Here’s Why Gabrielle Union Says Parents Should “Believe” Kids More

The easiest way to love and support our kids is by listening to them when they tell us who they are, Gabrielle Union explained in a new interview.

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Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade have been clear about their parenting philosophies. While raising their kids, which includes Zaya, Zaire, Xavier, Dwyane’s kids from a previous relationship, and Kaavia, their daughter together, their focus is always on allowing their kids the space to be who they are – however that looks. And to them, good parents know that when it comes to their kids’ lives, it’s precisely that – their own.

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Gabrielle opened up about why it’s important to stop seeing kids as an extension of yourself. And why loving her kids as they are, including their trans daughter, Zaya, is something they will always do out loud.

To them, sharing their unwavering support for their kids, and Zaya’s transition, in public wasn’t a question. But Gabrielle and Dwayne received criticism for doing so and that’s something she doesn’t understand.

“It’s important for us to live and love out loud. We didn’t exactly understand why [supporting Zaya’s trans identity] was a thing because it’s like, we love all our kids out loud,” Gabrielle said. “But it is a thing and a lot of people do need an example,” she continued. “[People] do need that [kind of] representation.”

The easiest way to love kids out loud is by listening to who they tell us they are and by acknowledging kids are their own person. “As our children show up, it is our job to believe them when they tell us who they are and not impose our dreams, hopes, fears, and desires on them,” Gabrielle said.

“It’s our job to be loving, compassionate, protective guides for our children, but their lives are their lives, and we have to respect that,” she said. “We do not believe in any kind of shaming for existing. That is bizarre, cruel, [and] harmful.”

And that’s why Gabrielle and Dwyane will always tell the world – through words and actions – that they love their kids. “So yeah, we’re gonna post our family, we’re going to live out loud, we’re going to love out loud, and we’re going to speak out loud and lead in however each situation calls for us to be leaders when things are not where they should be,” she said.

Dwyane has spoken about this same parenting philosophy before, too, that kids are their own person and that’s fundamental in their parenting. “I don’t know why we live in this world where our kids are our property,” he said, in a November interview with TODAY, “[where we think] we own our kids.”

By loving their kids out loud, Gabrielle and Dwyane say they’re modeling how to be leaders, adults, and solidifying to their kids that they will always have their backs – no matter what.

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