Haute Living about his upcoming film, After Earth, Will Smith said the dynamics between the relationship with Jaden is something they brought to the movie. Haute Living asked Will, if there were any similarities between the way he was raised and how he raises his own children, and here is what he had to say:
“There are definite similarities. I grew up in a family business so my father, my mother and all my brothers and sisters worked in the family business, so that’s really the only way I know how to parent. In real situations, you are going out in the real world and you are earning real money. The things you say and do in the world will affect the family for real. My style of parenting is very similar to that of my parents, minus the concept of ownership. 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. We respect our children the way we would respect any other person. Things like cleaning up their room. You would never tell a full-grown adult to clean their room, so we don’t tell our kids to clean their rooms. Actually, we tell our kids ‘you don’t have a room, that’s our room and we are letting you borrow it.’ So the same way you would say to an adult if you let them use car, you say, ‘Yo man, clean my car! Don’t drive around all filthy like that!’ And it’s perfectly reasonable for you to want an adult to clean your car, so we feel it’s perfectly reasonable to ask our kids to clean the rooms that we are letting them use.”
Personally, I know plenty of parents, off all ethnicities, that abide by the “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out if you don’t fulfill the obligations laid out for you” credo. As a parent to a 14-year-old, there are certain “freedoms” I offer my son, but he still knows who’s boss.
Then of course there was the question of rumors about Jaden wanting to be emancipated, which he put to rest as well:
“Yeah, that was a joke! I made a joke. He is definitely not going anywhere; he is so scared of being out on his own. Willow is probably going to be emancipated before Jaden! I think I was in Tokyo where I made a joke that if he has a day where his movie is bigger than one of mine then there’s no reason for him to live in my house. His 15th birthday is coming up so he can probably be emancipated.”
So what do you think about Will’s comparison of slavery and raising children?
For some lighthearted fun, here’s a video from Jaden and Will’s recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show: