Of being a dad to five kids, former Fixer Upper star Chip Gaines tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story, "You've got to let them do their thing"

By Emily Strohm
June 05, 2019 03:00 PM

Chip Gaines isn’t exactly what you’d refer to as a “helicopter parent,” but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a little nervous about having a house full of teenagers.

“I’m not a real worrywart. I enjoy each season as it comes,” Chip, 44, says in the cover story for the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

“But you think about these little ones driving and dating, and it really does put the fear of God in your heart,” adds the former Fixer Upper star.

Chip and his wife and business partner Joanna Gaines are parents to five children: Crew, 11 months, Emmie Kay, 9, Duke, 10, Ella Rose, 12, and Drake, 14.

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chip gaines
Credit: Bret Harman
Chip Gaines with his four older kids
| Credit: Joanna Gaines/Instagram
screen shot 2019-01-17 at 1.41.39 pm
Chip and Joanna Gaines
| Credit: Joanna Gaines/Instagram

And while the spouses have a few years before their four older kids are all teenagers, the seasoned dad says he’s already getting prepared.

“When your little guy wants to go out past 10 or on his first date, you think to yourself, ‘Already?’ But you’ve got to let them do their thing,” Chip tells PEOPLE.

Chip Gaines on the cover of PEOPLE
| Credit: @brethartman

RELATED VIDEO: Joanna Gaines Shares the Sweet Tradition Chip Is Continuing with Son Crew — See the Photo

“You’d be crazy to dress in all camo and follow them like a CIA operative,” he jokes. “But I think they want to make good decisions, and we’re the kind of parents that even as they make poor decisions, we want to give them some freedom in that.”

Adds the home-renovation pro, “Everybody makes mistakes.”

For more on Chip Gaines, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.