Will Smith Says Some African Americans Treat Their Children Like Slaves & Property

Written by thejasminebrand in Blog
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Say what you will, but Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith could care less about how the public perceives how they raise their children, specifically Willow and Jaden. Some call their parenting ‘liberal’, while others suggest that their children have too much artistic freedom. Nonetheless, Will explains that his parenting approach comes from a different non-traditional African American approach. In an interview with Haute Living he explains:

There are definite similarities. I grew up in a family business so my father, my mother and all my brothers and sisters worked in the family business, so that’s really the only way I know how to parent. In real situations, you are going out in the real world and you are earning real money. The things you say and do in the world will affect the family for real. 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. Actually, 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 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.

He also clarifies where rumors about his son’s emancipation came from.

Yeah, that was a joke! I made a joke. He is definitely not going anywhere; he is so scared of being out on his own. Willow is probably going to be emancipated before Jaden! I think I was in Tokyo where I made a joke that if he has a day where his movie is bigger than one of mine then there’s no reason for him to live in my house. His 15th birthday is coming up so he can probably be emancipated.

Click here to read the full interview.

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  • Razzi

    I agree with him and i like how they say “Clean the room I am letting you use”! LOL!!! Im stealing that and adding it to my “book of parenting”!

  • kay p

    good interview….

  • m&m

    So in essence we treat our children like adults???? When they are growing up in the public eye, at which point do they have a sacred place to be children?

    • Neith08

      I think he was saying he respects his children like he respects adults. I don’t think he says he is treating them as adults.

  • Tammy

    What’s so wrong with the order of things?! Now a days ppl want to be so “evolved”. There’s nothing wrong with them being a KID! Then when they become an ADULT that’s when they get treated as an ADULT! You can still treat your children with respect and give boundaries and rules at the same time. Why are people so…..

  • The Mrs

    OH YEAH right Im the parent and thats it. They are kids they dont know any better. Thats rich peoples talk. Thats exactly why these kids are killing each other ,they dont fear their parents police family and they are just running around crazy. These parents wont even check their rooms or phones because they treat them like equals.they are the same ones hiding guns in their drawers. No equal parent child relationship here until they are well and grown.

    • Miss AG

      Huh??? Say wat???

  • Anonymous

    I like this interview; however, there is one part that I do not like parent treating their children like a property. Stop! Stop and Stop, Will Smith. There are many states that when your child commits a crime that you are partly responsible. When you live in an urban area, you have to treat your children – especially your sons like they are a dying species. Take for example, in Chicago; so many young men are being killed on a daily basis. Good parents want their child to grow up to be an adult and as result will be very protective. Unfortunately, in the urban areas around the country, we do not have many wealthy parents who could afford their children the luxury as he can; however, it is not a slavery mentality want the best for your child. You protect your children and at the same time try to instill some pride, encourage them to do their best of their ability. There are many of us who tell our children to clean up my place and not clean your room. After all, God blessed the child that have for his/her own.

  • Anonymous

    Children are to have a healthy fear of their parents. That’s what helps them to create a balance in the world that we are living in. The Lindsay Lohans and Amanda Bynes of this world do not have a healthy fear of their parent and it is one of the reasons why there is so much drama in their lives.

    • Anonymous M

      Healthy fear? What do you mean? There is no way to have a healthy fear. An understanding of consequences, yes, but not a healthy fear. When you make your kids fear you, it’s child abuse, whether emotional or physical.

  • Anonymous

    The Bible says, “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” I really don’t get people when they start thinking that they are one leave and the rest of us are on another level.

    • Anonymous M

      “18 If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” 21 Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid..” – Deuteronomy 21:18-21
      The Bible isn’t always the best place to look for parenting advice. Besides, having different parenting styles doesn’t mean you think you’re on a different level.

  • Anonymous

    Will and Jada need to come down to earth…that is absolutely ridiculous. They sound crazy as their kids act. Exactly right, rich peoples talk. That right there has nothing to do with slavery or being black. That’s called forgetting where you come from. I bet if those kids were brought up in Philly or Baltimore like they were, neither one of them would be parenting like that. Boy please!!

  • Anonymous

    On your kids being ownership or property…well, to put it in those terms they are the ones making them sound like slaves. When you bring a child into the world, they are YOUR responsibility, period. You have to guide & parent them no matter how you want to justify it. There’s nothing wrong with letting them have an opinion or showing/treating them with respect, as We should, but to treat them as an adult or let them do whatever they want is what I would call “european/caucasion” vs. What Will says of the African Americans raising their children….how dare he when he was raised and hung in the ghettos of Philadelphia and Jada in Baltimore. Just because they have the rich life now and have raised their kids around the elites, how fast they forget.

  • The Mr

    Just remember the difference between Him and US is that HE’S RICH. Working and Middle class parents who tries this is creating a recipe for disaster!

  • Miss AG

    I cant even read all the comments….some readers nerves got strummed!!!!!!!!!!! Will put down that guitar :D

  • Think4urself

    Wow, after reading the comments… I had to go back and read the article again. I get it and think whatever works for him and his family. What’s really wrong with our kids and family’s today, is trying to keep up with other folks!?! Do what works for you and yours.

  • Anonymous M

    I agree that his parenting style is slightly different because of his economic status, but that’s not the point. The point is that parents have to stop treating their kids like puppets, or they will never learn to be on their own. You are responsible, but letting them learn about the responsibility on how to handle freedom is part of your parental responsibility too.

  • blkn5

    Parents should discipline their kids and help them organize priorities in life, yes. But there’s a difference between discipline and tyranny. Lots of black parents behave like tyrants and narcissistic, arrogant ones at that. When blacks have kids, they think it’s all about them 24/7. They get all sorts of special notoriety and attention and will do their dangest to keep that attention all focused on them. Usually don’t give a freak about their kids past a certain and that’s when it’s convenient for their egos. They take the phrase children should be seen and not heard very literally and seriously. Basically just keep your mouth shut and do what we say or else. That’s the mindset of narcissistic parents. This is why the majority of blacks growing to be very narcissistic and what have you. It’s very problematic. These kind of parents brag to their children how they provide food for them, put a roof over their heads. Guess what? Anyone can do that. There are many people who do that. Doesn’t you special or above anybody. Not that that’s not important, but it takes much more than that to be a parent. But black parents don’t think like that, mostly because many just don’t think logically. They think egotistically and nothing more. A lot of these parents are nothing more than children who have children and in many cases the child is the parent and the parent is the child. Perfect example is a black guy who’s an ex-NFL DB named Phillip Buchanan who’s mother helped him train in football, then has the gull to say to him when he got drafted you owe me $1 million for taking care of you for 18 years and for helping you in your football career. What kind of a parent says something like that? Somebody should’ve punched the lights out of that brat. But this is what lots of black parents do.