When it comes to parenting her children Jaden, 14 and 12-year-old Willow, actress Jada Pinkett Smith takes a non-authoritarian approach.
“I think that old school style of ‘I’m your parent and I’m greater than you’ doesn’t work,” she reveals to PEOPLE. “What I establish with my children is a partnership. I’m not necessarily dictating what is happening in their lives.”
Although the 41-year-old Reign Over Me star and her hubby, Men In Black actor Will Smith, 44, are veterans in the Hollywood limelight, her children are just learning to handle living in the spotlight.
So how does this mama prepare her kiddos for criticism from complete strangers?
“By instilling in [Willow] the power for individuality,” she answers. “We … communicate with our kids in a way that our message overpowers any other message that they get out there.”
“We can’t control what our kids learn anymore,” she adds. “We have to inform them and have real conversations … and [create] that foundation of them feeling assured in themselves. I think for our children … they feel like we really care and they come to us and go, ‘Mommy, I’m having this problem,’ “And it’s like, ‘Okay, let’s figure this out together.’ And it empowers them.”
Jada is also step-mother to Will’s son Trey from a previous marriage.