Thursday, June 18, 2009

Feelin' all bummed out

We pulled the Big Guy out of swim lessons today. I feel so emotional about it. It seems like the right decision, but definitely not a happy decision. The Big Guy has been crying through his lessons for 3 months now. The last couple of weeks (when mommy has sat out in the parking lot during lessons) have been particularly brutal.

I remain committed that my kids will learn to swim and I remain a fan of the lessons I have the kids in...but I just think that the Big Guy would benefit from a break. Part of the frustration of knowing what to do is because we don't feel confident that we know why he is screaming. We don't think he is scared, as there are no tears running down his face when he cries AND he likes to jump off the diving board. It may be mommy-separation anxiety, but that doesn't explain why he cried when I was still in the pool. It seems like he is just mad that he is being made to go (not unlike the way he is also screaming about going to Bible class).

Several people have expressed strong opinions (including the instructors) that pulling him out of lessons just teaches him that he'll win if he cries about something for long enough. When I called to cancel his lessons today, the guy on the phone indicated that he'll never learn to swim if I pull him out. That makes me feel awful, but I just don't believe that it is true. Is it really the end of the world if I give all of us a break for a few months and try again in the fall or the spring?

Not to mention that the lessons are darn expensive. I've already spent over $500 for lessons that the Big Guy has wasted. I don't want to keep throwing good money after bad.

So, the decision is made and I need to just let whatever emotions I have about the situation go...


  1. How about taking the girls and Dad to a family swim night at the pool? Let him see how much fun the girls are having swimming. This might give him a better idea of how it would benefit him to learn to swim. Just an idea. In any case, I think you are right to trust your Mother's instincts about all of this!

  2. I just recently signed the kids up for lessons starting in July, of course as soon as I did that Luke pooped in the bathtub three times in a row and now wants nothing to do with water. Not with a swim diaper on not with me in it, not our kiddie pool in the backyard not the very shallow beach water yesterday. I'm freaked to take him into a public pool and have him flip out and feel judged that I'm making my son do something he doesn't want to. Now enough about me, in your case I would say a lot of places/people I spoke with don't even offer swim lessons till the age of 4 or 5 because they are not ready yet and might think they are if they have been exposed to it. Also, I took swim lessons as an infant and had forgotten and had to learn again later. I think you should do what you feel comfortable with and not feel pressured to pay for lessons that no one is enjoying. Maybe gymnastics if he likes to jump off of high things.

  3. Don't sweat it Lisa. A lot can change in a year. He may be fine next summer. It's ridiculous for them to tell you he won't learn to swim if you pull him out now. Grant learned to swim at a much later age than your little guy. Enjoy your break from the crying (at least at swim lessons, ha) and know that you are a great mommy!!

  4. I ran across your blog because I am going through the same thing. My son started when he was 11 months and cried for 3 months. I toughed it out and he was fine for a while. Now he's 3.5 and suddenly freaks out at the mention of swimming lesson. This morning I told him he has to go to swimming lesson and he has been crying all morning. I am like you in beleiving it's important for him to know how to swim. That's why I am also torn as to what I should do.


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