Will Smith: ‘African Amer. households [have] a concept of children being property’

Will Smith just keeps talking about his hands-off parenting approach. He wants to spread the word that children are little adults, a believe that is firmly rooted in the Scientology cult. Smith is so convinced that he’s right about parenting that he compares other parenting styles to slavery. It’s a shame that one of our most beloved actors is using a slippery slope argument to make his convoluted point, but there it is. He’s promoting his movie After Earth, and since his son Jaden is co-starring he keeps bringing up parenting and talking about how he wants to make his family into an acting dynasty. He may well succeed. (Will made some of these comments late last week, but some of them are new.)

“My style of parenting is very similar to that of my parents, minus the concept of ownership. 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. 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.”

“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.”

“I grew up in a family business. So it’s like everybody works together and that’s how the family bonds and communicates and how we eat. In my mind, I’m a warrior and I’m teaching my son how to hunt. And how else would I teach my son how to hunt other than bring him with me and we’re in an interview and this is what I do and this is the business I work in. To me, I can’t imagine what the other option is.”

“The major difference is I’m trying to release the sense of ownership. With our kids, Jada and I believe that it’s their lives and we are helping them with their lives. And they’re not our property. They are people that are deservant of our respect and consideration in the same way that any other human being should be.”

[From Black America Web and Huffington Post]

I don’t get it. He’s saying he does tell his kids to clean their rooms, but he appeals to their sense of doing good or something. Some people are strict with their children and want them to be well mannered and respectful of adults. That doesn’t mean that they consider them property. Telling your child to do chores or clean up after themselves is part of many, if not most families’ lives, especially when they don’t have help at home like the Smiths. Children don’t have an adults’ sense of responsibility or purpose. They do need a sense of independence and ownership in their lives, but they also need boundaries and guidance. It’s not about treating kids as property, it’s about being responsible for them and ensuring that they’re safe and well cared for. It’s a low blow to compare stricter disciplinary styles to slavery.

I don’t understand why the Smiths keep talking about this. Do they think they’re going to earn converts? Because if anyone treats children like slaves, it’s Scientology.

Will and Jaden, 14, are shown at a photocall in Russia for After Earth. Credit: WENN.com

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129 Responses to “Will Smith: ‘African Amer. households [have] a concept of children being property’”

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  1. LadyMTL says:

    Yeah, a lot of his parenting “advice” just comes off as weird. Kids aren’t little adults, they’re kids; that doesn’t mean that you treat them as slaves but kids need rules and structure.

    Ah, I miss the good old days where he was just the Fresh Prince and not some CoS-bot. Thank goodness I have that clip from the Graham Norton show to entertain me. (Carlton dance forever!)

  2. Lia says:

    I hate when ppl make blanket statements. Why not just say some parents or in my experience. That concept he is talking about is not just related to race it’s cultural. The fact that he would imply that African Americans view their kids as property due to slavery is absurd. I like him as an actor but the fact that he takes all these shots at other parenting techniques makes me believe he has doubts about his own. He needs to keep his mouth shut and see how his kids turn out before he starts bragging.

    • MrsB says:

      Can you imagine if a white actor made that statement? OMG

      • Shazza says:

        It would have made just as much sense, which is NONE! I guess Will overlooked that in slavery, black folks DIDN’T own their kids-the white slave master did! And if he decided to sell them, you had no choice but to watch!

      • Lia says:

        Exactly this isn’t an issue of race it’s one of stupidity. Will needs to read up on slavery and how it affected those involved and the idea of it continues to affect African slave descendants in the u.s. today before making statements like this.

    • Suzy from Ontario says:


      I used to find him so likeable, but not anymore. Now he’s become so full of himself that I find him really hard to take. Both he and Jada think they do no wrong. Well, your kids aren’t grown yet, so let’s wait and see how fantastic a job you did as parents.

      Plus, while I agree with treating kids with respect, they are not little adults. Their brains aren’t finished growing, especially the region that is responsible for important decision making. My kids are 22 and 24 and I’m just now starting to see big changes in how they see the world and think about responsibility and life.

      I can’t stand how they keep pushing their kids down everyone’s throats. Nepotism much?

    • Itsa Reallyme says:

      I’m white and I thought his comment was highly offensive. You can’t just make sweeping generalizations like that based on your family and a few people you know. I’ve never known any family that has regarded their children as their “property”. He’s confusing guidance and preparing kids for independence as “owning” them. He’s getting in way too deep with CO$ and is making less logical sense all the time. It’s pretty sad.

    • Chordy says:

      Exactly. Children’s needs are as diverse as the children themselves. You’re not respecting your child as an individual (and what’s more adult than being allowed to be an individual?) with all the blanket statements.

  3. Tessa says:

    I sort of get it. He didn’t articulate it well, but I think he just wants his kids to know their place in his family, but feel that they have a duty to their parents because their parents treat them well and respect them, not because their parents own them and they have no other choice but to obey. More of a mature understanding that the room they sleep in doesn’t actually belong to them, and that when something is being loaned to you, you respect it because it’s not yours. I think…

    • Naye in VA says:

      Yea I actually get what he is saying. I dont like that “little adults” term, but I get where he is going.

      My mother yells and badgers when she wants something done, which usually irritates me and makes me take my sweet time doing it. My dad actually ASKS. I know I have to do it, but he gives me the respect (not that i was necessarily due as a child) of letting me WANT to do it, because he asked me to. It’s like catching flies with honey.

      I also feel like respecting your kids is a big thing. My mother didnt respect any opinion that came out of my mouth, and she always turned things against me. Only very recently, at 23 has my opinion ever been validated by her, where by contrast, I have always been able to sit down and have an ADULT conversation with my father, where it was an actual exchange of ideas. I shut down with my mother, don’t tell her too much, and am less affectionate with her than my siblings.I dont tell my dad too much just because well….he doesnt want to know what I could tell him lol.

      But I want for my daughter to feel like she can come and speak to me because she will be respected when she does, even if the outcome isnt in her favor

      • Tara says:

        Yeah I sort of get it as well. Tho he really seems to digress a lot to make a fairly simple statement that they try engage in a sense of mutual accountability rather than coersion. And like others have said, it’s too early for them to be cocky about the success of their parenting approach.

    • duchessofhazard says:

      Same. I grew up in a Afro West Indian household, and the parenting was pretty strict, along the lines of, “You’ll tidy your bedroom, if you know what’s good for you,” with the implicit threat of a beating (my dad was one for that, my mom not so much) but speaking to them like adults, and in the guise of responsibility and geeing stuff along – yeah, I’d have responded to that better as a teenager.

      But oops, yeah, not well expressed, Will.

  4. My_Truth says:

    Uh, I’m an African American & I don’t know what in the hell Will is talking about! Good gosh, the Brotha done lost his mind!

  5. dahlianoir says:

    Just dance Will and stop talking.

  6. Hipocricy says:

    I don’t care about Will Smith and his weird ways of raising children at times…but the brother is damn fine for being 45 !

    Will always have a soft spot for the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”. I so loved this show.

  7. Shelley says:

    Will Smith needs to sit the eff down! I am sorry that his parents treated him like property but he needs to NOT include other black people in his stupid opinions.

    • FLORC says:

      Yes! He included all people of a certain ethnicity and made a blanket statement. His “Be like me. I’m better than you” attitude is going to bite back.

      As for Scientology some former members are my new neighbors! Sweetest people and live a totally normal existence from the looks of it. They have a teenage child who seems well adjusted. They still believe in the teachings and the alien bit, but the church corrupted the message entirely. It’s been fun listening to their side of it.

  8. jess says:

    He used to be so awesome and now he’s getting odder and odder. Has he learned nothing useful from Tom Cruise?

  9. chria says:

    very unhealthy way to raise a child. you tell your kids to clean their room to learn responsibility

  10. Ponytail says:

    “We tell our kids ‘you don’t have a room, that’s our room and we are letting you borrow it.’”

    So, basically, the kids don’t get to feel it’s their home, they are expected to remember at all times that they are merely borrowing the house they live in ? What an odd parenting concept. I could appreciate this once the kid is an adult and could conceivably live elsewhere (or be charged a small rent) but if they don’t get to choose where they live, they’re not borrowing anything.

    • original kay says:

      thank you.
      this makes no sense to me either. my kids are a part of my home even more than I am.
      what’s mine is theirs, without even having to ask. They’re kids, my kids.

      if they moved back home after uni or something, that’s different. the first time around, it’s a family home.

      weird ass people.

    • amurph says:

      I had a friend in college whose mom was just like that – “this is my house and you do what I say”. She couldn’t move her bedroom around or redecorate it, couldn’t use the computer after a certain hour (even though it was my friend’s and she was a computer sci major) and couldn’t even have her bedroom door shut (her mom didn’t like it). It was a control issue, 100%. I mean, she also used the threat over her kids (adopted, so this makes it all the more significant) that if they didn’t do what she wanted, she’d send them back. Not the greatest environment to grow up in. It doesn’t allow the kids to truly have a safe place to go to.

    • JennJ says:

      Thank you.
      What a guaranteed way to make the children feel insecure in their own home.

  11. Zimmer says:

    I love how Mr. Smith singles out African American households like there has not been enough judgement there already. Also, it’s not like Will ot his family have anything to do with the average Joe (no matter what their skin tone).

    Yes, that’s exactly how to make the world a better place. Tell other people how they should be raising their kids because that does not create resentment at all. Having said that, it is much easier to take advice from someone that has raised children (now adults) that are moral, kind and successful memebers of society than from someone whose kids are yet teenagers.

    I like Will as an actor, but he’s just one of many actors that start preaching and make you want to just quit seeing their films b/c they get this idea that b/c of their fame and wealth, they now know it all.

  12. Al says:

    Doesn’t it seem like his parenting style is MORE like slavery? Instead of instilling values of respect for ones’s self they are saying, seemingly, I own everything and you will behave the way I tell you with my things.

  13. OhMyMy says:

    He’s not making an acting dynasty off my dime. I stopped watching his movies years ago and I won’t watch his kid’s movies either.

    My BF is an elementary school teacher and she had a student years ago who was being raised by a single mother. Not bashing single moms but this woman was a hippie weirdo with weirdo friends and roommates. Nobody took care of that boy. His mom’s roommate told him (he was like 9 or 10 at the time) that he should be responsible and make his own dentist appts. My friend and other teachers at the school did the best they could for him.

  14. Anmelt says:

    Man if I were African American I would be so insulted by his blanket statement/analysis of the parent/child dynamics within African American families. Jeez.

  15. Annie says:

    I kinda gets what he means? I’m not black. But my parents, while raising us to be polite, well mannered, clean, etc they would also treat us kinda like property. But not because they were strict, necessarily. Those are separate things, how you’re raised versus how they see your life, your choices, everything you do. My parents tried to control everything. Luckily we still made our own choices. It’s hard to explain but some parents, regardless of race I think, do see their kids as property and not people. They just don’t let them BE. And it goes beyond asking them to clean their room. Is butting into everything and telling them how to live their life.

    Like the parents who hit their kids? That is a massive sense of entitlement right there, to believe you have the right to physically assault your child. Anyone else and you would get arrested. So many parents treat their kids like they wouldn’t treat other people. And I think it comes from believing you can do what you want because “they are mine.” Idk why Will brought up race, but it happens in any race, nationality, etc.

    • Diana Prince says:

      My parents didn’t “kinda” treat us like property. They let us know as soon as we had some semblance of understanding that we were their damn property, to do with us as they saw fit.

      Nothing belonged to us. Everything was theirs seeing how they payed for it. There was a great difference between need and want. They took care of the needs but if we wanted for something, we had to earn it.

      • Meredith says:

        I am sorry your parents made you feel like that. I got the basics covered but always felt like I had to fight for my parents’ attention. I would have to nag my mother to go to parent-teacher night and she would say “why should I go? There just going to say good things about you anyway”. Gee, mom, maybe you should go just to show some freaking interest in my education. My point – kids aren’t property and parents should do more than just keep food on the table while whining about how hard parenting is.

    • JL says:

      I was never property but I was a CHILD.

      My parents, at various ages gave us choices that we could handle along with the consequences.

      Clean your room or X will happen – usually a big black trash bag and all my stuff on the floor gone.

      It was never “MY” house it was at this house we are the parents, we are responsible for teaching you and this is what we are ALL going to do…parents and kids – WE live in a clean house.

      When you get grown you can live as you like, you can be a slob now but your stuff is going in the trash – totally your choice.

      We had manners, we were clean, we made good grades etc…and I’m glad those decisions/standards were set and enforced for me.

    • Loira says:

      Being a nosy parent beyond your duty I think has more to do with you personal issues and character than your culture or age group.
      My parents were old school, very strict in some things and loose in others, but my older sister was (IMO) a mom from hell, she loved her children very much, but told them (especially her daughter) what to do, what to wear, how to everything and was so demanding that both her children went to live far from their parents. She was like that even before being a mom, so…
      They still turned out ok.
      I think it is worse to tell your children tahtnthey are borrowing your stuff. No wonder now his boy wants to have his own home, and be emancipated.I also find wrong that as young as 13/14 he is let alone to,travel with Justin Bieber and his entourage, unsupervised, surely. Boy or girl letting him loose so young in that environment full of enablers, alcohol and drugs, just no.

  16. mkyarwood says:

    Kids are little adults in that they are equally deserving of our respect like any other person. And that’s where the similarities end.

  17. crab says:

    I can’t get past the kid’s eyebrows!

  18. Nikollet says:

    I think Will is on the slippery slope that ends with Tom Cruise-crazy at the bottom…

  19. Lucrezia says:

    As an Aussie, I’m really wary of commenting on US racial issues. But it strikes me that Will has it backwards.

    Wasn’t slavery rather paternalistic, in the sense that slaves were believed to be incompetent to rule themselves? Which is essentially treating them like children. That was one of the rationales for British imperialism, and I thought US slavery had similar undertones.

    • Mrs. Peacock says:

      US slavery was inspired by Spain’s economic motives in C/S America, and less related to causes of humanitarianism and social darwinism (like British imperialism in say India), but some individual households in the US were actually maternalistic, where the white women took on nuturing and educational roles. But only some. But anyway you made a good point that the man has oral diarrhea!!

  20. Dawn says:

    I really like him as an actor but come on Will, children (regardless of race) are NOT little adults. Children need to be taught how to live in the world and how to grow to be responsible adults. You know the old right from wrong stuff. I really don’t like this Sci-fi way to raise kids. It’s just wrong.

  21. JillyRo says:

    What happened to Will??? He was so witty and likeable once upon a hit movie, but not so much anymore. He barely acts anymore and is no longer the box office king he once was, yet he talks down to everybody now, like his way is the only and best way. And yet his whole parenting philosopy is making him look weird. I wonder if his handlers are like STFU Will (unless they are all Sci-bots like Will and Jada seem to be now).

    • Meredith says:

      CO$ is what happened to him. And I won’t go to movies just to see a rich kid (Jaden) being handed a Hollywood career on a platter. That’s not entertaining to me!

      • hazeldazel says:

        For Real.

        First it’s “we don’t tell the children what to do” then it’s all this cult-speak. Geez how many times did he say “release”? “We ‘released’ them from that.” OMG, did you just get audited or something?

        Will Smith is the Tom Cruise Jr. of Hollywood town, but look out, cuz CO$ isn’t working out so well for Tom Cruise either.

  22. bowers says:

    Right, Will Smith, PhD in parenting.

  23. JL says:

    Well I didn’t realize certain ethnic groups considered their children “property” WTF?

    They are children, they should be taught and protected.

    At various ages you can give them various choices and let them suffer consequences good or bad, but not all choices at any age.

    They are not adults and treating them as such from day one isn’t fair to them.

    Yes; all people deserve basic human dignity but respect? That’s earned.

    Scientology is F’d up! Those children will be incapable of normal social interactions if allowed to continue.
    Not many relationships, employers or anyone else is going to put up with “I just do as I please”

  24. Leek says:

    People need to stop comparing things to slavery. Slavery was horrific and the worst thing to happen in this country. Only slavery is comparable to slavery. He’s an idiot. He refers to himself as a warrior? You’re an actor, dude. You pretend for a living. Out of touch, wealthy, professional pretenders shouldn’t even be allowed to pontificate on how anyone outside of Hollywood raises their kids, or eats, votes, or exercises. Just make some GD movies that aren’t prequels, sequels, or remakes, please, and if you can’t even do that then just STFU and go save someone who gives a shit.

  25. Anon says:

    “You would never tell a full-grown adult to clean their room”
    If that room was in my house, Yes I would Will :-)

  26. truetalk says:

    It’s really sad for me to see Will Smith like this. There’s a reason children don’t have legal power till they turn 18; because their power of reasoning and good judgement is still developing. A parent’s job is to lovingly guard them and that include making rules and enforcing them.

  27. dorothy says:

    Scientology just ooze out of this man. Hope he’s not planning to be active with his career, remember what talking about COS did for Tom Cruise’s career and popularity?

  28. littlestar says:

    I used to adore Will Smith. But I’ve now lost all respect for him.

  29. LadyL says:

    He can’t imagine any other options for his kids other than acting? He and his wife have resources to fund an extraordinary education for their children. I can see endless options for kids in that position. Sad.

  30. JustMe says:

    I like his idea to tell the kids that the parents only let them use the room. I think the idea will make the kids want to move out and get their own place quicker.

  31. jlw says:

    Is ‘deservant’ an actual word? Think it should be ‘deserving’. Unless there’s something subliminal perhaps eg ‘ de servant’, just sayin’

  32. BrandNew says:

    As an african american I am offended by his dumba** statement. Thanks Will for giving me a reason not to support any of your movies. I guess tom cruise has rubbed off on him

  33. The Original Mia says:

    Huh. And here I thought my parents nurtured and protected me because they loved me. Thanks for setting me straight, Fresh Prince.

  34. Jasmine says:

    I get it but in another way. As Christ followers we know our children are not our own,they belong to God. We also let our kids be themselves completely, we also allow them to suffer the consequences of not heeding our advice. Our children do chores because we’re a team and nothing is free. I agree with Will on that, they are just borrowing these rooms. I get what hes saying, I think Will and Jada just get too caught up in fancy language.

    • Lucinda says:

      I agree that he likes to use big words and try to sound uber-intelligent. But bringing up slavery is not just “using the wrong words.” That is a major leap in logic that, at best, isn’t logical at all and at worst is highly offensive.

  35. Emily says:

    Everything he’s saying is 100% Scientology. Even the ridiculous hunting metaphor sounds very like L. Ron Hubbard. Bye-bye Will, it was nice while it lasted. Maybe he’ll emerge from the cult in a few decades saying, like Jason Beghe, “show me a m*f*ing clear.”

  36. Mskelfirestar says:

    I am a black woman with a teenaged daughter and I’m highly offended by Will’s blanket. statement on black parenting . WHO MADE HIM THE SPOKESPERSON FOR BLACK PARENTING? STOP SPOUTING THE QUESTIONABLE DOCTRINES OF A SCIENCE FICTION WRITER AND STICK TO ACTING!

  37. Nanea says:

    There was a time when I thought WS would be able to take over from Denzel eventually.

    Then Scientology happened, him talking without thinking, plus Jada and her eyeroll-inducing TMI.

    Additionally: wasn’t Will being sold as an action hero once? After having seen his prowess with a ball, I won’t believe ever again that he did any of his stunts by himself.

  38. JenD says:

    Just like a few years ago we were overloaded with Will & Jada sex talk, now we are being overloaded with Will & Jada style of parenting. I’d rather they just go back to talking about how much sex they have. It’s less annoying and offensive.

  39. Joy says:

    I’m sorry but this is some crazy rich people nonsense. I work with kids in a psych facility and they CRAVE structure. He’s lucky his kids don’t act physically or otherwise because the majority of kids I have with “hands off” (aka lazy ass) parents are anything from verbally rude to physically aggressive and beyond. Anything to do with the CO$ is nonsense.

  40. megsie says:

    So on the one hand he doesn’t ‘own’ his children and he won’t control them, but on the other he’s had their future adult professional lives planned out for them since birth? hmmm

  41. Jo says:

    As a black woman, I could not disagree with him more. I think he’s become out of touch with reality. I live in his hometown of Philadelphia and these young kids are dying and committing crimes on a daily basis. Things are a lot worse now than when he grew up here but I’m sure he witnessed some terrible things growing up. Our city is a prime example of why kids need structure, discipline, and routine. He sounds ridiculous. I do feel as though black families don’t allow their children to express themselves as they should at times. I see kids of other races in malls in the most crazy outfits because their parents most likely let them pick out their outfits from time to time or over hear a child asking their parents “why this?” or “why that?” while a lot of black parents have a do what you’re told because I said so approach. Think black parents could stand to be a bit more open minded when it comes to letting their children be themselves and establishing better dialogue.

  42. Elly says:

    Ohh shut up Will, you sound crazy and silly! Just dance with Carlton! The best you´ve ever done! I miss the Fresh Prince times… now Will is just a weird dude!

  43. Brat says:

    Isn’t that a Scientology thing? Didn’t Tom Cruise say something similar to this… minus the slavery?

  44. Cirque28 says:

    In my mind, I’m a warrior and I’m teaching my son how to hunt.

    Hunters hunt, dipshit. Warriors fight. Both are dirty, sweaty, deeply unglamorous jobs with (gasp!) no manicures or diamond studs.

    I swear, if you could take a publicist or agent from the old Hollywood era and bring them forward in time, they’d be stunned at actors being let loose to destroy their images/careers with their own idiotic words.

  45. KWM says:

    Sadly this is nothing new with him. I remember a few years ago he was spouting on about how he and Jada can give their children a better education than any teacher or school. This was back in 2006. Flash forward 3 years and in 2009 they open the New Village Leadership Academy, they stress the school is non-religious, but the headmaster was fired because she would not agree with Study Technology, a learning method developed by good ole Hubbard and taught by Scientologists.

    The only difference is they were able to keep their Scientology connections better hidden.

    And I would love to see how in private they handle Jaden, especially when he told them he wants to be emancipated at 15 so he could move out to his own house.

    • Lucinda says:

      I remember reading those comments back then and leaving with a bad taste in my mouth, talking about his young children reading Aristotle and Shakespeare. Puhleeze. They may read it but they do NOT have enough life experience to understand it. It was the first time I really began to dislike him.

  46. yup, me says:

    After reading this entire thread, I’m thinking there are a lot of weirdos on Planet Earth. The Smith family are just four of them.

  47. Thiajoka says:

    Jeebus, he sure is full of it lately. Way to stereotype your very own race, Will. Wrongfully.

  48. Jennifer12 says:

    I guess this is why his kid is going around with 20 year olds to nightclubs. You’re supposed to treat children fairly, but not as equals. What has happened to this guy??

  49. lrm says:

    gosh, imagine being a kid and being told ‘this is not your room or house; it’s a loaner (which you have no choice over, b/c you were, well, BORN into this family)…so you have no sense of security. And THEN your parents say ‘and since you are borrowing MY room and house, you need to keep it clean out of respect for me’.
    WELL, this is nothing more than passive aggressive indoctrination. Way to keep them subordinate and focused on externally pleasing as a means to survive in the world! That is not teaching them respect for others, it’s pulling the rug out from under them, and brainwashing them into thinking about others needs INSTEAD of their own. This is classic Scio or any cult’s M.O. wow; that parenting crap about being a little adult is not something the Hubbard really believed; he used it to create a wedge between parents and their kids, so that both would be more easily manipulated and able to keep them under the scio agenda. wow. disturbing.

  50. lena80 says:

    His message was lost on his generalization of Black families.
    When you are a slave, you are owned and have NOTHING,this mentality was PASSED to Black people and SOME Black people continued the cycle of ownership with their children. I get what he is attempting to say as descendant of slaves, but he should not have generalized because a lot of Black families, especially during the civil rights movements, have recognized and stopped the slave mentality from being passed down to the next generation.

  51. palermo says:

    He has turned into a pompous ass now.

  52. bettyrose says:

    Speaking from personal experience and actual literature I’ve read on the subject, being too unsupervised with too few expectations in your youth can lead to major anxiety disorders for kids. Now, it’s different of course for rich/celeb kids who won’t ever have to conform to middle class standards to earn a living, etc., but I still don’t think it’s the tops in child psychology.

  53. xxx says:

    “I can’t imagine what the other option is.”
    Ummmm… Letting your child try different things and see what suits them as an individual? Letting them become whatever suits their particular talents and interests best? Letting them follow their own path, not one you decided on for them?

  54. lee says:

    He trusts them and puts them in charge. Giving kids options is always best when you need something done. Example. You can either clean your room now or later today if you wish. Most likely they will get it done sooner then later when they feel in charge. Let him be.
    My father never critized me in all my lufe and to this day I feel as if he trusted I would make the best choice and forever I lived to make him proud.
    I have always talked to my little niece as if she was an adukt and now she is a beautiful young little adult. Just so smart, kind, confident, independent and loves her family.

  55. Noodle says:

    Also want to point out– this also sounds a whole lot like Radical Unschooling.

    (Please, please, don’t confuse this with regular homeschooling.)

    Radical unschoolers preach this same exact crap– making excuses as to why they let their kids do whatever they want.

  56. Meanchick says:

    I’ve never liked any african-american celeb making qualifying statements like that about african-american families. We don’t have a spokeperson and it’s infuriating! How about you share your own experiences and then STFU about everyone else?

  57. jwoolman says:

    I’ll believe Jaden is a real actor when he starts going to open auditions to win or lose just like real actors do. Or does his dad intend to buy him parts for his entire life? Will is setting his son up for a real shock.

    • Cinnamon says:

      dont worry. after earth is going to bomb. 1, its m night shamalayn and therefore it will be a weird movie and 2, jaden cant act nor does he have a fan base.

      something is up with will smith and co lately. they are uber weird.

  58. telesma says:

    I have run across this phenomenon of parents regarding children as property, but not as an African American thing. The parents in question were white and were from Texas and Missouri, respectively. In both cases, fathers were particularly proprietary with daughters.

  59. deehunny says:

    Ok, I know this is completely unrelated, but Willow will likely make a beautiful model. I know Jada modeled, but Willow’s face is so interesting. I wonder if she’s interested in going that route.