As a successful actress and model, Andie MacDowell has some career advice for her up-and-coming daughters.
“Mostly, I told them that fame is a huge responsibility,” MacDowell tells PEOPLE. “And it’s not always easy to be recognizable all the time. It’s not really real. And to not lose sight of their true self because that’s going to be most important to being happy.”
The star — who is mom to daughters Rainey, 27, Margaret, 22, and son, Justin, 30 — admits that her girls “really want to do it on their own.” (MacDowell’s older daughter is a singer-songwriter while the younger one is an actress-model.)
“They don’t want people to assume that I’ve made it easier for them, which I haven’t because only they can get a job,” she explains. “No one’s going to give them a job because of me. That’s the last thing that’s going to happen.”
And the mom-of-three couldn’t be more proud of her kids, whom she shares with ex-husband Paul Qualley.
“I feel really good all the time because they’re great,” says MacDowell, 59. “I’m proud of them as who they are individually.”
So when it comes to teaching her children positive self-image, MacDowell embraces an “open dialogue” parenting style.
“Self-worth for all of us is an ongoing journey,” says the actress. “I think it’s a daily journey. We can all be very critical of ourselves.”
She adds: “I’m an open dialogue with my children about my feelings of worthiness and their feelings of worthiness because I don’t think it’s something [where] you’re ever truly there.”
FROM PEN: Christie Brinkley’s Daughter Sailor on Following in Her Mother’s Footsteps
Looking back, MacDowell reveals that one of her proudest parenting moments was a conversation she had with her son.
“My son told me one time I was saying something — a critique of myself or apologizing again about something that I had done as a parent,” she explains. “And he said, ‘When you say that to me, what I hear is, that there’s something wrong with me, that you feel that I didn’t turn out okay. So you’re going to have to quit thinking that you did something wrong because I’m fine with who I am.'”
As for her worst quality as a parent, MacDowell admits she has “a little bit of anxiety.”
“So if something goes wrong, I have a tendency to be bigger than I should be,” she shares. “Like I’m one of those people, loud noises make me jump, that kind of thing. So if something goes wrong, like I went walking with Rainey the other day and I stepped on her dog’s foot and instead of reacting in a calm way, I panicked.”
Continues MacDowell: “And she was having to tell me to ‘Calm down’ [and] ‘It’s just okay.’ It’s those kind of things. I can panic too much. But I’m working on it.”