As a father of three, Nick Lachey has learned the ins and outs of parenting. But there’s one thing he knows he will never quite understand.
“I, as a man, don’t even pretend to know what a woman goes through during pregnancy,” the 98 Degrees frontman — who is dad to sons Phoenix Robert, 10 weeks, and Camden John, 4½, plus daughter Brooklyn Elisabeth, 2, tells PEOPLE.
“We are a witness to it,” continues the singer of his role in wife Vanessa‘s pregnancies. “I think, as a husband, you try and help them along as much as you can, but I wouldn’t know where to even begin with [pregnancy] advice.”
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Lachey may not feel fit to dole out pregnancy advice, but he is at the point where he can give feedback to his daughter — although it’s a little bit simple at this point, considering she’s only 2.
“The best advice I’ve given my 2-year-old daughter is ‘Listen to Daddy,’ ” he shares. “And she doesn’t always take that advice. But as she gets older, I’m sure there will be more important life lessons — wash your hands, that’s another lesson we’re working on.”
And between him and Vanessa, Lachey admits he’s the (slightly) stricter parent. “I’m probably more the disciplinarian — maybe that’s just the old-school ‘Dad is the disciplinarian’ role that I’ve taken on,” he says. “But we both kind of share in that role as well.”
The father of three stresses he’s about “discipline with purpose,” though, and “not just blind discipline.”
“I think that kids need to be guided, they need to be disciplined, but in a way that’s constructive, so that’s what I try to do,” he explains.
Luckily for the Lacheys, Brooklyn’s big brother has kind of taken up teaching her some lessons on his own — mainly of the communication variety.
“My two oldest are starting to have conversations with each other,” the singer says. “Camden will say, ‘Brooklyn, Brooklyn, follow me!’ and she’s like, ‘Okay.’ It’s funny to see your kids talk to each other.”
Admits the proud dad, “They understand each other even when, as parents, we’re like, ‘Wait, what did they say?’ They understand each other perfectly. They have this little language they speak.”
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The entertainer touches on the fact that his oldest child has definitely taken after him when it comes to appreciating music — and inheriting the performance gene.
“Every day, I take my son Cam to school and we have the radio on, and he loves to sing,” Lachey says. “He loves music, he loves to drum. Just his music sensibility, I look at him and I’m like, ‘That’s definitely my kid.’ ”
“You can tell [music]’s going to be a part of his life in one way or another,” he adds.
Like most great parents, though, regardless of the interests his kids take on and the direction life leads them in, Lachey just wants to support them in whatever they choose — and for them to be healthy and happy.
“They can do whatever they want with their life. I don’t have any expectations on what they become,” he says. “As long as they’re good people and they’re happy and they’re healthy then I think, as a parent, that’s what you want for your kids.”