When Your Child Refuses to Participate

A mom explained her exasperation when 7-year-old son, Carter, refused to continue with his swimming lessons. He had taken swimming classes the year before and advanced to the next level. However, after three weeks of lessons, Carter declared he no longer wanted to go to his swimming lessons.

His mom took him to the next lesson anyhow since they had paid for the six lesson series. Carter refused to get in the water. The next week his dad took him to the lesson and he still refused to get in the water.

Finally on the last class another instructor invited Carter to play in the shallow water. He got in the shallow end of the pool and had a lot of fun.

Upon reflecting on this sequence of events, his mom realized that Carter often lashed out in anger or acted obstinate when he was scared. She went back and talked to him about what had happened that third week of swimming class.

She learned that the instructor had the kids swimming and told them not to grab onto the wall. Carter wasn’t sure he could keep swimming but was also scared to take a break by holding onto the wall. He hated feeling terrified and so decided the best way out was to stop participating.

Once she understood why Carter was refusing to join the swimming lesson, she was able to help him come up with a better strategy for handling this type of situation in the future.

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