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Why Willow Smith Won't Need Rehab

Photograph by Rex / Rex USA

When Jada Pinkett and Will Smith were married in 1997, we all thought it was a cute pairing. As Jada settled into her role of wife and then mother, we cooed over her two children. Who would have thought that only 10 years later, Jada’s daughter Willow would come bursting on the music scene with a chart-topping song called "Whip My Hair" that caused a few headaches from moms and daughters alike who valiantly tried to sing and dance along.

It wasn’t long before little Willow Smith was a media darling whose love for her fun and funky tune soon evolved into fodder for tabloid jokes and memes.

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Adjusting to the turbulence of the limelight can’t be easy for any kid. The mere mention of our favorite child stars elicits a soft sigh and quick prayer for their soul. The new wave of celebrity stars gone wild—like Justin Beiber, Lindsay Lohan and Miley Cyrus—are all representative of the curse of the young and talented.

What is it about celebrity children that causes them to ride a wrecking ball naked, throw eggs at their neighbor's home or check into rehab twice a year? Former child star Mara Wilson wrote a thorough piece on the reasons child stars go crazy. One reason is the fact that they are used to getting love and attention and then they lose it. I can understand her rationale. Even the most resilient adults I know crack under the pressure of extreme loss, so I can imagine what it must do to children’s fragile egos.

But what about young Willow, why won’t she receive a visit by the sanity swiper the moment she turns 16? The answer is simple—look at her parents.

You can say whatever you want to say about Jada and Will Smith, but out of all of the Hollywood relationships, they seem to have a solid foundation. I believe it is based on honesty about who they are, what they desire and a sincere yearning to understand the inner workings of the human mind and not be swallowed up by this experience called life.

Willow Smith has been the subject of brutal headlines, jokes and videos.

When your dad is open-minded enough to study a religion that many people consider to be evil, to help cultivate the perspective of life he will share with his family, instead of rejecting it because it does not align with the ones he was introduced to as a youth, you tend to look at the world in a more open and loving manner.

When your mother is a woman who hasn’t appeared in a major motion film in years, yet continues to balance glamour with intellect while spearheading empowering projects behind the scenes, without hankering for the front-page headlines—you learn patience. You learn how to value what the heart can give more than what the ego needs in order to feel good.

Willow Smith has been the subject of brutal headlines, jokes and videos. Her growth into a young woman has been catalogued, ridiculed and dissected by anonymous strangers and well-known names. The reason she has not jumped off the deep end (and won't) is because her parents have been exposing their children to the big bad wolves and carefully instructing them on how to defeat them.

Instructing your children on how to react and interact in situations is one of our duties as parents, but allowing them to walk into the lion’s den and save themselves is another altogether. By giving Willow room to grow into her own, choose her own style and say no to a request that daddy has made, the Smiths are offering up a dish of "I Own My Life" to their children, and Willow is eating it up.

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Mark my words. There may be some fabrication of the truth, a few rough patches here and there or even a misstep that will be necessary for growth; but Miss Willow Smith, will never, EVER end up in rehab nursing a wounded ego because the public has turned its back on her. Because of her parents, Willow has a thorough understanding that any security she will experience will have to overflow from within.

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