Katherine Heigl is teaching her daughters not to be people-pleasers, and it’s everything

Katherine Heigl, veteran actress and mom of three, has some wisdom to share.

The “Firefly Lane” actress, 44, recently spoke with NewBeauty about being a working mom, managing her mental health and teaching her daughters not to become people-pleasers. Heigl shares daughters, Naleigh, 14 and Adelaide, 10, as well as 6-year-old son Joshua, with her husband, Josh Kelley.

“I don’t want to make it a gender issue, but I do think there is this under-the-radar, unsaid, collectively understood vibe that women are meant to be ‘pleasing,’” Heigl says.

“I see it in my young daughters, and it’s just this odd, inherent social thing. I’m certainly not teaching them to be like that, but they’re picking it up somewhere—there’s a definite message of ‘please everyone, except yourself,’” she continues.

Heigl mentions that setting boundaries is a very hard albeit important thing to do. It’s something she’s working on for herself but also for her daughters, saying, “it’s necessary, and it’s what I keep trying to teach my daughters.”

If you’ve ever had to set your own boundaries before you know it’s easier said than done. Setting boundaries with grandparents, saying “no” when you normally wouldn’t or even, protecting your mental space from toxic people are all bound to hurt some feelings. But, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stand up for ourselves when we need to!

With all that we juggle on a daily basis, especially moms who juggle multiple roles in a day, people-pleasing shouldn’t be one of them.

“I worry about it a lot when I look at my oldest daughter. I keep saying, ‘I need you to understand that that is not your job.’ And I don’t know if she’ll fully understand it until she’s in her 40s and has garnered some experience of wisdom, but I want to keep hammering it home.”

Katherine Heigl’s advice is top tier. There are only so many things within our control but making sure everybody around us is constantly happy is not one of them. Plus, when it comes to modeling behavior for your kids, whether that’s modeling empathy or, even, being confident in your body, it all feeds into how your child views themselves and their relationship with others.

Heigl says she reminds her daughters of this often, “It’s not your job to make everybody else feel comfortable, happy, safe, liked, or adored. It is your job to make sure you know who you are, you know what your boundaries are.”

“You have to know what you will—or will not—put up with, and then, hopefully, handle that graciously,” she advises. “You don’t have to attack people, but you do have to stand up for yourself.”

A version of this story was published in January 2023. It has been updated.

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