Chip and Joanna Gaines have been household names ever since their HGTV series Fixer Upper premiered in 2013. And while it’s brought them tremendous success, Chip admits there’s one thing he wishes they did differently.

“We were kind of naive and dumb, really, to be frank, enough to be like, let’s have the kids be involved.”

In the beginning the couple’s children were often shown on their reality series, but as they grew up fans have seen less and less of them.

Joanna said she’s even become more mindful about sharing their images online because while she and Chip signed up to be in the public’s eye, their children did not.

Chip recently spoke with Kennebec Cabin Company about the decision to include the Gaines’ children – Drake, 18; Ella Rose, 16; Duke, 14; Emmie Kay, 13; and Crew, 4 – in the spotlight.

He admitted they got a little “dazed and confused” wondering if the kids should be apart of the series.

“And for sure we’ve gone through that cycle, where at the very beginning, we had a production company, and again, I’m not throwing them under the bus. I think it was a great strategy. And we didn’t even mind it. We were kind of naive and dumb, really, to be frank, enough to be like, let’s have the kids be involved.”

While promoting her new memoir, The Stories We Tell, Joanna added it seemed like the natural thing to do because at the time the couple really did bring their children to work.

“We really thought, ‘Oh people in Waco will know we design homes and build homes, maybe we’ll get more business.’ We thought about Waco, never beyond that,” Joanna confessed.

They were wrong. Very, very wrong.

By the fourth and fifth season of the show people began to recognize their children “out in the wild.”

“You know, Mama Bear came out and Papa Bear, and I’m like, I don’t know that I want my kids to be visible in that way unless they want to be visible,” Chip said.

As their business evolved, their popularity grew, and their children got older, the Gaineses featured their children less and less.

“Where the older they’ve gotten, I’ve learned to just let them have their own identity outside of this,” Joanna said. “So unless they want to be a part of it, I don’t even ask them because I don’t want them to feel like, ‘Oh, you’re the kid from Fixer.’ I do not want that. Chip and I can get that all day long, that’s normal, we said yes to that.”

Now, “none of them are interested in being on TV,” so the couple is much more conscious about how they present their children to the public, especially since their oldest will be heading off to college soon.

“I just want them to go to college and be known as who they are and not, ‘Are you that kid from [Fixer Upper]?”

“The first round, I kind of chalk it up to I didn’t know what was happening. If I could’ve redone some things, I would’ve,” Joanna said.

I think it’s admirable of Chip and Joanna Gaines to admit they were naive when they let their children be filmed for their reality series. It seems like they are handling the situation much better now!

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