Will Smith on parenting: ‘as young as possible, give them as much control as possible’

Will Smith was asked in an interview about how he raises his kids. His answer was very telling, and explains why the Smith kids are basically running their own careers and being expected to face deep adult issues on camera. He says he treats them like adults, basically, and judging from his answer I would say he’s done that since they were little. It’s sad for them and makes me want to protect them. Remember that Willow is just 12 and Jaden is 14.

“We don’t do punishment. 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.”

[From Metro.us via Starcasm]

This is Scientology-speak. This is how the Scientologists treat kids, like little adults who are responsible for themselves and don’t need parenting. The cult’s doctrine preaches “self-determination” for children which may sound ok as some kind of theory, but often becomes neglect and abuse in practice. Little kids in no way have the maturity or capability of adults, and they need our guidance and help. This is a recipe for disaster like so much other crap in Scientology.

Will Smith’s private school uses Scientology “teaching” materials which are wholly unproven and can be harmful, so I guess it’s not surprising that he follows their recommendations for raising his children. I now believe the rumors that the Smiths are undercover Scientologists and that they’ve been hiding it for years. I’ve been willing to give them the benefit of the doubt until now, but no longer. It’s just a shame because the kids are the ones who suffer the most, and I’ll leave it at that. At least Willow and Jaden won’t be expected to join Sea Org.

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159 Responses to “Will Smith on parenting: ‘as young as possible, give them as much control as possible’”

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  1. Lucy says:

    Ahh parenting as taught by his Scientology Cult

  2. lem says:

    i know he’s only 14 but will Jayden PLEASE STOP MAKING THAT FACE?!?! it’s not cute, it’s not endearing, it just makes him look like an idiot.

  3. ZigZagZoey says:

    Hmmm……Let’s see how that works out for ya in a few more years.

    It is so strange to me how so many people don’t seem to age at all, then suddenly there it is. He actually looks kinda old here.
    Must be those damn meddling kids!

    For the love of God STOP with those eyebrows. I cannot stand this kid.

  4. V4Real says:

    “Give them much control as possible.”

    That’s why it won’t be long before his kids are out of control. I see the cult has taken control of Will as well.

    He is not aging well at all.
    Why does Jaden always have that same damn expression on his face?

    Since the singer and model Cassie (P. Diddy’s girlfriend) started that side shaved head look why do other celebrities (Jada) think it looks good on them?
    There was a reason as to why Cassie did it but she started a trend which many don’t give her credit for.

  5. mrspatrickbateman says:

    Dumbest thing EVER. Kids need discipline, they crave it. If they don’t receive it they will push every and all boundaries to see how far they can. If you keep letting it go it shows the kids you don’t care. Plus I hear my kids ideas (4 and 6) for what they want to do and there is NO freaking way. No explanation would make some of their ideas ok.

    • Lake Mom says:

      Agree 100%! I’ve known some parents who took this ‘let the kid have control’ approach and without fail, every one of those kids is a mess. They are now adults who simply can’t function normally with anyone or the world around them.

      • marky mark says:

        I would have even been cool with Will saying that he tries to GUIDE them, but he didn’t even say that.
        My father had six other siblings and the younger two tried the young-adult/friends approach and I can tell you that my cousins haven’t turned out to be the most productive adults. They aren’t in jail or anything, but none of them have had steady careers or direction & are constantly back at home with Parents.
        My father and his older siblings were very disciplinary with us and their kids and the difference between us and our cousins is stark.
        Someone said that the Smiths can buy thei kids out of trouble–IDK about that, ask Michael Douglas

    • Lucinda says:

      Um, yeah. My son when he was 8 told me how he knew he needed limits from me because he didn’t know enough to always make good decisions and he would get in trouble. Personally I was kinda stunned that he got it but he said he knew he might fight me on the limits but he also knew the limits showed him how much I cared about him and what happened to him. That’s what being a parent is about.

  6. Red32 says:

    “You can do whatever you want as long as you can explain why it works for your life”?!?!

    I wonder where respecting boundaries and other people fits in.

    • sasa says:

      Isn’t having to explain your actions more or less the same as being disciplined? They’re giving them fake control which could come back to bite them in the ass when the kids figure it out.

      Unfortunately there is no way around discipline in the modern world. If you plan on your kids being a healthy member of the society, that is.

  7. Gine says:

    I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all to give kids more responsibility and control over their lives (and I think a lot of parents are way too controlling), but NEVER giving punishment is just the other extreme. Kids need to learn that there are consequences to their actions.

    Willow and Jaden do seem fairly well-adjusted compared to other celebrity children, though, at least so far, so I wonder if he’s exaggerating to make himself seem like a cool dad, or if his real answer would be, “I don’t know, the nannies took care of it.”

    • swack says:

      Instead of having a negative punishment, maybe they could do something positive for a punishment, like helping out at a homeless shelter (with no media attention or pics), help at a food bank by stocking shelves, use some of their money to buy books, puzzles, ect. for children who are ill and in the hospital. Punishment doesn’t have to be negative all the time but there does have to be some type of consequence to their actions.

  8. nj says:

    Those two kids are very talented and work very hard. Watch Willow Smith’s music videos on Youtube.

    If you don’t punish your children, you still have to correct them, so talking to them and reasoning with them sounds right.

  9. Mia 4S says:

    And here’s Xenu ladies and gentlemen! Very sad. I’m glad his daughter had the courage to tell them to stuff the whole Annie remake. She didn’t want it, so good for her.

  10. Celebitchy says:

    Jaden is 14 years old. I don’t want to read more crap about how people don’t want to see him pull a certain face. He is 14. He didn’t sign up for this life, which is the point of the post.

    -edit- Thanks Suze, appreciate it.

    • aims says:

      exactly. Kids don’t know what’s always best for them. Biological they aren’t fully able to understand and make informed decisions. That’s why they’re parents in the fold. Being a parent doesn’t mean being a dictator, it means being a teacher. You try to teach your kids well, and as they grow, you loosen up and let them take charge. And hope to God they do well and become good human beings.

    • lem says:

      Apologies. I don’t really blame him and I do feel bad for both him and his sister b/c of they have terrible parents. The face mostly bugs me b/c it reminds me that he’s allowed to galavant around the world with Douche Beiber and if his parents had two brain cells to rub together and would actually PARENT their children then he wouldn’t be allowed to do that (at least I hope most parents wouldn’t allow their 14 year olds to run around with a 19 year old).

    • ZigZagZoey says:

      I apologise in advance for this post.

      I have been very bitchy all week. But this really kinda pissed me off. :evil:
      If you don’t want people to comment on his face, maybe you should blur it out. It’s hard to miss.

      I LOVE this site very much. Sorry to talk back.

    • Jennykins says:

      Agreed. These are kids. The scientific truth is that their brains are not the same as adults, and they are unable to process things like consequences and empathy the same way adults do. You can’t treat them like adults because they are physiologically incapable of acting like adults.

    • TrustMeOnThis says:

      Yeah, if you can’t go around looking like an enormous dork at 14, when can you?!


      Oh. Yes, I am well over 14. ;-)

      But seriously I do agree. He is a kid, whatever. There’s not much you can do at 14 to NOT look like an enormous dork!

      I agree that they are probably all scilons. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

      I also REALLY appreciated your putting “teaching” in quotes. Exactly. Thanks for your coverage of this stuff.

    • Redwriter says:

      Just wanted to let you know that the Smith’s have never hid the fact that they practice Scientology. I remember hearing about it seven years ago and was really disappointed.

      • Sarah says:

        Will made some vague comment about respecting all religions but never really “came out’ as a scientologist. So I don’t agree he is “open” about it. After the Tom Cruise couch jumping thing and all the bad press in the last 5 years, it’s a career killer for a mainstream artist like Will.

    • Bridget says:

      I’m not comfortable with commenting on a 14 year old’s appearance, and am not going to do so. BUT. He may be only 14 years old, but he DID sign up for this life. These are not pictures of the Affleck kids at their preschool, or the Jolie-Pitt kids on one of their outings. He is on a red carpet, doing press, doing a job. Now it may be a job that he only gets by the grace of his father’s celebrity, but as we saw with Willow Smith she at least was able to choose not to do a project – they got that Annie remake going specifically to give her a vehicle. While I most definitely agree that children should not be in control of their own lives the way the Smith’s apparently believe, whether we agree or not he’s made that choice for himself and criticism is a natural consequence for anyone that puts themselves into the public eye.

    • Irishae says:

      Now, now you guys. He may have have a medical condition. There is no way to know whether this might be a case of Barley-Botox gone wrong. He is only 14 years old with no interest in piggybacking off his father’s fame. His ego is as delicate as Swarovski crystal. Shame on all of you.


      • Isa says:

        He didn’t sign up for this life but he has the choice to show up on the red carpet and make that face. He is a beautiful kid he shouldn’t ruin it with that expression.

      • jessiesgirl says:

        I have to say, it makes me sad when people make fun of this kid because he tries to be what he thinks is cool in pics. The whole point of the post is that he has no guidance or someone to talk sense into him. He is basically raising himself. Who among you could do that? And be above adult snark while you do? Sad all around.

    • Mabs says:

      But this is exactly what they want. Who’s doing red carpet here? Who’s posing for cameras? Who’s dressed to the nines ridiculously Zoolandering for all sorts of media? Fourteen or 24, this is what they get…unabashed opinions and social media overdrive. I can start naming under 18-ners all day long who have grabbed the, Look-at-me, LOOK-AT-ME-NOW-DAMMIT mantra literally and figuratively.

      I love this website but I disagree with you. Had they been Zoolandering in their back yard playing with Fido, I’d be more inclined to understand your sentiment. As such, they are getting what they asked for.

      • jaye says:

        Whether they are “Zoolandering” on a red carpet or in their backyard, they’re still just kids. And they are going to be just that in front of the camera or in private, why should there be a distinction made? Like CB stated, public life wasn’t their choice. They’ve been trotted out on the red carpet since they were very little. It’s what they know because it’s all their parents seems to have prepared them for.

    • jaye says:

      Thank you for saying this. These kids have gotten raked over the coals on here and I just don’t get it. They’re KIDS. Like CB said, they didn’t choose this this life, they are working they’re way through it with (seemingly) very few boundaries set by their parents. I feel for them, especially Willow because she seems so sad. She just seems like she just wants to be a normal 12 year old. I just want to give her a big hug. I’ll also give Jaden(any teenager really) a pass for pulling the “cool kid” face in every pic. My feeling is that maybe he is squinting against the glare of the camera flashes, but what do I know.

  11. teehee says:

    I agree with the quoted philosophy. Treat them like mindless things to be controlled, and that’s what they become. If you trust your child, give them responsibility, and let them make their own decisions and learn from them, they become smarter, stronger, and wiser much earlier than others and develop self confidence and open mindedness. They also have no need to “break free” because they aren’t being forced in any direction.
    Bottom line if you think your child is an idiot, you forbid everything and spoon feed them life. If you think your child has half a brain, you allow them to think- and your children pick up on this and go along with it.
    Edit: this comes from experience and watching my step dad with his kids. He is there, always there, and available, but he does not chase them down condemning them or warning them of folly and damnation like most parents do. He is always there for advice and reasoning and input and guidance but not to push his wish or fears or hatred onto them. He is there to be relied upon, not to dish out punishment. Life does enough of that, and that is how kids learn- they learn from consequences and life is not without consequences. They will see this for themselves if you explain it to them and how them– not with a belt or a stick or yelling, but with intelligent talking to them.

    • Emily says:

      The choice is not between being a control freak and being totally permissive. You need to be somewhere in the middle. Kids need boundaries and rules, and they also need a certain amount of freedom, which grows as they do. If you go to either extreme, the kids are going to be messed up. And there’s just no reason for it.

    • Jenny says:

      Yes, to a certain extent, but to say you never punish your children (punishment comes in many forms, including constructive, not just corporal) and to think that a child of 12 or 14 can do whatever they want as long as they can explain why they wanted to do that, no. Most children that age do not have the capacity to grasp long term consequences and need guidance from parents as well; they cannot guide themselves. I think, as with most parenting questions, there is a happy medium and parents fall in all areas of the spectrum where there is no “right” or “wrong” way. However, it becomes problematic when you are too extreme on either end of things: you clearly should not beat or berate your kids, just as you should not allow your kids to parent themselves.

      Edit: @Emily, you beat me to the punch. Exactly my sentiments and more concise to boot!

    • teehee says:

      My step father has very intelligent, decent children. Nuff said.
      I think the problem lies more in how to ‘define’ letting a child think for themselves. Some interpret it as “letting a 4 yr old eat any cereal they want” which shows that they aren’t understanding the concept to begin with.

    • teehee says:

      Ok I thought of an example now: My step dad’s kids lost their mother this year to an embolism. Now, they have an entier 3 storey house to themselves (they lived apart).
      He is not telling them how to run the house. Not even when or how to do the dishes- but they have eys and know, it needs to be done.
      What has happened to the kids (18 & 19), is a slow evolution into them sitting down at the kitchen table and making themselves a little chore calendar. They even plan who buys what foods and keep separate tables of expenses. My step dad hasnt told them what to do at all— they are figuring out how to arrange the rooms, what to do with the left over belongings of their mother, how to keep their house the way they want it. He is letting them do it and he gives them plenty of help- they constantly ask for his input, but he is NOT commanding them how things ought to be done. For exmaple they suddenly have to sort all the mail and pay all the bills. He simply gives them a weekly allowance, and they have to manage all the accounts now.

      Of course they are not 4 years old; but his philosophy has ALWAYS been the same. Yes he has structure, plenty, in his OWN life but that is for them to see and decide, how much of that they will incorporate.

      Compare this to a adolescent who is constantly badgered to keep their room a certain way and whose parents wont let them figure out their OWN schedule of chores or anything remotely similar— adn they are leaps and bounds ahead.

      *the death is certainly a total exception, but it makes the example clear of how the system works. Any one else would have taken over the house FOR them and robbed them of their own capacities to think for themselves. it shows total DIS trust of a child. Thats the point– trust is missing in an authoritrian parenting style. You have to trust them and trust your own ability to be a GOOD EXAMPLE for the kids to learn from on their own…. yes there is a balancing act between showing and telling and trusting, but its complex and varied with each little situation- and each day brings multiple situations.

  12. littlestar says:

    I don’t even have kids and I think this is the most ridiculous shit I’ve heard from a celebrity in a while. Let a 14 year old have control over his own life? Are you kidding me? Kids need to know that if you do something bad, you will be punished (this goes for inside the home and outside in the real world/society). Plus, the reasoning part of a person’s brain isn’t completely developed until you are in your mid 20s. A teenager cannot make sound decisions because of this! Ugh. No wonder there are so many entitled little shit heads out there.

    Edit: I should also add that I don’t think parents should be downright controlling their kids. Young people need to have responsibilities, but they cannot be making every single choice in their life on their own.

    • oh dear says:

      this is where the law then “teaches” the younguns when their parents have failed them. that teen mom girl, for example. her father preaches “forgiveness”, not judgement. whilst thats nice in theory, if your child has a certain type of personality that approach is rather contra-productive.

      giving children responsibility is fine but it should happen gradually, based on their level or maturity. i think that every child is different, whilst one can handle the pressure of “control over your life” others buckle under it.

      every child needs a different approach based on their personality. all that said, though, i do believe that its important to let your child have a childhood and not to raise them as a mini-adult (e.g. suri cruise).

      but thats just my opinion :)

  13. Chicagogurl says:

    I think The Smiths don’t define themselves religiously but they obviously closely identify.

    This is terrible. Children should be taught right from wrong and the gray area in between. They need rules and guidance. Such hippie bullshit! When it comes to 5 year olds dressing themselves – sure those are choices they can own, but if they are mistreating people, acting like assholes or worse yet as they age – get in the wrong relationships or become self-destructive — you’re suppose to just sit back, not parent “what have you learned about yourself from this?” I don’t know any kid at any age that is willing to punish themselves. “I was a real jerk and made fun of this kid at soccer so here’s my cell phone until I can learn how to speak to people kindly.” Yah, right.

  14. the original bellaluna says:

    If we’re talking about giving a toddler a choice of cereals for breakfast, or a ham or PBJ sandwich for lunch, or which shirt to wear (helps remove the “control issue” from potty training), then sure, that’s fine.

    But kids NEED boundaries. And kids who grow up without them (i.e. Blohan; the Teen Mom fiascos; those Neiers girls; the Kartrashians, et al) turn into seriously entitled assholes as they get older.

  15. decorative item says:

    Children need boundaries, unless you want to raise a monster.

  16. mary says:

    I think that when these two kids grow up, their parents and the public (because their parents chose to share their lives and parenting techniques with the public) will see if this sort of parenting really ‘works’…

    nobody can say if this is right/wrong or good/bad until these kids are adults and how they behave as adults…that’s the true test or proof.

  17. Reg says:

    That’s a typical scientology statement, he’s been brainwashed

  18. tforce7878 says:

    sniff, sniff…I smell an under cover scientologist!

  19. dorothy says:

    So basically the kids raised themselves? Guess that free’s up alot of time for Will and his wife. No time wasted on that pesky parenting duty.

  20. Mar says:

    All of these people give me the creeps…..

  21. & says:

    When jaden gets older, I think he might regret making that bieber face for every photo.

  22. Kate says:

    I feel like allowing your children to make age-appropriate decisions about their lives is a good idea, but letting them run loose is another thing. I wonder if Will Smith meant he prefers consequences over punishment – like, you have to live with your decisions, and regrets. They’re so young, though. I agree to let Willow shave her head if she wants – that kind of control I think is a good thing. But they certainly shouldn’t be autonomous in every way.

  23. Nev says:

    I like the theory (explaining why they did it and then hopefully talking it through and of course creating boundaries!!!) and am understanding of its pitfalls at the same time.

    Willow is so so So Happening!!!!

  24. fabgrrl says:

    “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”

    That’s how you parent a 20 year old! Not a young kid.

  25. Emily says:

    Scientology says to treat kids as adults in EVERYTHING. We’re not just talking about letting them choose how they want to live. L. Ron Hubbard locked a 4-year old in a chain locker on a ship overnight for misbehaving — which is what he would have done to a 40-year old. And when I say “everything”, I mean “everything”. Not just responsibility and freedom: work and sexuality as well. 16-hour days, marrying very young, allowing sexual abuse, etc.

    Remember how Willow begged her parents to let her not be famous? And they didn’t let her? That’s because they treated her as if she were a 40-year old wanting to shirk her work responsibilities. Scientologists are not permissive — they’re just completely f*ed up in every conceivable way.

  26. kim says:

    Lmao ya…

    Is that why the son Looks like a d-bag with his facial expressions for his photo ops and the little girl looks so angry in the face and kinda b..chy?

    This family is insane and narcistict!!!!


  27. Dibba says:

    “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.”- Jackie Kennedy

  28. Dibba says:

    I get a freakshow vibe from this clan which is a shame because I always liked him. Feel bad for the other kid who isn’t part of the “clan”. But then again, he’s lucky to escape this disaster in the making. The EGOS alone in that photo are frightening. They appear to have no humility or at least any they are able to communicate.

  29. Em says:

    I don’t understand why this principle gets so much shade. This is exactly what Montessori calls for and no one treats Montessori like it’s quackery. If you have ever lived with a toddler you would realize very fast that you do need to let them do for themselves as much as possible. Even tiny people are still people and need to be treated like they are capable and need to be recognized as such. When I read this, if you take the emotional charge and manipulative language of the writer out of it and just read the quotes, you can plainly see that what the Smiths are saying could be said by any parent who sends their kids to a Montessori school.

    • Emily says:

      No. Scientology says that children are literally little adults, and to treat them in every way exactly as you would an adult. Do you know how Scientology treats adults? Look it up.

      Montessori principles are nothing like this. Montessori did not say it was good to expect children to work for 16 hours a day. Montessori did not say children could make decisions about sexuality on their own. She did not say that children could make decisions on everything with no guidance. She did not say you should punish children harshly, as Scientologists do: quite the opposite. She certainly would not be okay with L. Ron Hubbard’s “make money. Make more money. Make other people produce so as to make more money.”

      Learn about Scientology before attempting to compare it to Montessori. It’s like comparing a rotted, dead animal crawling with maggots to a soaring eagle. It’s deeply insulting to Maria Montessori and to anyone who raises their children using Montessori methods. Whether one agrees with Montessori or not, she was not the leader of an abusive cult, and she had children’s best interests at heart. L. Ron Hubbard only cared about money and power.

    • the original bellaluna says:

      Umm, no.

      Yes, you let toddlers start doing more for themselves (they INSIST upon doing things “MYSELF!”), within reason.

      You do NOT allow a toddler/young child to use an open flame to cook his/her own breakfast, groom the dog, run in the street willy-nilly without supervision, or mow the lawn.

      Children are NOT “small adults:” They are children (hence being called “children”) who are the PARENTS’ responsibility to educate; instill manners and values in; teach the difference between right and wrong; and raise into decent, law abiding, contributing, and functioning adults.

      Children also need to be taught respect by showing them respect (again, within reason) as little human beings, but they are NOT small adults.

  30. Eelongated says:

    Am I crazy, or does the younger crop of guys seem to all be addicted to squinting?

  31. choppersann@gmail.com says:

    Sounds like bullshit talk for i don’t feel like parenting….and then there are those of us that take the time and try our best to raise respectful kids with morals who know right from wrong and realize there are consequences equal to each improper behavior…and it is we who are still suck dealing with these entitled monsters that know one took the time to raise….

  32. bowers says:

    He’s wrong. So so wrong.

  33. yeahright says:

    Scientology or not, I can’t judge them on this one. I think the idea here is to not treat your kids like they are stupid and incapable and this is something I think is important when it comes to raising children.

    But give them control? I don’t think so. As much as children love freedom and benefit from it I think they want boundaries more than anything else. A lot of people who have said their parents didn’t put much effort into their parenting always say they wished for someone to say “no” or someone to tell them which way to go. I am sure that is retrospect talking and they would have rebelled anyways… but once we’re grown and we look back on our childhoods and our parents what stands out most is how we finally understand what they were saying. Or at least I see it that way now that I have two babies.

  34. Palermo says:

    Yep he’s a Scientologist alright

  35. littlestar says:

    It really does sound like the Smiths are $cientologists. I wonder why they are keeping it a secret though??? That, I’d really like to know. Are they afraid it’ll hurt their reputation/careers?

  36. Elceibeno says:

    I don’t have children so I do not feel entitled to opine on how to raise children. Will and Jada seem like loving, caring parents and I hope the kids turn out allright.

  37. Crumpets and Crotchshots says:

    I’d advocate this within certain limitations. There are some things kids really can’t do and need to learn from their parents. I would have happily dispensed with learning math as a child, etc. I was taught though that there are some things you just have to do. Thanks mom!

    Some parents go over boarding in trying to mould their kids. They never get to make any basic decisions, or are constantly rescued from experiencing any consequences for their decisions– then they wonder why they can’t handle responsibility when they go out on their own. You can go too far with well intended guidance.

    That said, I’m not going to let a five year old play in traffic, ya know? Lets all get real.

  38. holly hobby says:

    Whelp, Will’s granny can officially spin in her grave because he just crossed over and joined the cult. He and Jada are doing a disservice to their kids because they are going to grow up uneducated and basically useless. The only good thing is that they can fall back on Mom and Dad’s money.

    And no, I don’t think they are talented and I resent the fact that the Smiths are foisting their kids down the public’s throats.

  39. Chrissie says:

    That explains why Willow never does her “maths” homework.

  40. Just G says:

    I’ve always loved Will and Jada and knew they had ties to Scientology but gave them the benefit of the doubt.
    But I guess it’s just that Will’s really good at hiding his real life crazy.
    Sad. =(

  41. Reece says:

    I cut them off a long time ago. Tommy Boy may be a cooky Sci Poster Boy but at least he’s upfront about it. You know where he’s coming from.
    But The Smiths are all smoke and mirrors.

  42. Georgina says:

    The kids I knew growing up who did what they wanted without punishment turned into complete drains on society. I don’t advocate exercising complete control over every aspect of a child’s life, but let them do what they want when they want to do it, and they’ll grow into entitled adults with little-to-no sense of right and wrong.

  43. Stacia says:

    ‘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.”

    So if he does drugs,that’s ok because its what he wants to do. Sounds like a crap way of parenting. It’s sad because you can tell in the photos how both the siblings seem to ‘stunt’and pose when the camera is on them, esp his son. I wonder if his older son is the same way.

  44. paranormalgirl says:

    This is my opinion on this issue, as a psychiatrist, since I am not a parent:

    Children need freedom. They need to exercise their own control. They need to make their own decisions wherever possible and feasible. They need to be given responsibility for their lives and take responsibility for their actions. But we can’t do that without setting them examples, doing this in a controlled environment, and setting guidelines. Children are not “mini adults.” They lack the capacity to make certain decisions for themselves. Their centers of reasoning are not fully developed. The human brain is not fully developed until age 25. At one point in time, it was believed that the brain was pretty much done developing at age 10. This is not the case. The brain develops significantly after the age of 18 and the section of the brain that does this development is the prefrontal cortex, which is one of the last parts of the brain to mature. The prefrontal cortex houses the reasoning and decision making ability. So if you expect a child to do any complex reasoning/decision making, you are expecting something that the child is not capable of.

    • luluinaix says:

      I think, maybe the prefrontal cortex is attached to Jaden’s eyebrows….

    • Sam says:

      My gripe with it is that thing at the end, which is how he frames it as “as long as it works for you.” I saw this a lot when I worked at the counseling center. It’s setting up narcissism. It basically says “Just center on your own wants and needs” – which isn’t always wrong, but it also neglects a central point of maturity – that your actions can affect other people and when they do, you need to consider those others in your decision-making. This is part of why, IMO, we’re seeing such issues with narcissism and entitlement in younger generations now. Of course, narcissism seems to be a central tenant of Scientology, so this is not surprising.

    • Renee says:


      You as a psychiatrist and as a normal individual, are a person of great wisdom.

      Therefore, according to CO$, you are evil and their enemy.

      ‘Scientoligists – the most ethical people on the planet’

      (their words, not mine)

    • SydneySpy says:

      I love your posts, paranormalgirl! As an educator, I am passionately interested in brain development, and in particular, the consequences of maltreatment in brain development in youngsters. This is no way implies that the Smiths are guilty of maltreating their children. It’s essential to remind people that, whether they like it or not, brain development is not complete until at least the mid-20s, so expecting something which is not possible is ignorant and futile. And then there’s brain plasticity…. Thank you. I’m really looking forward to reading more of your expert comments.

  45. Dibba says:

    Or in other words, “I’m too lazy to parent.”

  46. Itsa Reallyme says:

    This is really sad. I’ve lost so much respect for Will Smith.
    I don’t “punish” my kids either. There are consequences for good and bad behavior. There are consequences for all behavior. If you do something that is wrong, you will get a consequence to help you learn why it’s wrong. If you do something great, there will be consequences that will reinforce that excellent behavior. I don’t understand how grown adults don’t get that. You can’t just throw your kids to the wolves and hope for the best. So sad.

  47. bns says:

    I didn’t think it was possible, but Will Smith is finally aging.

  48. Dee Cee says:

    a daycare provider cannot do for your child is convince him that he is the most important thing in the world to his parents. Only the parents can do that–and leaving the child in a strangers care for nine to eleven hours five or six days a week is not the best way to convey that message of love and devotion to them Otherwise., you intrude, take my free time, ruin my life with your questions and need for attention bore and bother me

  49. luluinaix says:

    I think we are hearing the words but missing the obvious: it is ridiculous to assume Will Smith is telling the truth about their parentlng style: Before us we see a family entirely colour-coordinated down to the smallest detail.. there is’t a kid in the world who opts to dress to match their siblings and their parents…in public, no less. It’s a farce.
    Now let’s consider their names: Will and Jada believe so much in their children’s right to define their own futures that they name them….She-Will and He-Jada! Or Willow and Jaden…after themselves. What a load to bear and how paradoxical to imply they have control over their choices when their very names emanate from their parents’ narcissism.
    Like so many children of celebrities, they have less control over their lives than anonymous children in many ways. Their parents sold out their children’s rights to a private life with all the wonderous freedom that that entails: They are given opportunities in terms of travel and money that other children won’t have…but at what cost? For example, Jaden got to go to London recently where he and Justin Bieber were a laughing stock for trying to enter an adult night club..;he got to go to Germany where the drama revolved around Bieber’s confiscated monkey…and then Sweden where the BieberBus was searched and drugs found within – to no-one’s surprise. How is that a better version of travel than inter-railing around Europe at eighteen – or even being dragged to see the sights and visit museums in a cramped family car with squealing siblings?
    These children were raised by staff, had their academic education swapped for work/performance tours, and had their childhood cashed in in order to extend their parents metaphorical fifteen minutes.

  50. Sam says:

    That attitude, frankly, is how lots of criminals get started. “Do what works for you” is a selfish attitude. It doesn’t acknowledge that you are not a bubble and there are tons of people around you and in your orbit who will directly affected by your actions and you owe them some consideration. It might sound trite, but I saw plenty of criminals parade through court who would say “I just do what I want” or “I didn’t stop to think how my actions would affect anyone else” or “I thought it was right at the time.” Punishment works with kids because sometimes, kids don’t make the cause and effect links that adults can. They need to be taught boundaries and acceptable behavior. That stuff doesn’t come naturally.

  51. Scarlet Vixen says:

    My main question is: How does this really prepare them for ‘real life’? Even adults have rules and consequences. If they have a landlord, partner, employer, etc there will always be expectations of behavior and responsibility, and also repercussions. I’m currently having this conversation with my 5yr old. He says he can’t wait until he’s an adult so he doesn’t have any rules anymore (he’s even gone so far as to try to think up occupations where he won’t have a boss. I told him there aren’t any–even racecar drivers, pro golfers and the president have bosses :-) ). Heck, as adults we have even MORE rules and responsibilities.

    Our job as parents is to set the appropriate limits, show them correct behaviors by example and explanation, and prepare them the best we can to make good decisions and succeed in the real world. Sometimes we must make them do things they don’t want to, or not do things they do want to do. But if we do it right they will thank us in the long run, and be upstanding, responsible contributing members of society.

  52. Agitation says:

    Seeing as I’m only three years older than Jaden I’m going to go ahead and say that his facial expression is annoying and stupid, and I have no idea how his age changes that fact.

  53. Leigh_S says:

    I wonder what is going on with Jaden. That expression is showing up a lot lately. Typically, raised eyebrows that are high in the middle and wrinkled forehead like that is caused by anxiety/pain. Its a hard expression to do consciously. Its not one that he used to make.

  54. telesma says:

    I’m all for giving them as much freedom and responsibility as possible as young as possible – but only gradually, as you’ve taught them right from wrong and they’ve had time to learn about consequences. And I do think they should be allowed to experience the consequences of their actions as long as those consequences are not truly harmful (just uncomfortable).

    I think the Scientology way of just letting them run rampant and develop without guidance is a recipe for creating psychopaths and the walking wounded. :(

  55. mimi says:

    Kids should be allowed to be kids, to enjoy groing up without the difficulties and responsibilities that adults face.

    They should not be a part of the work-force (unless the family lives in poverty and there is really no other way to support the family) and face the hadships adults face.

    They should be interacting with other kids, go to school, have kids extra-curricular activities rather than careers.

    I feel for them.
    Can they even go to college when the time comes?
    Are they even studying like other kids their age and acquiring all the knowledge and skill needed for them to become adults who can work in whatever they want and find a real job or pursue advance studies in field of their interest?

  56. madchen says:

    Good god! What happened to Will Smith’s face? That’s not age, that’s bad plastic surgery!

    As for the kids, I don’t think they’ve ever been kids. The parents have had them on the stroll since they were little.

  57. Nicolette says:

    So children are responsible for their own lives? That just sounds like lazy parenting. Kids are not mature enough, and they haven’t experienced life to be able to make every decision for themselves. Nuts. But then again we are talking Scientology right?

  58. janie says:

    Are they both so busy they don’t have time for these kids? Tween & teen years are so difficult for normal kids. One minute they need reassurance & the next u ground them.They need guidance for their lives? This attitude shocks me Will & Jada.

  59. Kim says:

    Unfortunately these 2 kids are already so messed up from their whacked out, in the closet, scientology parents. Every child needs punishment. Not a beating but punishment as in being responsible for your actions. They are creating a monster in the boy who feels he can do anything good or bad & get away with it because after all mommy & daddy said he could. And that little girl is so miserable. When I saw her on that show telling her mom she wished she spent more time with her and felt she wasnt there for her & Jada just kind of said “oh” Ive never felt worse for a child. Will and Jada are self absorbed morons and their kids deserve so much better parenting.

  60. Tragic Sandwich says:

    “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.”

    This sounds just like Jada’s statement about the basis of her relationship with Will.

  61. Thiajoka says:

    Yep, I agree–this benign neglect way of parenting confirms ties to Scientology.

  62. dcypher1 says:

    My bf in high school parents were scientologist and they basically let him do whatever he wanted to do. He grow up fast basically but I think it totally screwed him up. He hated scientology and he was spiritually messed up. I always felt sorry for him cus he seemed like a list soul. I used to be jealous of him cus his parents let him do what he wanted know im greatful that I had parents that cared about me.

  63. moon says:

    Maybe we’re judging them harshly just because of the scientology label. On its own, I don’t think it’s a bad parenting philosophy at all. At any rate, it’s much better than the tiger mum who unleashes ultimate control over her children and believes that they should not make their own decisions.

    As the product of the tiger mum upbringing, I’ve always planned to bring up my kids the way Will’s described here. And I am no sciencetologist or ever plan on being one.

  64. Carlos says:

    Yeah, that’s good advice. In a few years TMZ will film Jaden prancing down a NYC street wearing a fur coat, asking him silly questions while avoiding the obvious one.

  65. Queso Blanco says:

    Did Will Smith have another son before this one with his ex wife? What happened to him?

  66. Sweetcheetah says:

    Does Jaden need glasses, bc he’s always squinting. And no one ever should ask Will Smith for parenting advice. The crap he spouted is a recipe for disaster. Every child needs guidance, love AND discipline (that doesn’t necessarily mean punishment, but should mean consequences.) Children do not need you to be their friends or equals, they have those at school. Sad, sad, Will Smith.

  67. lucy2 says:

    That’s just lazy, shitty parenting.
    He can call it whatever he wants, but that’s what it is. I feel bad for those kids.

  68. SydneySpy says:

    I was discussing “loosening the reins” just today with friends and family. When my kids were young, we allowed them to choose certain foods, clothes, bedroom furnishings etc. but it was still our responsibility to ensure they were fed healthy foods, clothed appropriately (not necessarily in a morally-appropriate way, but more ensuring they were warm or cool), that they were not endangered, like for example, one son, being somewhat pyromaniacal, requesting a fireplace be installed in his bedroom (yeah, right!), and as they grew older the reins were loosened, and trust built upon.

    I’m pretty sure that the Smiths have had nannies to see to these and a lot more things, thereby freeing up their own time to pursue their careers.

    I think Willow is very sensible for her age, and likely, Jaden is a bit further along than other boys his age.. However, wasn’t he in London recently, clubbing and probably partying with the Beiber boy? There’s no way I’d ever have allowed my son – even the 14-going-on-40 one, to be swanning around in a huge city, (apparently) unsupervised in another country, in the company of an out-of-control little twat, in licensed premises late at night. Feel free to correct me if I have this wrong.

    I am currently reading Hugh McKay’s “The Good Life”, where it is suggested by some child psychologists, educators and welfare experts, that this type of parenting might soon be considered child abuse.

    I just hope these kids grow up to be caring, responsible, contributing, productive and contented adults, despite their idiotic parents.

  69. Caz says:

    I’m surprised Will & Jada don’t realise that they’re committing PR harikari with each new PR piece they’re putting out there.

    Neither Jayden nor Willow really have the talent to make a consistent career in their chosen field which is sad when the parents are building them up to believe they’re invincible…hopefully they really find something to fall back on when they’re older. Hopefully both get some really good role models in their lives soon and as they grow up and go forth in the world away from their parents.

    In 10 years’ time Will & Jada will be shaking their heads in bewilderment when their children either turns their backs on Scientology or really get into trouble. Because they’re so out of touch they’ll be asking the same question “where did we go wrong?”. They strike me as awfully selfish and self-absorbed.

  70. Jennifer12 says:

    Are you kidding me?? I can’t believe I once thought they seemed like a healthy couple. Kids get scared when they think they’re in control, and I say that as a parent and as a teacher. They look to us for guidance and boundaries. From what Jada says about their marriage and what this idiot says about their kids, it sounds like they control their kids through guilt and embarrassment, while laying the heavy burden on them: “Well, it was YOUR decision. I trusted you to make it.”

  71. lisa2 says:

    I do try not to tell people how to raise their children. I figure they are the ones that will have to live with the consequences of how they do it. I only worry if their decisions send some psycho out into the world to hurt others.

    I do think that it is a good idea to let children make some choices. I use to teach and I always told my kids that they were responsible for the choices they made, and thus the consequences of those choices. But you do establish rule/boundaries. Children have to know that they have some control over what they do.. Or you will forever get the “he made me do it” or “They told me to” etc.

    I think there has to be a strong balance. I do think Will and Jada are a bit too hands off. You can see the affects on Willow and some of the things she was tweeting. And yes I caught that statement Will made about doing whatever they want sounding so much like Jada’s statement about their marriage. I just find them very odd but I guess it works for them so have at it.

    a poster up thread talked about Will’s older son. I don’t ever hear much about him, and I think he was raised mostly by his mother. But I note that he was never in the spotlight the way Will’s younger children were. Not sure why.

  72. jwoolman says:

    There are clues that the kids aren’t well served by their parent’s approach. Their parents aren’t really all that hands-off, quite the contrary. I don’t think you’re doing your kids a favor when you buy work opportunities for them on the scale these folks have. The girl likes to dance and sing, so rather than getting her lessons and encouraging her to get friends together to do their own thing privately, they buy a studio for her, get her a contract, and push her into the biz? They buy movies for the boy and the girl to star in?!? Obviously neither of them have the skills to win open auditions. The girl has been saying things for a long time that should have clued in her parents that she didn’t want to do these things on such a scale or be famous, she wanted to be a normal kid for a few years. Her parents remained clueless and were obviously putting big pressure on her. I was very interested in science at her age, but my mom didn’t get me a job at NASA at the age of ten… And poor Jaden. I saw a music video with him where he was trying to act like a hood rat (he grew up in mansions!). How embarrassing will that be to him ten years from now? And being allowed to even think of going into a London club under the uncertain care of Justin Bieber, who can’t even be trusted with a hamster. Jaden is old enough to start wondering if his parents care about him at all, as many rich kids with no limits have wondered before him. It’s so much easier for parents to take an anything goes approach – they don’t have to deal with the inevitable conflicts that arise. But kids eventually figure out that this means they aren’t worth the trouble to their parents.

  73. LAgirl says:

    I could be wrong but I’m thinking he may be near sighted and the flash bulbs irritate his eyes… He’s a handsome little guy and he doesn’t bug me. Will and Jada are the leaders of their household so however they choose to parent their brood is their right. Hopefully their parenting style works and jaden and Willow do well in life and behave as respectable young adults.