Mikki Willis is proud of his son for picking a doll / Youtube

Video of father's ecstatic reaction goes viral after being posted online

An American father has been widely praised for his delighted reaction to his son's decision to buy a doll from a toy shop.

After his son was given two identical birthday presents, Mikki Willis asked him to exchange the gift for another toy. In a video that has already been watched 13 million times online, Mr Willis and his son, Azai, are discussing his child's decision to buy a doll to play with instead.

“How do you think a dad feels when his son wants to get this?” he asks the camera, waving a wide eyed Ariel doll, of The Little Mermaid fame.

Answering his own question, Mr Willis, who lives in California, explains: “I let my boys chose their life that’s how we are, we just say whatever. We say yeah, choose your expression, choose what you’re into, choose your sexuality.”

The reactions online have been overwhelmingly positive, as Mr Willis took to social media. "To know we've touched people beyond our immediate community is both humbling and awesome!" he wrote online.

But some have criticised Mr Willis for seeming to suggest that his son's choice of a toy might in some way reflect he "could be gay".

Meanwhile, the American retailer Target has this week removed gender based signs from its toy and bedding departments, as the Let Toys Be Toys campaign continues to lobby retailers and manufacturers to "stop limiting children’s interests by promoting some toys and books as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys."