It’s not like there’s one universal parenting philosophy that’s right, and all of the other ideas and credos on how to raise children are wrong. But former NBA star and father of four kids, Dwyane Wade, does have a parenting philosophy that is delightfully refreshing and, quite frankly, one of the best we’ve heard in a minute. What’s his philosophy? In a new interview promoting his book, he said it’s time that parents stop treating their kids as if they were their property. And honestly, he’s right.
In a recent interview with TODAY contributor Jill Martin, Dwyane discussed various topics while promoting the release of his new photographic memoir “Dwyane.” The two discussed his NBA career, his upbringing, and how he and his wife, Gabrielle Union, are raising their children.
Dwyane has four kids, including 19-year-old Zaire, 14-year-old Zaya, 8-year-old Xavier, and 3-year-old Kaavia, whom he had with Union. When talking about how his parenting philosophy has changed, Dwyane touched on how he initially felt parents were supposed to teach their kids — but how he realized that teaching your kids, and your kids teaching you, is a two-way street.
“Growing up, you kind of get that mentality, and for whatever reason, it’s kind of like ‘He,y adults do this, kids, you don’t know about it, you don’t ask any questions, you just do what I say,'” he said. “You… get that kind of treatment.”
For Dwyane, though, he and Gabrielle wanted to go in a different direction in their parenting. “You know, I just decided, and my wife decided, we don’t want to do it that way,” he said. “We want to raise young human beings, and we want to respect them as young human beings.”
He continues, “So you know do we have final say in a lot of things, of course, but when it comes to sitting down getting to know our kids, talking to them, asking questions that’s something that we wanted to do.”
For Dwyane, he wants to move away from this idea that our kids are ours, and that they’re not full individuals. “I don’t know why we live in this world where our kids are our property,” he said, “[where we think] we own our kids.”
He went on to say, “These are the future leaders of the world and the future leaders of our family, and so it’s our job to help them learn how to be adults.”
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For him, that means talking with his kids and really hearing what they’re saying, plus encouraging them to ask questions. He used an example of speaking with his son Zaire and how listening is a massive part of how he can help his son.
“The world he lives in is different than the one I grew up in. So how am I going to know how to help him if I don’t sit and listen to his wants, and his needs, his concerns,” he explained. He added that he was “just trying to do it different than [how] we had to do it.”