Modern Family's Julie Bowen says raising kids is about setting limits

Parenting isn’t about keeping kids happy for Emmy award-winner Julie Bowen (Modern Family). It’s about setting limits.

In her latest interview with Working Mother Magazine, two-time Emmy award-winning actress Julie Bowen, 43, reminds us keeping kids happy all the time shouldn’t be the primary focus for parents. 

In fact, Julie — who’s mom to Oliver, 6, and twins John and Gustav, 4 — says she’s learned a thing or two about parenting from her neurotic Modern Family character, Claire. “Being your kids’ best friend is not always the best parenting choice,” she says she’s learned. “It’s not about everybody being happy all the time.” 

“It’s about setting limits,” she adds. “In my house that makes my kids very unhappy, like tantrums-on-the-ground-twice-a-day unhappy. But the limits are set.”

For Julie, parenting three kids is, therefore, “like running a small army.”
Like Claire, whose son has an allergic reaction to soy bacon, Julie’s oldest son, Oliver, had a serious anaphylactic reaction to bees and peanut butter — they discovered this, she says, when he was eating peanut butter and got stung by a bee! She’s now involved with the Raise Your Hand Anaphylaxis Awareness campaign, which seeks to “promote understanding and get this mouthful of a word into everybody’s vocabulary.” 

Now that her kids are getting older, moreover, Julie says she’s balancing work and family by minimizing time away from them. “My schedule at Modern Family is fantastic, so I didn’t have to give up much,” she tells the mag. “But I’m discovering that my kids now notice more when I’m gone, that they want more time and attention. So I shorten trips to a bare minimum or just don’t go at all.” 

And when she has to leave the kids, her hubby, software developer Scott Phillips takes the wheel: “He’s definitely the element of consistency our children need.” 

Check out the new season of Modern Familythis fall on Citytv.

Photos: Getty Images
A version of this article appeared at with the headline "Julie Bowen: Parenting is about setting limits."

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