Josh Duhamel on parenting: 'I can be a softie sometimes, but he knows not to push me too far'

·4 min read
Josh Duhamel talks sports, his new engagement and teaching his son to be respectful. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)
Josh Duhamel talks sports, his new engagement and teaching his son to be respectful. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

Welcome to So Mini Ways, Yahoo Life's parenting series on the joys and challenges of child rearing.

Josh Duhamel's just been cast as the new lead on the Disney+ series Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, but with the Super Bowl just two weeks away, he's understandably got football, not hockey, on his mind. A college football player at Minot State University before finding fame as a model and now actor, the former Transformers star is currently helping Heluva Good! Dips launch — and give away — its Heluva Good! Sideline Snacker, a remote-controlled cooler and snack dispenser on wheels stocked with chips, dips and other tailgate-worthy treats.

It's just the sort of game-day gadget Minnesota Vikings fan and French onion dip enthusiast Duhamel would like for himself. "Does it do the dishes? Will it mow the front lawn? I want to know what this thing can do," the actor jokes in a new interview with Yahoo Life.

Given the projects he's got lined up — which also include the Jennifer Lopez action rom-com Shotgun Wedding and the TV crime drama The Thing About Pam co-starring Renée Zellweger — it's fair to say he could use an extra pair of hands around the house. Besides work, the North Dakota native says he's "mostly just being a dad" to son Axl, the 8-year-old he shares with ex-wife Fergie.

While Axl doesn't yet share his dad's passion for sports, it's clear creativity runs in the family.

"He likes drawing and making stuff," Duhamel says. "He loves tinkering and making gadgets and things like that. Doesn't say he won't be into the sports — trust me, I'm trying — but at the same time, [I'm] like, 'You know what, man? You do you. Whatever makes you happy.'"

As far as his parenting style goes, the Love, Simon star says he likes to toe the line between strict and soft.

"I can be a softie sometimes, but he knows not to push me too far because he knows that I'll put my foot down when it's time," Duhamel says. "But he does like to push. I think that's what kids do, is they test to see what the boundaries are ... but he's a really thoughtful, respectful, kind kid. So we don't really have too much in the way of disciplining because he comes home from school and does his homework right away. Can't be mad at him for that. He really is a responsible kid and very thoughtful and kind, and that's really all you can ask for."

As a parent, having a kid who treats people with respect is paramount.

"That's one thing I really learned just by watching my dad," he says. "My dad didn't really harp on that too much with me, but I watched him do it. You know, it didn't matter who it was — rich, poor, Black, white — whoever it was, he'd treat people with the same respect. And that's really what I want [Axl] to do is just be a respectful, thoughtful human at the end of the day — who also has self-respect and stands up for himself."

Duhamel, meanwhile, is focused on being patient and present as a parent.

"You've just gotta really be patient and try to stay in the moment," he says. "My biggest thing, I think, is I work a lot and I'm very ambitious that way. So what I really try to do is stop and put everything else on pause and just try to be as present as I can with him. Because that's all they really care [about]; they just want a good time with their parents. He loves hanging out with me. And so when everything else feels really important, the most important thing is for me just to be there and be present with him."

Axl also recently had the opportunity to visit his dad on the Dominican Republican set of Shotgun Wedding, where Duhamel got to bond with another famous parent: his leading lady J.Lo, herself a mom to 13-year-old twins.

"I got to meet her kids," Duhamel says, adding, "That girl is amazing. She's a boss — and a lot of fun, and very, very sweet and works her butt off."

While it won't be of the shotgun variety, Duhamel has his own real-life wedding coming up, too. He and former Miss World America Audra Mari just announced their engagement, with the approval of a certain 8-year-old.

"He is very excited about it," Duhamel says of his son's reaction to the happy news.

"When I first asked him, I said, 'What do you think, kid? I think I'm gonna do this.' He's like, 'Hey, yeah, I'm OK with it. But Dad, it's your choice. It's your choice.' That was his response," he laughs, adding that Axl and his new fiancée "get along great."

Want lifestyle and wellness news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Life’s newsletter.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting