Unusual Parenting Technique
Celebrity couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have presumably been trying to do what they think is best for their kids. However, it’s fair to say their parenting technique has seemed unusual to the rest of the world; even Jada’s mother has admitted that she thought Will and Jada’s approach was “crazy” at one point. Despite this, Jada was still taken aback when Jaden, her son, came to her and had a heartbreaking request.
In one episode of Jada’s online talk show, Red Table Talk, she opened up about the conversation she had with Jaden. During the clip, the A-lister mom discusses the particular exchange with her son, who is also an actor, when he was only 15 years. She admits she felt “devastated” by what he said.
Understanding Her Son’s Point Of View
In spite of her heartbreak, Jada tried her best to understand her son’s point of view. She said that in the end, she came around to Jaden’s way of thinking – even if what she’d wanted was different. Using her motherly instincts, she proved that you should let someone go if you truly love them.
No Strangers To Parenting
Jada and Will are no strangers to parenting. After all, since getting married in 1997, their family has grown to include two more members. In 1998, they welcomed their first child, Jaden, and two years later, a daughter, Willow, was added to their brood. Will also has an older son, Trey, whom he shares with his ex-wife Sheree Zampino.
View On Discipline
Over the years, Jada and Will have become infamous for the somewhat non-traditional approach they have to parenting their three children. For example, the celebrity couple revealed that in their household, they have a relaxed view on discipline. “We don’t do punishment,” Will explained to Metro in 2013.
Giving Control To Kids
Will continued, “The way that we deal with our kids is [that] 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 [that] it has a little too much of a negative quality.”
“Circle Of Safety”
In addition, Jada and Will have apparently encouraged their kids to be open with them. When the children were very young, the couple created what they called a “circle of safety.” The idea behind this was to let the family have honest conversations without fear of judgment. However, as we’ll find out, the kids weren’t entirely excused from punishment.
Outside The Circle
“[In the circle of safety, the kids are] allowed to tell us everything that they did, and they can’t get in trouble… The rule is, if we find out after the circle of safety that there was something you didn’t say, there was hell to pay,” Will explained to host Jimmy Fallon in an episode of The Tonight Show in 2016.
Good In Theory
While the idea does sound good in theory, as Jada and Will’s children grew older, their parents started wishing the kids would prefer not to share particular details. For example, Will said that he had a hard time listening to some of Willow’s admissions when she became a teenager.
Difficulties Handling Issues
On The Tonight Show, Will revealed, “As a father, you do not want a circle of safety with a 15-year-old daughter. You do not… I’m like, ‘Baby, you need to start lying!’” As a matter of fact, Will joked he had found it so difficult that Willow had to be passed along to Jada at times. He admitted, “[I’m like,] ‘Nope! You and your mom can talk about that one!’”
That said, his children’s openness should come as no surprise to Will since he and Jada have encouraged their kids’ self-expression, including Jaden and Willow’s unique fashion senses. Their children’s clothing choices may have raised eyebrows but the doting parents still support their kids.
Radical Approach To Fashion
For example, Jaden has been blurring conventional gender lines by sporting garments which have traditionally been worn by women. It seems that Jada and Will are really proud of the radical approach to fashion their son has. “Jaden is 100 percent fearless,” Will said to BBC Radio 1Xtra in 2016.
Will went on, “[Jaden] will do anything. As a parent, it’s scary; it’s really terrifying. But he is completely willing to live and die by his artistic decisions, and he doesn’t concern himself with what people think.” It seems Jada and Will give their full support to Jaden’s freedom to express himself and they actually believe that this helps their son grow as an individual.
Will added, “There’s a really powerful internal quality as an artist that as parents we encourage. You gotta get out on the edge, [and] you have to try things. You have to be comfortable doing things that people don’t agree with, and you have to be comfortable doing things that you could fail.”
Parents’ Wholehearted Support
It isn’t only Jaden who benefits from the wholehearted support of his parents. Jada and Will have also stood by their daughter, Willow. The young singer has faced backlash for some of her stylistic choices, and after she shaved her hair back in 2012, her parents were in the firing line.
Not Taking Criticism Lying Down
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Smiths didn’t take the negative things said about them lying down. As a matter of fact, Jada posted on Facebook a reminder to her haters in November 2012. In that post, she explained that women and girls are free to change their appearances and the fear of judgment should not stop them. “The question [is] why I would ‘LET’ Willow cut her hair. First, the ‘LET’ must be challenged,” she wrote.
Jada added, “This is a world where women [and] girls are constantly reminded that they don’t belong to themselves – that their bodies are not their own nor their power or self-determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit and her mind are HER domain. Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value [and] her worth is not measured by the length of her hair.”
Sharing A Belief
Will also appears to share Jada’s belief that their daughter’s body is her own and she can what she wishes with it. In 2013, the actor explained to Parade, “When you have a little girl, it’s like, how can you teach her that you’re in control of her body? She can’t cut my hair, but that’s her hair… She has got to have command of her body.”
Red Table Talk
The Smiths may have encouraged their kids to be themselves, but they have had some challenging moments because of some of their decisions. Jada addressed one incident on her Facebook chat series called Red Table Talk. The online show is hosted by Jada with her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Jones, and Willow. You will see that the program commonly features other family members and close friends.
Getting Candid About Parenting
In one episode of the show in 2018, Jada focuses on her own household, getting candid about parenting. She had both Jaden and Willow on the show with her to give some perspective on Jada’s maternal talents. The conversation between mom and son gets quite deep at one point.
Jada introduced her son at the start of Red Table Talk, saying, “Jaden’s my baby boy – my firstborn. He’s one of the most loving, gentle creatures that I know.” However, as the chat continues, the doting mom reveals how her son had caused “one of the most heartbreaking moments of [her] life.”
What He Said
Jaden asked Jada, out of the blue, if he could live on his own. Recalling what happened with her son, she tells him, “You got to a point where you told me straight up. You were like, ‘Mom, I have to leave here to live my life.’” The mother seems to remember the incident correctly since Jaden agrees with the account and adds, “Totally.”
Astonishingly, Jada’s reaction wasn’t what most people might expect even though she admitted that Jaden’s request for freedom broke her heart. She explained how she responded to her son by saying, “I remember thinking to myself, as devastated as I was, I was like, ‘He’s right. The time is now; he’s 15. It’s time for him to leave the house.’”
However, not everybody in Jada’s immediate family was as understanding. Adrienne interrupts the conversation and admits, “I would have never agreed with that.” Jada goes on to say why she was willing to listen to Jaden about leaving home. Apparently, her son had already shown adult-like qualities even at a very early age.
She Saw It Coming
Jada admits during this episode of Red Table Talk that Jaden’s bid for freedom was something she saw coming. The actress’s mom says, “I knew. I told Will – when Jaden was smaller – I said, ‘We’ll be lucky to keep him in the house until he’s 16.’ Because he was so mature. He was making films… he could really manage his own life.”
Out Of The Bubble
In addition, Jada was aware of what being a celebrity is like and the pressures that come with it. She could understand why her son would want his own space. “Being in this lifestyle – in this world – is a bubble. He wanted out, and I understood that because I didn’t have the bubble. And I knew what – having my freedom outside of the bubble – what I gained from that,” she adds.
Ultimately, Jada understood that letting Jaden have some freedom didn’t really mean cutting ties with her son forever. The actress revealed her motivation behind letting her son move out. “I knew that the sooner I let him go, the faster he was going to come back,” she says. And it appears she was right.
In July 2013, there were reports that Jaden filed for emancipation from his parents as a present for his 15th birthday. That same year, he addressed this claim on The Ellen DeGeneres Show during the child star’s appearance on the show. He seemed to deny that he had plans on leaving home.
Setting The Record Straight
Jaden set the record straight on the show by explaining, “See, here’s the thing that you need to understand: I’m not going anywhere… The thing that people don’t get is [that] everything at this house is free! So I can get anything and everything at this house, so I’m going to be there [for] 20 [or] 30 more years.”
Didn’t Go Too Far
It seems that Jaden only moved out of their Malibu family home in June 2017, and he didn’t even go too far. He relocated to a mansion in Hidden Hills in Los Angeles. The property is reportedly worth roughly $4 million and is located in an exclusive gated neighborhood. Over the years, many famous faces have lived in the area, including Jessica Simpson, Kanye West, and Kim Kardashian.
A Bit Older
As a matter of fact, Jaden’s 19th birthday was approaching when the teenager finally moved out of the Smith family home, but he had asked to fly the nest when he was 15. Apparently, gaining independence was beneficial to him – especially with regard to how Jaden saw his family.
A Changed Perspective
During his Red Table Talk appearance, Jaden explains how leaving home has given him a different perspective on family life. “It just makes you appreciate being at home, being with your parents [and] spending quality time with family. You get out into the world, and then you just kind of just understand things,” he says.
Getting Things Right
The Smiths appear to have gotten things right when they gave Jaden space to make decisions about what he wanted for himself. However, if their children are asked, there were also times that the couple’s parenting techniques were not that great. As a matter of fact, both Jaden and Willow have suggested they felt their introduction to the spotlight had been a bit too early, perhaps before they were ready.
A “Really Terrible Experience”
For instance, Willow was only ten years old when she became a household name thanks to her single “Whip My Hair,” which was released in 2010. On Red Table Talk, the singer refers to this period as a “really terrible experience.” She continues, “The values of the people that were around me should have been the opposite.”
Supporting Their Daughter’s Dreams
Jada clarifies what Willow meant by saying, “Your feeling about that was that you felt like you were put in the game too soon.” She adds, “I think all that came with it was too much.” The mom, however, explains that as parents, they thought that supporting their daughter’s dreams was the right thing to do.
Jada goes on, “Your dad and I, we were like, ‘Oh man, she’ll be set up for life. This is her start.’” However, Willow admits shaving her hair was actually due to the “upset” which she had from her pop career. She says, “There’s a Nirvana lyric that says, ‘I shave my head, and then I’m not sad.’”
Another Child Star
Of course, the Smith family had another child star aside from Willow. Just like his sister, Jaden became famous at a young age, having been in several movies like The Pursuit of Happyness. He also struggled to handle some of fame’s pressures. There is one film in particular where Jaden felt as if everything was indeed too much.
Pushed To His Limits
On Red Table Talk, Jaden reveals, “I went through the same thing that Willow went through with “Whip My Hair” with The Karate Kid. It was happening at the same time.” It seems like Jaden’s role in the 2010 film, which stars Jackie Chan as well, pushed the young boy to his limits.
Jada recalls, “I remember the moment, because I asked [Jaden], [and he] went into that full split, and he was in tears. And I was like, ‘I’m done.’” At this point, Jada was even ready to quit, but Jaden powered through. The mom says, “He looked at me, [and] he’s like, ‘Mom, I’m good.’ He got up, and he said, ‘Let’s do it again.’”
Successes And Failures
It appears that Jada and Will are just like many parents out there. The couple also has their own share of successes and failures in terms of raising their children. Taking that into consideration, Jada is careful not to give unsolicited parenting advice on others. The mom believes that “every child needs something different.” This may explain her and her husband’s unique approach to family life.
Another Surprising Confession
As it turns out, there are other surprising confessions made on Red Table Talk aside from Jaden’s request to leave home. In 2018, for example, Jada let viewers into a really personal secret. The intimate admission actually left some of the fans in disbelief.
When it comes to hair, Jada Pinkett Smith is a chameleon. Along the years, she has sported everything from voluminous curls to long braids and cropped pixie cuts to finger-wave bobs. However, in 2018, her fans began to notice something: the star was starting to conceal her locks with turbans. When the Matrix trilogy actress realized that this was becoming a topic of fevered discussion, she decided to reveal the heartrending reason she now covers up her ever-changing hair.
Issues Of The Day
On her show Red Table Talk, Jada Pinkett Smith inevitably broached the topic. The series often sees Jada, her mom, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and Willow, talking about issues of the day. The three give different generational points of view. On this particular occasion, Jada wanted to go into the topic of insecurities.
Making Admissions Of Her Own
Covering such a subject, however, would require the host to make some admissions of her own. Jada found herself addressing her newfound affinity for turbans that many people had noticed. In doing so, she emotionally explained precisely why she had started to wrap her hair up and hide it.
Time In The Spotlight
Of course, Jada Pinkett Smith has been in the spotlight for a long time now. She knew early in life that being a performer was what she wanted. To that end, she attended Baltimore School for the Arts to study theater and dance. She also bonded with her classmates along the way, including future world-famous rapper Tupac Shakur. Shortly after graduating in 1989, Jada started landing acting jobs in Hollywood.
First, Jada took on bit parts on TV shows like True Colors, Doogie Howser, M.D. and 21 Jump Street. She then landed a meatier role playing Lena James on NBC’s A Different World, a spinoff of The Cosby Show following the character Denise Huxtable into college.
However, the big break of the fledgling actress came in 1996. She starred in the box-office hit The Nutty Professor, opposite Eddie Murphy. She played the love interest of the main character played by Murphy. That same year, Jada was also cast in Set It Off, where she played someone who raids banks together with her buddies to support themselves.
Then she had a quick part in the massively popular slasher film Scream 2, where the killer slays Jada’s co-ed character in a cinema. After that, the actress went on to star in Bamboozled by Spike Lee and appear in the boxing biopic Ali, which stars her husband, Will Smith.
Best Known Work
Still, her work in The Matrix Revolutions and The Matrix Reloaded is probably what most people remember her for. Both movies continue the story of the 1999 film The Matrix. The sequels’ creators actually created the character of the rebel Niobe specifically for the actress herself.
No Slowing Down
Jada Pinkett Smith’s movie career hasn’t faltered in the following years. For example, in 2004, she landed a supporting role in the critically acclaimed film Collateral, which starred Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. She also went into voice acting and portrayed a character in the 2005 animated movie Madagascar. In 2008, she decided to venture into work behind the camera, directing and starring in the film The Human Contract.
More Recent Work
More recently, Jada co-starred with her fellow stars Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, and Tiffany Haddish in the comedy Girls Trip, making audiences laugh. In 2017 it earned $140 million at the box-office internationally and also earned substantial critical acclaim. Malcolm D. Lee’s work was even ranked by Time magazine as being one of the ten best cinematic releases that year.
Jada Pinkett Smith has also branched out into some online content with her chat show on Facebook Watch called Red Table Talk, which started its run in May 2018. In each episode, the actress, her mom, and her daughter discuss topics pertinent to their lives. There are times when they invite a special guest or two to help them out.
Her Success And Her Family
Indeed, Jada’s family have arguably become a huge part in her continued success and fame, along with the Hollywood roles she has done. The star first met her now-husband, Will Smith, in 1994 when she auditioned for the part of Smith’s onscreen girlfriend Lisa Wilkes on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Apparently, those who did the casting thought Jada wasn’t tall enough to play Lisa, so they cast Nia Long for the part instead.
Getting The Star
However, Jada still got something from her audition: the Fresh Prince himself. She and Will Smith started out having a platonic relationship before they started to date in 1995. Two years later, the couple walked down the aisle in front of around 100 guests. They exchanged vows just outside Baltimore –where Jada had grown up.
Building A Family Together
What’s more, the couple soon started building a family together. In 1998, they welcomed their son Jaden and in 2000, their daughter Willow joined the clan. To Jada, Will and her children are seemingly the most important. In 2018, she told USA Today, “I will throw my career away before I let it break up [my] marriage. I made it clear to Will: I’d throw it away completely.”
Fortunately, Jada has apparently managed to find a balance between the spotlight and her home life. She raises two children, maintains a marriage and keeps on top of her career all at the same time. As she undergoes some changes, so does her looks. Jada has rocked different haircuts and styles throughout the years.
For example, at the premiere of the 1995 film Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, Jada appeared on the red carpet with a blonde, close-cropped hairdo. However, the following year, the star walked the red carpet for the first showing of The Nutty Professor with much darker hair but just as short.
Jada has also experimented with longer lengths. For instance, she attended the German premiere of Collateral in 2004 sporting a high ponytail. She then wore soft waves and had a side part when she showed up at the American Music Awards in 2005. She has worn more defined and bouncier curls as well.
New Go-To Hair Accessory
Bobs, slicked-back dos and braids have adorned Jada’s scalp. It’s clear she likes mixing things up when walking the red carpet, but the turban seems to be her go-to hair accessory these days. In 2018, the actress talked about the reason in one episode of Red Table Talk with her mother and her daughter.
Starting off the conversation, Jada tells the female members in her family, “I thought we could talk about the things about ourselves that we might not like that we have to accept. I don’t care how beautiful of a woman [you are]; we all have stuff that we don’t like.” Instantly, her mom and Willow agree with Jada’s statement – and Banfield-Norris highlights how older women are affected by this in particular.
“Youth Is Everything”
Banfield-Norris explains, “For older women, youth is everything. So, everything that you see on television, everything that you see everywhere is everything about staying young. And so it really becomes challenging as you become older to try to not get obsessed with trying to stay young.”
The Effect Of The Scrutiny
Banfield-Norris goes on to add that such scrutiny has made her feel a strong dislike for one particular part of her body. “Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror, and I don’t like what I see. The worst part of my body for me is my legs, you know, my thighs. Like, I’m thin, and people think it’s ridiculous, but I have mad cellulite, and I hate it, so I hate my legs,” she says.
Not A Problem
Jada is quick to prop up her mother, though. “I love that you’ve gained weight,” she tells Banfield-Norris. However, her mother still admits, “In my mind, I feel fat. I know that that’s not true; I know I’m not fat. But I certainly am bigger than I used to be.” Then, Willow chimes in, “That’s not a problem.”
Feel More Self-Conscious
However, Banfield-Norris replies that she “feels like [it’s] a problem” – maybe because of the youth-centric messaging which she touched on in the episode. In addition, as Jada points out, her mom is “used to seeing herself a certain way,” so this may make her feel even more self-conscious.
Insecure About Her Figure
On the other hand, Willow admits her figure is what she feels most insecure about. She confesses, “[I’ve] struggled with curvier women, and curvier girls have always gotten more attention from the boys that I’ve liked and have ended up dating the boys that I’ve liked.” As a matter of fact, she claims that it is “constantly happening” to her.
“The Little Sister”
Jada apparently understands where her daughter is coming from. She tells her daughter, “They always see you as, like, the little sister. They did the same to me.” However, those words make Willow ponder if she’s “just not desirable.” The young woman continues, “Like, is my body just like not what society likes?”
Learning To Block Out Critics
Of course, Jada quickly quashes such a notion by explaining, “I tell Willow all the time she’s beautiful. Like all the time.” Willow does say that she has learned to block out people who criticize her body, but for a different reason. The teenager often gets comments about her armpit hair as she chooses not to shave it.
As it happens, Jada uses the chance to address those asking about her new favorite accessory. “I’ve been getting a lot of questions about why I’ve been wearing this turban,” she says. A sad fact is actually behind her decision to keep her locks under a wrap.
Jada continues, “I’ve been having issues with hair loss. And I’m going to tell you [that] it was terrifying when it first started.” The actress becomes emotional as she relates her experience and reveals, “I was in the shower one day, and then [there was] just handfuls of hair, just in my hands.”
“Shaking With Fear”
According to Jada, she thought at that moment, “Oh my god, am I going bald?” Then, she continues, “It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking with fear.” Willow also seems emotional listening to her mom’s story and she says, “That’s a really scary experience.” Thankfully, however, Jada has found ways to deal with her issue.
The Story Behind The Changing Hairstyles
Furthermore, Jada’s constantly changing hairstyles apparently had a story to tell. For her part, she admits during their conversation on Red Table Talk that the reason she started wearing shorter and having more varied hairdos was her hair loss. Even though you take charge of an uncontrollable experience, it still doesn’t make things any easier to cope with, which the actress seemingly implies.
Jada explains, “My hair has been a big part of me. Taking care of my hair has been a beautiful ritual, you know?” She didn’t have any trouble letting her locks grow or cutting them in the past, but her hair loss changed everything. During this particular episode of Red Table Talk, she recalls thinking once, “Oh my God, I might not have that choice anymore.”
And Jada fondly remembers what her hair was like, and so does her mom. Banfield-Norris comments, “’ Cause you had a lot of hair. Really thick, healthy, beautiful hair.” Jada seems happy to have the corroboration as well – especially since people in the past have doubted her natural locks were truly God-given.
Jada says, “[It was] to the point that people thought I had weaves. They were like, ‘That’s not her hair.’ I’m like, ‘Yes, it is.’” However, her thick and once-plentiful tresses have started to disappear, and Jada goes on to say that some people have been telling her possible explanations for her hair loss.
Tests And Frustrations
“I’ve gotten every kind of test there is to have,” Jada claims. Frustratingly, however, her doctors have not pinpointed why her hair has begun to fall out. The actress continues, “They don’t know why. People have said stress.” Others, she adds, have pointed to another cause – the condition called alopecia.
Alopecia causes shedding of hair in small areas, but this symptom can be camouflaged by healthier hair at times. When hairless spots grow and meld together with other areas that have no follicles, the condition begins to become more obvious. Alopecia doesn’t just affect the scalp but it can also cause the loss of eyebrows, eyelashes, and even facial hair.
No Known Cure
Some alopecia sufferers have the universalis type of the condition. This means they lose all their hair. Sometimes the strands grow back, but they may go again after returning. Even more heartbreaking for people with alopecia is the fact that no cure exists for now.
Jada may have found the initial hair loss devastating, but her battle with the condition seemingly caused some reflection. She recalls a moment when she had this thought: “Oh my god, why are you so terrified that you might lose your hair?” From there, she was able to ground herself. She changed her mindset on the matter.
An Insignificant Problem
Of her experience, Jada says, “I really had to put it in a spiritual perspective of like, the higher power takes so much from people. People are out here who have cancer; people have sick children. I watch the higher power take things every day.” She realized that her hair loss was an insignificant problem by comparison.
A Different Perspective
“By golly,” Jada goes on, “if the higher power wants to take your hair. That’s it? God, you want my hair? When I looked at it from that perspective, it really did settle me. When I had to think about – well, what else would you lose? What else would you put on the table for God to take? Take the hair. Take it!”
This revised viewpoint allowed Jada to find new contentment, even if she didn’t have her luxurious locks. On Red Table Talk, she is seen sitting with a mirror in front of her. She puts her turban in place, but the moment is not a sad one. The actress says instead, “When my hair is wrapped, I feel like a queen” – proving, that she may have found the silver lining to the situation and her new hair accessory.