Much has been said and debated about Will Smith’s recent comments involving parenting.
In a Haute Living interview, he made a now famous—or infamous comment depending on who you talk to— where he said quote-unquote:
“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.”
Hmm, well, there was a lot of hoopla over Will’s words. But I’m not going to jump into that fray today; instead I’m going to talk a little about some of the parenting dynamics in our community that Will’s words speak to.
Yes there are many black parents who are—how should we say—heavy-handed in their child-rearing approach, though I’m still not clear on Mr. Smith’s slavery connection so I can’t speak to that.
Nonetheless I feel Will—who often praises his own loving parents despite his belief they raised him as quote-unquote “property”—is not saying parents who take this approach are any less loving or effective than those who don’t.
Apparently he is saying children should be respected for the individuals they are and though we are responsible for them, we should not focus on controlling them or viewing them as mere extensions of ourselves.
Okay, I get what Will is saying. But, where do we draw the line on issues like discipline?
For black folk, slavery or not, one of the biggest ‘don’t dos’ in life is throwing a tantrum in public. Children in other cultures can get away with that. Our children? Can you spell T-K-O?
And, you know, Jada is straight out of Baltimore and I honestly can’t imagine her sitting quietly as a young Jaden and Willow trash Macy’s.
There are certain things we just don’t tolerate well, talking back, disrespect, actin’ a fool in public. Still, the take away for me is, when all is said and done, there’s no one standard, proven approach to parenting.
Parents are all different, and so are children. Some children need more attention and discipline than others and, as parents, it’s our job to figure out what approach works best.
And most often it’s a combination of approaches and the development of a feel for when to employ which one for the best result. So it’s up to us to recognize what is working vs. what is not and adapt accordingly.
I’ll close this week with these words from Anne Frank:
“Parents can only give good advice or put children on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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