"I send them weird Snapchats of me doing old man voices and goofy teeth," Reese Witherspoon told Conan O'Brien Tuesday of communicating with her teens

By Jen Juneau
March 22, 2017 12:35 PM

Reese Witherspoon admits that when it comes to parenting, she’s strict about some things. But as her two older children are teenagers, their relationship has evolved in a unique way.

“I communicate with them in funny ways,” the Big Little Lies star, 41, told Conan O’Brien Tuesday night on his show.

“My daughter [Ava Elizabeth, 17,] said the other day, ‘It’s like we look like Dad, but we get our weirdness from you,’ ” Witherspoon, who parents her two older children with ex-husband Ryan Phillippe, continues. “But I’m goofy. I send them weird Snapchats of me doing old man voices and goofy teeth. That’s the way we communicate.”

Want all the latest pregnancy and birth announcements, plus celebrity mom blogs? Click here to get those and more in the PEOPLE Babies newsletter.

RELATED VIDEO: Reese Witherspoon and Daughter Ava Look the Same in Pre-Premiere Photo

Witherspoon explains that her strategy is to communicate with Ava and son Deacon Reese, 13, through the media channels they’re most familiar with.

“I like to haunt [Deacon] during the day, so I’ll send him pictures of disgusting animals and be like, ‘I’m feeling like this today,’ ” she says, giving blobfish and massive snails as examples. “And I’ll put #mondayfeels’ or something like that … I just try to gross him out.”

“All day, nonstop,” adds the mother of three (she also shares son Tennessee James, 4, with husband Jim Toth). “Just so they remember who’s the weird one.”

FROM COINAGE: Could You Afford to Go to the Oscars?

The Academy Award winner shares that she’s “definitely a southern mom” who “never lost the Tennessee” in her — she was raised in Nashville — and that at least one of her children is picking up on her fiery tendencies.

“If I get kinda mad, I’ll give you a ‘sit-to,’ which just means you have to sit down and listen to everything I have to say,” she explains. “And then, if you really make me mad, then I give you ‘what-for,’ which is a whole other thing you don’t wanna get involved in.”

“My daughter says the other day — she’s born in California, but she said, ‘And I gave that person a sit-to, and I told them what-for.’ It’s seeping in, I’m so excited!”