Jennifer Garner Reveals the Phrases She Tries Not to Say as a Parent: 'Have to Sit on My Hands' (Exclusive)

The actress shares Violet, 18, Seraphina, 15, and Samuel, 12, with ex Ben Affleck

Steve Granitz/FilmMagic Jennifer Garner
Steve Granitz/FilmMagic Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner is happy with where her kids are.

In this week's issue of PEOPLE, the actress, 51, shared that her kids Violet, 18, Seraphina, 15, and Samuel 12, are giving her the most joy as she gets ready to celebrate her 52nd birthday. "They're really solid right now," says the star and Neutrogena brand ambassador.

"I'm just watching them in this new phase of life where they're figuring out who they're going to be and what they're going to study. And I'm so interested in them. All the time, I'm interested in everything about them."

Asked if it's difficult to let her kids make their own decisions, Garner admits it's "so hard."

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. 

Nathan Howard/Getty Jennifer Garner and daughter Violet
Nathan Howard/Getty Jennifer Garner and daughter Violet

Related: Jennifer Garner Says She Can 'See the Stress' as Daughter Violet Tours Colleges: 'Handling It Like a Champ'

"I mean, my parents did too, and I'm so amazed by that. I have a really hard time not saying, 'This is what I see you as,' and 'I think you should,' " she says. "I really have to sit on my hands."

Garner shares her three children with ex Ben Affleck.

In November, the mom of three appeared on Live with Kelly & Mark, chatting with co-hosts Mark Consuelos and Kelly Ripa about how her child Violet is starting college tours.

Allen Berezovsky/Getty Jennifer Garner and son Samuel
Allen Berezovsky/Getty Jennifer Garner and son Samuel

"We hear you're about to have an adult in your household?" Consuelos said to Garner.

"I am. I'm about to have an adult," Garner responded. "Three days. I'm three days from my eldest turning 18. Can you guys believe that?"

Noting that it's "exciting," Garner added that Violet was taking charge of her own college process.

"It is exciting," the actress affirmed. "I can see the stress — even though the excitement and stress go hand in hand. But she's handling it like a champ and she's totally in charge. I'm not having to say, 'Are you doing this, are you doing this?' She's a self-starter. And I'm just proud of her no matter what."

For more on Jennifer Garner, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.