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Kicking his son down a skateboard ramp "was my poor attempt at trying to help him overcome his fear," Marcus Crossland told NBC's Kerry Sanders. "It was a bonehead decision."
Viewers of the video, posted on Instagram three weeks ago, which showed Crossland pushing six-year-old Dino down a 13-foot ramp at a Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. skate park, would agree.
"It was an effort to help him, but it didn't come out that way," Crossland told Sanders. "I'm sorry that I made that decision to use that tactic as opposed to another. I'm sorry for the outcome. Because of a decision I made, my wife and my children and everybody has got to deal with it."
"I was upset," said Emily White, the boy's mom. But, she told Sanders, it's not indicative of her husband's personality.
"You can be the most amazing, kind-hearted, giving person in the world — all it takes is that two seconds and people will hate you."
The family said Crossland lost his job as a result of the fallout.
"It's been really rough,'' White told Willie Geist on TODAY Monday. "As a mother, I've had to do what I can to keep my child safe, and protect him from the media. Everybody was coming to our home. We ended up losing a babysitter. Not only did my husband lose his job, I wasn't able to work, so things have been turned upside down incredibly, and it's been hard."
White usually accompanied her husband and son every time they went to the skate park, but was at work the day of the incident.
"Things like that are definitely not acceptable in our household, and we do not do anything like that,'' she told Geist. "Not that (not being there) excuses anything by any means, but nothing like that has ever happened before. There isn't anything behind closed doors or any kind of actions that have been taken anything like that, so it's definitely easy to take it out of context for sure.
"He's a really great dad. He loves his children, he loves his family, he's a hard worker, and he's an all-around good person. Beyond that, we love him."
Parenting expert and TODAY contributor Michele Borba said that while Marcus Crossland made a "horrifically wrong decision," every mom or dad can made a bad choice at one point or another.
"There is no perfect parent and every one of us will admit that we have had a bad moment. To what extreme – that’s going to vary parent to parent," Borba told TODAY Moms.
"But realize there are no take backs. So even in the moment, you always have to realize you’re the adult, you need to be recognizing your responsibility is for that child."
Borba was particularly concerned that Crossland walked away after the incident instead of checking on the boy. She also noted that the tactic of "if your kid is afraid of the pool, you throw him in the deep end" doesn’t work because it almost always increases the child's anxiety, stress and fear factor. Instead, baby steps can help a child conquer his fear, she added.
"The other thing you always weigh is the safety factor," Borba said. "Clearly, the child could have been hurt if not severely injured... (the dad) flunked every one of the criteria on what you do to do it right – safety, wise decision making."
Local police and the Florida Department of Children and Families are still investigating the incident, and Crossland was banned from the skate park where he was a frequent visitor. Dino is doing fine despite all the attention the incident has garnered, according to White.
"It's definitely been something I've tried to shield him from as much as possible,'' she told Geist. "He knows he's been on the news, and he understands that it's become a big situation, but when it comes down to it, he's doing wonderful. He's happy and he's healthy and he's doing great."
Now, the family says they plan to move.
"It's affected our family, it's affected our day-to-day lives, it's affected our jobs, our household," said Crossland. "Now those three seconds of video footage didn't necessarily really affect us. The repercussions have."