Dean McDermott is opening up about how he recently had to have a brutal conversation with his 12-year-old son, Liam, after he experienced body shaming online.
In the latest episode of his podcast, Daddy Issues, which he co-hosts with Nicky Paris and Adam Hunter, he mentioned that his son, whom he shares with wife Tori Spelling, came to him asking if he is "obese" after noticing the word used in an insulting comment on Instagram.
"So [Spelling] did this post about, you know, having a snack with the family, and all the moms got up in arms. 'You feed your kids this? … No wonder they’re obese,'" McDermott explained. "So, Liam saw this. He saw it on my phone and he took me aside, and he said, 'Dad, am I obese?' And I said, 'Dude, no. You are not obese.'"
McDermott told listeners that he explained to his son that, with fame comes some unsavory things, including strangers calling you names on social media. He encouraged Liam to find a healthy way to deal with the hurtful responses he encounters.
"I took him aside, and I said, 'Look, you know what? People are going to say horrible things,'" he shared. "'We’re in the spotlight, Mom and Dad. People know who you are, and people are going to say nasty things. So, you can fire back at them, or you can stop and think and send them some love.'"
"So I said, 'We can get mad about this, or we can take the high road, send them some love because they’re hurting,'" he continued. "Liam’s 12, going on 30. So, you know, he really got it."
McDermott also provided Liam with words of encouragement, telling him to remember his 20-year-old half-brother, Jack, whom McDermott shares with ex-wife Mary Jo Eustace, and remind himself that he is going through a phase.
"I said, 'Look at your brother, Jack. Your brother, Jack is 6-foot-4, and he’s, like, 170 [lbs],'" he relayed. "'He’s, like, beautiful, tall and thin, and he went through a phase where he wasn’t.' I said, 'Remember your brother, Jack, when he went away to Canada and came back two months and he grew a foot?’ I said, ‘It’s in your DNA. Look at that. You’re not obese. You’re gonna sprout out, and you’re big and beautiful. You’re fantastic."
Although McDermott kept his cool with his son, when he had a moment to himself, he says he realized he was furious.
"You know what, I went in the room, and I wanted to put my fist through the f**king wall," he said.
This isn’t the first time that McDermott that mentioned this conversation with his son as a result of Spelling’s March post. In a June episode of his podcast, he discussed the talk and he once again suggested how his son should respond to the destructive comments.
"I said, 'Look, buddy -- there's some sick people in the world … and they need to do stuff like this,’” he said of the talk. “’They need to say bad things about people. Think about it, son. You have a busy life. You have school, you got sports; do you think you have time to go on Instagram, scroll through the people that you’re following, and make a negative comment about somebody?' I said, 'No, you don't. You don't, and if you did, you'd fill your time with something else. So think about how sick these people are that they have to do that.'"
In January, McDermott, who also shares four other children with Spelling -- Stella, 11, Hattie, 7, Finn, 6, and Beau, 2 -- took it upon himself to push back against trolls taking aim at their children. He called out critics in the comments section of a family photo after it was barraged with nasty insults.
"I am absolutely horrified and disgusted by the comments being left about my children. Body shaming and bullying my children??!! What is wrong with you people??!!" McDermott wrote in Spelling's comments. "For your information, we went from a long day at school to the movie. And I don't know any child that is NOT disheveled at the end of the day. Not to mention that just before this picture was taken, they were wrestling and running around with all the other kids that were at the movie. So I apologize we didn't get the iron and steamer out to make them perfect for you. Their [sic] kids. They're messy and dirty. That's what they do."