In the news recently there has been a debate about Will and Jada Smith’s parenting or should I say “non-parenting” since they give total responsibility to their children to rule their lives.
As stated by Will Smith last year on E News: “We [Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith] don’t do punishment,” the celeb said in response to when he punished Jaden last.
“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.”
Would they consider that same type of ideology if their daughter had been kidnapped, raped and killed at the time she was 11 several years ago, frolicking around Paris visiting designer department stores all alone? Would they blame her for not being responsible enough even after giving her the talk about safety and she didn’t listen?
A child’s brain is not fully functional at 5, 10, 15, and even 18. And because their brains are not fully matured, their decisions are also not fully matured. To make assumptions that your child can be responsible with a brain that is not fully developed is naive and immature as a parent.
I realize that the things I am saying could be touchy to some people, but in the long run I have never seen this type of parenting to be on the positive side. Instead, they usually prove to be highly destructible for all that are involved.
Can we honestly say that our children, when left to their own devices at a young age with only limited guidance and some long discussions about responsibility, will make them all of a sudden discerning and wise to know what they are doing?
If Will and Jada and other parents took the time to study and research the tremendous amount of evidence about the developing brain in children, teens and young adults up to the age of 25, they would see that the frontal lobe of their brains are not completely formed. And because of this, that leaves many issues wide open since this part of the brain regulates decision making, problem solving, control of behaviors, their consciousness, and emotions.
If you don’t have someone guiding you through those stages of a child’s growth, then you leave an open door for major consequences as a parent and for your child. I have seen teens spent time with their parents who’ve given many lessons of responsibility, knowledge, and warnings, yet their teen did the unthinkable because all that they heard went right out the door when they were in the midst of their impulsive decision making.
The majority of children and teens make most of their decisions out of impulsiveness because they lack the skill to think through and problem solve that situation in a split second like an adult does. It takes time and with small situations so that they can mature into the bigger scope of things.
Willow is at the age of 13 now where hormones are doing jumping jacks and to think that she won’t have feelings towards an older guy no matter what her parent says is like telling your kid to not put a magnifying glass to the ground in the bright sun because it’ll start a fire. Now what do you think that kid is gonna do after mom and dad walk away?
I met a young girl who I will name Jane at the age of 12. She was pregnant at the time with her first child. She told me that contraception’s were available, but they chose to not use it because it would interrupt the mood. She also said that after she had her baby, all her other 12 year old friends were excited to see the new baby girl so they could dress her up and play with her as if that baby were a doll. Now they all wanted to go and have babies too just like their friend.
Even though she wished she didn’t have a child because of all the work that was involved, I saw her a year later and she was pregnant for the second time. Her parents let her be responsible just like Will and Jada are making Willow responsible.
To make it clear, I don’t disagree with all of Jada’s parenting style because I have heard some of her other parenting decisions which were good. But somewhere she lost sight of her responsibility of being a parent and instead is putting Willow in the position of parenting herself which is unfair to Willow.
I believe that Willow’s parents do love her and her brother, but I also believe that these kids truly do want more parenting from their mom and dad.
When I was sharing this story with my 16 year old, she said that she was thankful for our parenting because it built character, responsibility, accountability, and most of all, it made her feel that we cared enough about her to be involved in more than just talks about the right and wrong thing to do. It made her feel more loved that we would spend so much time interested in her life and giving her direction and guidance so that she could be a better person. She truly felt sorry for Willow and her brother and so do I.
So the next time you parent your child, give them an extra hug, extra encouragement and extra guidance in life. They WILL appreciate it.