The Live host and the actor appear on the cover of PEOPLE's inaugural Family Issue with their daughter Lola and sons Michael and Joaquin

By Kate Coyne
August 12, 2020 08:00 AM
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Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos like to think that their parenting skills get better with age.

“As you get older and you learn more, that youngest kid hopefully benefits from a little bit more wisdom ... and hopefully fewer nerves," the Live with Kelly and Ryan host, 49, tells PEOPLE in the cover story of this week's Family Issue.

Going into parenthood, though, "I think I had definitive ideas about raising girls versus raising boys, even though I don’t really believe in gender stereotyping," continues Ripa, who celebrated 24 years of marriage with Consuelos this year. "My sons are just as sensitive as my daughter, and my daughter is as strong as my sons."

Their youngest Joaquin, 17, agrees that "my parents have softened up a lot now that I’m in high school.”

Family Issue cover
Mark Consuelos, Kelly Ripa and their kids Michael (left), Lola and Joaquin on the cover of PEOPLE's Family Issue

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"Younger siblings get to do whatever they want right out of the gate," jokes 23-year-old Michael.

There's one thing, though, that middle child Lola, 19, had to wait for: making her Instagram account public. "She had really wanted a public account, but we made her wait until she was an adult," Ripa says. "Apparently she turned 18 and immediately went public.”

RELATED VIDEO: Kelly Ripa Reveals Her Empty Nest Plan with Mark Consuelos: 'We're Going to Be Totally Naked'

For Consuelos, 49, he never thought he'd let Lola out of his sight. “As overprotective as I thought I would be when she was born and I was holding her in my arms, I’ve mellowed a bit," he says. "Because I’m really aware of what a good head on her shoulders she has.”

The aspiring singer learned from her dad “to take everything day by day — not to dwell on the past but to focus on the future,” she says.

kelly ripa and mark consuelos with their children
Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos with their children
| Credit: Miller Mobley
  • For more on Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here

And while the parents of three are continuing to guide their children on their individual journeys, Ripa and Consuelos are also learning new things every day from their sons and daughter.

The Riverdale actor says Joaquin always keeps him on his toes. “You’ll have conversations with Joaquin where you realize you’ve just learned something new about the way he thinks," Conseulos says.

As for Lola, Ripa has learned "so much about being a modern-day woman," says the TV host. "It really gives me hope — her generation really supports each other, the way she and her friends have each other’s backs. For all the talk about women helping other women, I see it in her generation in a way I never have before.”