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Old 08-09-2011, 08:06 AM   #1
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So ticked at 5 year old! Feeling like a bad mom!

My 5 yo DS has struggled w/ low confidence in the water (well, low confidence in alot of things I guess). So we decided to get him into swimming lessons (the 2 weeks summer swim program for our town). We paid $30 for him to go (which is alot for us right now!). It hasn't been going great, but he's been slowly improving..... the first day, he refused to get into the water. The next day, they put the removable stairs in for him, and he would get in a few steps. The next day, he touched the bottom of the pool. And so on and so forth..... as of yesterday he was up to the point of getting his face wet in the pool, and using his feet to get rings from the bottom.

Then came this morning.

Usually, for each lesson, I would have to cajole him for at least 5-10 minutes of his lesson, just to get him to get into the water. But he would, and then I would leave to watch him from the upper level bleachers (I have a 3 yo and a 1 yo that I have to keep entertained for the hour). I'm honestly over the whole song and dance. I want to be able to drop him off, say "Have fun!", and leave.

This morning, he started his "I don't want to get in the water" routine before we got into the pool area. And it just escalated this time..... I got really ticked at him, and YANKED him off the door jam he was hanging onto to force him to go into the pool area. He lost it, and started shrieking and crying, and I said "FORGET IT!" and dragged him out. His teacher was standing there the whole time, and she was like, "Well, we tried!" as I dragged him away around the corner, where I proceeded to yell at him.

I had no choice after that to give him what he wanted, and bring him home. I feel like he "got away" with it, even though I took some privileges away from him for today. I am so pissed at him, but I feel sorry for him at the same time. He's just scared of the water, and I'm a swimmer, so I have no idea how he feels.

But he was getting slowly better, why did he throw a fit about it today, when there's only 2 days left of lessons? I feel like now that he got away w/ it today, he's not going to go in the water tomorrow either, and tomorrow is the last day of lessons. Missing 3 days of lessons (the 1st day, when he refused to get in the water, and the last 2 days) sucks. Kindof a waste of our $30.

Sorry for the novel.... I just had to get it all out. I called DH to tell him, but he's too busy at work to really deal w/ home stuff. Thanks for reading!

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Old 08-09-2011, 08:21 AM   #2
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Re: So ticked at 5 year old! Feeling like a bad mom!

Did he ask you to spend $30 that you didn't have on swim lessons for him? It sounds like he isn't ready and that your choice to put him in swim lessons has caused you BOTH a lot of stress. Unless he was the one that wanted the lessons, I don't think he "got away" with anything. He has tried to make it clear from the beginning that he didn't like this but you didn't listen, so he tried harder to be heard. I think you need to take a deep breath, calm down, and go apologize to him. I don't mean to sound like I'm picking on you. I have done similar things myself as a mom and learned to look at things from my children's POV. Just trying to offer a different perspective.
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:32 AM   #3
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Re: So ticked at 5 year old! Feeling like a bad mom!

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Did he ask you to spend $30 that you didn't have on swim lessons for him? It sounds like he isn't ready and that your choice to put him in swim lessons has caused you BOTH a lot of stress. Unless he was the one that wanted the lessons, I don't think he "got away" with anything. He has tried to make it clear from the beginning that he didn't like this but you didn't listen, so he tried harder to be heard. I think you need to take a deep breath, calm down, and go apologize to him. I don't mean to sound like I'm picking on you. I have done similar things myself as a mom and learned to look at things from my children's POV. Just trying to offer a different perspective.
Thank you for this.

My thought was that the swimming lessons would kindof force him out of his comfort zone (in a good way), because honestly, he drives me nuts how cautious and fearful he is. I'm just totally not like that, and I find it very hard to see things from his POV. That's where the "feeling like a bad mom" comes in, I guess.

I also don't want him to go through life w/ that quitting attitude.

Aaah, it's all just so hard. I know I didn't handle it right today AT ALL, but I don't know the right way to handle it either. This parenting stuff is hard! I want to be encouraging and accepting of him, but I feel like he's the baby bird that needs a push to get out of the nest.

Rambling again.
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:37 AM   #4
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Re: So ticked at 5 year old! Feeling like a bad mom!

I wouldn't look at it with a quitting attitude and I'd ask him what activity he enjoys and encourage that. He sounds exactly like I was when I was little - I'd go but I'd rarely put my head in and hated swimming (still do). Its a good idea for safety to get lessons but its not worth the power struggle and him getting frustrated and upset over being forced as that created more problems than it helps. You clearly had very good intentions but sometimes as parents we have to step back and look at our child's wants/wishes above our own (which is easier said than done as I'm having to learn to like the water and sports and its not at all my thing). Parenting is hard and you did the best you could. Its ok to get frustrated. We all have those moments. I'd talk to him and just apologize for getting frustrated and explain to him that it happens to everyone (just like he gets frustrated) and remind him that you were doing it out of love in case he ever needed to swim but if he doesn't want to do it, its ok and together you will find another activity he will enjoy better.

It would be so nice if each child came with their own manual.
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:39 AM   #5
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Re: So ticked at 5 year old! Feeling like a bad mom!

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I wouldn't look at it with a quitting attitude and I'd ask him what activity he enjoys and encourage that. He sounds exactly like I was when I was little - I'd go but I'd rarely put my head in and hated swimming (still do). Its a good idea for safety to get lessons but its not worth the power struggle and him getting frustrated and upset over being forced as that created more problems than it helps. You clearly had very good intentions but sometimes as parents we have to step back and look at our child's wants/wishes above our own (which is easier said than done as I'm having to learn to like the water and sports and its not at all my thing). Parenting is hard and you did the best you could. Its ok to get frustrated. We all have those moments. I'd talk to him and just apologize for getting frustrated and explain to him that it happens to everyone (just like he gets frustrated) and remind him that you were doing it out of love in case he ever needed to swim but if he doesn't want to do it, its ok and together you will find another activity he will enjoy better.

It would be so nice if each child came with their own manual.
YES!!!!!!
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:40 AM   #6
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Re: So ticked at 5 year old! Feeling like a bad mom!

It's just anxiety. He's working himself up, and he's probably not even THAT afraid of the pool... just thinks about it too much.

It's like when someone says "OK, today you have to jump off the high dive". You overthink it, and it becomes a huge deal. But, if you decided to jump off it by yourself, and with nobody's input, it would be scary, but not as bad.

I'm not sure how to help him with the anxiety. I'm not even sure if you should keep trying, or let it drop. I have no idea how to deal with it at all.
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:44 AM   #7
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Re: So ticked at 5 year old! Feeling like a bad mom!

Both of my daughters take swim lessons and we pay $300 a semester ( 12 weeks) per child. You cannot get your child over a fear of water in the course of a couple of days it takes time. There are methods you can use to help your child get ready to be used to the water. One is "blowing bubbles" in the bath tub.

I agree with the above poster that apologizing to your child could be a great first step. Maybe next year he will be more ready/willing to get used to the water, or maybe you could find a longer program so that he has the time to get used to the fact that this is something he is going to be doing for a while so he might as well try. IDK if you use positive rewards, but maybe for each lesson he goes to he gets a sticker on the swim chart and at the end he gets to something with mommy and/or daddy that he loves, or he gets a special toy?
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:48 AM   #8
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Re: So ticked at 5 year old! Feeling like a bad mom!

All of my kids were similar their first few years of swimming lessons. not one of them passed Level One until they were in Grade 4. My youngest will take lessons during class in Grade 4 this year & she will be in Level 1 for the 4th or 5th time. she still won't put her face in the water, but she is doing more other things that she didn't do last year. though last year in lessons she put her whole head under the water.

Last summer my middle dd(was 9) was in Level one. I had to convince her to do a bob. Then when she did her Grade 4 swimming lessons in class she passed Level One. A few weeks ago she passed Level Two. This same kid wouldn't go off a diving board with a lifejacket last year is now jumping off without one.

Swimming is a Life Skill & my kids go in lessons whether they like it or not. They will only do the stuff when they're ready to though. But they have to take lessons & at the minimum get in the water.

When they were younger if they wouldn't go in the water we did NOT leave. I also left it all up to the instructor & would not say anything to my child during the lesson, before and after yes, but not during.
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:49 AM   #9
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Re: So ticked at 5 year old! Feeling like a bad mom!

Do you have a child sized pool at home that he can enjoy for now? He can learn to float, put his face in the water, maybe build up his confidence in a small area around his family before he has to be brave at a huge pool in front of strangers?

End of season clearance might score you guys a great little pool and some neat toys/gear to get him started!
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:56 AM   #10
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Re: So ticked at 5 year old! Feeling like a bad mom!

one more thing, was this pool Indoor or Outdoor? My kids took lessons at the Indoor pool & were more hesitant to do what they were supposed to. When we took lessons in my hometown at the Outdoor pool they were much more confident. Now unless they're taking their Grade 4 in class lessons we only do lessons at the Outdoor pool.

They HATE the indoor pool. It is dark, loud, you can't always see the bottom, it is stuffy from the chlorine. At the Outdoor pool they can see the bottom, it is much smaller, quieter, airy.lol

They all said the biggest reason they like the Outdoor pool better is because they can see the bottom.
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