This Viral Video Of A Dad Talking To His Daughter Will Make You So Emotional

Ad failed to load

If you're a parent of a young child, then you probably know how hard it can be to stay calm during a meltdown. Tantrums and big, overwhelming feelings are a totally normal part of life when you're raising little ones, but sometimes even the most patient and understanding parent can feel at a total loss for how to handle an angry or upset child — and on our not-so-patient parenting days? Well, we can easily end up totally losing it, too. But this viral video of a dad talking to his daughter about her feelings perfectly illustrates the value of recognizing that what our children usually need from us in those trying moments is connection and guidance. And while it's definitely not always easy, this dad's loving words are a great reminder that, as parents, we have the opportunity to be our children's most important teachers.

The hugely popular video was posted Sunday on the Love What Matters Facebook page, and in the post's caption, the little girl's mother wrote that she had taken the video of her husband, Randy Gaines, talking to their daughter when she was feeling upset. And although it can sometimes feel easier to downplay or dismiss kids' reactions when they're acting out, Gaines instead chose to sit his daughter down and let her know that she was completely entitled to everything she was feeling.

Ad failed to load

Gaines told his daughter:

You don't always have to be happy. You don't always have to be silly or funny. You don't have to be anything. OK? But the important thing is, whenever you're feeling [like this] is to not just stay there all the time, OK? You want to accept it, you want to honor it, you want to acknowledge it, and then let it go. And it'll get better. And if it doesn't ... just let it be.

That's actually pretty powerful advice, even for adults — so often we fall into the trap of thinking that we're supposed to always feel happy, or that being sad or angry is somehow bad or wrong. But as parenting expert Dr. Laura Markham explained in a post on her website, Aha! Parenting, by letting his daughter know that her feelings are totally fine and acceptable, he's giving her the chance to learn that she can actually accept "negative" feelings, instead of believing she has to push them away.

Ad failed to load

Markham wrote,

When empathy becomes our "go to" response, our child learns that emotions may not feel good, but they're not dangerous, so she accepts and processes them as they come up, instead of stuffing them, where they just get uglier. She knows someone understands, so she doesn't have to yell to be heard. And when our support helps her learn that she can live through bad feelings and the sun will come out the next day, she begins to develop resilience.
Ad failed to load

But that wasn't the only valuable lesson Gaines had to share. As their conversation progressed, it became clear that, actually, his daughter was angry with him for calling her "Button" — a name she clearly didn't appreciate. Instead of defending himself though, or telling her to get over it, he acknowledged that she totally had a right to be mad if that's how she felt, and he apologized, promising to do better next time:

It's OK to joke sometimes, isn't it? And sometimes it's not so funny. I respect you, and I respect your feelings. And if it's not OK to joke with you today, I won't do it. Just let me know so that I won't do it.
Ad failed to load

Unsurprisingly, Gaines' wife had only wonderful things to say about her spouse, and how dedicated he was as a dad. She wrote:

Moments like this make me fall even more in love with him ... No yelling. No screaming. Talking. Discussing emotions and why we have such feelings. HEALTHY outlets (walking, running, punching a pillow, etc) ... Getting down to the root of the problem. Setting boundaries, because feelings were upset. RESPECTING boundaries, to ensure it doesn't occur again ... Parenting which neither of us had growing up.
Ad failed to load

In the comments section, Facebook users had just as much praise, applauding Gaines for teaching his daughter that he respected her boundaries, while others said that they wished they had had someone to teach them how to accept their own feelings when they were little.

But it's not just about having a feel-good parenting moment: according to psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein, validation really does make a difference to children's well-being long-term. In an article for Psychology Today, Bernstein said, "validating your child’s or teen’s feelings is crucial to building his or her self-esteem and will promote solid, overall emotional health." And if your child is struggling with defiance or troublesome behavior, validation might just be the solution. Bernstein explained that defiance is "often the language choice of children who do not feel understood," yet one of the best ways to help them feel understood is by validating their feelings, and providing empathy — especially when they are acting in a way that doesn't make you feel particularly warm and fuzzy towards them.

Ad failed to load

We may not all have the ability to stay as relaxed and poised in stressful parenting moments as this dad (and, let's be honest, he probably has his not-so-awesome days too). But even attempting to bring a little more awareness and mindfulness to our parenting conversations every now and then can make a big difference — both now, and as they grow.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills