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Jennie Garth Says Parenting Older Kids Is Not for 'Faint of Heart': 'Whole Different Ball Game'

·3-min read
Jennie Garth Says Parenting Older Kids Is Not for 'Faint of Heart': 'Whole Different Ball Game'

Jennie Garth is getting real about letting her kids take the driver's seat.

The Beverly Hills, 90210 alum, 49, tells PEOPLE what it's like parenting three daughters who are no longer little girls. "That's the crazy thing, you think that it's hard when they're young, and they're running all around, and needing you all the time," Garth explains.

"But as they get to be teenagers, especially young women and young adults, it's a whole different ball game," she adds. "It's like 'Psychological Parenting 101,' and it's definitely not for the faint of heart."

Jennie Garth/Instagram

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She co-parents daughters Luca, 23, Lola, 18, and Fiona, 14, with ex-husband Peter Facinelli, 47, to whom she was married from 2001 to 2013. Garth got remarried to actor Dave Abrams, 39, in July 2015.

"My job now is to just sort of keep them in the right lane, because they're doing their thing and they're becoming who they are and who they want to be," says the proud mom. "And I'm just there to support that and kind of nudge them left and right to just keep them going in the right direction. Because I kind of feel like my work here is done, but it's never done."

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But as is inevitable with mother/daughter relationships, she's found it easy to butt heads with her girls at times. "When you're a parent, I could breathe the wrong way, and it would be like the end of the world," Garth says. "But for the most part, they think I'm pretty cool, and we can hang out."

The What I Like About You actress has also announced a partnership with Kelley Blue Book, as she prepares her youngest for getting behind the wheel. Garth highly recommends their 2021 Best Family Cars list, which she says is "a great reference for families out there, looking for the best fit."

She understands the concern of making sure her kids are driving a safe vehicle, as she personally taught Luca, Lola and (soon) Fiona how to drive.

Debra L Rothenberg/Getty

"I did all the teaching, and it was, and still is, so stressful to teach your kids how to drive," Garth tells PEOPLE. "Maybe you should have a glass of wine before you get in the car as a passenger, just to calm yourself down."

Garth also recalls a rust-colored Volkswagen convertible as her own first car, which she promptly got into a fender bender with her mom, just five minutes after they bought it. "She was driving away, and I just got in the car," she recounts. "So, I was driving my new car — well, not new — but my car, behind her. And she stopped, and I didn't. And I ran right into her, so that was my first accident."