice with her directly.

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Bowen says her most important tip for raising teenagers involves transportation and finding ways to communicate with her kids.

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Julie Bowen. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

“People always like, ‘Why don’t you just like your kid Uber or hire someone to drive them around?’ They don’t talk to me. Boys don’t talk,” Bowen said. “If you’re in the car with them, eventually they’ll talk. So as much of a pain in the butt it is to drive 45 minutes to somewhere that you don’t want to go, you might get two or three minutes in there of actual conversation that you would never have gotten otherwise.”

She advises parents to let their kids choose the music as long as they don’t use their cell phones in the car. Moms and dads can get more advice from Bowen on Life Cereal’s hotline. Bowen loves interacting with people on the phone line to make parenting a little easier.

“Helping other people come up with parenting hacks of their own and listening to parenting tips and tricks from people across the country, it’s like, I wish I had this when I had younger kids,” she said. “I need this for teenagers now.”

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Now that the SAG-AFTRA strike has been settled, Bowen is looking forward to appearing in the 2024 TV series Hysteria about a teenage metal band. Her kids, however, don’t care about the new gig, her two Emmy Awards or her celebrity status.

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Julie Bowen. Gotham/GC Images

“They want you to be their mom,” Bowen continued. “They know I’m going to work or something, but they still don’t ask the name of the job and they don’t care.”

Part of her job as mom is to face the challenge of monitoring their behavior as they start dating.

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She told her sons, “Please be nice and remember, you will always see this person. No one disappears. So act as if you’re going to see this person tomorrow at all times. And do not ever post anything, ever, never, ever that you don’t want me to see it.”

Bowen also has dating rules for herself. (She and real estate investor Scott Phillips divorced in 2018 after 14 years of marriage).

“I would never let somebody meet my kids unless I was 100% certain that they were a person that I was very, very, very serious about,” she said. “Nobody needs that roller coaster.”

Reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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