The actress shares some wise parenting advice in an open letter to her daughter.

By Marisa Cohen
Updated August 16, 2017
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Growing up in the glare of Hollywood while shuttling between two famous actor parents doesn’t always provide a solid foundation for commonsense parenting. But Oscar-nominated actress Laura Dern, who has been onscreen nonstop since she was 13 (most recently on Big Little Lies and the Twin Peaks remake), seems to have figured out what matters most when raising a daughter in the 21st century.

In the September issue of InStyle, Dern shares an open letter to her 12-year-old daughter Jaya—but it's a message that could be addressed to any girl who is trying to find her place in the world, especially in the age of social media.

Dern talks about her own struggle with having it all: “I've spent a lot of my life going, 'OK, I'm going to be an actress, but I have to give it everything, so I probably won’t be able to also have a successful relationship,' or 'I'm about to be a mother, so I'll give up my acting,' or 'I'm married, so I'm going to put my career on hold and be 'a good wife' and support him.'"

She encourages Jaya never to limit herself. "I started realizing that focusing on one thing in an effort not to fail at anything else was a weight I was carrying. And I want to be a woman who does it all, no matter how it turns out."

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Dern also addresses her fear that social media could become as big an influence on Jaya as her parents are, making the pre-teen feel that everything she presents to the world has to be perfect and measuring herself by the number of followers she has. Instead, Dern encourages her daughter and her friends to embrace the "gray areas," where things are neither perfect nor awful. She encourages her to explore all her different interests, without worrying about failure, urging her to be her "own delicious mess."

Dern’s next big-screen role is as an imposing vice admiral in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but it sounds like she's already a hero in her own home.