Damian Dovarganes / Invision/AP 1 / 6
Damian Dovarganes / Invision/AP 1 / 6

She's an early child development expert who raised an Oscar-winning actor. Just in time for Mother's Day, Matt Damon's mom dishes on her parenting philosophy.

Nancy Carlsson-Paige, 67

Professor of early childhood education at Lesley University and author of Taking Back Childhood, Cambridge, Mass.

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I wanted my two sons to grow up having a sense of inner security that they could depend on, no matter what ups and downs life might bring. It seemed to me that more than anything, each boy's own internal compass would be his best guide in life.

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When Matt and his older brother Kyle -- who works as an artist in Boston -- were young, I did everything I could to support their play. I did this because I knew that children build emotional strength through play. When my sons expressed themselves and their budding opinions and will, I did my best to listen deeply and tried to see the world as they did. When there were conflicts, I tried to "let go of the rope" and get on the same side of problems with them and solve things from that shared place. This helped both Matt and Kyle develop a strong inner core of confidence and self love. They didn't have to get distracted by power struggles with me. Granted, I was the parental authority in the home -- I was a single parent -- but I never had to impose my will on them.

Matt and Kyle listened to me the way I listened to them. [They] took my advice, sensing I had their best interests at heart, and that I was in fact their mother whom they knew they could trust.

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