Yolanda Hadid started imparting the idea of independence in her kids early on.
In a sit-down for PEOPLE’s Celeb Parents Get Real series, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum opened up about how she loosened the reins on Anwar, 18, Bella, 20, and Gigi Hadid, 22, before they hit their teen years.
“I think I’m a disciplined mom versus a strict mom,” says Hadid, 53. “But also, that job — the disciplining was from birth until about 12, and at 12 I set my kids free and they learned to become independent human beings.”
“And after that, it’s just catching them when they fall,” she explains. “I don’t run their lives, I don’t make decisions for them. I’m just their energetic anchor, and I’m here for them to catch them when they fall.”
Want all the latest pregnancy and birth announcements, plus celebrity mom blogs? Click here to get those and more in the PEOPLE Babies newsletter.
RELATED VIDEO: Yolanda Hadid on Dr. Oz: My Children Gave Me Hope
The mother of three has been candid about her own personal struggles including a battle with Lyme disease and her recent divorce from David Foster (she shares her kids with first husband Mohamed Hadid).
One key to her ability to get through it all? Hadid’s father died when she was 7 years old — and she credits her own mother for much of the inner strength she has been able to channel in parenting.
“Seeing [my mom] get back up and raising us as a single mom and picking up the pieces and not whining about it … she was just an amazing mother, and I’ve learned everything that I know from her,” Hadid admits.
FROM PEN: Christina El Moussa: I Leaned on My Kids and Friends Through the Divorce
The model and author‘s parenting efforts have paid off, considering her three children have all made quite the name for themselves in the fashion world — and Hadid couldn’t be more proud not only of their professional successes, but for who they are inside.
“I saw my son yesterday take this huge crystal and plant it in a tree on the property,” says Hadid, who recently relocated to a farm on the east coast. “I am just so proud of the extraordinary human being that he’s grown into at age 18, and having such high consciousness about healing the earth and the world.”
“And seeing Bella ride a horse this week, I just smile and I go, ‘I’m proud that I raised them in a barn and that at this point of their life, they can go back to something that brings them real joy,’ ” she adds. “Because the fame and all that nonsense is not what’s gonna grow your soul.”