Jessica Alba says she began going to mother-daughter therapy with Honor when she was 11 so they would avoid a "breakdown" in communication

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Jessica Alba Father's Day tribute
Credit: Jessica Alba/ instagram

Jessica Alba is getting candid about having an open line of communication with her kids.

On a new episode of Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt's Instagram series Before, During & After Baby, Alba, 40, opens up about making sure each of her three kids feel seen as individuals. The Honest Company founder shares daughters Honor, 13, and Haven, 9½, and son Hayes, 3½, with husband Cash Warren.

"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," says Alba.

"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," the mom of three continues. "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."

Alba also reveals that she began attending mother-daughter therapy with her eldest child two years ago to work through communication barriers.

"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," the actress says. "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."

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Honor "felt empowered to find her voice" in therapy, says Alba, adding that her child 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.' "

As examples of what they work through in the sessions, Alba shares that Honor said 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," Alba says, "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."

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Alba says her therapist suggested carving out 30 minutes a week to spend individually with each kid and they choose what they get to do together with Mom. She said they schedule the undivided attention "so that they're looking forward to it."

In June, Alba celebrated Honor's 13th birthday by sharing a heartfelt tribute on Instagram. "My teenager!!!! This is 13! Honor -yes you are way taller than me already, which you love to remind me. But you have a heart of gold, you are filled with compassion, you are wicked smart, silly, hilarious, and so kind... I'm just so proud of you," wrote Alba.

"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," the proud mom continued. "So you are gonna have to accept my emotional outbursts boo."

"You choosing me to be your mama has been one of the greatest gifts in life baby girl!" she continued. "I hope your teens are everything you hoped for and more, remember to soak up every moment. I love you with my whole heart and soul. ~your mom."