As Willow & Jaden Smith’s influence grows in Hollywood, we asked mum Maria Tedeschi whether she thought smugness in kids was an issue.
Are kids smug? Yes, Absolutely. But only if you allow them to be.
In regards to Willow and Jaden Smith, they aren’t role models for my kids. Not because they’re bad kids, but again, I wouldn’t know, primarily because their lifestyle is so far removed from the lifestyle mine do, that they may as well be on a Mars. I asked my 14-year-old and 12-year-old what they thought of Willow and Jaden and they weren’t impressed.
The day Jaden Smith called himself a prophet is probably the day my daughter decided ‘that’ll be enough of that’. And to be honest, if one of my kids told me they were a prophet I’d ask for next week’s Lotto numbers just to prove the ridiculousness of the notion.
Is there a fine line between being smug and being confident? No, I think it’s an obvious line that’s easily ignored.
All parents want to give their kids opportunities to shine, which is a no-brainer, and to be honest, it’s a sign of a good parent.
Where it starts becoming dubious is how kids earn their opportunities.
The argument shouldn’t be should parents provide opportunities to their kids, (and let’s face it Jaden and Willow are trading on their parents fame) it’s whether kids are allowed to fail and deal with the consequences of failing.
That’s the difference between confidence and smugness. Confidence comes from getting back up after being knocked down, whereas smugness is believing you’re never going to fall. What some parents are guilty of is cultivating the Renaissance Kid (a 21st-century phenomenon), Carl Honore’s documentary ‘Frantic Family Rescue’ is evidence of that, It’s one thing to have kids try different things to see what sticks, it’s quite another to insist or believe that kids will be successful at everything they try.
Letting your kids fail may seem counterintuitive – we swore we’d protect them the day they were born and we all have our war stories from our childhoods about failing and rejection that drive us to ‘never let our children deal with the shame’. It’s not fun, but neither is living with a stunted human being because they never experienced the downside of life.
I don’t know what kind of parents Will and Jada are, but they seem more than happy to have their kids thrust themselves out there, making their mark by using media to further their reach. Let’s hope, moving forward, what they say and do isn’t hollow.