Strict swimming - a month later
A month ago, I wrote about a situation that bothered me. I enrolled my five-year-old son in swimming lessons, in order to relax him in the water and get rid of fear, but there were difficulties because the instructor was very strict and instead of getting rid of fear, the fear became greater and brought some consequences that I will write about today. If you would like to read my previous article about this situation to make the story clearer, you can access the article via the following link.
When I published that article I got a lot of good advice from you. We all agreed that swimming is a very good and beneficial activity and that my son should continue with swimming lessons. But we also agreed that maybe the instructor should be changed. I planned to listen to you but I decided to talk to the instructor first and ask him to have a slightly more relaxed approach and not give up right away, and if nothing changes after the conversation, look for another swimming school.
That was the moment I made a mistake. I should have listened to you right away, so that bad consequences would not happen.
@Kleah97 gave me excellent pedagogical advice. I needed to pay a little more attention to my son's feelings and not insist on continuing classes where he felt traumatized.
@Librarian also advised me to change instructor or wait for some time to pass and continue swimming lessons when my son was ready. The teaching method has caused trauma, which is now difficult to resolve.
I talked to the instructor and she promised to be a little more relaxed with my son. But during the next swimming class, she started putting pressure on him again and asking him to do something he wasn't ready for. She told me that my son was spoiled and that I could see other children listening and doing what she tells them. The other children were really obedient, no one cried and that made me think that maybe she was right and that my son should not behave like that. If everyone can, why can't he. But that was wrong. Not all children are the same.
My son cried all the time in the pool. The instructor yelled at him, threw him into the water. He was diving, and when he surfaced, he screamed in fear. It was very hard for me to watch him. I was supposed to interrupt the class right away, but I didn't do it. He drank half the water in the pool. I waited patiently for the class to end, but I was sure that after this we would definitely change the instructor and the swimming school. I do not like to take the line of least resistance and that is why I was persistent, but I was wrong here.
When my son was three years old he had a problem with stuttering. This often happens to children at that age and was not considered a problem but a stage of child development that will pass. It especially happens to children who are intelligent and have a lot to say, and the speech apparatus is not sufficiently developed. My son's thoughts work faster than his speaking abilities and he was advised to swim because it is a relaxing, healthy activity that would help him learn to breathe properly and pronounce words more easily. But after these stressful swimming lessons, the opposite happened. The speech problem has gotten worse and he now has long pauses in silence before pronouncing a word. Developmental stuttering has turned into a serious speech disorder, which we are now trying to solve by going to treatment with a speech therapist. We unfortunately replaced swimming lessons with speech therapists lessons.
I have shared my experience to remind you that it is very important to always be aware of the needs and abilities of your child. Every child develops in own unique way and should never be compared to others or forced to do something that is required in accordance with the norms of the society in which we live. I made a mistake, and every mistake can have consequences. In this case, the consequences are worse than I could have expected.
My son now doesn't want to go to swimming lessons anywhere. He doesn't even want to go to the pool. But he likes to watch others swim and fantasize about how he will learn one day, which is a good sign that all is not lost and that he may eventually forget the trauma.
I have learned to respect his wishes, needs and decisions. Trust your children. They seem to know best what is best for them.
Thank you very much for reading.
Article and photo are original and mine.