Jada Pinkett Smith Shares Why She's "Harder" on Daughter Willow Than Son Jaden

Jada Pinkett Smith explains why she was "harder" on Willow than Jaden when her kids were growing up, and it has to do with making her daughter "strong."

By Lindsay Weinberg Oct 27, 2020 9:44 PMTags

Nobody's perfect, as Jada Pinkett Smith is learning. The actress admitted that she was "harder" on daughter Willow than son Jaden while they were growing up, but she added that she had a reason behind it.

During Tuesday's episode of Red Table Talk, Willow called out her mom for having different standards for her kids. The 19-year-old singer explained that when they were younger, Jada would be on Willow's back to get ready for school quickly, but was more relaxed with Jaden, who is now 22. 

"I'd be ready at the door … and he's getting his shoes on," Willow said. "There is a difference between how Black moms will treat their daughters and their sons." 

Jada addressed Willow's concerns on the show and agreed she was right.

The Matrix 4 star said, "She might have a point because I would be like, 'No, you've got to be on it.'" But she would tell Jaden, "‘You, nah'... And then I be like, ‘And his father will deal with that. But you, you're mine.'" 

Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith Through the Years

Jada said the double standard has to do with her own experience as a Black woman and the expectations from society. "Because I know in this world, we have to work harder," she continued. "I knew that she's going to have it twice as hard. I needed you to be strong, because I know what this world is like for us as Black women." 


Willow now seems to think the lesson was worth it, saying, "I do be getting to work on time" and agreeing, "We have to work 10 times as hard."

The emotional conversation allowed Jada to have a "lightbulb moment," as she called it, when she realized how her projections on her daughter may have affected Willow.

She said, "So my fear for having a Black daughter—and what I felt like she needed to be in this world—put me in a position to be a little harder on her and that's probably how we are with each other."

Willow could see how the interactions with her mom shaped her relationships with other people as she got older. "People would be like, they'd be like, 'Oh my gosh. Why are you being so mean?' And I'm like, ‘You think this is mean?'" the "Female Energy" singer said.

Earlier in the show, Jada explained another thing she's learned from Willow about being a good mother: how to listen and not take it personally.

"Sometimes when I listen to Willow, I have to just be quiet, because it doesn't matter what my intention was," she said. "It's important for me to just listen, have your reality, as hurtful as it is. It's not about trying to make excuses." 

Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Environmental Media Association

Considering the Red Table Talk episode was titled "Why Are Women Mean to Each Other?" the convo also touched on mean girls they've encountered throughout their lives, with Jada confessing that she holds grudges. 

The 49-year-old explained, "I wouldn't say I'm a mean girl, but I'ma tell you what I am, and that's a petty bitch." She added, "I might not do some mean things, but if you do something to me, baby, let me tell you I'ma hold onto it until the moment comes." 

For her part, Willow reflected on an experience with a mean cousin, though they've since "settled our differences." Willow recalled that the cousin developed faster and had long flowing hair.

"My hair, you know, I got the Afro vibe. I was super skinny. I was like tomboy, and I would always tell her the dudes that I liked," Willow said. "She would date him every time. And so after like three times, I was like you know what, you're the dumb one because you keep on telling her."

See more of their chat about mean girls on Facebook.