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Making children do activities when they clearly do not want to.

(38 Posts)
mrsscoob Tue 25-Sep-12 21:50:51

I have seen a few examples of this over the years, kids at clubs who clearly do not want to be there, are too young/tired or whatever but the one that really made me think happened today at my ds's swimming club. It was the first day today for the new groups and there were some new children starting the pre school class so about 3/4 years old.

Waiting for the lesson to start one little girl was hysterical and clinging to her mum, screaming over and over "please mummy, i don't want to" So when the swimming teacher called her name her mum put her down and tried to make her go and she started thrashing around then slipped on the wet floor and fell down quite hard but the swimming teacher just took her and told her mum to go.

This little girl spent the whole 30 minutes crying and shivering in the pool, she had stopped screaming but was just doing silent sobs, I felt so sorry for her.

AIBU to think if she was my child I would have just took her home, she's only little and I was thinking that rather than her learning to swim this could just make her more afraid of the water or would you go with the just chuck em in and they'll get used to it approach. Maybe I'm over sensitive smile

perfumedlife Tue 25-Sep-12 21:54:35

YAMBU OP. I have horrible memories of being forced to join in new clubs as a child. It didn't make me sociable, quite the opposite.

DoMeDon Tue 25-Sep-12 21:56:42

Without a background there is just a crying child. With background there may be a child who really wanted to go swimming then changed her mind at the last minute, or a mum who is struggling to help her child be independent, or...

I was taught to swim by being thrown in the pool (yes really) and I love the water- it wont always create a phobia but seems a good way to start!!

Dominodonkey Tue 25-Sep-12 21:56:59

If she cannot swim then I think YABU. It is an essential skill and maybe her parents cannot swim or do not feel able to teach her.

If it is just a social, sporting activity then YANBU. They are supposed to be fun.

Marthamoo123 Tue 25-Sep-12 21:57:55

I've seen this too. When ds was younger he went to a French class. Another little boy used to go, he was 3 (ds and the other children were around 6) and thee poor little boy screamed throughout the hour long classes. He clearly hated it, but his parents stayed with him, held him sat down etc. He was far too young, totally not interfered and clearly distressed. Not to mention the other children were getting upset at his distress and learning bugger all.

After a few weeks the teacher said maybe they should leave it a year or so, the parents went batshit.

Marthamoo123 Tue 25-Sep-12 21:59:52

Bloody I pod + wine. so many crap auto corrects, but you get the gist!

Sirzy Tue 25-Sep-12 22:00:38

I think they should be encouraged to go and give it a go for the first few times but then it should be reconsidered if they still hate it

smugmumofboys Tue 25-Sep-12 22:01:41

I don't know. I'm a bit torn about this one.

DS2 is 8 and has a piano lesson on a Saturday morning. Practically every Saturday he makes an unholy fuss about going. However, he's fine when we pick him up, he's actually really good at it and according to his teacher is naturally talented. He passed Grade 1 in the summer and played a solo in the school summer concert. He always comes out of his lessons smiling.

Yet almost every Saturday morning he creates about going. hmm

LeFreak Tue 25-Sep-12 22:02:41

I agree with you to some extent.

But I think swimming is an extremely important skill to learn as it could save your life - so I force DD to go grin I have witnessed very upset and scared children in DDs swimming class and it is distressing to watch. But in ALL cases they've been splashing about happily with the other children 2 or 3 weeks later.

lljkk Tue 25-Sep-12 22:03:13

A few times I have seen people drag screaming wailing "I HATE SWIMMING!!!" children into a swimming pool, and within 15 minutes they calm down & by the time half hour has passed they are playing happily. confused

I just KNOW my children wouldn't do that. MINE would wail for days. But then I am soft & don't really mind being soft (on some things).

So I half get you. I guess it depends what happens after lesson 3 or 4.

Iwillorderthefood Tue 25-Sep-12 22:05:01

I am in this place right now. DD was just getting better then had to miss a week and it began again. However we go to Cornwalk regularly, my sister has a boat, it would be much better if she could learn to swim. However I am almost ready to throw in the towel.

DowagersHump Tue 25-Sep-12 22:05:29

I can see the point when children are older but 3 or 4? Nah. If they don't want to go, they don't want to go. Surely life is supposed to be about fun at that age?

lljkk Tue 25-Sep-12 22:06:19

Don't despair, IWILLORDERTHEFOOD, at 5.5yo DD was the most hysterical scaredycat swim-learner you could imagine; now almost 11 & swims like a fish; we joke she'll sprout gills soon.

Iwillorderthefood Tue 25-Sep-12 22:06:19

On the other hand what happens when they clearly do not want to go to school?

BambinoBoo Tue 25-Sep-12 22:06:53

I would have taken her home. We have only just got DS in a paddling pool as Mil tried to force him to go in one when he was 1. He's now 3.8 and only this summer went in of his own accord. Next step is swimming. He wont even put the swimming jacket on but I hope to start going with DH and DS watching and gradually he will see that it's fun and will want to join me. That's the plan anyway. But no, 3/4 is too young to force the issue IMO.

Iwillorderthefood Tue 25-Sep-12 22:06:53

DD starts ore school this week too.

lljkk Tue 25-Sep-12 22:07:19

Some people HE them!
I switched schools when DS became a school refuser (good call in retrospect, only regret I didn't move him sooner).

alarkaspree Tue 25-Sep-12 22:07:21

When ds was younger he used to enthusiastically agree to go to classes, be excited about them etc. Then when we actually got there he would throw himself on the ground and sob. Although I did eventually give up and stop taking him to the classes, I didn't immediately take him home either. I hoped that given some time to warm up and a bit of encouragement, he would join in and have fun. It didn't happen but I don't think it was entirely unreasonable to hope for. Now he is 6 and it's just this September that THANK GOD he has got over his reluctance to participate in organised sports. He does football and karate and is begging to do fencing as well...

And I also take dd to swimming lessons. She doesn't really like them, but I think it's important for her to do some kind of sport and she has rejected all my other ideas.

Iwillorderthefood Tue 25-Sep-12 22:07:29

Pre school

Noqontrol Tue 25-Sep-12 22:08:40

Sounds like that was my child. Wonder if you were at my dd's pool op. although she only cried for 20 mins not 30.

Iwillorderthefood Tue 25-Sep-12 22:09:03

I may convert the lessons we have left into either one to ones, or just try to bank them for my older child.

EndoplasmicReticulum Tue 25-Sep-12 22:10:48

That could well have been my son. I thought swimming lessons were a good idea when he was 3, I also thought if we persisted he'd get over it and start to enjoy it. He didn't. I gave up. Which was particularly galling as we'd had to pay for the whole term in advance!

Hulababy Tue 25-Sep-12 22:13:42

Whilst I do think it is good for children to learn to swim, at 3/4 years old I see no reason to force them. Almost all of our pools round here don;t accept children til 5y for swimming lessons anyway - so wait til they are at school, settled, a bit more confident. A child who is so upset isn't going to gain anything or learn anyway. Pointless exercise.

For other activities - don't force them. Out of school activities should be for fun.

BlueSkySinking Tue 25-Sep-12 22:20:40

I think it's a fine balance. Some kids would never try anything if they weren't encouraged to. The reaction of the little girl seemed quite severe though and would make me hesitate. She was very young.

Oddly enough my boys sometimes say they don't want to go to a new club and so I often bribe them with an icecream or tv time etc. They always come out telling me how much they enjoyed the club though, how much fun it was and that they made some nice friends.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 25-Sep-12 22:29:52

Our ds's (6 and 4) enjoy going sailing and canoeing with DH. Obviously they wear life jackets but one of his rules is that they learn to swim ASAP.

Ds1 is coming on great with his swimming, ds2 has become much more reluctant since the summer break from lessons.

I have to take them and it is tough when he doesn't want to get in, but he loves going on adventures with DH, and he loves jumping in at the end of the lessons so between those 2 things I manage to persuade him to join in. One dad at the pool has been tellin me every week that I'm wasting my money.

This week (week 4) is the first week that he's done the whole lesson without grumbling. He even said that it was fun smile

I suppose that every situation needs to be put into context to be understood. If he was kicking and screaming I would reconsider but then he'd miss out on things that he enjoys doing with DH.

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