His guests never get away with any shenanigans on his hit daytime talk show, but Dr. Phil McGraw, 67, is a complete pushover when it comes to his eight-year-old granddaughter, Avery, and her six-year-old brother, London. “They get to make anything, and I mean anything, in the kitchen,” he exclusively told Closer Weekly of one of their favorite activities while visiting him and his wife Robin McGraw, 64. “Avery’s specialty,” Dr. Phil added with a proud smile, “is Sprite-granola-cookie-bread-rose-petals-salt-and-pepper soup with jalapeños. But she does not eat it!”

He doesn’t, either, but he does gobble up every minute he gets to spend with his grandchildren. “They call him Pops,” Robin confessed to Closer, revealing how she’s often moved by how enamored her husband is of the little ones. Sometimes, out of the blue, “he’ll say, ‘Look! I recorded this little conversation you were having with Avery,’ and it’s so cute,” she gushed. An insider added, “He can be quite sweet and sensitive, and he can be really funny. There definitely is a tender side to the tough Dr. Phil.”

Robin treasures his strength, his compassion, his commitment to his family (they have two grown sons, Jay, 38, and Jordan, 31), and his ability to stay focused under the toughest circumstances. “He’s the one who’s always thinking with his head. I think with my heart,” she said. Still, when it comes to Jay’s two children, Dr. Phil proves he can be every bit as sentimental as his wife. “Popsicles are in endless supply and bedtimes are floating,” he unapologetically shared about the joys of spoiling Avery and London, confident that Jay and his wife, Erica Dahm, have much more sensible rules (and diets!) in place for them at home.

Dr. Phil and Robin, after all, raised both their sons to be responsible grown men. “Jay’s a great dad,” Dr. Phil shared, “and I tried to lead by example, by showing him [the importance of] investing time in your kids. I coached basketball for 14 years with my boys, and Robin and I never missed a game!”

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Phil, Robin, Avery, and London.

“I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be where I am, or who I am if it weren’t for my dad. He sets the bar very high,” Jay insisted, which is why he feels his father’s been so successful with both his show and his career. “People say he’s very tough, but if you really pay attention, he’s equally as supportive, and he’s always got a good answer that makes sense.”

For more on Dr. Phil and his family, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!

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