"They're a lot, but they give me so much love in return," pop star Mariah Carey tells PEOPLE is this week's issue of her twins Monroe and Moroccan, 8
“It’s hard, but I try to keep them grounded so they don’t think everything is just handed to them,” the pop star, 49, tells PEOPLE of her 8-year-old twins in this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday.
“Right now it’s like, ‘I want this,’ and I’m like, ‘You’re asking me for something that costs $20.’ I can’t even imagine having, like, one dollar as a kid because we didn’t have money going around,” Carey continues. “So they have to appreciate those things.”
When the singer-songwriter was growing up, her family moved throughout the New York City area. And today, she strives “to make the best of whatever situation I’m in.”
“Sometimes I had a lot of fun, sometimes I didn’t,” Carey recalls.
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Carey recently visited Camp Mariah, the career-awareness summer camp for low-income middle-schoolers in N.Y.C. that she sponsors through the Fresh Air Fund, to celebrate its 25th anniversary.
She also brought her twins, whom she shares with ex-husband Nick Cannon, to play at the camp for the day.
“They’re a lot, but they give me so much love in return. I wouldn’t be the same person without them,” Carey says of the siblings, whom she affectionately calls Roc and Roe. “I think Nick and I have done pretty well in co-parenting, staying friends with each other so that we can talk.”
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Last year, Carey opened up about her childhood when she revealed her bipolar diagnosis exclusively to PEOPLE.
“People who escaped the life I grew up with don’t want to go backward,” she said at the time. “My environment as a child didn’t just intensify my disease, it impacted my willingness to seek a long-term solution for it.”
Added the “Fantasy” songstress, “The most important thing I can do for my children is give them what I didn’t really have: a chance to live in a safe and secure home surrounded by people who love and support them unconditionally.”
For more from Mariah Carey, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.