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    How Christina Applegate Stays Healthy and Happy

    The actress dishes about 'Anchorman 2,' parenting, and self-esteem.

    Applegate on Parenting

    These days, the mother of 2-year-old Sadie - with musician husband Martyn LeNoble, of Porno for Pyros fame -- takes care to cultivate a strong streak of individualism in her daughter. It begins each morning with how her toddler dresses herself for the day.

    "Self-esteem is something you as a parent want to instill in your kids, to be an individual," she says. "That's what it was for me [when I was younger], when I finally felt like I was following no one. And Sadie is such an individual! I don't make her wear anything. Sometimes her outfits are ridiculously awesome. Some are ridiculously ridiculous and beautiful. She'll insist on wearing two differently colored shoes to school. She insists on the blue one and the green one. And I'll say: 'Great! Do it!' I love watching her be independent."

    Many parents find it difficult not to interfere in their kids' choices -- or their closets. The same creative vein that led the teenaged Applegate to troll secondhand shops and don grunge attire enables her to stand back and let Sadie be Sadie.

    "Some parents feel judged by other parents" about what their kids wear, she says. "But I don't feel that way. If I tried to make my daughter put on something she doesn't like, she wouldn't feel good about herself. Sadie always has a purpose to her outfits. Today it was, 'Mama, I need something to twirl.' So she put on a frilly skirt with the craziest leggings ever." Applegate laughs at the mental image. "And I encourage her to express herself."

    Applegate's secure, relaxed attitude -- not to mention her high-profile name -- made her an ideal partner for FabKids.com, a new girl's clothing line. Applegate recently teamed up with the company as a creative partner, saying she likes FabKids' mission to encourage girls to shine in their own unique ways. On the web site, kids and parents fill out a "style profile" that customizes outfits to reflect changing moods and months. The notion is to get away from a cookie-cutter approach.

    Appearance is just one aspect of self-esteem. Allowing a child to make individual choices without too much interference is the right move, says Elizabeth Berger, MD, a New York City-based child psychiatrist.

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