Of course parents want their children to be happy and an integral part of that is learning to love themselves and develop healthy self-esteem. Of course that's not always a cakewalk --especially when kids are dealt a particularly challenging blow, like a health issue that can directly impact their self-image. That's what a 6-year-old named Riley from Rhode Island is dealing with after being diagnosed with alopecia. Riley's mother, Chelsea Slyvaria, took to social media to share the heartwarming way her husband, Dave, discussed the tough topic with his daughter and shaved his head in an act of solidarity.
"Yesterday I was joking around with Riley and telling her everyone I loved," Chelsea, 33, wrote on Facebook. "Riley then looked at me and went, 'And do you love yourself???' I immediately said, 'Of course I do, you always have to love yourself! Do you love yourself???' And she responded very softly, 'No.'" So heartwrenching.
Chelsea told ABC News that immediately following the conversation, she called Dave to share. They had plans to celebrate their wedding anniversary that night, but the 41-year-old dad wanted to talk to his daughter first. Chelsea captured that conversation in a video that has since gone viral, racking up more than half a million views.
In the clip, Dave says, "How come you feel that way, huh?...You shouldn't say things like that kiddo. You're a very special girl. Hair doesn't matter, OK? I love you the same no matter what."
Then the proud dad of four asks his daughter if she wants him to shave his head, and she responds with a big smile. He then shaves his head off as Riley looks on, clearly happy.
"It was one of those moments as a parent, especially a parent with a child who has to deal with adversity for one reason or another, that you don’t think, you just do," he told ABC News. "Words are a powerful thing but sometimes actions speak louder than words. ... You never want to hear the words 'I don’t love myself' from your child, especially at 6 years old. I could tell she was sad, I could see that she needed reassurance and in that moment I knew that the solidarity of shaving my head and being bald with her would make it OK."
Dave went onto share that the most important thing for him is to raise his children "in an environment that they all feel loved, [and] to do everything in my power to ensure, regardless of Riley’s alopecia, she knows that to us and so many others, she is the most wonderful little girl in the world." Right on!