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 (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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