"If he starts to cry, I listen. If he's upset about something, I stop and I talk to him about it," Alicia Silverstone tells PEOPLE of son Bear, 8½
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Alicia Silverstone Tells Son, 8½, 'No Thank You' as a Form of 'Reprimanding': 'I Respect Him'
Alicia Silverstone
| Credit: Crystal deodorant

Alicia Silverstone has found a parenting technique that works for her in correcting her son’s behavior.

In an exclusive chat with PEOPLE surrounding her partnership with Crystal deodorant, the 43-year-old actress reveals that she and her son Bear Blu, 8½, have a mutual “respect” that stems from how they interact.

“Because of the healthy lifestyle that we lead, he didn’t go through terrible twos and terrible threes. There wasn’t really much of that,” Silverstone says. “When you’re really meeting their needs, and you really understand what they want and need … I didn’t find any of that.”

“There [have been] moments where there were things we had to redirect and correct, of course, but it just wasn’t the fight that you hear about. … The most I have to say is, ‘No thank you, Bear,’ ” she continues. “And he goes, ‘Okay.’ … That’s my reprimanding.”

“And he’s got it. Because he respects me and I respect him,” Silverstone adds.

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Alicia Silverstone Tells Son, 8½, 'No Thank You' as a Form of 'Reprimanding': 'I Respect Him'
Alicia Silverstone
| Credit: Crystal deodorant

The Clueless actress shares that her son “reminds [her] to be absolutely present, because I don’t want to miss a moment of him, and I don’t want him to feel like anything is more important than him,” during these times where “he has the balance of knowing that Mommy has to work, and life is not revolving around him.”

“It’s not some kind of spoiled thing. It’s just that when you love someone, you want to take them in and soak them in. And many of us didn’t get that,” Silverstone tells PEOPLE. “If he starts to cry, I listen. If he’s upset about something, I stop and I talk to him about it. You’d be surprised [at] how much [you notice] that other people don’t.”

Alicia Silverstone
Alicia Silverstone and son Bear
| Credit: Alicia Silverstone/Instagram

Ever since the actress and her ex-husband Christopher Jarecki welcomed Bear in May 2012, the little boy has taught his mama to “be right there in the moment.”

“I had so much going on in my world and in my emotions, and when he was born it was like the whole world stopped. Everything froze, and it was just absolute bliss being with him and breastfeeding, being connected to him. Just taking care of him was just such a pleasure,” Silverstone says. “That’s remained the same all along.”

The star’s dedication to kindness and being present seems to have rubbed off on her son, who sweetly “asked Santa for $1,000 to donate to an animal charity” this past Christmas — as well as for “some vegan chicken nuggets.”

Of her latest partnership, Silverstone couldn’t have found a better fit, telling PEOPLE, “So many major brands are still testing on animals, which is awful. I was so thrilled 20 years ago when I discovered Crystal, and I don’t know how I did, but I did. And it’s free of all those toxic ingredients.”

“It’s cruelty-free, they’re formulated with no parabens, aluminum, silicone — all the nasty stuff that you’d get in traditional deodorant,” she adds. “And last year they were tested by the Clean Label Project for over 150 contaminants, and they received the purity award for their entire line.”

“I’m always talking about Crystal,” the American Woman actress continues. “It was just a really natural fit that we decided to partner together, and work on things together in a more aligned way. But I have been there, I have been their silent little ambassador for 20 years because I love their products. I give it away for people as Christmas gifts.”