March 08, 2012 06:30 PM

Peter Kramer/NBC

Monica Potter has a close-knit family — but don’t expect to spot them all together at a movie theater any time soon.

The Parenthood star, 40, says that varying tastes for the screen is the toughest part about having three kids with a large age gap between them.

Ranging from her college-aged Danny, 21, to teen Liam, 17, to 6½-year-old Molly, Potter tells PEOPLE, “What makes me sad is that I can’t get them all to see the same movie unless it’s something we can all relate to. I’ll take Molly to see a movie that the boys are just not into at all. And she can’t watch certain things that they watch.”

Using South Park as an example, the actress admits, “I like that show, I will say that. But Molly can’t watch!”

Even though she doesn’t get to take her kids to the movies, Potter accepts that the time will come when her children will start going to the cinema with significant others.

“I trust my kids’ judgments,” says the actress, whose struggle with her TV daughter’s new boyfriend played a part in the second season of Parenthood. “Hopefully if I’ve done my job the right way, then they’re hanging out with good people and making the right choices.”

“I just feel like if you try to raise your kids the right way — give them room to make mistakes, but also guide them in a direction that you hope to see them go — that’s all you can ask for,” she continues. “You can’t control them your whole life.”

So far, Potter’s elder son is the only one of her boys to have experienced a relationship.

“I loved Danny’s [previous] girlfriend,” she admits. “They’re not dating anymore, but I wish they were.”

But she isn’t solely about being there for her own children. She recently teamed up with Kellogg’s to fight childhood hunger during National Breakfast Week.

“I feel like every kid should have access to a nutritious breakfast,” she says. “One out of five kids is sent to school without a breakfast, and I thought it was absurd that here we are — one of the richest countries in the world — and there are children going hungry to school. Kellogg’s is ensuring every child has access to a healthy breakfast.”

Alex Della Gatta/AP

— Dahvi Shira

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