Jada Pinkett Smith’s Golden Rules Of Parenting

Jada Pinkett Smith, married to superstar Will Smith, and mother to Willow, 8, Jaden, 10, and stepson Trey, 16, recently sat down with Cookie magazine to share her parenting wisdom and worldviews. The 37-year-old actress and philanthropist, who starred most recently in The Women, also made her directorial debut in The Human Contract, finished executive-producing The Secret Life of Bees, opened a church, and founded a school with her husband in Westlake Village, California. She’s also well known for her role as Niobe in the popular Matrix series and as the voice of Gloria, the sassy hippo in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (which opens this month).

Jada says “I’ve found that I’m at my best when I [engage] everything—the mind, the spirit, my body.” As a mother of a girl, she is all too conscious of emphasizing what she calls “the importance of wholeness in being a woman.” In addition to her budding film career, Willow is a serious gymnast. Jada says, “I say to her, ‘Always focus on your own personal strength – as long as you compete with you and stay on the track that you want to be on, you’re going to be okay.’”

Jada says she and Will are usually on the same page when it comes to parenting, “We’re kind of innately in tune with what we both want for the kids. We knew that part of our partnership would be creating the exact opposite of what we had.” Jada’s parents were both in high school when she was born, and while they were briefly married, she was brought up primarily by her mom, a nurse, and her maternal grandmother, who died when she was 12. Jada says she and Will are determined to make their marriage work, “We find solutions because that’s what we both want. There is no other option.”

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When asked about raising polite kids, Jada says, “It’s not ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ just ‘because I told you so,’ she explains. “I tell them, ‘Every time you go out into the world, you are leaving an impression of yourself and this family with other people. What impression do you want to leave? Do you want people to think you are spoiled [rotten]?’” Jada goes on to explain it’s not just about etiquette, it’s about a healthy self-esteem: “I want them to feel good; I want them to smile. Once children feel great about being who they are, you don’t really have to worry about manners.”

Jada goes on to share her Golden Rules of Parenting:

1. Eat as a family. “There’s flexibility about when they eat breakfast and lunch, but dinner together is sacred.”

2. Enlist help. “I’m lucky to have a lot of people in my world who help me. That includes her mother: “She travels with me all the time, and when I travel and the kids aren’t with me, she stays with them.”

3. Drink water. “I tell them, ‘You have three bottles of water a day, then drink what you want. I’m always like, ‘Listen, we’ve got to keep our bodies strong—we got too much stuff to do!’”

4. Respect their boundaries. Staying out of kids’ space can teach them to be responsible for their own decisions and mistakes, she says: “Is it their room, or are they borrowing the space while they’re living in your house? If it’s theirs, then they should be able to do whatever they want with it. If it’s their clothes, they have the right to do whatever they want with those clothes. We have to give them some freedom to be who they are.”

5. Choose your battles. For instance, Jada doesn’t prescribe what the kids are going to wear—even for the paparazzi. “Who is it going to hurt, really, if she has orange balloon pants on the red carpet?” she says. “I try to stay outside my ego and what I want and to respect them as I expect them to respect me.”

6. Expose and educate. “We go to church as a family on Sunday, but we study world religion during the week as well. We read excerpts from the Bible, from Hindu texts, Kabbalah, Judaism….”

Photo: Cookie

Filed under: Jada Pinkett-Smith

10 Comments »»

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  1. Antineah

    Willow is soooo gorgeous, she just looks like her mom, Will has a beautiful family.

    Reply
  2. Janie

    Love this family!

    Reply
  3. Sam

    I think Willow looks like her Dad – I saw her face and immediately saw Will

    Reply
  4. Dea

    Wow, I like the core ideals that they teach to their children (I might even steal a few from her) but I know it’s not as easy as it looks sometimes..

    Reply
  5. Wow

    I wonder if she’ll be attacked for talking about her family to promote her movies or for teaching her children different religions or her past.

    Reply
  6. Rock

    Willow looks just like Will Smith — that poor kid. Her teeth are pretty horrible as well. Btw — Will & Jada are both into Scientology–scary stuff.

    Reply
  7. Rosy J

    Rock, save your pity for Willow for yourself, her parents have more than enough money to fix her teeth but your imperfections are too deeply rooted to benefit from even the most drastic measures. For the record, I am not a scientologist. Catholics like me don’t stand by and allow innocent children to be attacked or offended by hate and envy.

    Reply
  8. Both the kids look a lot like Will to me – they’re gorgeous!

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    Does anyone know where her church is located?

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    I find that most celebrity parents end up having well behaved children and they don’t ever seem to have children with anger problems. Maybe it’s because the media doesn’t want to show that side of it.

    Reply

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