Jada Pinkett Smith Candidly Talks Relationship With Daughter, Willow, Recalls Using ‘Shame As A Parenting Tool’ With Her
Celebrity super mom and actress, Jada Pinkett Smith and daughter Willow Smith got candid about their relationship during a recent episode of Red Table Talk.
Monday’s episode featured Brene Brown, a best-selling author and research professor at the University of Houston, who has studied vulnerability, courage, shame and empathy. At one point during the discussion, Brown explained how shame is used an oppressive tool and can also be damaging when used as a parenting tool. She said:
“For children, shame is the threat of being unlovable. I think about the times where I’ve used shame with one of my children. And it’s the most devastating thing I can think of.”
It was then that Jada, a television host called this mindset, “something we’re taught.”
“I’m like, ‘Oh my god.’ I’m like, ‘I never even saw it that way.’ But I did really try, especially in raising Willow, in trying not to put shame around her social development. You know, trying to raise a young woman and what a young woman goes through, but not recognizing how detrimental that is. Using shame as a parenting tool,”
“I forgive you,” Willow responded.
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The 19-year-old elaborated on a time where she experienced a disappointing moment where she felt like Jada shamed her. She recalled:
“When I was younger, I would just get super emotional and like I get super emotional now. But you would look at me and then you would just be like, ‘Yeah, you can like cry, but do it over there. Like go into your room and do it over there.’ Like you pushing me away for crying like I’m a bad person for crying.”
Jada, a mother of two explained that she had a lot of those moments as a parent.
“…That had a lot to do with me not being able to handle my own tears,” she said.
Both Jada and her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, remembered the look they had learned to give to intimidate their children. Brown said she knew that look very well and explained that it all comes down to fear. She added:
“Let me tell you something, I have that look. I can be scary when I’m scared. I gotta check myself when I’m scared. I did a look the other day, my husband said, ‘That makes my eyes water. Like, I’m afraid when you do that look ‘cause it’s the look I had growing up…’ Had you not shamed your children, you would have been shamed by your friends.”
Jada admitted that she had moments like that when she was experiencing her own inner struggles, but recognized that things were changing in the way that parents are communicating with their children today.
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“I do recognize those moments and it had a lot to do with me not being able to handle my own vulnerability at that time. Just growing up in those environments we grew up in, you know, and it’s a different playing field now,”