Celebrity Parents How Victor Cruz and His Ex Successfully Co-Parent Daughter, 8½: 'You Have to Put Your Ego Aside' Victor Cruz poses with daughter Kennedy, 8½, for the August/September digital issue of Parents Latina By Jen Juneau Jen Juneau Twitter Jen Juneau is a digital news writer for PEOPLE since 2016. People Editorial Guidelines Published on August 11, 2020 10:35 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Victor Cruz knows that "communication" is key to successful co-parenting. The former NFL star poses alongside 8½-year-old daughter Kennedy in Parents Latina's August/September digital issue issue, where he discusses how his own upbringing has impacted his parenting and how he and Kennedy's mother prioritize their child over everything else. "You can't do anything as a co-parent without talking," says Cruz, 33. "Even if you're no longer living under the same roof, the discussions still need to happen for the sake of your kid. And you have to put your ego aside because it can create turmoil and distraction." "The focus should never be on the parents," he adds. "If your child is happy, then everyone is going to be happy." Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Victor Cruz and daughter Kennedy for Parents Latina. Timothy Smith for PARENTS LATINA Victor Cruz and daughter Kennedy cover Parents Latina. Timothy Smith for PARENTS LATINA Victor Cruz for Parents Latina. Timothy Smith for PARENTS LATINA How Former NFL Star Victor Cruz Talks to Daughter, 8, About Racism: "Being Honest Is the Best" Cruz, who is Afro-Latino with Puerto Rican roots, prioritizes teaching his daughter about her racial and cultural backgrounds, as well as sharing stories about his childhood in the hopes that it will help "instill that same resiliency" in his daughter that he had growing up. "We constantly speak to her in Spanish," he tells Parents Latina. "She's in a language-immersion school because we want to make sure she's fluent. We're making a concerted effort to raise her to be bilingual and multicultural so she's always in touch with her roots." The former Pop of the Morning co-host also strives to ensure Kennedy stays grounded by bringing her to his hometown of Paterson, New Jersey — which they live "17 minutes" away from now — to "help her understand that we've come a long way." RELATED VIDEO: Jewel on Co-parenting After Divorce: "We Always Think of Our Child First" "It's her job now to take it further," the athlete says. "Last November, we volunteered at a homeless shelter in Paterson during Thanksgiving. I plan on doing that every year so she can see how important it is to take care of our communities." While Cruz admits his daughter "absolutely reminds [him] of [himself]" as a child — namely, "energetic, always the life of the party and smart," with the same laugh — the father of one wants her to be her own person. "We have tons of inside jokes and code names for things. Kennedy isn't shy about anything, and I love that. She takes my personality and ramps it up two notches. But I want her to be herself, whatever she wants to be, and I always encourage that," he says.