The singer stepped up to care for nephew Til and nieces Kris and Jordan after the sudden death of Bryan’s brother-in-law in 2014. The children’s father had been raising his kids on his own following Bryan’s late sister’s death in 2007.
Bryan and his wife Caroline have since settled into life with 14-year-old Til, who now lives with the family in Nashville. The country crooner calls their blended group “a social experiment” — an “amazing” one, he notes.
“We woke up and had a teenager in our midst, but we love it,” Bryan tells PEOPLE. “It’s nothing but positive. Til is having a blast and I think he’s finally settled in being in Nashville.”
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“We’re having to watch grades and watch Instagram and Snap Chat and keep him from being on that all day long,” he says. “It’s interesting because he’ll be a boy one minute and he’ll act like a man the next, so you just try to help him make good decisions and study hard and be respectful and try to do your best to raise them right.”
And Til is teaching his uncle a few things along the way. Chief among them? “Don’t wrestle a teen!” Bryan says with a laugh. “He throws me around the house pretty good now! He’s taller than me now and he can chuck me around pretty easily.”
Bo and Tate, meanwhile, have learned a few new tricks from Til.
“They learn all the dances from him,” Bryan, who heads out on his eighth annual Farm Tour next month, says. “What is it? The Dab and all that. And the Nae Nae. He teaches them all that. They’re out there in the yard doing that when they score a touchdown.”
The singer, who’s known for some of his own moves, is quick to note that he won’t be adding the new dances to his stage repertoire.
“I try not to learn all that stuff!” he says. In fact, in the eyes of his teenage charge, “I’m spiraling toward more and more uncool as a dad now.”
— Eileen Finan