Parents today are so much more in tune with their children's emotions, and that's an amazing thing. Gone are the days of "children should be seen and not heard," and instead many parents today lead with their hearts and intuition, recognizing that our children are whole people with thoughts and feelings. Jessica Alba recently opened up about how important it is for her to parent gently this way, but that it isn't always easy—and that she's been in therapy with her oldest daughter, Honor, for two years.
On an episode of Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt's Instagram series, Before, During, & After Baby, Alba says she wants to make sure each of her three kids (Honor, 13, Haven, 9, and Hayes, 3) feels seen and heard.
"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," she said. "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."
She revealed that she's been attending mother-daughter therapy sessions with Honor since she was 11, in order to improve their communication and to help Alba appropriately parent her through her tween and teen years.
"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," Alba explained. "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."
Ugh, this gives me such a twinge in my "mommy heart." I don't have a tween or teen yet, but I certainly recognize just how difficult it is to "let go" and foster independence in your growing children. Our instinct is to always take care of them and everything they need, and fighting that knee-jerk is incredibly difficult. But learn independence and confidence they must, and babying them can cause so much damage and distance in the long run. We all eventually have to learn how to be balance being "Mom" and also teaching them the life skills they need and offering more freedoms to them as they grow.
It's also amazing that Jessica Alba is being so forthright about going to therapy with her daughter. What a great way to use her enormous platform as a celebrity mother and CEO of The Honest Company to de-stigmatize therapy.
Alba says Honor felt empowered to find and use her voice while in therapy.
"[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 Honor has been open with the type of quality time and communication she responds best to, and Alba has been able to adjust her parenting techniques to be more effective that way.
And in case this makes you feel slightly sad about your own kids growing up and not "needing" us (spoiler alert: they'll always need us), Alba says Honor requested more one-on-one time with her mom without her siblings around.
Honor turned 13 last month, and her mom's Instagram post celebrating her was so adorable and so very "mom" of her, we can all relate.
"I'm sorry that whenever I look at you too long, I burst into tears - they are happy tears because the love is so deep and so profound and sad that I can't push pause," Alba wrote in her caption. "So you are gonna have to accept my emotional outbursts boo."
We love to see this type of relationship so we can all learn from it when it's our turn to parent our tweens and teens.