Jada Pinkett Smith might be known as one of Hollywood’s biggest A-list stars, but she also makes a lot of headlines for her marriage to Will Smith and of course, her personal life. And while there are a lot of actresses who shy away from dishing personal info or talking about what goes on behind closed doors, Jada is very open about her issues, her struggles, and all of the ups and downs that she has endured during her lifetime, both in and away from the spotlight.
When it comes to how she runs her household, people will always have questions, though. That’s because Jada and Will are two of the most fascinating parents in the entertainment industry. And that’s not just because people love seeing their family, but because of how they’ve managed to raise their two children, Jaden and Willow. To put it simply, their parenting style can be described as anything but conservative. They’ve always given their kids freedom and trusted that they make the right decisions in their lives.
Here are 20 things moms have learned about parenting from Jada Pinkett Smith throughout the years. Some of these will definitely surprise some people.
20 She Relies On Will
As is the case with any celebrity marriage, both Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have their good days and their bad days. But regardless of what goes on behind closed door, Will and Jada are partners. They always do what’s best for their children – which include Trey (from Will’s first marriage), Jaden and Willow Smith – and they do it as a team.
In other words, Jada relies on Will to help her during the good times and during the most challenging ones. It’s not always easy, but no one said parenting would be a walk in the park, right?
19 She Co-Parents With Will’s Ex
A lot of people probably don’t know this, but Jada has always worked very closely with Will’s ex-wife Sheree Fletcher, especially when Jada stepped into her new “bonus mom” role with her stepson, Trey. But according to the two women, it wasn’t easy. It took them a few years to figure out that communication, love, and a mutual understanding was needed in order to make co-parenting work.
“[Trey] wanted to get you a candle, that was a turning point for me because I did see your heart with Trey,” Sheree once told Jada in an interview. “I saw a woman who was doing the very best she could.”
18 Her Mother Didn’t Always Agree With Her Parenting Style
Jada’s own mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris once admitted that she didn’t always agree with her daughter’s parenting style. As a matter of fact, Jada and Will often make headlines for their unconventional way of raising their family. But regardless of what people say and their own opinions, they make it work.
“I felt like you guys had too much say over your own lives,” Banfield-Norris told her grandchildren, explaining that she was used to the “old school” way to raise children. “Their idea of parenting is so different from what I was used to. I was like, ‘These people are crazy.’”
17 Borrowing Their Parents’ Space And Car
Will and Jada don’t let their kids “have things.” Instead, they let them “borrow” it, especially when it comes to what many would consider their own personal space. Will said in an interview with Haute Living:
"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 dirty 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."
16 She Was Brave During Jaden’s Emancipation At Age 15
Jada once admitted that the hardest time of her life is when her son Jaden asked to be emancipated from his parents when he was just 15-years-old. She still gets emotional talking about it today. “At 15 years old, Jaden, and I remember this day specifically, it’s probably one of the most heartbreaking moments of my life,” she began.
“You got to a point where you told me straight up, you were like, ‘Mom, I have to leave here to live my life,’” she recalled to People Magazine. Jada added, “I remember thinking to myself, as devastated as I was, I was like, ‘He’s right.’ The time is now. He’s 15. It’s time for him to leave the house.”
15 There’s No Dictating
A lot of parents have the same kind of parenting style. They tell their kids that they have certain expectations, rules and regulations and that their kids should follow them as long as they live in their house. But according to Jada, that’s not the case in the Smith household. There’s no dictating and no telling their kids what do to, so to speak.
"You have to be in partnership with them, there's no more dictating," she explained to Entertainment Tonight. "I did that with two—we adopted a nephew, and I had my goddaughter—and it just didn't go well. It just didn't."
14 Jada And Will Let Their Kids Choose Their Paths
Will and Jada might seem like very relaxed parents, but behind the scenes they do have control of their home and their family. With that being said though, they have agreed to allow their children to explore and choose their own paths in their lives.
For example, both Jaden and Willow decided very early on that they wanted to be artists and performers, just like their parents. Willow even had a pop music career but unfortunately, it didn’t work out for her. Even though she had a few hits, she’s since retreated from the spotlight and has focused on her education instead.
13 They Walk The Red Carpet As A Family
Sure, many critics have a lot to say when it comes to Will and Jada but there’s no denying that they are parents that always put their children’s interest ahead of their own. What’s more, they always support each other as a family. Sure, many celebrities love to bring their small children on the red carpet together, but it’s not often that you see teens standing side by side with their mom and dad.
They stick together, through thick and thin, and during the good times and the bad ones. And that’s probably why fans love Will and Jada’s family so much: they are a team, both behind the scenes and in front of the cameras, too.
12 She Doesn’t Shield Them From The Spotlight
While there are plenty of celebrity moms who do whatever they can to keep their kids away from the spotlight, Jada isn’t that kind of person. As a matter of fact, she often talks about her parenting method, her family, and all of her hopes and dreams in her talk show, Red Table Talk.
It’s been a huge success with her fans and her followers, as both her mother Adrienne and her daughter Willow often participate in her chats. She doesn’t shield them from the spotlight. She knows that both she and Will are huge A-list stars and being in the public eye is part of the Hollywood package for their family.
11 Raising Them With Freedom
Jada has often said that she likes to raise her children with a sense of freedom to do what they want with their personal property and with themselves. “To think that I could ever go into the world and tell anybody else how they should raise their children, I’ve learned that’s an absolute no-no,” she said.
“But I feel that people should have the freedom to look at their kids and decide for themselves what their children need, versus what the school system might be telling you, to go by your own instincts and it doesn’t have to look like what everybody else is [doing].”
10 They Don’t Punish Their Kids
Sure, Jada and Will expect their children to make the right decisions in life, but they know that doesn’t always happen. While they try to help them make the right choices, they don’t punish their kids for making the wrong ones.
"We don't do punishment. The way that we deal with our kids is, they are responsible for their lives," Will explained in an interview in 2013. "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."
9 Circle Of Safety Parenting
Jada’s husband once said in an interview that they have a “circle of safety” parenting method. In other words, they have a group of trusted individuals that they are allowed to share their information with and they won’t get in trouble for it. If they can’t share their information with their mother, they will go to their father.
"They're allowed to tell us everything that they did [in the circle of safety], and they can't get in trouble," Will said. "The rule is, if we find out after the circle of safety that there was something you didn't say, there was a price to pay.”
8 They Don’t Pry Into The Kids' Lives Too Much
Jada has often made it clear that you shouldn’t try to squeeze information out of your children. In other words, if they want to talk to you, they will talk to you. Forcing them to fess up or tell you about something that happened simply won’t work. "As a father, if she needs a ride from the mall, you go pick her up, and you don't say a word," she said in an interview, according to E! Online.
"You don't ask her anything. Don't talk to her. Don't ask any questions… You wait until she comes to you and wants to talk to you. And that's my advice to you. Moms know girls."
7 Willow Is In Charge Of Herself
Jada says that she allows her daughter Willow to be in charge of herself and doesn’t question any of the decisions she makes, especially when it comes to her appearance. "The question why I would let Willow cut her hair, first the let must be challenged," she wrote back in 2016.
"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."
6 Treat Them As Equals
A lot of people might not agree with this parenting method, but Will and Jada like to treat their children as equals, regardless of their age. They treat them the same way they would treat any adult. And for them, the results have so far been rather positive as they have good relationships and a healthy line of communication with their children.
Will once said (according to E! News): "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."
5 Let Them Feel Empowered
Jada also loves to let her children feel empowered. She listens to their ideas, she takes them into account and better yet, she makes them feel as though they are part of a team. Sure, they might be a family, but at the same time, Will and Jada’s children have just as much of a say as their parents. There’s no hierarchy, so to speak.
"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.'" Jada told Us Weekly back in 2014, "What I do with Willow, is I give her the opportunity to be empowered by having herself first."
4 Don’t Project Your Own Opinions
This is something that a lot of parents do, but just don’t realize it. A lot of parents often project their own opinions on their children, which is something Will and Jada are against. The actress wants her two children to think for themselves. "I want my kids to be happy and I want them to be themselves," Jada told Net-a-Porter's The Edit.
"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 trap."
3 Let Them Get It Wrong And Learn From It
It’s without a doubt that every parent wants what is best for their children. We want to see them rise more than fall. But Jada says that it’s healthy to allow your children to make their own mistakes and better yet, learn from them. It’s all apart about growing up. As much as moms and dads want to be their to catch their children when they fall, Jada says that sometimes you have to step back.
"I want to give them the opportunity to make mistakes and learn how to put boundaries on themselves," Jada told Health. "So by the time they're out of the house, they fly."
2 Admit To Your Own Errors
With that being said, Jada also says that it’s important to admit to your own mistakes as a parent, which isn’t always easy to do. We are not perfect and we shouldn’t expect perfection from anyone, either. Our children should see our good side as well as our flaws. “Parents have to give themselves much more forgiveness,” she explained.
“When you become a parent, you have these huge ideals, even for yourself. Because we’re all coming into parenting with our own childhood traumas and you’re hoping you can fix all that through your own rearing of your children, and you can’t.”
1 Let Them Pursue Their Dreams
If there is one thing that Jada expects from her children, it’s to give it their all, regardless of what they will do later on in their lives. Both she and her husband Will are firm believers in letting their children pursue their own dreams, no matter what it is. As long as they are happy doing it, that’s what counts.
"As a parent I will never ask my children to be less," Jada said in an interview with Chris Witherspoon. "I'm going to educate my children and empower them in a way that they can have whatever. I don't care if Willow wants to own a gas station. She better be a giant doing it."