EP12 – Parents Should Never Take Kids To The Park

Most parents don't even have a clue what the park is for, or why their kids are there, or what their role is when they are both there. There's a LOT more to it than you realize

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Welcome to this episode of, I don't know Jack, about parenting, where today we're going to be talking about why you should never, ever, ever bring your kid to a park ever again.

They may get a bump

Hey, welcome to this episode and today we're going to be talking about parks and why I believe parents should just stop bringing their kids to parks anyway. See, first I want to tell you why parks were designed. Uh, you can google this. You can use your common sense, you can do your own research, but at the end of the day, parks are a fun place for children to overcome fears and step out of their comfort zone so that they could grow as an individual, as an individual so that when they get out into the real world, they will have already practiced a lot of life skills out on the park. What kind of life skills do you get on a park? Well, I don't know. When your children are really, really little, maybe just starting to walk. They can learn to climb the stairs on the playground.

They'll eventually learn to slide down the slide. They may get a bump, they may bump their head because the first time they go down the slide, guess what happens? They don't realize that they're going to take off so much and their whole body goes back. It's a natural thing and they may bump their head, but they'll go down, but they'll realize, hey, that was kind of fun and they may want to do it again. Right?

They'll go up and they'll say, hey

Remember that old saying, you know, you fall off a horse, you got to jump right back on. Well, that's what kids do when they're at a park. As they start to get a little bit older, you'll notice that they start to learn some social skills and those social skills being. They'll start playing with other kids. They'll go up and they'll say, hey, what's your name? My name is. They will naturally because it's just another kid wanting to play and have fun. They'll develop friendship right there within moments because they have something in common they both want to play and that's all they care about is playing with the other kid who was in the park.

These are social skills that don't need for the rest of their life, but I don't know why parents are bringing kids to school or to not to school. I don't understand why parents are bringing kids to parks anymore because what I witness when I go to the park, it makes me cringe a little because I'll see parents say, don't bother that kid. They're playing on their own or they'll say something like, don't go climb on the big rock that's in the middle of the park that they designed here for a reason because you could get hurt. I actually witnessed an older gentleman, I don't know if it's the grandfather or just an older dad. It was about three, maybe four year old little girl just last week.

Yet her father does not believe in her

He's like, I told you not to climb that rock your gunna get hurt. Don't tell a kid they're going to get hurt. And she was like, no, I want to do it. And she's watching all the other kids her age do it. So she has belief in herself. Listen to me. She has belief in herself. Yet her father does not believe in her. What message is that sending? No. I understand parents out there like, oh, but we don't want them to get hurt. Yes, we do want them to get hurt on the park under our supervision so that they learn consequences for actions or limitations of where they're at. First Time my son went on the monkey bars and try to go across him. He did not make it. He fell and he got back up. He fell. He got back up.

First time he got on a bike, he fell. He got back up, he fell. He got back up and eventually he got across those monkey bars and eventually he stayed up on two wheels and rode that bike. Was there some pain? Was there some discomfort? Absolutely. Was it under my supervision, absolutely. Was I there to cheer him on? Yes. Since I witnessed this gentleman, and here's the part that really, really got to me to parents, this is the lesson, what not to do. Sometimes you go out there and you go, man, that parent's doing a great job. I want to mimic what they're doing. Or a lot of people just think like that stuff doesn't work. They just got really lucky child. No, it's really good parenting, so if you see a really good child, watch their parents don't watch the kid anymore, don't sit there and all like, oh my God, that kid is amazing. See what their parents are doing. Trust me, I do that all the time, but the next words that came out of this father's mouth was like, all right, you could go on the rock, but if you fall and you get hurt, you better not cry.


What message does that send to the little girl? So it's more important to daddy that I don't cry or I'm not bothered. I can't. I can't come. I can't. I'm not going to be comforted if I'm actually hurt, so maybe I don't want to try because if I cry, Daddy's going to be upset. If I fall, daddy's going to be upset, but I get hurt. Daddy's going to be upset so I'm not going to go out and live life. I'm going to sit here and be a hermit because I don't want to disappoint dad. These are the messages that we're sending to our children when we keep telling them, don't do this. Don't do that. So why even bring them to the park if we're not going to allow them to flourish and grow as an individual, I don't know, but if you want them to grow and flourish as an individual. See, I just did some traveling and I went and saw a friend and we met up at a park is we all have as we both have kids and he has two little ones.

I have two little ones and my seven year old, he has a one and a half year old and a three year old. I have a seven year old and a one year old. So as my seven year old's running all over the park, he said, hey, did, did you. Did you see that your son is on top of the playground? I said, I didn't. I didn't see it. He goes, no. He was all the way at the top and I said, it makes sense. He goes, what are you going to do about it? I said, well, he's down now. What'd you do about it? You could say anything. I was scared a to fall off if I said anything to him. I said, no, he's good. He's like, it doesn't worry you. I said, it worries me every moment of every day when we come out here and I watch him do different things, but he's growing and expanding as a person.

I want my kid to feel like a million dollars

If I tell him he can't do it, he's going to believe me. I'm his father. If I allow him to do it and he's successful, he's going to feel like a million dollars and I want my kid to feel like a million dollars. So at our home, I'm going to give you a couple stories here. Let me, let me share a couple of quick stories of, of my own offspring at parks in the last week, uh, right before we traveled, we were at the park and we have these big, huge, like six foot tall boulder rocks and they're probably three, four feet apart from each other. And they, they, they go around the park and he's always climbing these rocks. And, and recently he's gotten the confidence to jump from one rock to the other.

It's been killing me for years because there's a park right across the street from our house. And we go there all the time to watch him climb up the rocks first, then he, there's some of her own their trees and he grabs the branches and he sees losing weight and the tree branches pulling them and oh man, God, that thing's gonna fling him one of these days, but allow them to do it. Occasionally he's, he's gotten brave enough six feet up to just off of these things and all I picture is a broken leg or a sprained knee or a bad ankle and it and it kills me. But then I think back. Did I do those things? Yes, I did. And it grew me to do things that I didn't know I was capable of doing and nobody was around to tell me I couldn't. I'm conscious enough to know that although I don't want them to get hurt, if he's gonna get hurt. I want them to do it in my presence so I can take care of it.

I yelled across the park, are you okay? 

See, I don't know Jack about parenting, but I know that kids need to take risks. I know that kids need to understand consequences. I understand that kids need to feel empowered to do certain things, so as he climbed one of these six foot rocks and tried to jump to the next one, he slipped, and didn't make it, and he got back up and he did it again and you did it again and on the fourth time he missed so badly he scraped the entire side of his leg. Now he wasn't around for a little bit and I watched from a distance because I had his little brother with me and I saw him with a strange look on his face and I yelled across the park, are you okay? And he didn't say yes, and he didn't say no. So I grabbed his little brother. I walked over there, I said, what's going on? And he started limping towards me and he showed me his leg and it had this big scrape across the side of it. I said, what happened? He goes and try to jump from one rock to the other. I said, are you going to be okay? He's like, yeah. I said, do you want to do that again? He says, not today. I said, okay, did you learn anything? I think I need new sneakers, and he did.

Because he believes in himself. He didn't believe in the sneakers anymore, but he believes in himself. So fast forward to this trip we're on and, and, and there's some monkey bars and he's good at the metal ones going across, but there was these wavy ones that went up and down and they were uh, some type of, uh, a rubber on them and almost looked like a spider web and it had to go up and down as much more challenging in the regular monkey bars, which he's mastered at his own park. And I said, Ooh, these look like fun. Now I knew they were going to be a challenge. The first thing he tries to do, he tries to go up near, he gets about three steps, three rungs, and he's like, falls mind you, it's about 25 rungs. And he said, wow, that's hard. I said, well, you can do it. And um, I said, we just need to create a strategy.

It's going to take some time

You've got to place your hand here and place it there. And he got about halfway through and he's like, wow, going back up, going down as easy, but going back up is tough. I said, yes it is, but I think by the time we leave here today, you will be able to go across. It's going to take some time and rest those hands are a little tired now. But you have this at this point. My friends come with his kids and, and um, and, and his father in law is there. And as my son goes and I was like, hey, you gotta hey place at hand. There you have it. Oh man, you're doing so good. You got it. Hey, this is the tough part. But I know if you focus right now for two strong pushes, you're going to get it.

And he falls again. I said, that's all right. I believe you can do it. And His dad says, Hey, what's this motivational speaking? I said, listen, if I believe it, he'll believe it. And if he believes that he can do it, listen to what I just said. If I believe in my child, whether they believe in themselves or not, they will start to believe because I believe and your kids will believe if you believe, and if they start to believe they can do it. He witnessed another child, the very next one, go across that thing about the same size as him. He didn't realize what a little bit taller than him and I said, that person just did it so you know it can be done. I think you can do it too.

He's like, yeah, Dad, I can do it again

I'm telling you, without fail, 10 seconds down, my kid went across that thing and he had a look of astonishment and joy and surprise and I said, I told you can do it and you did it a lot sooner than I thought you were going to do it, which means I believe in you. Do you believe in you? He's like, yeah, Dad, I can do it again. Listen, what I'm telling you people, all I did was encourage him when he's bouncing off rocks, rocks. I don't tell him not to do it again. When he's climbing 12 feet on top of the park. I don't tell him he can't do it or shouldn't do it.

I just allow him to be himself and test his own limits and boundaries, knowing that I am close enough that if he gets hurt, I'm there to help them. Now I do express limits in certain areas or say, hey, maybe not today, but I know you'll be able to do it. There are certain things daddy can't do now that he'll be able to do next year, but he's also seen daddy train for a marathon. He's also seen daddy accomplish things and I say, Hey, I have to do all this work before I can do this, and it's gonna take time and practice so we'll get some practice in. Eventually you'll be able to do it because you're going to get better at it. I'm going to. I'm going to leave you with this last story. See, I don't know Jack about parenting, but I do know that we can't do everything for our children.

They're gonna be sleeping in my house the rest of my life

We're not always going to be there and if we're hovering over them, bubble wrapping, helicopter parenting, which we can talk about in another episode. They are not going to be self sufficient and they are not going to have any confidence that I don't know about you, but I don't want to raise children with zero confidence because if I'm raising children with zero confidence, they're gonna be sleeping in my house the rest of my life and I can't have that. I and I hope you are too, are trying to raise children who are productive members of society and if you and I have the same plans, didn't, didn't continue to watch. So here's my last thought is, is there's not a lot of seesaws okay, we'll maybe. There's not a lot of seesaws and there's not a lot of swings in parks anymore these days. Why? Because there's a lot of helicopter parents and bubble wrapping parents that say, Oh my God, my kid fell off the swing or got whacked with the seesaw in the merry go round.

They got hurt and I don't want them on the parks because God forbid my kid gets hurt on a park under my supervision. See, they're taking way the fun. The joy, the seesaw, the balance, the trust with the other kids. The teamwork, the merry go round. The kids are going too fast. They got a hold on tighter. They got to trust the kids. They got to communicate. Hey, I don't want to go that fast. Stop. Let me get off. Hey, let me get on. That looks like fun. Hey, let me push. No, I want to push. Hey, you get all these things that kids get to learn these things. The swing. Oh my God. I went too high. The other kid walked behind and smacked awareness.

This is for your kids

They gotta learn awareness. Imagine that parents parents have petitioned city parks and said, I don't want those types of things because they may learn some social skills. See why bring your kid to a park if you don't want them to learn anything. This is not for you to spend time on your phone. This is for your kids to spend time learning social interactive skills, creating boundaries, creating successes in their lives, getting hurt, understanding consequences. That's what a park is built for. It's not just colors and play, but guess what? It is for colors and play. Why? Because that's how kids learn best is through play. Allow them to play. Parents stop taking away their learning tools,

but when they have their learning tools, allow them to use the tools, so I watched two sets of parents on a seesaw. I was like, wow, there's a seesaw at this park. Holy Moly. Stromboli and I watched the parents kids old enough to use the seesaw on their own. I watched parents put the kids on it and the parents on either either end of the thing pushing it up and down, pushing it up and down. Kids don't have to push their legs. They don't have to create balance. They don't have to do anything because the parents are doing all the work and I said, wow, what a shame in my mind, right? ​

We're all judging each other

I didn't say this, but because one set of parents saw what the other set of parents were doing and everybody's so damn worried about what the other parents are thinking, right? We're all judging each other. I watched the next set of parents put the kids on who are old enough to seesaw on their own and push it up and down for them. A little, little johnny, Little Sarah, little Mikey, little emily, whomever these kids are are going through life saying, mommy and daddy are going to do everything for me.

Or mommy and daddy don't trust me enough to do this.

Parents, you've got to start now

And there's gonna come a point where they're old enough to start doing things on their own and mommy and daddy are going to get frustrated. You're eight years old. You're nine years old. You should know how to do this, but mom, dad, you never let me do anything when I was four, five, six, seven, and now that I'm eight and nine, you expect me to know that you've always done everything for me and they're upset with Emily or David or Johnny or Sarah. Parents, you've got to start now. You have to start empowering them. Now. I have my one year old, which has been walking since he's nine months old and I remember at 10 months old we were at a county fair and he's walking through the fair left and right, and there was this other parents' kids in the stroller. Kid is 15 months old dads carrying the kid and he's like, wow, how old is he, Mike?

He's 10 months, and dad comparing puts his kid down and he's mad at his kid. Can't walk at 15 months old. Don't be mad at your child, dad, you haven't encouraged him to walk. You haven't empowered him to walk. You have not done exercises for this kid to learn how to walk. You haven't built his core. You haven't built his balance. You haven't given him a motivation. You haven't told him he can do it. A lot of times moms, as you're listening, because I'm sure there's going to be moms listening to this, you're like, oh, I don't want them to walk yet. That's selfish. You want to empower them to do things when they can do it, not when you feel is the right time to do it because whether they walk it nine months or two years, you're going to start walking and they're going to get into the same things. Don't hinder your children for your own self. Selfish reasons.

Allow them to play the way they want to

So I don't know about you as a parent. Yeah, I'm talking to you. I don't know Jack about parenting, but I know something about people and I know people need to learn or grow because if we're not growing, we're dying and if you're killing your kids by not allowing them to grow right from the get go, you are going to have challenges in the future, so I encourage you that if you choose to bring your kids to parks, allow them to play, allow them to play the way they want to. That's the last thing I'll say is I watched too many parents dictate to a child how they're supposed to play. There is no right or wrong way to play. There is no right or wrong way to color. There is no right or wrong way to paint. There is no right or wrong way to build blocks. Whichever way they're doing it encourage them to do it so that they have fun so that they want to do it again because nobody, and I mean nobody. You don't like it. Your kids don't like it. Your parents don't like it. You don't like it when somebody tells you, Hey, do it this way because that's the right way.

I encourage you to be the dad you wish you had to be the mom you want to be to be the parent who allows her kids to learn and grow each and every single day, and we'll talk to you in the next episode of, I don't know Jack about parenting.

Ryan Roy

About the Author

Ryan Roy

Ryan Roy is the father of two boys and on a mission to be the dad he wished he had... and to help other fathers be the best they can be too.

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