Parent Shaming: Should We Criticize Will and Jada Smith for Their Parenting Skills?

Written on May 23, 2014 at 1:16 pm , by


Here we go with the latest episode of Celebrity Family Antics…

Over the past few years, the unconventional parenting choices of Hollywood power couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith have been under a microscope: their decision to let their children Jaden and Willow “self-govern,” allowing a then 12-year-old Willow to shave her head, permitting Jaden to unleash his views about the “evils” of education on Twitter, and their general belief in a no-punishment-zone for their teens.

However, when their latest drama, an Instagram photograph featuring 13-year-old Willow languishing on a bed with shirtless 20-year-old actor and family friend Moises Arias blew up on social media, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services took notice. They have launched an investigation on the Smith family.

Have you seen the photograph? I like to think of myself as a very open-minded person, and an open-minded parent. I lean toward a live-and-let-live philosophy, and it takes quite a bit to ruffle my feathers about other people’s choice. But I have to admit, that image did indeed ruffle them; it just didn’t look right, no matter which way I flipped it. I am not a prude, nor do I think I have a particularly dirty mind, but I tried to envision a scenario in which I would feel comfortable seeing my 14-year-old on a bed, draped at the feet of a half-naked young man, even a good friend of the family’s, and I really couldn’t.

Apparently, the couple has no issue with the photo; Pinkett-Smith has lashed out, saying that the image is not sexual in nature, and she has accused the media of acting like a bunch of pedophiles. I can’t image the authorities removing those kids from the house, but a thorough investigation is happening. I’m not sure if the situation merits such close attention. Although I am not  fully comfortable with what I saw, there is chance that a photo is a photo. Willow just hanging out with a family friend. I queried my kids for a reality check. My 21-year-old son, who tends to be the more conservative of the two, did not like what he saw, and even my 14-year-old, who didn’t immediately think it was wrong, understood how it would upset people.

I think all the uproar has, in part, to do with the fact that for so long the Smiths were seen as a golden couple who could do no wrong. Glimpses of their kids acting out a bit in the past few years have made them more human, and put a little chink in their dazzling armor. Who wants that kind of scrutiny?

Parenting is the great equalizer: You will be judged whether you live in a trailer or a mansion. I would never pretend to tell others how to raise their children, because I certainly don’t want to be told how to raise mine. As parents we all make choices that are seen, at one time or another, as unsatisfactory to other parents. For the record, I am not “parent-shaming” the Smiths, but I am scratching my head and having a bit of a what-the-heck moment with this latest conflama.

What are your feelings about it? Do you even care? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

8 Responses to “Parent Shaming: Should We Criticize Will and Jada Smith for Their Parenting Skills?”

  1. I agree the pic is not sexual at all. She is covered and looks like he is sitting on the bed paying attention to something out the window.

    Get a life.

  2. WTF!! are you kidding me…. you people really need to mind your damn business and stay our of people lives! for one its their choice how they raise and what religion they want to fallow. and two the pic with the 20 year old does not look at all sexual so get ovet it! if the other person was in his boxers then ya id see something wrong there but come on its just a guy with his shirt off! so get over yourself! to me it just looks like they are watching tv in the room.

  3. would it be a problem if they were at a beach or pool..women walk around all day half naked and its never a issue..what about these provacotive music videos half naked .so why is this picture a big deal.

  4. What a bunch of bull,they are just hanging out. Why on earth would CPS be called? Why on earth would anyone shame this girl when the is clearly not doing anything wrong? The people who started this mess should be looked into since they believe something is going on they must have a few secrets they don’t want brought to light. Leave this family alone and mind your own business. Sweetie, I’m so sorry that some fool would hurt you like that, please don’t let them get to you. It is clearly their own problem

  5. Their kids don’t seem like little brats so they must be doing something right I wouldn’t allow my daughter of that age to be in a bed but she’s not my kid.

  6. I think it’s crazy….they look like they are watching TV or something. Really???? Why do you all assume that something is wrong here?

  7. I see that there is at least three people in this room. Them two and the one who took the photo.

  8. anything can be created or fabricated by a photograph. our microsopes on the lives of others have gone too far.