Monday, July 25, 2011

swimming lessons, riding a bike, and other tortures we inflict upon ourselves

Its summer, a time when kids ride bikes, swim in the local pool, jumprope with neighbor kids as you all just chill and unwind from a long school year.
Unless you live at my house. Todays adventure in parenting involved swimming lessons for my two oldest, K and A. Now I knew going into these lessons that K was not at all thrilled with the idea. I was prepared to deal with some whining and moaning and dragging of feet while we were trying to get out the door. I was not however, prepared for the knock down, drag out, kicking and screaming fit she threw while in the middle of her class. All of the sudden there she was yelling at her instructor who had the gall to suggest K try the kick board while the teacher held her up. I was mortified. I hurried over to calm her down and talk to her because that will normally work. Not so much today. I tried telling her she could do this, that the teacher was there to keep her safe, that all 7 year olds know how to swim. I tried telling her that if she truly wanted to be a Jedi Knight( a WHOLE other story) she would have to be able to swim, I tried threatening her with never going to a the pool to play again and nothing worked. K ended up sitting against the wall while her class finished its lesson and A finished her class across the pool.
Now here is the question. Why does she need to learn to swim? Whats the big deal if she never does? Will she be that much less of a grown up if she never learns? What will she gain if she suffers through this? If I suffer through this?
I think what this battle comes down to, is that K needs to learn to swim because right now she thinks she can't. She thinks she will fail even before she tries and I worry about that mind set. She is scared of something she thinks will destroy her if she has to face it and I worry about that too. I don't want K to ever be afraid to try something simply because she might fail. I don't want her living in fear of something she THINKS she can't face. I want her to have a strong enough belief in herself so the next time something is hard and scary she can look back and say "hey wait, I faced this before and did something I thought I couldn't do. This is nothing I can't handle." I want her to learn to trust me when I tell her she is good enough, she is strong enough, she is brave, and she can do anything.
So next week we will go back to swimming lessons and try again. I will be going with a different mind set though. I believe in my child and know that she can swim. My job next week is to let her find that out on her own.
If you don't laugh, you'll cry.

1 comment:

  1. you are such a wonderful parent Julianne! you're right, katie needs to learn how to swim because of what she can learn to believe about herself and her own capabilities in the process. i worry the same thing about maggie... it's hard for her to do something she doesn't already know she will succeed at...

    keep going mama, you're an inspiration!