Will Smith says his daughter Willow 'introduced me to feelings' and 'destroyed' all his ideas about parenting
Will Smith said that daughter Willow Smith "made me aware of feelings."
Paul Archuleta / FilmMagic
Will Smith appeared in a new episode of Jada Pinkett Smith's "Red Table Talk" and talked about parenting.
He said daughter Willow Smith questioned his upbringing style and "introduced me to feelings."
The actor said that he was raised by a "disciplinarian" and used similar upbringing styles with his own children, but it didn't work with Willow.
Will said that during the success of his daughter's song "Whip My Hair" he noticed that he was "pushing" his daughter too hard.
He added, "I would say that Whip My Hair thing gives my open parenting a pause button."
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Will Smith says that daughter Willow Smith "made me aware of feelings" and completely changed his approach to parenting.
"It destroyed all of my belief systems," said the 51-year-old actor and father of three to Ms. Jada Pinkett Smith in a new episode of her Facebook watch series titled "Red Table Talk."
In the last episode, released on Sunday, the two stars spoke openly about how Will's upbringing affected the parents he became and how he learned to adapt his mindset while raising his children.
During the "RTT" episode, Will stated that his father, Willard Carroll Smith Sr., was a "disciplinarian" who "ordered" and used a "military style" in parenthood. The "Aladdin" star said he followed a similar approach when he became the father of son Trey Smith at the age of 24, who he had with his ex-wife Sheree Zampino.
Will said Trey had received the "most old-fashioned" version of his parenthood, which was largely influenced by his father. When Will greeted son Jaden Smith with Pinkett Smith in 1998, the actor was "in the middle and I started to see that I was hurting him".
Willow, born two years after Jaden, "rejected" the "military mindset" that Will used.
From left: Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Willow Smith and Jaden Smith in 2016.
Photo by Greg Allen / Invision / AP
Will explained that he was "successful" in the real world by following this military mindset of discipline and hard work, which is why he was dismissed when his daughter rebelled against him after the success of her song "Whip My Hair". She was 9 years old at the time.
The 2010 double platinum track led to live performances, a record deal with Jay-Z's Roc Nation and a tour with Justin Bieber. Will said that he and Willow disagreed when she told him that she didn't want to continue the tour because she didn't feel like it despite a commitment. Defiantly, his daughter shaved her hair completely.
"It was so devastating for me to shave her head bald," recalled the star "Spies in Disguise".
From left: Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Jaden Smith in 2012.
Gilbert Carrasquillo / Getty Images
Will said it was like a "protest against me" and a "sign of the gods" that she didn't want to follow his rules. He added that Willow "rebuilt" her career on her terms.
"I saw how much I did and forced and pushed the things I wanted, and at that moment I only saw that it was starting to hurt her," said Will. "My longing for her overruled her longing for her. And I had a real revelation about how much a person will hate you if you continue to impose your desires on her life."
The actor continued: "She introduced me to feelings ... I would say that Whip My Hair thing gives my open parenting a pause button," he said. "I stopped and just started watching my kids, and with Willow I noticed that it was more valuable to talk to her about how she feels about the situation than how to fix the situation, and it became the new thought process for me. "
The father-daughter couple previously spoke about how "Whip My Hair" affected their relationship. Will said Willow "really tested" him after the song's success, while the singer said he was "tough" at the time, but she learned to forgive him.
"It was like a couple of years trying to regain confidence because I didn't feel I was heard or nobody cared about what I felt at that time," said Willow in an earlier episode of " Red Table Talk ".
Watch the full "Red Table Talk" episode below.
Jada Pinkett Smith says she learned that she "doesn't" know Will Smith at all while isolating herself
Jaden Smith says people offered him food and asked if he was sick after his parents had a very public health intervention on their talk show
Jada Pinkett Smith says someone called Child Protective Services to "starve" Willow and her daughter thinks she knows the reason
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