Ari is 3 years old. And like many 3-year-olds, she recently had a mini-meltdown at Walmart.
Her dad, Terrel "Mr. Rico Relz" Crawford, knew his daughter wasn't hungry, sick, or especially tired. She simply had a case of the "gimmes." Instead of buying everything in sight to temper Ari's tantrum, Crawford opted to take her outside to the parking lot to let her calm down.
While outside, Crawford got on Facebook Live to talk about Ari's tantrum. And, in short order, his level-headed response went viral.
The Ohio father of four's six-minute video is funny and sincere, as Crawford is endlessly patient with young Ari. He begins by simply letting her feel her feelings, before asking the age-old parent question:
Then he calmly broke it down to her in age-appropriate language, explaining that they were going to stay put until she calmed down. If she acted up again, they'd be right back outside.
Crawford also took a few minutes to address his own parenting mishaps and challenges.
He reveals that sometimes he does give in too easily and occasionally spoils his kids, which may explain why Ari was so upset when she didn't get her way this time. Like all parents, he makes mistakes, but he never stops trying to improve.
Crawford also encouraged other parents to use words and time-outs, or as he called it, "an attitude break," instead of escalating the moment by yelling, spanking, or making a scene in public.
"I ain't got to argue with no 3-year-old kid, no 2-year old kid, no damn kid. I'm the daddy. I'm grown," he said with a small smile. "We about to sit down until you stop acting a fool..."
And, after just a few minutes, Ari was ready to return to the store, calm, collected, and already giggling, with another life lesson from Dad under her belt.
Crawford's ability to keep it 100 with his daughter, and the audience, may be why his video has more than 22 million views.
Crawford didn't expect his video to go viral, but clearly, his message struck a chord.
"I thinks it's due to the fact that as a parent we all [have encountered] the same exact situation, many times," he writes in an e-mail. "Seeing another person act or stand up usually sparks a fire that's honestly inside each and every one of us."
Because there's no way around it: Tantrums are going to happen.
You may not be able to go outside and cool down at every opportunity. That's OK. You may raise your voice or say things you don't mean. That's OK too. Kids (and parents) have their moments.
But at the end of the day, if you love, support, and value your kids, that's what they'll remember — not the occasional trip to the parking lot.
Whether you've been there before or just admire Crawford's cool, check out his video in its entirety.