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Old 08-09-2011, 09:49 AM   #21
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Re: So ticked at 5 year old! Feeling like a bad mom!

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Originally Posted by Joyful Tie Dyes View Post
How many kids under five drown each year? Learning to swim can very well BE a life or death situation. Swim lessons are non-negotiable in my book, they ARE of "extreme importance". You can watch kids all you want but accidents happen. Knowing how to swim saves lives. AT five it is HIGH TIME that he learns to swim. Maybe it's living near the water but it's rare to find a 5 year old here who can't swim.

Many kids don't WANT to go to school either or do math homework but that doesn't mean you can just say "Oh well he doesn't WANT to". I am GLAD my parents pushed me to do things I might not otherwise would have become competent in. It's part of life to learn that sometimes we have to do things we don't want to.
If a child lives near water then it does take learning to swim to a new level. I can totally understand how it may be considered a necessity to teach a child to swim if they live near water.

As far as school goes, my kids don't want to go so they don't. We homeschool and if they don't want to do boring textbook work I totally get it so we unschool.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't teach your child to swim. If it is that important to you then do it. I do believe that we should choose our battles with our children carefully. I personally choose to have very few with my children and it works quite well for us. If you feel that pushing your children is in thier best interest then go for it. I'm not judging anyones parenting. Our children are the ultimate judges and I am sure they will let us all know where we went wrong.

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Old 08-09-2011, 09:50 AM   #22
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Re: So ticked at 5 year old! Feeling like a bad mom!

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Hey mama - we have a similar situation here often and I have two thoughts. If he is insecure then LOTS of talking about how important it is to do things we are NOT good at. You don't get to be expert at anything unless you are willing to be bad at it for a long time. Being not so great at things is part of learning.

My second thought and what works for us is incentive. Incentive. Incentive. Whatever works for you guys, but it could be a shiny nickel to put in his piggy bank. A special treat he only gets after swim lesson. A toy he has been wanting. Whatever. Something tangible and fairly immediate. If you don't do the lesson you don't get x bc you can only get x when you do the lesson.
once again, you are the voice of reason.
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Old 08-09-2011, 10:00 AM   #23
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Re: So ticked at 5 year old! Feeling like a bad mom!

Mama, i know exactly where u sit in this situation. I have a 6 yr old thats the same exact way. My mom spent $80 bucks one year for dd to play soccer, she was 4 at the time, so we just thought it was to early. But dd would be so excited to go and play but once we got there she wanted nothing to do with the kids or soccer. But continues to take her and nothing changed over the fall session or spring session. so the next year we asked her what she wanted to to do and she said ballet, and she did great with that. @he just had to follow the teacher, not talk to others or anything. So then we figured this year we'd try cheerleading cuz she said she wanted too. i took her to a week and half of practices and she didnt participate in any of the practices so i pulled her cuz i was not going to do the whole soccer thing over again. and im putting her back in ballet.

But 8 think ive figured oht that she doesnt like interacting with others to get it done. as long as she can just follow and be quiet and not talk or yell she is good. Idk if that helps any or jot. but maybe ask him what he wants to do. even in shool he teacher told me that she wont raise her hand or answer questions in class but the teacher nnew she was doing fine cuz her tests and paperwork were all A's and never felt she was behind. If u have any questions just pm me!!!
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Old 08-09-2011, 10:19 AM   #24
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Re: So ticked at 5 year old! Feeling like a bad mom!

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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!
This is what I was thinking.

Maybe for the end of the summer try to get him used to a kiddy pool out in your back yard, where he's comfortable and the water is shallow and non-threatening. Then maybe next year you can find a gradual sloped pool or kiddie type pool he can become accustomed to before deeper, scarier water.
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Old 08-09-2011, 10:33 AM   #25
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Re: So ticked at 5 year old! Feeling like a bad mom!

So I sat down and had a talk w/ DS. I apologized for acting the way I did (there really was no excuse for yelling at him) and we both cried. I feel alot better about it all.

I asked him if maybe we could surprise his teacher tomorrow by getting to lessons and getting right in the pool..... he thought it would be funny to see her get surprised. And there just might be a shiny quarter waiting for him when he's done. Feels like bribery, but right now I don't care.
I think he's legitimately scared of the pool water. He hates the chlorine taste (he's only been in rivers and lakes before this) and how cold it is. I guess I don't blame him for those things, I just didn't see them as such a big deal in my adult mind.

But tomorrow is the last day of lessons, and he's still not a swimmer (although he is better than he was). They have open swim at this same pool during the school year (it's the pool at the local high school), so I'm hoping I can get him to the pool w/ me to practice a few times a month.

Thank you to everyone for all their input. It really helped me figure out how/why I was feeling the way I was, so I could deal w/ it unemotionally.

I don't think it's necessarily wrong to force our kids to do something they don't want to do. I do wish that my own parents encouraged me to stick w/ some of the things I started.
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Old 08-09-2011, 10:35 AM   #26
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Re: So ticked at 5 year old! Feeling like a bad mom!

My 6 year old went a full session at the YMCA and loved her swim lessons and loved her teacher. That was 8 weeks. No issues, complete FISH!. Then she started the next session unfortuantely with a new teacher in a harder level. The first one she was okay, a little apprehensive about it afterwards since it was harder but still okay. Before her second lesson she flipped out crying and didn't want to go. I promised we'd negotiate after her second lesson because I figured it was needless anxiety over the new teacher and she'd get over it. She wouldn't even participate during the lesson. I peeked in 20minutes later and she was sitting on the steps refusing to do anything(politely refusing but still refusing) and just really really sad looking. I was able to coax her to the wall with the rest of the class and speak quickly to the teacher who worked with me to get her to swim a LITTLE but she was still not thrilled. I'm not sure why but even with the floatie on she was terrified all of a sudden about the water. Once she got into the middle of the pool she freaked out and stopped swimming and started going under. Her teacher was right there with her but she started crying hysterically and refusing to do it again. We compromised for the next 3 classes in the session by me staying in the pool area right at the edge encouraging her and her going back to the bigger floatie that would assist her more and we went to "family swim" several times during the week to practice and enjoy non-swim-class related swimming time. And of course I used a LOT of praise and her teacher pulled her aside after class to tell her how fabulous she was doing and how proud SHE was that my daughter didn't give up and she stuck to it. I refused to let her give up because that's not a precedent I want to set and I had already paid for the session and it was pretty expensive for our tiny budget. Even though we talked about it multiple times, I never got a straight answer as to her fears and why they came on all of a sudden but she is now mostly over it. A little extra encouraging and mom in the pool area and a bigger floatie was all she needed. I know it's not easy to stay calm when they are so seemingly unreasonable but a little creativity is likely all that your child needs. Speak to the teacher outside class when he/she doesn't have 10 bodies floating around in the pool about solutions and what they recommend and ask if he/she can be accomodating with the pool policies to let you join class or sit on the steps to be an extra comfort for your child. They want your business and your continued financial support. They don't want your chidl so stressed that you never come back and pay for another session. Sometimes one or two classes with you in the pool is all your child needs to get over a fear and move on. It never hurts to ask, right?
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:04 AM   #27
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I have no advice, just wanted to offer hugs!! I can TOTALLY see myself reacting exactly the same way you did and then second guessing myself after. We just do the best we can.

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Old 08-09-2011, 11:22 AM   #28
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Re: So ticked at 5 year old! Feeling like a bad mom!

A lot of children that I know have no problems being in a bathtub/small baby pool but do have fear issues with the big pool because they can't touch the bottom. If your son is truly afraid then the worst thing you could do is force him to do something that he is truly afraid/terrified of doing. You could cause him more lifelong harm by trying to help him than you can imagine. I understand completely where you're coming from, my three year old is just like your son and I have to thread a fine line of where forcing him to try something new for his sake and encouraging him to try new things (especially when there's money involved. All the things that I can see him excelling at are not cheap at all). It's totally different from his older brother who is a daredevil and will try anything and I already know for a fact that in order to get him to learn to swim we will have to buckle down our finances and pay for private instruction. And that's with me already taking him to the pool as much as possible and holding him in the water (where he gives me the death grip of hell) and him being comfortable enough to stay in the water for about ten minutes at the time.

I don't condemn you for trying to get him to overcome his fear or for trying to get him to stick by something, I do condemn the method you used though because I've been that child who was forced against her will to do something. As long as I can remember I've been afraid of roaches. When I was little (about two or three I believe) my father tried to get me to "overcome" my fear by having me touch a dead roach. Now, in my random Caribbean island nation we don't have the itty bitty roaches that are common in this country. We have the big flying ones that will fly straight at your face in the middle of the day I know in my heart that my father was trying to help me but that did not stop my childish brain from also knowing that the roach would come back to life and lick me the moment I touched it. I was so terrified that I ended up passing out and to this day if my children's lives depended on my touching or killing a roach I would still not touch it. Would I have overcome that fear had I not had that one terrifying parental control influence? Maybe, quite possibly since a lot of children are afraid of bugs and then outgrow it. Would my simple fear have turned into full blown phobia? Probably not, but I will never know now.

Yes push your child to do bigger and better things than you did and do all you can to help him overcome his fears but remember that to an already afraid child, all your good intentions won't matter at all. And the sacrifice of spending $30 for swimming lessons now may well turn out into an expensive therapy bill later on.

Take him to the pool yourself (ask someone else to watch the smaller kids) and get him to play in the water with you. Don't pressure him to practice swimming or put his head under water. Just get him to be comfortable being in the water for now. And start talking about swimming lessons to him in such a way that he will be excited to go to lessons again the next time that you guys can afford it. Not only will he be more mature at that point but he will have also worked himself up to liking the classes by then (be it next month or next year) and his coordination will be better. Then it won't be as hard for him to learn, otherwise you will be setting him up to fail. And above all, when he is in classes let go and let the instructor be the one that talks to him and tells him what to do. I've been in lots of different classes with my oldest (karate, soccer, tball, theater, swimming) and have noticed that the children that do poorly are usually the ones whose parents are competing with the instructor telling the child what to do/directions to follow. The parents who sit back, bring a book/game to the class and give the instructor total control over the situation have the children who listen to the instructor and do better in class.
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:35 AM   #29
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Re: So ticked at 5 year old! Feeling like a bad mom!

Do they actually teach him swimming skills in the class? Maybe he might enjoy just some "fun time" in the pool first for a while to help him get used to the pool. DD started lessons at the Y when she was 2 (I am one of the people who forces my kids in swim lessons until they can at least doggie paddle). The first 8 weeks or so, she didn't really learn anything at all. We put her bubble belt on and then just played. We sang songs, chased after floaty toys (I would throw a toy a few feet away and she would have to go get it) and floated on our backs. I was always with her. This was just to get her comfortable in the water. We didn't turn our focus to swimming skills until this summer. I think your idea of free time at the pool with you is a good one.
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:52 AM   #30
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Re: So ticked at 5 year old! Feeling like a bad mom!

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Originally Posted by sourpatch_babe View Post
A lot of children that I know have no problems being in a bathtub/small baby pool but do have fear issues with the big pool because they can't touch the bottom. If your son is truly afraid then the worst thing you could do is force him to do something that he is truly afraid/terrified of doing. You could cause him more lifelong harm by trying to help him than you can imagine. I understand completely where you're coming from, my three year old is just like your son and I have to thread a fine line of where forcing him to try something new for his sake and encouraging him to try new things (especially when there's money involved. All the things that I can see him excelling at are not cheap at all). It's totally different from his older brother who is a daredevil and will try anything and I already know for a fact that in order to get him to learn to swim we will have to buckle down our finances and pay for private instruction. And that's with me already taking him to the pool as much as possible and holding him in the water (where he gives me the death grip of hell) and him being comfortable enough to stay in the water for about ten minutes at the time.

I don't condemn you for trying to get him to overcome his fear or for trying to get him to stick by something, I do condemn the method you used though because I've been that child who was forced against her will to do something. As long as I can remember I've been afraid of roaches. When I was little (about two or three I believe) my father tried to get me to "overcome" my fear by having me touch a dead roach. Now, in my random Caribbean island nation we don't have the itty bitty roaches that are common in this country. We have the big flying ones that will fly straight at your face in the middle of the day I know in my heart that my father was trying to help me but that did not stop my childish brain from also knowing that the roach would come back to life and lick me the moment I touched it. I was so terrified that I ended up passing out and to this day if my children's lives depended on my touching or killing a roach I would still not touch it. Would I have overcome that fear had I not had that one terrifying parental control influence? Maybe, quite possibly since a lot of children are afraid of bugs and then outgrow it. Would my simple fear have turned into full blown phobia? Probably not, but I will never know now.

Yes push your child to do bigger and better things than you did and do all you can to help him overcome his fears but remember that to an already afraid child, all your good intentions won't matter at all. And the sacrifice of spending $30 for swimming lessons now may well turn out into an expensive therapy bill later on.

Take him to the pool yourself (ask someone else to watch the smaller kids) and get him to play in the water with you. Don't pressure him to practice swimming or put his head under water. Just get him to be comfortable being in the water for now. And start talking about swimming lessons to him in such a way that he will be excited to go to lessons again the next time that you guys can afford it. Not only will he be more mature at that point but he will have also worked himself up to liking the classes by then (be it next month or next year) and his coordination will be better. Then it won't be as hard for him to learn, otherwise you will be setting him up to fail. And above all, when he is in classes let go and let the instructor be the one that talks to him and tells him what to do. I've been in lots of different classes with my oldest (karate, soccer, tball, theater, swimming) and have noticed that the children that do poorly are usually the ones whose parents are competing with the instructor telling the child what to do/directions to follow. The parents who sit back, bring a book/game to the class and give the instructor total control over the situation have the children who listen to the instructor and do better in class.
That's what we were trying to do today

Every class, like I said earlier, it took ME talking him into the water each time, then leaving to let the teacher take over. Today, the teacher met us at the door to the pool and wanted to take him to the pool herself. That's what threw him over the edge.
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