Jodie Foster won't get upset if her sons ''fail everything'' at college.

The 55-year-old actress-turned-director - who has Charlie, 18, and Kit, 16, with former partner Cydney Bernard and is married to photographer Alexandra Hedison - insists she isn't an overbearing parent, and her own experiences of being an actress from the age of three because of the urging of her mother, Brandy, have taught her not to ''take over'' their lives.

She said: ''My childhood was the perfect training ground for [drawing strict boundaries] because I had to keep my mum at bay or she would just take over everything... I said to Charlie, 'When you go to college, let's just say you don't go to a single class and you fail everything. That's your problem. It's not my problem. I'm still going to love you when you end up working at Petco.' ''

The 'Black Mirror' director - who has three older siblings - was managed by her mother throughout her childhood and suggested Brandy was living vicariously through her.

She told Red magazine: ''My mum was a single parent, even though I had brothers and sisters, they were all gone because they were so much older.

''So my life with her, we were a couple. Every movie I made until I was old enough to make those decisions was about her obsessions. So it's that idea of two symbiotic women, you can't tell where one starts and the other one ends.''

And even from a young age, Jodie understood a lot about human behaviour and interaction.

She said: ''I understood more than I knew when I was little.

'''Little Man Tate' is about how I was raised as being a prodigy of sorts. But I was prodigious at human behaviour, I would watch an adult come into a room and think that one is manipulating that one.

''I was always calculating what other people were doing.''