Jennifer Garner: Raising kick-ass karate daughters

Here's why Jennifer Garner insists her girls take karate—and why she thinks being a working mom is important for her kids.

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck at the 2nd Annual Save the Children Illumination Gala, November 19, 2014. Photo: Janet Mayer/PR Photos Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck at the 2nd Annual Save the Children Illumination Gala, November 19, 2014. Photo: Janet Mayer/PR Photos

Since both of my kids (the boy, 7, and the girl, 9) take karate, I have a personal interest in Jennifer Garner's reasons for sending her daughters to karate classes. I'll share mine later.

On the red carpet at yesterday's Save the Children Illumination Gala, Jennifer told reporters she wants her daughters, Violet, almost 9, and Seraphina, 5.5, “to be able to kick a guy’s ass.... That’s why they’ve been taking karate since they were little!”

Read more: Jennifer Garner: I'm not pregnant—I've had three kids>

She says she wants them to be brainy, too. “I want my girls to love math," she added, "and I want them to think that being a scientist is the coolest job on the planet."

Ben Affleck, who was being honoured at the event, chimed in with some high praise for wife Jennifer and the strong qualities she's instilling in their kids—in part, by putting them in karate. “I think they understand what my wife understands full well, which is that it’s important to be strong and present and powerful and accept nothing less than a man would and in fact, ask for more," he said. “That’s part of what I admire about my wife and I know through her example that my children will absorb that.” Awww. 


The girls and their brother, Samuel, 2.5, would love it if Jennifer would be a stay-at-home mom, but she thinks sticking with her career is good for everyone. “I want my kids to know that if working is important to me, and working for Save the Children is important to me, then that’s valid and that as much as I love them, I’m my own person too,” she said. Amen to that!

I actually had the honour of interviewing Jennifer at a Save the Children event in New York a few years ago—she was as warm and gracious  as you'd expect (and even more beautiful!). Check out the interview here. 

So, why do I have my kids in karate? Same as Jennifer, I want them to be able to kick some ass: My son is in the third percentile for height, and my daughter is used to be a little shy. I also like the discipline it instills in them, the community aspect, and the straightforward goals they get to achieve (they both have green belts now). They do complain a little before we go, but they always leave beaming—and glowing from the great exercise.

Do your kids take karate?

xo Haley-O
Celebrity Candy: Follow along as Haley Overland delivers the latest scoop on celebrity families—plus sweet celeb interviews! You can’t have too much of this candy, so check back often.

This article was originally published on Nov 20, 2014

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Haley Overland is a writer/editor at Today's Parent. Our resident celebrity queen, she dishes out all the sweetest scoop on celebrity families at our Celebrity Candy blog. She has interviewed celeb moms like Jennifer Garner, Jessica Alba and Jillian Michaels, and has shared her expertise on CTV’s ETalk. Haley also has an award-winning personal blog,, where she writes about everything from motherhood to yoga, her dog “Betty White” and what it's like to be Clive Owen's girlfriend. Haley has two kids, whom she fondly refers to online as “The Monkey” and “The Rascal.”