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Pool incident - what would you have done?

I usually take my daughter for her swim class on a Saturday. She loves it and it gives me 30 minutes to do a few lengths and work on my technique.

She’s 5 now but when she was 4 she took about 8 lessons at a kids beginners level just to give her confidence in the water. It worked a treat, she loves it.

Now she’s moved up into the next category she can actually do a half decent swim.

However, in her group there’s a boy aged 4 or 5 who just sits on the bench the whole time, afraid to get in. His dad seems a nice sort but I never asked if the boy had done the first level.

Anyway, my wife took my daughter on Saturday. She mentioned this boy and this week it was his mum who took him to the class.

The mother repeatedly tried to get him into the water but he refused each time, in tears.

To my wife’s horror the mother just picked him up and threw him into the pool, in front of the other kids, causing hysterics as he splashed his way back to the edge, clearly terrified.

The lifeguards didn’t see it and, disappointingly, the swim teacher said she didn’t see it and accordingly it wasn’t her concern. My wife is writing to the teaching company.

What would you have done?

I’m an impulsive type. Maybe it was good I wasn’t there, I’d probably have thrown the mother in to see how she liked it.


  • BARNYBARNY Posts: 157
    Chuck em in a few times and if they still don't like it join them up to chess club.
  • chischis Posts: 94
    Hi PC67

    Mmm a tricky one. As this was presumably a private swimming lesson which the parent has paid for it is really not the place of another parent to tell another how to manage their child. However the swim teacher and lifeguards ARE in a position to put the parent straight for this particular action as they are responsible for the health and safety of clients in the pool areas and for the "atmosphere and conduct" that forms part of their "classroom". No-one would wish to "mollycoddle" a child but from what you describe the kid in question seems genuinely fearful of water and in that situation it is my view (and no doubt others will have differing views that they are entitled to) that to chuck the child in will be counter-productive in most cases.

    Having been a PE teacher for many years and having taught many children to swim you always get the occasional child who has such a problem. Any success I have had in such cases is built on one to one confidence building with the child - the parent preferably needs to get in the water with their child and GRADUALLY instill familiarity and confidence in the water. This takes time and patience but I have not met a kid yet who does not eventually like being in water.

    The swim teacher at the pool and the parent need to work together in this case in my view and base their approach on PRAISE. It sometimes appears to me that parents get embarrassed when it is their child that is the one who is scared and this is understanable but it should not get to the point that any such embarrassment causes them to take what appears to be a rather cruel and "spartan" approach as this only leads to further and deeper embarrassment!

    This may sound a bit soft but I can assure you I have never been a "soft" teacher. This is probably the one physical activity where a gentle start for some reaps much faster rewards in the long run.

    Only my opinion though - I would be interested to hear what others have to say.

  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    My father told me he was thrown in the pool once when he was young. He never learned to swim, nor did he enter a pool ever!!!

    I think throwing kids in gives you little succes-percentage. I believe it is counte-productive in most cases. I'm a father of a 3 and a 1 year old. I can't see how forcing my child into something he should be doing for fun, while he's terrified by it, can help him or me. Soft for some, respect for each other if you ask me.


  • LuckyLucky Posts: 137
    benny wrote:
    My father told me he was thrown in the pool once when he was young. He never learned to swim, nor did he enter a pool ever!!!

    My dad had a similar experience, I hadn't the fact that as a child when I was learning to swim he couldn't and wouldn't get in the pool with me, only now is he starting to overcome his fear...

    The mother was in the wrong, and as a father of a child doing water babies whose daughter enjoys playing in the water, but doesn't always like going underwater you just can't force these things.
  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    who cares!
  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    I suppose most people with children do, treefrog.
  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    this is a triathlon forum not a child psychology forum and he'll be far happier in the chess club or at flower arranging as Barny suggests
  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Well treefrog, you're partly right. But as PC67 wrote, he's an impulsive type. So he wrote about it, got some answers from people who wanted to share their thoughts on it. Case closed, I'd say.

    Nothing to make a fuss about. Now back to the tri-chat[8|]
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Sorry to raise this thread again,I read the thread and thought about replying ,over the days it has niggled at the back of my mind.PC67 asked what people would do,Treefrog said 'who care's' as it is a tri website,but as triathletes are very peripatetic(i.e they get around abit) we tend to cross over many other peoples lifestyle at the pool,on the roads,at the running track so tend to see alot more actions of other people.So at what stage would you cross over the road to stick your nose into other peoples business or would you ignore them and carry on with your training run/cycle swim.

    So for example your on the last leg of the ironman,one mile to go,8 minutes to do that mile before the cutoff/or chance to qualify for Hawaii (maybe your last chance) when the runner in front collapses do you hope there is someone around to help,although you see no-one ,stop to help and blow your race chances,or carry on to the end and tell the marshalls at the finish???

    I am quite sure throwing a none swimming child into a swimming pool qualifies as child abuse (maybe it was attempted murder would it have been different if it was a lake or other open water.We should all have a duty of care.
  • Thats how most of my family learned...but with floaties of course. Get thrown into the deep end even tho we persisted...eventually, flapping around in the floaties started to become fun and sooner or later we grew into liking it. By force? Maybe...but back then, people didn't question how hard you were on your kids like they do now.
  • ardkeenardkeen Posts: 152
    Some people should n't have kids and sometimes things are not always as it appears. The only action I see as legitamate is to draw attention to the swim teacher, pool staff. As an aside, the forum is for triathletes, I don't believe that excludes anything personal they want to put on it. So it's pathetic to say who cares.
  • Interesting thread, all sorts of issues being covered on the site which is healthy!

    I don't necessarily agree with launching the child into the pool, as next time you will be lucky if it actually comes out of the bedroom to get in the car to go to the pool!!! Not going to inspire a life long love affair with multi sport.

    I do remember an old swim teacher of mine who would make the kids who could not swim very well jump in the deep end. He would then walk along the side with a long pole with a loop on the end, and if they started to splash towards the side for a rest he would push them back into the middle!! There's only one way out, and that's the other end!!

    The thing that gets me most is the breaststroke in the fast lane crew - what are they all about?

  • Hi G Dawg,

    Just read your last comment about the breast-strokers - I'm amazed you didn't get a million replies. I have no issue with anyone doing breast-stroke, but we have a real issue at our pool with the early bird crew who attend the first session of the day- they are all about 70 and with an attitude like you have never seen. 3 of them will happily take up the whole pool! You can try anything, polite conversation, swimming straight at them, trying to swim round them (not easy). We try and get a lane up for those of us wishing to do a bit of training and they complain like hell cos it means that "we are swimming where they usually swim"!! now what's that all about!?

  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Ah the early morning crew..a national phenomenon it seems.

    My experience of these sane well balanced individuals is opening a pool at 6.45am for a 7am start..& have them all follow me into the building, almost undressing as they go. Never mind I have no lights on the pool, no lifeguard yet or have not tested the water to ensure it isn't pure chlorine with a little water chaser.

    Ask them to hold on & abuse flows...'Doris always lets us in'..I happen to know that Doris gets there at 5.30am to avoid this fuss & do I look like Doris?...trust me I do not, anyhow just thought you might like a different perspective...& don't get me started about the pool that opens at 6am to accomodate...these rational beings are retired..they could swim all day!
  • ardkeenardkeen Posts: 152
    At least you guys have a pool closeby, my nearest is ten miles and only 16m long
  • Ah, point taken, yep, I am lucky as it is only 10 minutes away and the sea is only 15mins ..so why I ask has my swimming not improved? ummmm best get down there now and get on with some training rather than moaning about the blue rinse brigade who hog the pool!

  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    So after your 10mile run 16metres is too small then?

    as for the blue rinses....its because I bleached them out by putting all the chlorine in before they got in..heh heh heh.
  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    In reply to the original comment. I'm astonished the swimming coach hadn't managed to get the child into the water. If they're on poolside for the start they should be in, and if this is impossible due to a genuine phobia, or because the coach is crap, then they should be off pool-side with a refund for their parents.

    My coach spends most of her time teaching kids, and teaches us grown-ups for a break. Apparently we listen to her, or something. Personally I think it is because somebody always buys her a big glass of wine afterwards, but whatever. (Hi Lucy if you read this!). Anyway, I've seen what she and her team can do with small kids (including my own), big kids, and even adults some of whom are utterly terrified of water and there is no need, ever, to get so annoyed that you just chuck a kid in. There are so many ways that work so much better.

    Poor parenting, poor coaching, poor kid. I'd have got a bit verbal, myself.

    And don't get me started on the early-birds.... people who can't read 'Fast Lane', or think they can get in the fast lane because there is only 1 or 2 of us in there. Inconsiderate arseholes who don't realise that the guy who lapped them them up within one bloody length is probably quicker and wants to get past. I had one old dear ask me 'Do you have to splash so much?'.... if she'd been my coach I would have taken it as a comment about my poor hand entry or something. As she was actually a member of the full-make-up-dry-hair brigade I asked if she had noticed that one of the major risks of swimming is that you might get wet, and suggested that to stay dry she should take up jogging instead.

    Maybe somebody should chuck these people in the deep end. With concrete boots on.
  • jon_gjon_g Posts: 318
    the lifeguards should ask slow swimmers to gert out of the fast lane....

    but then again, if they dont say anything to people that throw there kid in the pool.....
  • i've just qualified to become a lifeguard and during training they tell you to report anything that you believe to be child abuse to your duty manager, you aren't allowed to react to it incase you are wrong or whilst your talking someone gets in into trouble and you miss it.
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