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The life of a celebrity always gets a lot of attention. Fortunately, Will Smith and his family have stayed strong and true to one another in a world that thrives off of scandal. Few would imagine that their happy life is largely due to their special and unconventional parenting style.
Will Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith had a special interview on an episode of the online chat show, Red Table Talk. At the time, her fifteen-year-old son Jaden was searching for his independence. Eventually, he approached his mother with an important question that she simply wasn't ready to answer.
Before we reveal Jaden's question, let's talk about Will and Jada's educational philosophy first. Different from other parents, the couple uphold a "no punishment" policy. However, it was because Will and Jada consider themselves loving parents, so Jaden's request was even more challenging to them.
Although the children of celebrities may not struggle with poverty, they also have their own obstacles to overcome. Hence, Will has always hoped that his children can learn to live on their own terms and have control over their lives as much as possible. The couple think the punishment isn't necessary because the consequences of mistakes are enough.
In the Smith family, love and encouragement are mainstays of their life. Prioritizing transparency and communication, the couple have created a "circle of safety" which allows everyone in the family to speak openly and fairly. This is a rare and unusual trait for a celebrity family to have.
However, although Will and Jada try to keep a relaxing atmosphere in their family, they still have rules to maintain unity. First of all, everyone needs to be honest and forthcoming. In a 2016 interview with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, Will Smith shared: "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."
Nevertheless, no one single parenting method is perfect. The open policy in the Smith family has caused a few unexpected hiccups. For example, both Jaden and Willow have been seen sporting their own uniquely bizarre hairdos and fashion statements. The media has had a field day with their audacious trends, but luckily, the couple have always supported them.
Controversially, Jaden would often wear skirts and dresses, much to the bewilderment of the public. But rather than view his son's clothing choices as bizarre or strange, Will described his son as "100 percent fearless" and is proud of his son's life choices. However, it's hard to imagine that Will would truly think in this way.
We all know that Will is the epitome of a macho man who exudes traditional masculinity. But he has managed to put his own preferences aside in order to support Jaden's choice because he knows that Jaden "is completely willing to live and die by his artistic decisions, and he doesn't concern himself with what people think."
By allowing their kids to express themselves freely, they have been able to strengthen the bonds of their family. Will explains, "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 could fail." Nevertheless, it has not always been harmonious amongst the Smiths.
While their parenting style certainly has its strengths, the couple have sometimes found it very difficult to sit by when they didn't necessarily agree with their children's choices. Jada shared one of these particular instances on her Red Table Talk show on Facebook where she hosts various family members, giving them the opportunity to open up honestly in a public setting.
Jada invited Jaden and Willow to participate in the show so as to reveal the contrast between choices made by parents and their children. Parents usually have a lot more experience than their children, which makes it difficult to watch kids make a decision that they disagree with. Hence, in the talk show, an incident involving Jaden was discussed.
As we've mentioned before, Will and Jada always encourage their children to take their lives into their own hands. Thus, it was not surprising when Jaden told his parents that he wanted to leave home. In Jada's eyes, Jaden was like a little bird that couldn't wait to leave the nest. Agreeing with his mother's description, Jaden says, "Totally."
However, as a mother, Jada admitted to being completely taken aback after hearing his decision. As we know, she adores Jaden so much and regards him as the apple of her eye. Although she had invested so much effort in raising her children to be independent, she still felt "devastated." But she knew, "he's 15. It's time for him to leave the house."
Both Will and Jada were willing to work through Jaden's decision to move out. But Jada's mother Adrienne Banfield-Jones disagreed with them. Nevertheless, Jada still chose to support Jaden because she always wanted him to be independent as he grew up.
Although Jaden's request left Jada heartbroken, she admitted that she knew that day would come earlier than for many other kids. Jaden was so mature that he was able to manage his own life. His desire to live his own life outside the home demonstrated his independence. But Jada still needed more time to adapt.
Most mothers would get nervous at the thought of their children moving out of the home. Jada was no exception. But she knew her relationship with her son would forever be strong. She says, "I knew that the sooner I let him go, the faster he was going to come back." But was she right?
When the media found out that Jaden had left home, they began to add spice to the story. Hence, he set the record straight on an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show: "I'm not going anywhere … [E]verything at this house is free! … so I'm going to be there [for] 20 [or] 30 more years." He probably just wanted to gag the media by saying it, and he was trying different ways to move out.
In fact, Jaden was attempting to find a compromise, a solution that could help him pursue his independence and save money at the same time. Finally, after a few years, Jaden moved into a $4 million mansion near his parents' house in Los Angeles. He was 19 at the time, and while he had his taste of freedom, it was still within a comfortable distance from his family.
Finding independence is a milestone that every teenager aspires to achieve. With the Smith family encouraging an attitude of independence at every turn, choosing to move out of the family home was highly supported. It allowed the young man to develop his confidence and practice his ability to get things done on his own.
After Jaden moved out of the Smith household, he felt differently when looking at his family from the outside in. During the Red Table Talk, Jaden explained that by creating the distance between himself and his family, he suddenly cherished the time with family more and appreciated being at home.
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