Will and Jada Pinkett Smith: 5 Parenting Tips From the Hollywood Power Couple
Growing up with two very famous parents, the youngest members of the Smith family, Willow and Jaden, were automatically thrust into the spotlight.
In May, a photo of Will and Jada's 13-year-old daughter lying in bed with 20-year-old Moises Arias went viral and caused an uproar online. The Smith's parenting was called into question, and Jada fiercely defended Willow. Months later, she is sticking to her guns.
"Just don't pollute something that's not dirty," Pinkett Smith, 42, told Net-a-Porter's The Edit when asked about the controversy.
"I want my kids to be happy and I want them to be themselves," she said, noting that parenting requires trust. "I was saying to a friend the other day, 'Remember, our kids are not us.' They're not. Sometimes we're trying to fix things that happened to us or projecting [onto them], and that's a terrible, terrible trap."
This isn't the first time the Smith's have discussed their laid-back parenting style. Here are four other tips from their household when it comes to raising kids.
1. Teach Independence
"I'm not a conventional parent, which I take a lot of pride in," Jada told Us Weekly last week. "I don't just sit with Willow and go, 'Hey, this is what Mommy thinks. Let me just bring in a little reality to validate what Mommy's been talking to you about.'"
Instead, the Collateral actress explained that her goal has been to challenge her daughter to be bold and independent. "What I do with Willow," she revealed, "is I give her the opportunity to be empowered by having herself first."
2. Teach Your Daughter to Own Her Body
After Willow shaved off most of her hair in February 2012, the Smiths were criticized once again for being too relaxed when it comes to their parenting style. Mama bear Jada took to her Facebook page to discuss the buzzed about topic.
"The question why I would let Willow cut her hair, first the let must be challenged," she wrote. "This is a world where women [and] girls are constantly reminded that they don't belong to themselves — that their bodies are not their own, nor their power or self-determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit and her mind are her domain."
Will even spoke on the topic in Parade. "When you have a little girl, it's like how can you teach her that you're in control of her body? She can't cut my hair but that's her hair," he explained. "She has got to have command of her body."
3. No Punishment Necessary
When Will, 45, and Jaden, 16, sat down for an interview with Metro in May 2013, they were asked by a reporter when the last time was Jaden hard been punished.
"We don't do punishment," Will revealed. "The way that we deal with our kids is, they are responsible for their lives. Our concept is, as young as possible, give them as much control over their lives as possible and the concept of punishment, our experience has been — it has a little too much of a negative quality. So when they do things — and you know, Jaden, he's done things — you can do anything you want as long as you can explain to me why that was the right thing to do for your life."
"It works pretty well," Jaden chimed in. "Other teenagers go to parties and sometimes I be like, 'Why am I here right now?' And most of the time, I just leave right then and there. Some things I don't like to do, that other teenagers do. Everyone thinks that since you make movies, you go to parties, and I like to party, but not normal teenage parties."
4. Don't Own Your Children
In May 2013, Will did another interview with Haute Living in which he continued the parenting discussion. "I think that, specifically in African American households, the idea coming out of slavery, there’s a concept of your children being property and that was a major part that Jada and I released with our kids," said the Men in Black star. "We respect our children the way we would respect any other person. Things like cleaning up their room. You would never tell a full-grown adult to clean their room, so we don't tell our kids to clean their rooms."
Will continued: "We tell our kids 'you don't have a room, that's our room and we are letting you borrow it.' So the same way you would say to an adult if you let them use your car, you say, 'Yo man, clean my car! Don't drive around all filthy like that!' And it's perfectly reasonable for you to want an adult to clean your car, so we feel it's perfectly reasonable to ask our kids to clean the rooms that we are letting them use."
What do you think of Will and Jada's approach to parenting?