So I read this article that said black parents need to adopt a parenting style more like Jada Pinkett-Smith. Ummm WHO? I decided to read through the many comments supporting the statement to try to understand the mind behind this. But two things continue to concern me:
1. We are praising a woman on “raising her children” who are STILL in the process of being raised! How can we with all certainty applaud what she’s doing, calling it “better” when we have yet to see the results of said parenting?
2. Many people are saying this after a photo is released of Willow laying in bed with a 20 year old shirtless man. I’m not sure where anyone else is from, but where I’m from – grown people don’t lay in bed with children…if they do, they are looked at suspiciously. If it is okay for a 20 year old man to lay in bed shirtless with Willow Smith, then was it okay for Michael Jackson to lay in bed with little boys as a grown man? I mean, he did say they were only playing…right? Yea….
Many black people are chiming in on this applauding Jada and Will and disparaging the way our parents raised us as if our lives are gone to hell in a hand basket because our parents set boundaries and whipped our behinds when we got out of line. I can’t agree with that. I’m sorry.
I was allowed to have an opinion in my home, but I was also given boundaries and I understood that I can’t just do whatever I want in the name of “having an opinion” or “knowing myself”. I’m a strong woman who knows who she is and my mom disciplined and set boundaries for me, as are many of my friends/family who also had boundaries. Children are children and they need boundaries I’m not saying all beat the child and shut them up but at the same time, remember your responsibility as a parent to guide your child. A child can have an opinion, know who he/she is as a person, and still make choices on their own without allowing the child to act like a complete adult. a 13 year old child in bed with a shirtless 20 year old man, close family friend or not, it’s inappropriate this day in age.
Not to mention, people tend to forget that those like Willow Smith have opportunities everyday little black kids don’t have. So where they might let their kids dye hair green, lay in bed with grown men, go about without supervision (or maybe only a bodyguard) and all these things… in everyday life one slip could change a child’s life forever. The odds are set in Willow’s favor, her mom and dad can buy her freedom if she messes up. She will still get opportunities with green hair and wild clothes….but Tamika Robinson and Dereon Johnson…we already know the deal, we have to work harder, work smarter and show ourselves twice as worthy if you are wealthy and black, three times if you are black and low income. It’s not the same. It’s not. Let’s not act like the children of Will and Jada Smith are dealing with the same obstacles that the average black child must endure.
I really think people are missing the point in all this. It’s not about the fact that she gives her kids choices, we make it sound like our parents treated us like old slaves like our lives were horrid because we had boundaries. What’s even more amazing to me is that it’s not people who are still struggling, hooked on drugs trying to deal with the abuse of their childhood, kids who have become adults unable to get their lives together so they lose themselves in alcohol/drugs trying to numb the pain, until there’s nothing left. No, it’s people who are doing something with their lives, who have opportunities, who are intelligent enough to understand it is important for children to have boundaries, not because we want to “rule” the child, simply because it’s what’s best for a (key word) CHILD.
I don’t think this was about how white children turn out vs. how black children turn out rather it was a hit at black parents as if our parents – all of them, every single one – were wrong for raising us as they did and I personally can’t agree with that. I don’t think my mom was perfect and yes, there were times she could have talked more and whipped less…but she raised me as a mother should and was the one who played a huge role in molding me into the woman I am today….and I knew when to voice my opinion and when to shut up…because in life you need to learn this. I knew the world did NOT revolve around me and that I did NOT always get my way, because in life, you don’t! I knew boundaries were necessary because consequences are REAL and when parents give kids too much freedom, they become self absorbed spoiled little brats, who turn into self absorbed spoiled adults….at which point, people want to ask “where were her parents”?
p.s. Why it gotta be black parenting and white parenting? Geesh, I’m black but I do agree sometimes my people make EVERYTHING about race…not all black parents are strict disciplinarians, and not all non-black parents are pushovers.