Monday, December 24, 2012

Fear, Kids and Swimming - Part 2



Learning to swim “is” without question, “the” way to prevent drowning. Whilst the biggest single factor that stops people from learning is fear, fearlessness of water is also a huge risk factor.

Whether you are a student or a swim teacher, even the most basic understanding of peoples fear of water and the thought processes that confront them when they approach water is arguably “the” most important thing you can know. There is no doubt the best way to control fear is to understand, it at least a little.

Last time Ken Myers give us some excellent incites into his own and his families struggle with the fear of swimming. This time we visit his son’s fearlessness.

Another wonderful fear we [my daughter and I – ed] share is swimming in a lake or ocean. Even if our feet are touching it is no good. Who knows what evil creatures are lurking around down there in the dark?

I am happy to say that my son did not take after me in this way. Nope, he would just throw caution to the wind and jump in without a thought in his head what he would do afterwards. He liked water, he did not care if he knew how to swim, when he jumped in and we retrieved him from the bottom he would ask me if I saw him swim! I had to explain to him that what he was doing was not swimming but sinking and how important it was that he not do that because if no one was around to get him he would not be able to breath under the water. He did not believe me; he thought he was a great swimmer. Thus, another candidate for swimming class!

English: Otto dog-paddling Removed from the fo...
I had to give them a heads up at the swim school to watch out for this one and that he was already such a great sinker. I am not quite sure which child worried me the most, especially with my fear of water. He made quick progress and was swimming like a fish before we knew it and even jumping off the diving board. He was swimming around so much that he would exhaust himself and look like he was not going to make it back to the side many times. His protective older sister who was terrified of the water would dog paddle out to save her little brother. Isn’t it amazing what courage some people get for others? We watched them both like hawks and I am glad to say that they grew into adulthood unscathed.

I guess I came by my fear naturally as well because of my mom and her unhealthy fear of water. I don’t even think she knows why she is afraid of the water but I know she never learned to swim. It was twice as hard on my mom watching my children in the early years of swimming as it was for me. I had to give her a stern talking to every time we got around water not to panic the kids. If the kids were anywhere near water she had them gripped tightly by the arm and at least five feet away. I remember an occasion when we went to visit my uncle who lived on a lake. We were walking out on his dock to take a boat ride and have a swim. She was with my daughter while she was napping and when she brought her down to the dock she had a rope tied to her life jacket! No wonder my poor little girl was terrified!

I do not really understand how fears get passed on to children. I mean even though we try not to show them our fear they still seem to pick up on it somehow. The important thing is to ease them into situations and get them proper training in a safe environment. I know people whose school of thought is to sink or swim. When I was a child my uncle threw me in because he thought it would do me good. It did not, I panicked and he had to dive in after me. I also do not think you need to give in to their fears and protect them from ever being in or near the water. Everyone needs to learn how to swim at least enough to keep them from drowning.

Author Byline: Ken Myers as an Expert Advisor on multiple household help issues to many Organizations and groups, and is a mentor for other “Mom-preneurs” seeking guidance. He is a regular contributor of “www.gonannies.com/”. You can get in touch with him at kmyers.ceo@gmail.com.

Enjoy
Richard

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