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Children are constantly processing new information and are just starting to learn what different emotions mean. Without yet having all the tools to communicate effectively, sometimes they have no idea what to do with these feelings. But this dad is an exemplary example of how to teach them.
In a video shared by his partner Deceena Gaines, Randy Gaines got to down to his daughter's level and calmly spoke to her about the value of acknowledging and communicating her feelings. "My heart explodes when he connects to his girls like this. No yelling. No screaming. Talking. Discussing emotions and why we have such feelings," Deceena wrote.
Based on the video, his daughter seemed upset that he called her "Button" as a nickname. That may not seem like such a big deal to most adults, but Randy didn't brush off his daughter's feelings. Instead, he used the situation as an opportunity to teach her how to process them.
"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," he told her. "The important thing is, whenever you're feeling things like this, is to not just stay there all the time. You want to accept it, you want to honor it, you want to acknowledge it, and then let it go."
He told her that it's OK to feel the way she's feeling and that she's still loved no matter what.
"You can be mad at me, you can be mad at Mommy, or your sister. You can be mad at yourself," Randy said. "Just don't hang onto it for too long, because that's when it gets to be a problem."
He then gave her some example of healthy outlets for letting out her emotions, such as walking, running, or punching a pillow.
After his daughter explained that it hurt her feelings when he called her Button, Randy explained that he didn't mean to make her feel that way. However, he went a step further and told her it's important to express these feelings so that he knows what her boundaries are.
"You know how you call me 'jerkface' sometimes, and sometimes it's OK, and sometimes I get a little bit mad about it, don't I?" he said. "And that's OK. It's important to talk about it, so I know that's your boundary, and I respect it, and I won't push past it. OK? But you gotta tell me first ... 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 I don't do it, OK? Because if I don't know better, I can't do better."
After speaking openly about negative emotions and how to process them, Randy offered to help his daughter work off her anger. "You can run that off, run that anger off if you want, you can kick dirt, whatever you need to do to feel better," he said. They then got dressed to go outside for a walk.
The video was posted on the Love What Matters Facebook page where it has been shared nearly 18,000 times and has over 27,000 likes. It's not every day we see parents speaking to their children like this. Many people took to the comments section to applaud Randy for his approach.
"Oh how I wish someone would have had that conversation with me when I was that little," one commenter wrote. "This conversation is amazing to me and one so many people need to have."
"His love, understanding, guiding, parenting, communicating and respecting his daughter just blew me away!" another wrote.
"The most important lesson he taught her, SHE has boundaries and HE respects them. From that simple statement and his actions to follow, she will have the confidence to set those boundaries for the rest of her life! Awesomeness!" another commenter wrote.
Randy may have been talking to a child, but his message is one people of all ages can benefit from learning. We could probably all be better about evaluating and expressing our emotions. Maybe bookmark this video for the next time you need an emotional pep talk.