He was clearly terrified. His eyes were huge and his body was trembling. He clung to his mother's leg with his little fingers, his grip so tight I'd have to pry him finger by finger to get him into the water. I smiled to my assistant, who was taking care of the other children who were splashing and smiling, ready for their swim lesson. Then I looked toward this little guy. "No!" he wailed, when I reached toward him to take him into the water. "Want to just play on the top step?" I asked. Then, I pleaded with him, talked to him, smiled at him and sang a song. But he did not want to go anywhere near that water. I looked at his mother, "Can I just take him?" I mouthed.
She nodded. And then, with a firm grasp and a high pitched "here we go!" I spun him away from his mother and hugged him close, carrying him into the shallow end. He screamed.
This situation played out many times over the five years I taught swim lessons. When I took the child into the pool, he'd sob out of fearRead More »from Parenting Guru: Pushing a Child Past his Fear: How Far is Too Far?