“I want her to tell me everything, and she doesn’t want to tell me anything,” says Cox, who sat down with Coco for their first interview together as part of PEOPLE’s The Beautiful Issue. “Exactly the opposite of the childhood I had.”
But just because Coco doesn’t share everything with her mom doesn’t mean the two aren’t extremely close. “We bicker, let’s be honest, but we love each other,” says the 53-year-old Friends alum. “We laugh a lot, for sure.”
Coco adds, “I would also describe it as, well, I am a 13-year-old girl, you are a mom, so I love you, but of course we’re gonna get in fights. But we’re very close. Very close. I love you a lot.”
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Cox, who co-parents Coco with her ex-husband David Arquette, says keeping their daughter supported and balanced — and supporting each other as parents — is an important part of raising her.
“You don’t want to go in one house and have anything split,” Cox says. “You want it to be harmonious in both places.”
Now that Coco has entered the teen years, Cox says one of the toughest parts, like many parents of teens face, has been getting her to come out of her room. “It’s mostly me telling Coco, ‘Please get out of your room and come and have dinner in the kitchen.’ There’s a lot of that, for sure,” she says.
“She’s 13, she likes to be in her room. Unfortunately, I got her this big bed and that was the biggest mistake I’ve made,” adds the star, joking, “You need to make a bed really uncomfortable so all they wanna do is just go there for those hours they have to. That’s the big thing, I think.”
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Although Cox says she’s not super strict, she is very particular about one thing: making sure Coco has a hobby. “My daughter is an incredible singer,” says Cox. “She does plays. No, I’m not being a stage mom. Well, I mean — “
“At times,” Coco says, cutting her off. (Cox tells PEOPLE Coco has been in 16 musicals and although she isn’t sure if she will go into acting down the road like both of her parents, the actress will support anything she wants to do.)
“I’m sitting there watching you be incredible, I just send you off to the plays to be incredible,” Cox says. “She is really good. I want her to have a hobby, to make her play the piano. I wish my mom had made me play the piano because I do it on my own now, but if I’d done it consistently since I was a kid, I’d be great.”
Adds the former Cougar Town star, “And she’s got this instrument in her voice that I want to be backed up with either guitar, piano, I don’t care, but she has to have an activity. That I’m strict about.”
For more from our Beautiful Issue, pick up the magazine when it hits newsstands on Friday and check out all of our coverage on People.com.
Coco says her mom has taught her “so much” in her 13 years, explaining, “If a stressful situation is going on, she helps me contain my stress and make me feel better. She’s taught me a lot about how to be a stronger person in general.”
While Cox is instilling in her daughter how to be strong and confident through her teen years, she says Coco has also taught her a lot.
“She’s taught me patience,” Cox says. “Probably one of the biggest things she’s taught me is to not take things personally, because really it’s not about us. Whatever moods that she goes through where things happen, I’m the safest place to be able to take it out on. It’s never about me, unless it’s actually about me.”
“But it’s really not about me, and I think that’s something in life that we can learn. Whatever happens, it’s on our own experiences, not usually about the other person.”