Parenting a teen presents a whole new set of challenges for moms. But luckily, Melissa Rivers learned a thing or two from her late mother, Joan Rivers.
“Basically I try and do exactly the opposite of what my mother did,” the actress, television personality and mom to 15-year-old Cooper joked to TODAY. “I’ve been in therapy and medicated for years so I thought perhaps if I wanted to raise a well-balanced child, I would just take the opposite track.”
Melissa said it was the open line of communication she shared with Joan, who died while undergoing a medical procedure in September 2014, that fostered the closeness of their own relationship, and that’s exactly what has helped her bond with Cooper.
“Being able to talk and him knowing that by sharing with me he is giving me a reason to trust him, it absolutely is the No. 1 thing,” she said.
Though they had their “complicated times,” Melissa said that’s expected in any parent-child relationship.
“I always make sure that my son and I are talking, and get us into situations where we can talk and openly speak and that there’s no repercussions for sharing information, even if it’s difficult information.”
While (like most teens) Cooper isn’t exactly enthused about his mom’s humor, his friends seem to disagree.
“His friends think I’m funny. So that’s got to be worth something. But my son, you know, basically the last year all I’ve seen is an eye roll.”
As he tackles life as a teen and braces for adulthood, Melissa is hopeful that Cooper will take a few important life lessons with him.
“To be a good person. To just treat people the way you want to be treated. And know that everybody has something going on, and be sensitive to that,” she said. “And to just live your life with your eyes open, and be aware of what’s going on around you and act accordingly.”