Parenting like the Smiths: 5 of Will and Jada's unorthodox parenting philosophies

Will and Jada in the 90s via @WillSmith
Will and Jada in the 90s via @WillSmith

When considering one of the most famous and talented families in the world, the Smiths definitely come to mind. Will and Jada both rose to fame in the 90s for their acting and soon became one of the most A-list couples in Hollywood after they began dating in 1995.

Will's first born, Trey is an actor and DJ, his second born and first child with Jada, Jaden, is a rapper, actor, composer, songwriter, dancer, model and entrepreneur (to name a few) and his youngest, Willow is a singer, rapper, dancer, Youtuber and voice actress. It goes without saying, these kids are insanely talented.

So, having three successful children, a successful marriage and personal success for Will and Jada while maintaining a happy, loving family must mean there's some sort of method to the madness. Here are some of the top things Will and Jada emphasize as parents:

Will's birthday message to Jada.

1. Their children are responsible for their own actions and choose their consequences

Will and Jada believe that their children should be accountable for their own actions and do not punish them. Instead, they believe that their children should choose their own consequences, which in a sense allows them to reflect on their actions and figure out what a suitable punishment would be.

In an interview Will did a few years ago, he spoke about how they deal with their children's actions, saying, "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." 

He goes on to say that if their children make questionable choices and it doesn't go as planned, they need to justify why they felt it was the right thing to do with their lives.

Sounds like a pretty mature decision to me.

2) The circle of safety 

Will and Jada have created a safe space called the "circle of safety" for their children where they’re able to speak freely without judgement. Will mentioned in an interview with Jimmy Fallon that "Within the circle of safety the kids are allowed to say anything that they want, they can tell us anything they did and they can cleanse it all out and they don't get in trouble", adding that "the rule is, if we find out after the circle of safety that there was something you didn't say, there'll be hell to pay."

It seems to work for them with Will saying, "Now they got used to telling us everything."

Establishing open communication with your children? Pretty impressive.

3) They allow for creative expression

Will stated in an interview with BBC 1 Radio that as parents, he and Jada encourage the “really powerful internal quality” that artists have. 
He stated that Jaden is “100% fearless, he will do anything.” Will then added that as a parent it is scary but “he [Jaden] is completely willing to live and die by his own artistic decisions and he just doesn’t concern himself with what people think.”

Both Jaden and Willow are extremely creative individuals, which is evident in their music and artistry. They are trailblazers and break boundaries for people their age, which is why they are so successful at what they do. Seems that Jada and Will allowing this creative expression has been a huge benefit.

Jaden and Willow on the cover of Interview magazine, 2016.

4) Treating children like equals

For many parents, this may be considered taboo but Will and Jada treat their children as equals and believe in a partnership rather than a dictatorship.

In an interview with Haute Living, Will said that "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."

In doing so, they allow their children to be mature about their choices which helps them grow into upstanding adults.

5) They're big on freedom of personal expression

Will and Jada want their children to be their authentic selves, and they are certainly unique, I can’t imagine Willow or Jaden being as successful had they not been such bold, unique individuals.

Jaden was the face of a Louis Vuitton campaign for wearing women’s clothing such as shirts and crop tops. He has a “gender-bending” sense of fashion and truly marches to his own drum. They do not police the clothing their daughter wears and thereby dismiss the double standards.

On an episode of Jada Pinkett Smith's Facebook TV show, "Red Table Talk", she discussed Jaden wearing women's clothing and modeling for the Louis Vuitton women's brand and Will being a little hesitant at first but mentioned how Jaden wore skirts to "give kids the freedom, to give other people the freedom to think out of the box for themselves and in doing that, not to feel like they would be bullied or be attacked in some way."

Empowering others through his unique vision? Jaden truly is just an icon living. 

View this post on Instagram

"Just Come Here"

A post shared by Jaden Smith (@c.syresmith) on

Jaden Smith rocking a skirt.

Are there any of the Smiths' parenting philosophies that you adopt or would like to adopt? Let us know by emailing us at and we could publish your comments. Do let us know if you'd like to remain anonymous. 

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