That Might Be The Problem: Jada Pinkett Says She’s Her Kids’ Partner Not Their Parent

October 31, 2012  |  

Will and Jada have been getting the side-eye for their parenting style ever since their daughter Willow went from whipping her hair back and forth to rocking technicolor low-cut fades every other week and posing next to stripper poles. Both parents have spoken out numerous times about their take on self-expression and what they do and don’t allow their kids to participate in, but I think Jada Pinkett just provided the last piece of the puzzle regarding her approach to raising two pre-teens.

PEOPLE caught up with Jada at a Yes to Prop 35 event hosted by The Moms Monday afternoon and there Jada presented this take on motherhood:

“I think that old school style of ‘I’m your parent and I’m greater than you’ doesn’t work. What I establish with my children is a partnership. I’m not necessarily dictating what is happening in their lives.”

A lot of parents would likely disagree with that approach, especially when we’re talking about a 14-year-old boy (Jaden) and a 12-year-old girl (Willow). I wouldn’t say most mothers and fathers completely dictate their children’s lives but they do set age-appropriate parameters, which in this case most of the general public believes Willow and Jaden are lacking. In my mind, being a parent as opposed to a partner doesn’t mean I’m greater than you, it means I’m older and I know a little bit more to guide you through life and help you make good decisions. Jada, on the other hand, thinks approaching her kids as peers increases the likelihood that they will listen.

By “instilling in [Willow] the power for individuality, we … communicate with our kids in a way that our message overpowers any other message that they get out there.”

In the same token, they don’t limit the information their kids come across, even when it includes rumors and gossip about their family.

“We can’t control what our kids learn anymore. 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.”

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