Adrienne Maloof of Beverly Hills 'Real Housewives' Talks Teaching Her Kids to Give Back

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Adrienne Maloof Picture

Adrienne Maloof and her family are involved in charities. Credit: Jason Merritt, Getty Images

Adrienne Maloof of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" lives in a famous ZIP code and comes from an incredibly wealthy family.

But Maloof, 49, says money, not to mention a shoe collection that would turn even Carrie Bradshaw green with envy, does not define her.

Instead of indulging in spa treatments and long lunches at celeb hot spot The Ivy, this mother of three -- Gavin, 7 and identical twins Christian and Colin, 4 -- says she devotes her time to family and charity work.

When ParentDish chatted with Maloof recently, she made it clear there is nothing more important than raising well-mannered children.

ParentDish: Why did you decide to join "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"?
Adrienne Maloof: I was approached by a friend of my husband's, and they said I would be perfect for the show. Although I declined at first, I later decided to give it a second thought because I thought it would be fun.

PD: Did you ever watch the New Jersey, New York, Orange County or Atlanta versions of "Real Housewives?"
AM: I really don't have a lot of time to watch TV because I am so busy.

PD: Is the reality TV experience what you expected it to be?
AM: I have had a great time so far and look forward to filming season number two.

PD: What have been the pros and cons of being on this series?
AM: The pros, from a business standpoint, are it gives you a platform for your philanthropic work, which was a big reason why I joined the show. The negatives are there are cameras all over the house and you are airing your life to the world.

PD: Did you sit down with your family to discuss how they felt about you doing the show?
AM: My husband (Dr. Paul Nassif) was very pro because he is a plastic surgeon. As for my boys, before I signed on the dotted line I spoke with the producers ahead of time to make sure my kids would not be filmed or involved in the series.

PD: Why not involve them in the program?
AM: They are too young.

PD: If you had to pick an adjective to describe yourself, which word would you chose?
AM: I am "real." What you see is what you get.

PD: How is your relationship with your castmates?
AM: I have known most of the girls for a long time and, for the most part, I have a good relationship with them.

PD: You had twins when you were 45 years old. Were you scared to be an older mom?
AM: No. I knew we wanted to have more children.

PD: Did you find yourself being more cautious this time around because of your age?
AM: You have to always be careful, whether you are pregnant with one or two, regardless of your age.

PD: How did you prepare your oldest child for having twin siblings?
AM: My oldest is two years older, and even though he was young, I tried to prepare him as much as possible. He was great when the babies first came home. But then when I was being pulled away to tend to them he was confused and maybe sad for a moment. Keep in mind he was king of the house.

PD: What did you do -- and still do -- so he doesn't feel like a third wheel?
AM: They are very close and have a great relationship. They even sleep in the same room.

PD: What was the most difficult part of having one child and then two at once?
AM: Even though I was physically fit because I try to stay in shape, I learned that I needed help. I also had to teach myself how to balance my time. I struggle and juggle to make it work just like everyone else.

PD: Although you have what some would call a privileged life, you are very involved in a lot of charity work and giving back.
AM: Yes, charity is extremely important to me, especially the ones that involve children. As a matter of fact, my family donated 100 backpacks filled with school supplies to School on Wheels, which serves under-privileged and homeless children in the Los Angeles area. I am also a supporter of Adrienne Maloof Camp Kindness program, which gives underprivileged children the opportunity to learn to properly care for animals.

PD: Do you teach your children about helping the less fortunate?
AM: Absolutely. That is an extremely important theme in this household, especially during the holidays. As a matter of fact, my boys helped stuff those backpacks for the children.

PD: Do you set boundaries for your children so they don't grow up and fit the Beverly Hills stereotype?
AM: You do have to set boundaries and be in your children's faces all of the time. There is no privacy. I am involved in whom they hang out with, what they look at on the computer and to do that is extremely important.

PD: Do you give your kids an allowance?
AM: Yes. That is very important to teach them about responsibility.

PD: What do you and your husband do to educate your children about money and spending?
AM: We give them little jobs and then have them work their way up, just like people do in the work force.

PD: What about chores? Do they have any?
AM: Yes, they have chores such as cleaning up after themselves and helping with the dishes at night. When they do a good job, we have a reward policy as a way of teaching them how proud we are of them and the benefits of working hard at something.

PD: Your husband is a plastic surgeon. Would you ever let your kids go under the knife?
AM: If it was later on, if they had issues with breathing problem, then, of course. But for a young kid, no I would not.

PD: Between filming and working at the family business, what do you do to get involved with your kids?
AM: I am such a hands-on mom and want to spend all my time with them. As a matter of fact, I take a martial arts class with them once a week. Not only does it teach them respect and self-defense, but we get to bond as well.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.