October 24, 2008 09:00 AM

Splash News

For most parents, raising a successful, well-balanced kid in today’s society is anything but an easy road to embark on. Add child actor growing up in Hollywood into the mix and the challenge becomes even greater for some families, unless your parents are actors Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, 40. In a recent interview with Family Circle, Jada says she is confident that her children — her "bonus son" Trey, 17, Jaden Christopher Syre, 10, and Willow Camille Reign, 8 next week — are capable of entering into the movie industry, which Jada feels is not at fault for the downward spiral of young actors, while still maintaining a healthy perspective on life. "It’s not the work itself that creates little monsters. What matters most is the family’s background," shares Jada, who goes on to say that both her and Will "make the kids our priority" to give them a sense of being loved "for who they are, not for their paychecks." Comparing the task of raising kids to "running training drills," Jada feels that "you can’t tell a kid something once and expect him to do it. But keep repeating yourself, and it will sink in."

While the 37-year-old is hesitant to place the blame for out-of-control actors on Hollywood, Jada does feel that society, as a whole, is responsible for certain gender stereotypes — an issue she has learned to deal with in her own household. As a mother to two boys, Jada says that "society tells boys they’re supposed to be tough and not cry, so I make sure Trey and Jaden know they can show emotion." As for her daughter, the actress takes a somewhat different approach and sends Willow to her room in order for her to "cool down," where she is encouraged to scream and throw pillows. Despite "sounding really new age," Jada can’t help but admit that her methods are working!

"I’ve seen teenage boys explode and girls implode because they don’t know how to handle their feelings properly."

While sibling relationships among families with significant age gaps can become distant, in the Smith household, that is simply not the case. Although Trey is "close with both his siblings, he’s very protective of Willow," says Jada. Calling the pair "two peas in a pod," the proud mama explains that Willow "was supposed to be born on Trey’s birthday, but she came two weeks early!" An obviously loving big brother, Trey’s gentleman-like ways and loving nature have Jada equally impressed when it comes to the world of dating. "The other night I picked him up from the movies and he said, ‘This young lady needs to be taken home. It’s too late for her to wait for a ride.’ When we got to her house, he opened the car door, walked her up and gave her a hug," recalls Jada. Once the two were alone in the car, Jada remembers telling him, "You just made me so proud with the care and courtesy you showed."

Click ‘more’ to find out what the Smith children spend their allowances on and their favorite family dinner!

Despite earning paychecks that most kids can’t fathom, the Smith children each get an allowance "from their acting wages," says Jada. However, not unlike many kids their own age, when it comes to cashing in their own hard-earned money, Willow and Jaden tend to be "very choosy about how they spend" their bucks. Although "if Mommy or Daddy is footing the bill, they have a much different attitude!" While Jaden, these days, is into the surfer scene and recently saved up his money to purchase a surfboard, Willow chooses to use her money at her favorite bookstore. "Her favorite place is Barnes & Noble; she picks out titles from the Junie B. Jones, First Grader series. She and I both keep journals like Junie does," says Jada.

When the family of five isn’t on location filming or dreaming up their next project, they enjoy spending time together. Favorite spots to visit? "We love heading to the beach in Santa Barbara or hiking in Big Sur," says Jada. After a long day of swimming and hiking, the go-to dinner choice is often sushi, which leaves Jada surprised that her children "like raw fish, but they do!" The actress, however, has a soft spot for pizza, but shares that Jaden "can’t stand it. Who doesn’t like pizza?"

Source: Family Circle; November issue

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