Between their HGTV empire and parenting four kids, Chip and Joanna Gaines are one busy couple.
But the Fixer Upper stars make it work — at least partly because they know how to strike a balance when it comes to rule enforcing.
“I grew up in an environment that was pretty much ‘back by dark’ — [my parents] didn’t generally know what we were doing, and it was all good, clean fun,” Chip tells PEOPLE. “So I thought, ‘Oh, I’m gonna be a wild parent.’ ”
He continues, “And when I got to be a parent, I don’t know what it is about it … I feel a little bit like a drill sergeant sometimes. Some elements of my personality, as a parent, I’m not real crazy about.”
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Luckily, Joanna is there to provide a little bit of smoothness when it comes to disciplining daughters Emmie, 6, and Ella, 9, and sons Duke, 8, and Drake, 11.
“It’s funny, I’m a little more laid back than I thought I’d be,” she says. “[There are] certain things that I really care about, but I think the funny part, with Chip, is just the video games, the TV. That’s where he kinda gets a little strict. It’s, ‘You go play outside.’ ”
“I think I’m like, a quarter Amish,” Chip jokes. “I’ve got some glitch in me [where] I don’t like normal technological advances.”
“I don’t even know what’s gonna happen when the girls start asking to wear makeup, but we keep telling our kids they don’t get a phone until they go off to college,” Joanna explains.
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A surprising aspect of his daughters’ future that Chip doesn’t see himself being so tough on? Dating.
“I’ve got buddies who are like, ‘Oh, can you imagine your girls dating?’ ” he says. “I think I’m gonna be a good dad when it comes to that.”
“That’s where I’m gonna turn on the crazy,” Joanna says.
“I want my kids to date, I want them to go out,” Chip continues. “I just remember great experiences as a kid, you know? Driving your car for the first time, picking up a young lady on a date for the first time. All those were little milestones to some extent.”