Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt says her parents Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver were "very up to speed on dealing with criticism" while she was growing up

By Benjamin VanHoose
July 20, 2021 03:10 PM
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Katherine Schwarzenegger; Maria Shriver
Credit: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt's perspective on online mommy-shamers is heavily shaped by her own parents' lives in the public spotlight.

The 31-year-old and her husband Chris Pratt are mom and dad to daughter Lyla Maria, who turns 1 next month, and when it comes to handling hateful comments and trolls on social media in regards to parenting, she says watching her parents Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver handle criticism while she was growing up helped her approach to detractors.

"People can say whatever they want behind a screen, and they do," she says with a laugh on Dear Media's Meaning Full Living podcast with co-hosts Hayley Hubbard and Jessica Diamond.

"I feel a little bit lucky in the sense that I grew up in a family where my parents were very up to speed on dealing with criticism, whether it was behind a screen or written down or face to face," she adds. "They raised me with the understanding of how to deal with that in the best way possible, obviously understanding that you're still human and that sometimes those things do hurt."

"I look at a lot of it, whether it's criticism about certain things that I do as a new mom or being a wife or a daughter or a sister or a woman — people have a variety of different things to say, and they'll write it and be very vocal about it," says Schwarzenegger Pratt. "For me, I try to look at those things and not let them affect me, which can be harder some days than it is other days."

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She explains that she tries to "focus on people that are around me that are being supportive and helpful" rather than the "nasty comments."

"My mom always said to me when I was growing up that when people say those things or write those things then they must be in so much pain to be able to say that or to write that, and to try and have empathy for whatever it is that they might be going through that you don't know about," she says.

"I look at a lot of those comments that are criticisms about whatever it might be that day and try to come at it from an empathetic place and a compassionate place, and also feel comfortable and confident in my own skin," says Schwarzenegger Pratt. "Especially as a new mom, that I'm doing what I think is best for my daughter and for myself and for our family."

"I learned the majority of my parenting things and mom tips and tricks from my mom, who I think is an incredible mother," she adds.

RELATED VIDEO: Arnold Schwarzenegger Says Becoming a Grandfather to Granddaughter Lyla Made Him 'Feel Old'

Speaking with Entertainment Tonight back in February, Shriver, 65, opened up about seeing her daughter as a parent, saying, "I'm in awe at what a beautiful mother she is, but I'm not surprised."

"It's been a gift to me," she continued at the time. "It's been a gift to her siblings, her father and to everyone who loves [her and Chris]. To see somebody step into a role of motherhood is really a beautiful thing. I'm a big believer that motherhood and parenting is the most valuable work that we do in this world."

While speaking with PEOPLE in December, Schwarzenegger Pratt called motherhood "the greatest gift and such a joy" despite the "unique experience" of having to balance it all amid the pandemic. She added, "It's something that I've looked forward to my whole life."