Charlize Theron reminds her children every day to chase after their dreams.

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron

The 42-year-old actress is pleased her mother taught her the importance of feminism as a young child because it's had a lasting-effect on how she raises her six-year-old son Jackson and three-year-old daughter August.

Speaking to 'Entertainment Tonight', Charlize said: "I feel like I was lucky enough to have a parent that was very much aware of female issues and just always raised me knowing that there were no limitations just because of my identity and who I was.

"And, for me, I think it really kicked in in the early '90s, when rape became a big issue in South Africa, and I felt compelled once I got the information and the knowledge about what was happening in South Africa to actually go down there and try and do something about it ... I feel like I wake up in the morning with my kids and these are things that we kind of apply to our everyday life.

"We'll be driving in the car and I'll be like, 'You know you guys can be anything you want?' And they'll be like: 'Ugh, we know, Mom.'"

Charlize was just a young girl when her mother Gerda shot dead her alcoholic dad Charles in self-defence after he threatened them both while drunk and, although she's now come to terms with the incident, she initially found it easier to block it from her memory rather than dwell on it and feel sorry for herself.

She said recently: "I just pretended like it didn't happen. I didn't tell anybody - I didn't want to tell anybody. Whenever anybody asked me, I said my dad died in a car accident. Who wants to tell that story? Nobody wants to tell that story. They don't know how to respond to that. And I didn't want to feel like a victim. I struggled with that for many years until I actually started therapy."

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