Tia Mowry-Hardrict Says the Key to Parenting Son Cree Is to ‘Get on His Level’ with Communication

06/21/2016 at 01:30 PM ET

Tia Mowry-Hardrict‘s son Cree Taylor is about to turn 5 — and has given his mother a lot to be proud of.

“I’m really starting to see his personality shine and come through. He’s very funny, considerate and caring,” she told PEOPLE at the Janie and Jack 2016 Summer Collection launch party in Los Angeles on Saturday.

“Even his schoolteacher wrote me a letter saying just how caring he is of other people’s feelings, and they said they really don’t see that at a young age.”

This was no accident. Being compassionate is something the Sister, Sister alum, 37, has aimed to instill in her child since his birth.

“I wanted to teach him what unconditional love is. Love, in my opinion, is not earned. We should all be loving and caring,” she says. “So for Cree to have that, that has been my goal from day one.”

Tia Mowry son Cree
Michael Simon/Startraks

The famous twin personally sees this kindness in her son on a daily basis.

“There was a moth in the house, and we wanted to get rid of it,” she says. “And he was like, ‘Mommy, Mommy, don’t kill it!’ and we were like ‘What?’ Then he said, ‘He has a family.’ A moth! So I was screaming [while] picking up this moth and taking it outside. It’s just little things like that.”

Parenting also has a lot to do with it. There are plenty of ways to discipline your kids, but Mowry-Hardrict likes to take a collaborative and communicative approach.

” ‘There are positive consequences and negative consequences. So if you don’t listen to Mommy, Daddy [Cory Hardrict] or teachers, some of your favorite things are going to be taken away,’ ” she explains of what she tells Cree.

“But I think the key is to make sure that you get on his level — and what I mean by that is the way I communicate with him,” she adds. “I communicate with him [using] the same words he [uses to communicate] with me.”

A smile is happiness you'll find right under your nose~ Tom Wilson

A photo posted by tiamowry (@tiamowry) on

Mowry-Hardrict elaborates, “So, for example, he didn’t want to get up for school and he wanted to play with his iPad and I said, ‘Well, guess what? If you don’t listen, Mommy is going to take away the iPad forever. But if you listen, you can play on that iPad forever.’

“It’s amazing how all of a sudden he got it,” she continues. “So I think it’s making sure that you get on their level and communicate [in] the way that he uses words.”

These little things add up, and have led Mowry-Hardrict to throw her son the party of his dreams for his fifth birthday: a shark-themed bash, planned by event designer Mindy Weiss. It will be a chance for Cree, his school friends and his cousinsTamera Mowry-Housley‘s son Aden John Tanner, 3½, and daughter Ariah Talea, 11 months — to really have a good time.

“I asked Cree what he wanted, and this is what he wanted,” Mowry-Hardrict says.  “We are really excited.”

— Raha Lewis

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Showing 7 comments

Kathleen on

Spoken like a true one-kid parent. Might be more helpful if she didn’t scream when getting a bug out of the house. Kids don’t need to fear a bug. She needs to tone it down several notches.

Amber on

Wow, he looks so different from 2 years ago. Very cute.

Teri on

Aww. He’s such a cutie!

Anonymous on

Very cute

Salehah on

Cree is adorable. Great article. Kathleen some people are scared of bugs and moths, it’s not the end of the world. You need to tone down your negativity several notches. That may be more helpful

evans on

its all in a good mood keep it up ok just in case of anygood news

audrey on

The party looks like it was so much fun and Cree has grown into a handsome young lad.It is really a shocker when our children reach 5, then we realize how fast the time goes. I have a granddaughter who could pass as you and your sister’s double. We have both your pictures and my granddaughter next to you…..simply amazing. God Bless and have a great Summer.