Will Smith Learns an Invaluable Parenting Lesson From His Daughter Willow

Will Smith
Hannah Mckay / Reuters / Splash

Although children look to their parents for advice, moms and dads are often the ones who learn vital lessons from their kids that they'll never forget. Will Smith is recalling the one parenting lesson his daughter Willow taught him that inspired the actor to change up the way he fathers his children -- especially his daughter.


The 48-year-old dad of three is featured in Jay-Z's Footnotes of Adnis video -- alongside Chris Rock, Kevin Hart, and Mahershala Ali -- where the celeb papas discuss raising kids and the life lessons they've learned along the way.

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For Smith, his Oprah-eque "aha" moment came when he pushed his then-11-year-old daughter Willow to finish her "Whip My Hair" tour, even though the young star was fighting not to complete it so she could go home.

Willow Smith
Jada Pinkett-Smith/Facebook

"We came downstairs and she had shaved her head bald," Smith tells the other dads in Footnotes of Adnis. "I'm looking at that girl and I'm like, 'Got it. I understand. You will not have this trouble out of me ever again. Let's go, baby. We can go.'"

Needless to say, the sight of his baby girl rocking a shiny dome -- likely in protest of doing something she no longer wanted to do -- was enough for Will Smith to look deep inside himself and make the necessary changes for the better.

"For me, it was that soldier that was pushing and wasn't paying any attention whatsoever to what was going on emotionally with this beautiful little creature in front of me," Smith continues in the Jay-Z project. "That was the first part of the collapsing of my father's suit that I was wearing that wasn't mine."

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This would not be the first time Willow let her voice be heard, as the child star schooled her dad on the importance of hearing her "no" when Willow turned down the lead role in the 2014 Annie remake -- a film produced both by Will Smith and Jay-Z.

"Willow was supposed to be doing Annie," Smith explained during the 2013 Real Talk With Sister Souljah and Will Smith event at Temple University. "We got Jay-Z to do the movie, got the studio to come in, and Willow had such a difficult time on tour with 'Whip My Hair' and she said, 'You know, Daddy, I don't think so.' And I said, 'Baby, hold up!' I said, 'No, no, no, listen, you'll be in New York with all of your friends and Beyonce will be there. You will be singing and dancing.' And she looked at me and said, 'Daddy, I have a better idea. How about I just be 12?'"

Now 16, Willow continues to move through life to the beat of her own drum. She has taught both of her parents the importance of listening to her voice and the choices she wants for her life and body -- all stemming from a haircut.

More from CafeMom: 10 of the Most Dramatic Celebrity Hair Makeovers

Willow Smith
Stance/Splash News

"This is a world where women, girls are constantly reminded that they don't belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power or self-determination," Jada Pinkett Smith once wrote on Facebook in response to Willow's controversial haircut. "I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit and her mind are HER domain."

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