Jessica Alba attends therapy sessions with her 13-year-old daughter to help work through communication barriers
The 40-year-old actress has three children – Honor, 13, Haven, nine, and Hayes, three – with her husband Cash Warren, and has said she sometimes struggles with perfecting the line between treating her brood as kids, and making sure they are “seen and heard as individuals”
27 July 2021
She said: "How I think I was raised, or sort of the dynamics of how children were treated when I was growing up, and even my parents, was, you know, the kids basically speak when they're spoken to, they have the 'kid table' whenever there's a family gathering, and you just sort of stay out of the way and do what you're told.
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“I think this new way of parenting is like, [kids] want to be seen and heard as individuals basically as soon as they start having any kind of consciousness or thoughts or opinions. It starts early. I take the approach of making sure they understand boundaries and respect but trying to see them each individually and meet them where they are."
And to help her understand what it’s like for her children to want to be treated in a mature way, she started attending mother-daughter therapy with her eldest child.
She added: "Like my 13 year old, I'm struggling with not treating her like a little [kid] - I want to treat them all like babies. I want to baby them. Still my tendency is to parent them as if they are little.
“I started going to therapy with her I think when she was 11. For me it was really out of, I felt like my relationship really suffered with my parents because they didn't know how to communicate with me and how I needed to be parented. So I didn't want that breakdown with Honor so we went to therapy together."
Honor "felt empowered to find her voice" in therapy, and the mother-daughter pair now have much stronger communication.
Jessica told Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt on her Instagram series, ‘Before, During & After Baby’, she said: "[She was able to] speak her voice and own her opinions in a way and really gain confidence to say, 'Hey, Mom, I like this, I don't like this.'
“[She says things like] ‘When you need to guide me or when I screw up or whatever, this is how I want to be punished. This is what I respond to, this is what I don't respond to in that way.'
“But then on the flip, [she] was like, 'You need to spend more time with me alone without Haven around.' That was a big one. And, 'You need to treat me like I'm me and she's her. You can't mush us together.' I have to say, I kind of still struggle with that."