Jennifer Lopez is going through the highs and lows of blending families.
"The transition is a process that needs to be handled with so much care," she says of blending their families, noting that while Affleck's ex, Jennifer Garner — with whom he shares son Samuel, 10, and daughters Seraphina, 13, and Violet, 16 — is "an amazing co-parent, and they work really well together," her situation with ex-husband Marc Anthony is not the same.
Since Anthony lives on the East Coast, Lopez says that her 14-year-old twins Max and Emme have "so many feelings" about living in Beverly Hills.
"They're teens," she acknowledges. "But it's going really well so far."
The Hustlers actress expressed her hope for her and Affleck's blended family as they discover their new normal, sharing, "What I hope to cultivate with our family is that his kids have a new ally in me and my kids have a new ally in him."
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Lopez continues, "Someone who really loves and cares about them but can have a different perspective, and help me see things that I can't see with my kids because I'm so emotionally tied up."
Also complicating all things parenting is the fact that Lopez's children are growing up in life more privileged than her own upbringing, leaving Lopez concerned with keeping them grounded.
"It's hard, in its own way, when you don't have to fight for things, because then you don't learn how to be a fighter," she says. "I had to learn how to be a fighter. I wanted to give them a life that I didn't have, but they don't get to have the experience of something that is also helpful, which is developing that survivalist mentality."
As the twins recently started high school, Lopez says one of the important lessons from her childhood she wanted to imprint is that being a good person is just as important as being successful.
"I'll stress to them, like, 'I want you to do well in school,' and then my son always finishes the sentence. He goes, 'But you care more that we're good people,' " she says.
"I say, 'That's right. I do.' The beauty of being a parent is that you think you're going to teach them all these things, and you do. You pass on all the things that you know, all the knowledge you have," she continues.
"But at the end of the day they wind up teaching you so much and reminding you of the things you need to know about life and how to love somebody and how to care for people, that in your 20s and 30s, as you're doing your own thing, you can lose sight of. We get so self-centered at certain points in our lives when we have our goals and our things."
She has looked to veer from other aspects of her upbringing, however, noting that she prioritizes keeping her cool with the twins.
"I really wanted to find a better way than having to put the fear in them," she explains. "It's like, I can hold a boundary with you but also be your ally."
"That's the balance, where they respect you enough because you act in a way that they can look up to," she adds. "It's what I feel like I want to do because when I was young that wasn't what it was."
Lopez and Affleck pair initially dated for two years, stirring up a tabloid frenzy with their relationship, but split in 2004. Following their breakup, both Lopez and Affleck pursued other relationships and started families.
Lopez and Affleck eventually got back together almost two decades later, saying "I do" in Las Vegas this past summer before celebrating their wedding with a ceremony in Georgia in front of friends and family just over a month later.