In a frank new interview for Stellar magazine, Elle, 52, says she takes the role of shaping Flynn, 18, and Cy, 13, very seriously, despite her busy work schedule.
While they may get dropped off to school in her Porsche and regularly holiday in exotic locales, Miami-based Elle works hard to make Flynn and Cy appreciative of all they have.
She teaches them to deflect difficult times with humour not anger, to follow their words with actions, and be well-mannered.
To ensure gratitude, she encourages them to write thank-you notes.
“There’s a discipline of appreciation. When people have gone out of their way for you, to actually take time to stop and recognise it,” she says.
When the boys were younger, Elle even hired Aussie mannies so they’d have more identity with their homeland and give them strong male role models.
While their UK-based father Arpad Busson is active in their lives, they haven’t lived together as a family for more than a decade.
“When you have a nine-year-old or a 10-year-old, he doesn’t want to be kicking a ball around with his mum,” she says.
“I want them to have the stuff they can learn from watching other guys. They’ve got someone there to remind them, ‘Mate, you were really rude when you spoke to that person. It’s not OK, it’s not cool…’ It’s that kind of stuff that I feel is really important.
“[Plus] it’s better coming from him, otherwise I’m a real nag-athon.”
Elle enjoys parenting, even though she admits some phases are harder than others.
“Nothing gets swept under the carpet, which can be irritating for them, I’m sure.
“But you’ve got to do the job. Most of what I say to them is, ‘Listen, I’m not here to be popular, I’m here to guide you.
“[Flynn and I] are closer now that he’s got into college, because a lot of our relationship was about school. Any parent will know that’s just an uncomfortable position to be in, where you’re on them – especially boys – making sure they have done what they’re supposed to do.
“[Parenting] is a wonderful experience, though, because there are so many different phases.”
Elle says she’ll miss Flynn now he’s off to business school in Boston.
“I love his company; he’s a beautiful spirit,” she says. “Sometimes I think, ‘Gosh, I’ve done so much for him. How will he be able to cope?’ But I think it’s the best possible thing for him, because he will really need to take greater degrees of responsibility for his own life without me nagging him.”
Elle says she and husband, Miami property developer Jeffrey Soffer, have opposite approaches to parenting.
“It helps us find a middle ground, where we could be extreme either way…through observation, because I don’t believe in telling him to raise his kids,” adds Elle, now step-mum to Jeffrey’s two daughters and son.