Alan Thicke on life as a dad, his new show, Unusally Thicke, and what he and Jason Seaver have in common.
Q: Your son Carter is 16. How different is parenting now compared to when your older sons were teens?
A: The main difference is social media. Your values, your standards, your voice needs to be heard above the cacophony of the Internet universe.
Q: How did your being an actor affect your elder sons, Brennan and Robin?
A: Robin milked it… used it to meet girls and make friends. Brennan shunned it to be appreciated on his own terms. Both strategies worked for their personalities.
Q: How do the stresses of your career and parenting compare?
A: Parenting always comes first; it’s my chosen legacy. A smarter person said “you’re only as happy as your saddest child.”
Q: What have been your biggest parenting challenges?
A: Hypocrisy. The “don’t do as I do, do as I say” bit. Our checkered pasts catch up with us and can now be Googled for all to see. Even between kids, I want to support (at least in principle) my eldest son’s medical cannabis business while telling my youngest not to smoke weed. His insomnia isn’t that bad!
Q: On your show, Unusually Thicke, you’ve said that your wife Tanya is a big influence on Carter. How is her parenting style different than yours?
A: She’s the sheriff, I’m the enabler.
Q: What’s your advice for parents in the midst of raising a teen/young adult?
A: Don’t wish them out of the house. You’ll miss them profoundly when it happens.
Q: If you could go back, would you change anything in terms of the way you’ve raised your kids?
A: I’d have the 15 writers from Growing Pains telling me what to say every day.
Q: Speaking of which, how would you say your parenting style is different from Jason Seaver’s?
A: We’re very similar in values but my behaviour isn’t always as good as his. I have more of a temper… and no censors to keep me in line.
Q: You grew up in northern Ontario. Have your roots influenced who you are today?
A: I took my boys to my hometown of Kirkland Lake every summer to know their ‘roots’. Those small-town, community-driven, hearty northern-folk values are still the best!