Jaden Smith ‘not going anywhere,’ but the young star is off to a good start
Jaden Smith requests his ‘emancipation’ from Will & Jada
Rumors that Jaden Smith might be looking to move of his famous parents’ home and become an “emancipated minor” were put to rest when the young star and his dad, Will Smith, clarified the situation to Ellen DeGeneres on her show Wednesday morning.
Contrary to the gossip, the 14-year-old says he is staying put.
“Here’s the thing I need to explain: I’m not going anywhere,” Jaden told DeGeneres, “the thing that people don’t get is that everything at [Will Smith’s] house is free. So I can get anything and everything I want at his house. So I think I’m going to be there for 20 [to] 30 more years.” The young actor added that his father “says as soon as I have a movie that’s bigger than one of his movies then I have to get my own house.”
The story initially circulated when Will reportedly told British tabloid The Sun that Jaden, who co-stars with Will in his film After Earth, asked for “freedom” from his parents as a present for his 15th birthday. Perhaps more significant, Will and wife Jada Pinkett-Smith seemed open to their son’s wishes.
Will explained that he had a strict military father at home when he was growing up, and accordingly, felt Jaden’s request for more freedom was warranted.
“If kids just want to have command of their lives, I understand,” Will said. “It’s very similar for Jaden and me — your father’s the biggest movie star in the world, and you’re struggling for your little piece of dignity in this extreme shadow.”
But Will’s publicist later dismissed the emancipation rumors, telling Gossip Cop, “It’s not real.”
That’s probably a good thing, say experts.
Kid stars often grow up too soon
To be emancipated as a minor, Jaden would have had to be released from the custody and control of his parents, and allowed to conduct business on his own and with full contractual capacity. The young star would have had to file court documents, and likely prove financial self-sufficiency in order to process his solo status.
While Jaden certainly earns a substantial income from his work, his emotional maturity is a decidedly different matter, and potentially cause for concern if he did decide to move out early.
“A lot of times you see this happening where a child is in a household that they’ve had to grow up very quickly, and they didn’t have an adequate childhood,” Dr. Judy Ho, a licensed clinical psychologist tells theGrio. “You can see this happening in celebrity families because they’re exposed to a lot of different types of things that normal children aren’t exposed to at their age. When they’ve grown up too quickly, there’s this idea of, ‘Well, I’ve been taking care of myself anyway…I feel ready, I want to be on my own; I want to be an adult.’ Unfortunately, some of the types of problems with emancipation is that even if a child does feel ready, they usually haven’t processed what has happened in their upbringing that led them to this decision.”
Ho, who is board-certified in child and adolescent psychology, points out that despite possibly being mature for his years, most children Jaden’s age have not acquired the skills they need to act as “competent adults.”
Plus, the world doesn’t often accept them easily.
“Even if you are emancipated and living on your own, society’s not going to treat you like an adult because you’re still 15,” Ho adds. “There’s going to be a lot of problems, and red tape and social issues that come up.”
Next: Letting their kids ‘use their best judgment’