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Proudly Supporting

Children of Celebrities - Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith

By Yvette Vignando - 1st February 2011

In the past few days there has been media interest in a story about author Terry McMillan's comments (on Twitter) regarding the parenting decisions made by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Two of their three children are building a career in the entertainment industry and appear to be making a success of it. Sure, their parents' wealth and connections would be playing a large part in the opportunities presented to them, but are Jaden and Willow Smith being harmed by their early career development?

Well, firstly I have to confess that I follow so little of the celebrity news that it took me some time to even connect the kids with their parents and the whole news story! I quickly acquainted myself with it before my interview on The Morning Show today and called reliable sources of information such as Kerri Sackville, blogger on Life and Other Crises who knew a disturbing amount of information about celebrities considering her busy life wrangling kids, blogging and writing a soon-to-be best-seller book.

And this is what I think - there are pushy stage parents and there are parents who encourage their children to enter the entertainment industry in order to fulfill their own ambitions. I guess there are also parents who see their children's entertainment careers as a path to family wealth. I am not for a moment saying I agree with those kinds of parenting decisions and I do think there is a risk of harm to children's emotional wellbeing if they don't have a balanced and happy childhood. Clearly a desire for wealth could not be motivating the Pinkett Smith family where the parents have more than enough wealth and success to see them through the hard times. And if you watch The latest Karate Kid remake , there is no denying that Jaden Smith is a talented young man.

I have no way of knowing how much the Pinkett Smiths are 'pushing' their kids into the show business industry but I do think that if those children didn't have outgoing temperaments and some talent, no amount of pushing would get them the success that these two children are apparently getting. I also know that none of our three boys could be turned into a Justin Bieber even if my best friend was Angelina Jolie or Mariah Carey or I was an A List movie star.

So, I don't know, maybe the Pinkett Smiths are very ambitious for their kids, maybe the environment of growing up around entertainers and movie stars makes kids hunger for the same success but I absolutely won't judge the emotional wellbeing of those children based on what is reported in the celebrity media about their careers. Hopefully they are happy and enjoying their childhood with their parents and their own friends.  I wonder what Daniel Radcliffe would have to say about this? (If you know him, I am sure he wouldn't mind commenting here on this blog.)

Bottom line, I think kids need plenty of time to rest, play, be educated, be creative and pursue their passions; they need to feel safe, loved and know they have people they trust to talk to. I might choose to balance my kids' lives differently to you or to the Pinkett Smiths, but that's my decision right? And in case you are wondering what I think about child beauty pageants and little girls having their eyebrows forcibly waxed to participate - I hate them, and I think that is yet another issue. What are your views?

You can watch the short segment with me and Nelson Aspen, Hollywood commentator, discussing this news story with Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies by clicking here: The Morning Show

Comments (9)

YvetteVignando's picture

Inherited Talent - Waiting for the Biographies

Meredith, that's partly the issue in this news story isn't it really - you can't tell what's going on in a celebrity's family by only watching what goes on at award ceremonies. And this story will sell lots of books one day.

YvetteVignando's picture

THE SMITHS - digging pipes

I heard that Prime Minister Gillard is warning of a dire shortage of skilled tradespeople in Australia so Mr 4 might be able to earn a movie star's income one day cashing in on this. But don't stage-pipe-mother him into please Bern.

YvetteVignando's picture

Finally - is it their ambition?

Yes agree that's an important thing for us all to think about - a close friend was talking to me about this yesterday and saying nepotism happens in all sorts of professions; think kids of famous sporting heroes and then later all the advantages you get if your parent is a lawyer, doctor or otherwise well-connected professional. But the thing about the entertainment industry is that you can start young, and that's where this fine line comes in. I like your phrase "keep alert for any changes in ambition".

And I'm pleased you can die happy but hang around for a little longer for the next time I need your multi-faceted knowledge base please.

Inherited talent

I'm not surprised the Pinkett-Smith kids are doing what they do. I see it all the time just in the kids around me. My own son is mad for computers and gadgets, and with a dad in IT he has all the parts here to tinker with and the right kind of mind to understand the way things work. Part nature, part nurture. Similarly, kids can be musical, artistic, scholarly - when they have a parent of a similar bent. When both parents have an interest - well, it must be doubly so.

I think the line needs to be that we ensure that our children seek these pursuits out of their own accord and don't have them forced upon them. There really is no way to tell whether this is the case with celeb kids, as we only see the snapshots that the media allows us to see. I guess we'll have to wait for the tell-all autobiographies when they are older!

Kids are kids

Yvette, you are so right about the things children need. I think, no matter who the child is, they still need and want all those basics - love, education, rest, play, etc.

And well done you on The Morning Show - you looked great and came across as knowledgeable, credible and articulate. And not a butterfly in sight! x

YvetteVignando's picture

Hey there Bryan

Hi Bryan,

I have had 2 messages from India in the last half hour on this blog - so wonderful and great to hear from you. I have such fond memories of Kodaikanal, the atmosphere, the people and the school especially. Please do stay in touch.

all kids need...

thanks yvette for this wonderful post: 'kids need plenty of time to rest, play, be educated, be creative and pursue their passions; they need to feel safe, loved and know they have people they trust to talk to.'... it's as simple as that. cheers! bryan from kodaikanal

THE SMITHS

My son wants to be like dad and dig pipes at the moment (Dad's a plumber). He's 4. Of course as soon as he's old enough to realise that no son, get into something that is not going to screw your back at 26, he will probably change his mind. But if Dad was say, an actor and had the ability to give his child a leg up in the entertainment industry, than yeah, who wouldn't.

Eventually, all of our kids will do what it is they want to to do, we've just got to try and give them every opportunity to get there I guess. xx

FINALLY!

....my wealth of knowledge on all things celebrity has served a purpose! I can die happy now.
Seriously though, I think it's a fine line for parents to tread. Many (most?) kids at some stage will express a desire to be an actor / singer / dancer / just plain famous. And sure you should create opportunities if that's what they really want. But make sure you keep alert for any changes in their ambition, and be careful it's not your own ambition you're feeding, for next week or month or year they may very well want to be a fireman, or a teacher, and that has to be okay too.

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