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Are Will and Jada Pinkett Smith Pushing Their Kids Jaden and Willow Too Hard?

Mon, December 6, 2010 8:50am EDT by 1 Comment

The couple’s two children have become stars in their own right, but many are worried that their parents are putting too much pressure on them.

Is the biggest movie star in the world really just another showbiz parent? While Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, are both incredibly successful actors and performers, their kids, 12-year-old Jaden and 10-year-old Willow, have become total overachievers themselves, but we can’t help but wonder at what cost? With Jaden the star of a global smash like The Karate Kid, and Willow known as both a fashion trendsetter and the artist behind the huge hit single, “Whip My Hair,” the question people are asking is, How much is too much for these kids?

Check out what Nick Cannon thinks of Willow’s video!

“Becoming a star when you are a child can be too much too soon,” says psychologist Corinne Sweet. “You exist in a strange bubble where people make you think you are somebody very special. When child stars grow up they can have a problem with the reality of the world. They also have no goals to aim for as they did it all when they were young.”

Will has been pretty open and honest about how, when the family was in China shooting The Karate Kid, there were big fights about how much Jaden could do and how hard he was worked to do it, with Will pushing for more and Jada resisting, thinking her son should get more rest. “It was a struggle for Jada to keep the pressure off,” he said. “Jaden is so disciplined and hard-working, it is difficult not to push him for more. There is no telling what this kid could do, and that is one thing that stands out between him and other children I have worked with. Six-day working weeks, another take — he has the mentality, he is there. Jada had to remind me that this family had to come first and the project second. Which was really difficult.”
Furthermore, a family friend said, “Will and Jada expect only the best from their children, there is very little room for failure. They’re a very competitive, high-performing family. It’s almost like the kids have never known what it’s really like to be a child. They were launched straight into the limelight. A lot of their friends think it is way too much too soon.” In fact, Sony is eager to start developing a sequel to Jaden’s smash karate hit, but rumors suggest that Will is causing major issues behind the scenes and is supposedly demanding that Willow sing the movie’s theme song! According to one insider: “No one can believe how pushy he is being.”

But what if that child’s parents are already as successful as Willow and Jaden’s? Jada has insisted that the situation is different because of how long she and Will have been in the business, and there is certainly no lack of discipline in the Smith household. “I can’t do whatever I want,” Willow has said. “Mommy has to say it’s okay.”

Willow says ‘Whip My Hair’ was hard work

It certainly helps to have one parent being more protective (on the set of Karate Kid, Jada shut down the production on more than one occasion because she thought Jaden was being overworked), or else you could end up with a Taylor Momsen on your hands, a sullen, badly behaved brat who blames her parents for her behavior. “My whole life, I was in and out of school. I had no friends,” she recently said. “I was working constantly and I had no life. My parents signed me up with Ford [Modeling Agency] when I was two. No two-year-old wants to be working, but I had no choice.”

Do Jaden and Willow have a choice? They certainly seem to, as both kids appear to love the limelight. Back in October, when “Whip My Hair” hit the airwaves, Willow was upfront about her wishes. “I would go on tour with them and watch them and I’d be like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s what I wanna do,’” she told the Associated Press.“I wanted to make a difference now, [and] because I wanted to be big and famous like my mommy and daddy and help people.”

That’s a pretty lofty goal, especially for a 10-year-old girl. What do you think, HollyMoms? Would you push your kids into the limelight or let them have a normal, non-famous childhood?

– Roger Singer

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