“No One Prepares You for the Lasts”—Melissa Joan Hart Opens Up About Parenting Big Kids

You may know her from your favorite 90’s sitcoms like “Clarissa Knows Best,” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” but Melissa Joan Hart has a larger calling in life: being a wife and mom to her three sons. 

The former child-star who is now a mom to 18-year-old Mason, 16-year-old Braydon, and 11-year-old Tucker, opened up to TODAY about the hardest parts of raising older kids. 

“Everyone prepares you for the firsts. No one prepares you for the lasts,” she says, pointing to Mason’s last year of high school as an example. Hart admits that she felt unprepared for college talk and transitions and goodbyes and will likely restructure her approach when her two younger sons fly the coop.

“I just hope I didn’t burn the first pancake,” she says embarrassededly. 

Aside from experiencing all the “lasts” for the first time, Hart says she and her husband are learning more and more what it looks like to raise big kids, who make their own decisions. 

The most recent experience she shared about was 18-year-old Mason going to an exotic animal show and legally purchasing a caiman. 

“So basically we have an alligator living in our house now,” she laughed, adding that Mason used to school his third grade teacher on the crocodilian family. “It turns out some of the reptiles he brought home are actually illegal in other states. Thanks, Tennessee!”

Fans of “Clarissa Knows Best” have been lobbying for Mason to name the croc “Elvis” in honor of the title character’s house pet on the hit sitcom. 

Together with her husband, musician Mark Wilkerson, Hart says she’s learning how to parent big kids by allowing their children to experience “natural consequences,” something she’s finding to be harder on the parents sometimes than the kids. 

Everything from forgetting their homework, to not being able to drive the car until the headlight gets fixed, Hart wants to make sure her boys are helpful members of society. 

Still, for any parent, the actress says it’s hard to let your kids fail. 

“They are a little spoiled. I’m not going to lie,” Hart said. “You want to give your kid everything and you want to make their life easy. But by doing that, you’re actually hurting them.”

Helping Without Hurting – At Home and Abroad

While Hart and her husband are working hard to raise good, and helpful members of society at home, they’ve also turned to trips abroad in their efforts to teach their boys about the world we live in. 

Just last year, the born-again Christian took her second trip to Zambia with World Vision. In honor of her 20-year wedding anniversary to Wilkerson, the couple brought their whole family to do touristy things followed by a mission trip doing fieldwork with World Vision. 

“As an ambassador for World Vision, as someone who has been there twice now, it is life-changing,” Hart explained.

Back in 2019, “Hart introduced her oldest son, Mason, to her work with World Vision in Africa (Zambia)—and [Entertainment Tonight] was invited along on the good works mission.”

“Hart is making sure that her passion for giving back is passed down to her three sons,” World Vision wrote at the time. “The actress has maintained a successful Hollywood career for decades, but in between projects, she’s all about doing what she can for others.”

“We were like, we only brought our oldest with us. We have to go back and take the younger ones and show them,” Hart said, adding that she wanted her entire family to “meet the family that we’ve been praying for all this time. We want to show them all the work that they do and the work World Vision does.”

Hart and her family have long sponsored three girls from the same family in Zambia and their mom, Edna.

Bri Lamm
Bri Lamm
Bri Lamm is the Editor of foreverymom.com. An outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for adventure, she lives to serve the Lord, experience the world, and eat macaroni and cheese all while capturing life’s greatest moments on one of her favorite cameras. Follow her on Facebook.

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