Maksim Chmerkovskiy is grateful for all the success he's experienced as a professional dancer, but he isn't convinced he would want his son to follow in his own, uh, footsteps.
The 41-year-old Dancing With the Stars alum, who shares 4-year-old Shai with wife and fellow dance pro Peta Murgatroyd, tells E! News exclusively that although the child has been enrolled in dance classes for the past year, Maks has intentionally remained hands-off.
"I drop him off at dance, and I walk away because I don't want to sit there and be like, 'Point your toes, Shai' and 'Do the right thing,'" he explains. "He's 4. I want to let him live. I started dancing at 4, and it just never ended, never stopped being a career, and I don't want that for him. I want him to have experiences, not goals, at 4."
Maks, who nabbed second place behind gymnast Gabby Douglas on the season finale of Fox's The Masked Dancer that aired on Wednesday, Feb. 17, says he felt he "had no choice" but to become a professional dancer from the age of 5 onward.
"So I think I'm a little jaded by that, but am I complaining? Absolutely not," he clarifies. "I'm complaining like, I don't know, somebody who's an Olympic winner. So I just have different perspectives and different outlooks, and I'm definitely altering and sort of molding and changing my opinions about a lot of things, given the time that we live in and the fact that I am going through fatherhood."
Regarding his time on The Masked Dancer, the star shares that he "couldn't have asked for a better experience." He also reveals that his sole condition upon joining the show as the Sloth was that he only be responsible for dancing and not have to worry about such details as the choreography or his attire.
"I just wanted to play the part and do my best within my part," Maks says. "Obviously, I would have a say in choreography, or some steps and things to do like that, but I didn't want to be in charge. I didn't want to get in my own way, as I've gotten plenty of times in the past, in other projects."
Clearly, he has a lot of excitement going on in his life at the moment, having also recently launched the online video platform Dance & Co., which offers users access to dance classes, workouts, shows and more. Amid all of this, he appreciates that fatherhood continues to change him for the better.
"I'm learning from Shai probably more than is learning from me," the proud papa gushes. "He's growing, he's great, he's amazing."