What Amy Poehler Loves About Raising Teens Even Though She Finds It ‘Challenging and Difficult’ (Exclusive)

The star opened up about what she's found "difficult" as she's raised her two teenage sons Archie, 15, and Abel, 13

<p>Sally Montana</p> Amy Poehler

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Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler is opening up about the best and worst parts of raising two teenagers.

The Inside Out star, 52, spoke to PEOPLE for this week's issue about what she loves the most about raising her two sons Archie, 15, and Abel, 13, whom she shares with ex Will Arnett. Noting that parenting can often be quite challenging, Poehler says that for her, it's been hard to let go of the reins as her sons have gotten older.

"I think that's kind of why I related to playing Joy so much," she tells PEOPLE, referencing her character from Inside Out 2. "Joy has to let go and realize that when you're raising a kid, they're their own person. You just can't protect them from pain and you're really not even supposed to. You're supposed to let them kind of have all their feelings so that they can figure out who they are."

"That's a painful process as an adult, as a parent," Poehler explains. "I relate just to that feeling of, 'In what way am I needed?'"

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<p>Monica Schipper/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty</p> Amy Poehler

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Amy Poehler

Related: Amy Poehler Opens Up About the Difficulty of Giving Advice to Her Teen Sons in Rare Parenting Update

The Parks and Recreation alum added that as "difficult" as this transition is, she's surprising herself by finding it exciting.

"I actually love that period," Poehler admits. "I find it really satisfying and exciting and fulfilling and difficult and challenging."

She continues to describe the "brutal and beautiful" process, saying, "I heard someone say, a great psychologist say, that you kind of go from being the producer, to the consultant in your kids' life."

"You have to really try to stop producing so hard and just being available for advice, but you have to walk alongside of them a little bit more. That's why the parenting is so brutal and beautiful at the same time."

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<p>Brendon Thorne/Getty Images</p> Amy Poehler

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Amy Poehler

Poehler recently shared another rare parenting update as a guest on the June 10th episode of Dax Shepard’s podcast Armchair Expert, where she explained that it isn't always easy giving advice to her kids. “Sometimes I see them disconnect when I'm talking,” she said.

When it comes to her sons experiencing a problem, she asked, “Why can't we stop at the empathy part and not have to give the fix part?”

The actress then revealed that the only way her kids openly express their issues with their mom is by doing exactly that. “So I've got teens now and I am learning that the way to keep them talking is to not do the second part, to do the part of, that happened to me too," she shared.

“As well intentioned and as sensitive and thought out and connected as the second part is I think it gets kids feeling, like, expectation — they wanna do it for you,” the actress added, noting, “I just find for me, when I start to [give advice], it's where I lose them.” 

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