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Melissa in Australia

What would you do in this situation

  

107 members have voted

  1. 1. What would you as a parent do.

    • Give child a little push
      45
    • Let child hold up whole swimming lesson
      1
    • Other
      63
  2. 2. Would you think it abusive behaviour if the parent gave the child a little push.

    • Yes
      4
    • No
      103


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Background

Child is a very good swimmer, water in pool is just below head height of 8 year old child when he is standing up. Child absolutely loves making a public spectacle of himself. The bigger the audience the better. Child was standing on the edge of the pool, all the kids in the same swimming group were already in the water waiting to start the lesson. Instructor was in the water as well. Child's parent/carer was standing next to the child. Child said to parent I bet you can't make me get in the pool. Parent gave the child a little push, child fell into water, thought the situation was amusing and joined the swimming lesson.

 

I would really appreciate some feedback on what you as a parent would do, AND what you would think if you were at the pool and you saw this interaction take place.

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If there were smiles on everybody's faces, I wouldn't give it a second thought. Or even a first thought.

 

If parent was angry, and child came up choking and distressed, I'd be on my feet and feel invested in how the instructor handled it. If my child was also in the class in this second scenario, I would also be making my way down to poolside while not taking eyes off my child, if the instructor had her hands full with the situation.

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I'd take my child home if they behaved that way.

 

But if someone else pushed their child, and the child was amused, then I'd assume it was just family culture to banter and wouldn't think twice about it.

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Honestly, I would have to be there.

 

"I bet you can't make me get in the pool" can carry some different tones.  There might be a subtle difference between a kid ACTUALLY challenging a parent's authority, and doing so in more of a teasing manner.  ETA: I mention this because if the child is actually challenging a parent's authority, I might consider just taking my kid home.  Usually when a kid says something like that, it's not that they don't want to do the lesson, so I would be calling their bluff. 

 

When we goof at my parents house (pool of similar depth) there have been times where an adult pushes a kid in a pool.  It's all in good fun, all goofing around and the push is never hard or dangerous.  NEVER is a child pushed in that can't touch, and there are ALWAYS multiple people there....but yeah, our family goofs that way sometimes.  I don't think pushing a kid in a pool is inherently abusive.

 

It could be...if the kid is terrified of the water, if the kid can't touch, etc, those things might be factors in whether or not it was abusive. 

Edited by happysmileylady
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Pushing someone into a pool is a behavior I'd expect between young friends or siblings.... hence immature. A jokester "asking" to be pushed in by his behavior is acting immaturely, the parent can choose to respond in like tone...but that's not my personal style. My kid would get a raised eyebrow which is a cue for silliness to stop and to get to his lesson. I am older, tireder, and much less patient with foolishness than I was a couple of decades ago. But, as I mentioned above, not my monkeys, not my circus if there are no safety concerns.

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I would also say, "If you don't want to get in I am fine with going home instead.  If you do want to have the lesson you must get in now as we cannot hold up the rest of the class; it is rude."

 

I wouldn't blink at the parent/child interaction in this case on the face of it; however, nuances of interaction can be hard to describe on the internet, or could differ even with the same dialogue and actions, so I can't say I wouldn't be disturbed depending on the situation.

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With the water being that shallow, I'd be worried that it might be dangerous. What if the kid wasn't ready and hit his toe too hard on the ground? Or tried to not get pushed and hit his head on the side of the pool? Or flailed his arms and hid a nearby kid?

 

As an instructor, I wouldn't approve of it, but if the kid didn't throw a fit as a result, I wouldn't kick him out of the class, and I wouldn't say more than "Please don't push him in the pool again, that could be dangerous." I might not say anything if he was right on the edge, in a position that said he would have easily just jumped in on his own from there. 

 

As a parent, I'd probably do the push him in thing, assuming it's a light push that, if he hadn't wanted to go in, he would have been able to stop himself from falling in. Maybe not in a class situation where other kids might get splashed or injured (depending on proximity). I wouldn't find it appropriate for the kid to jump in the pool on his own either, unless that was considered standard in the group (I'm assuming it might be if the kid is 8.) 

 

 

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I probably wouldn't think anything of it at all. If I did notice, I would just assume that there was a family culture of teasing and rough-housing in the pool.

 

But at our pool, the parent might get scolded by the life guard or swim instructor, because rough-housing isn't permitted around the swim lanes where lessons take place. 

 

I don't joke like that with my kids so I have a hard time imagining that scenario occurring with one of my kids. If it did, I would probably pull my kid aside to remind him that swim lessons are expensive so he shouldn't waste time joking around.

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I would probably do that in a fun setting.  I probably would not do it at a swim lesson, because at least where I live, it's against pool rules; and like cussing, I don't do it around [other people's] kids because I'd like kids to have some respect for rules, even if I don't.  :p

Edited by SKL
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Not my circus not my monkey. I think it just was family culture to tease and banter. It is not my style or how I would handle it but I really would give it no thought especially since the kid found it amusing.

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As a parent I would leave it up to the instructor and pool rules. At our pool both the child and parent would be talked to because of rules but different pools will have different rules.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I would have pushed the kid into the pool. I'm pretty sure my dad, who is 71 and sometimes takes my kids to their swimming lessons, would have done the same. I am amused that someone would consider this immature.

 

Actually, I probably would have raised my eyebrows and grinned and the kid would have realized he was about to get pushed in and jumped in himself instead.

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I would not personally push my child into the water, even under those circumstances, but my husband probably would, and our kids would have all reacted in the amused category, or mockingly protesting the issue, or gotten mad, depending on the kid & day of the week. 

 

If I were at swimming lessons with my child, a good swimmer, age 8, taunting me/daring me to "make him get in the water" I'd give him The Look and instruct him to get in the water and get to class, or we could skip swim lessons (if it was something he enjoyed), or skip our post-swim lessons activity (if swim lessons was a chore, but he was looking forward to something else after). In other words, I'd let him know with my words & actions that I didn't appreciate his attitude, and he'd better get in the water and get to class, but I would not physically push him in. 

 

If I saw another parent push their own child into the water (or babysitter pushing their charge), I'd watch the reaction of the child when he came up from the water to gauge how I felt. If the child came up laughing or smirking or amused or otherwise clearly okay and not upset, I'd assume it was fine for that parent/child duo and think nothing more of it. 

 

If the child came up gasping for breath, choking, or with tears in his eyes, mad, angry or upset, and even more refusing to go to class, I'd definitely think the parent reacted in anger and would probably, if near enough to do so, offer assistance to the child in a pretty obvious way, and maybe (or maybe not) say something to the parent. 

 

I would also be more likely to be initially alarmed if I had not heard the conversation between parent & child (where child basically dared mom to push him in), &/or if I had not already seen the child swimming previously to know he was a competent swimmer. If I heard the child dare the mom, and then witnessed this, I'd be far less likely to think anything, even if the kid came up coughing a little bit, because I've had sassy kids and sometimes that sass gets the best of you. 

 

Now, if the kid were really floundering when he came up, in a really obvious "wow, that kid can barely swim, can't reach bottom, she should not have done that!" kind of way....then I might still think it was wrong, even if I had heard the dare. But in none of the situations would I go so far as to call it abuse. 

 

For it to verge into abuse, I'd have to witness, say, repeated shovings of the kid into the water, over and over and over, with the kid coughing, gasping, choking each time, floundering, unable to get back to the surface or back to the side of the pool w/o assistance, begging the mom to stop and her not stopping, things like that. Or a mom holding a kid under water longer and longer and longer, until likewise he was coming up gasping, choking, etc. and not letting up. 

 

As you described it, I'd most likely think it was a parent diffusing a situation with humor/the unexpected to gain compliance from the kid in a way she knew would work, and it would not bother me at all, and I might even secretly applaud her for not letting the kid bully her, especially if I had heard the exchange daring her to do it/challenging her about it. 

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Depending on the tone/intent of the kid in question, and given that the child is a good swimmer and the water is deep enough, and the other swimmers are not in the vicinity, I might just gently push my child into the water.  Growing up, we (siblings) did this to each other all the time.

 

Now, if the child didn't know how to swim, or the other kids/instructor were nearby, or the edge of the pool had a wide ledge, or some other reason made it dangerous, I wouldn't.  

 

Personal background: I was pushed into a pool by an instructor the first day of my first swimming lesson.  I was terrified.  I would never, ever, push a non-swimmer into a pool, or someone who wasn't expecting (asking for) it, or someone who was inebriated or otherwise compromised.

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I would have pushed the kid into the pool. I'm pretty sure my dad, who is 71 and sometimes takes my kids to their swimming lessons, would have done the same. I am amused that someone would consider this immature.

 

Actually, I probably would have raised my eyebrows and grinned and the kid would have realized he was about to get pushed in and jumped in himself instead.

 

 

Yes.  This.

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I’d push her in.

 

As long as it wasn’t weird, I wouldn’t do anything. If it was an angry push, maybe I’d say something to the coach. Like... “what’s up with that jerky dad shoving so and so into the water??â€

 

I like goofing off at the pool. It’s more fun. I try to read the vibe of the other swimmers when we get there and swim accordingly.

We’ve been swimming at a lane pool that used to be adults only and every single time I get in the jacuzzi some adult goes on and on and on and on about how it used to be... how awful it is to swim with kids and families. At first I was patient and sympathetic, but come on!! Lighten up!! Now I say crazy things in response because it doesn’t matter. All they see is a nuisance. Not joyfullness, silliness, energy and childhood. These people are ready to be outraged and deeply concerned.

Blah. It’s a sore subject at the moment.

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In a public or club pool setting, pushing people in is against the rules and an adult who does so is setting a poor example. Not wise or safe. I was a lifeguard and swim instructor for many years and have seen serious accidents result from just in fun, not a big shove, push into the water aimed at a good swimmer.  

 

As a parent, I would not push my kid in because I expect them not to push others, including me, in. I would expect my kids to get in quickly and quit wasting valuable lesson time. Nor doing so would result in consequences later. 

 

Sounds as though this was a jokester type kid (I have one of those!) and no harm done, but I would not have done it. 

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Depends on the situation. Was there any risk of the kid hitting their head or other kids when they were pushed in? Was the tone light and teasing or more like an actual refusal by the kid and an angry response by the parent? Either way there's probably not much you can do.

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my DS always refused to get into the water. The initial cold shock was just too much for him to make himself get in.  But once he was in, oh did he love swimming.  But every week it was a struggle to get him in.  So I would just walk over pick him up and drop him in.  Every week the teacher would tell DS either you get in or your mom is going to drop you in,  every week, I ended up dropping DS in.  By the end of class, I just automatically dropped him in,  It saved everyone time.  Never occurred to me that other parents might consider that a problem. DS was 100% fine once he was actually in the pool

 

I figure the parent knows the situation and if they are pushing child in, then they know that is the best way to deal with child.

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Since the class was waiting I think an 8yo, good swimmer should just get in the water and leave the spectacle for later.

 

I have no problem giving kids an avenue for goofing but just based on the op I don't think this was the time.

 

Iiwm, I'd say 'get in' and walk away without the push.

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I don't push people into the water for safety reasons, and I don't put up with shenanigans that waste other people's time and money.

 

I would probably give the child a look that clearly told him he should get in that pool immediately with no further delays or we would be leaving and he should expect unpleasant consequences when we got home.  For us, the consequences would probably be a lecture about respect and acting appropriately when part of a group and having the child reimburse us for the cost of the wasted swim lesson.  Before the next lesson I would remind the child of what had happened and clearly lay out how I expected them to behave.

 

If I saw a another parent push their child in in that situation, I would half-way expect the life guard to call them out on breaking a pool rule, but otherwise I would not think it was a horrible thing to do.  I try to cut parents who are actively parenting a lot of slack even if their choices are very different than mine.  I would be far more annoyed if another child's immature behavior was holding up my kid's class and the child's parent was not intervening in any way.

 

Wendy

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I wouldn't have thought anything of it. If there was a safety issue that's up to the instructor and lifeguards to explain and enforce.

 

My opinion is based on the fact that you said the child knows how to swim well and it sounds like his behavior may be SOP.

 

If it were a child who was obviously fearful and didn't know how to swim my opinion would be completely different.

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With all the insider details, j don't think it's an issue... but I can sure see how it would be open to misinterpretation by bystanders!

 

(Not to the point of abuse, though. Unless the local laws define child abuse quite differently than the laws in my jurisdiction.)

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I put "other" for what I would do; I wouldn't push or let him hold up the lesson or anything else, because why would I be standing right there with an 8-yr-old at his swimming lesson? I'd be in the car, reading a book and letting the instructor deal with it, lol. 

 

If I saw it? Eh, I wouldn't think anything of it. I certainly wouldn't think it was abusive. 

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I chose other, because I might push, or I might not. It would depend on everyone’s moods for the day.

 

A “bet†like that from my kids would most likely be a “push me in the pool†cue, usually. But if either were in a bad mood, then it might cause hurt feelings.

 

Unless the push was done in anger and with force, it probably would not even hit my radar that it had even happened, as I’m pretty oblivious much of the time. I can see things with my eyes, but it doesn’t register any type of judgement in my brain. So no, I wouldn’t think it abusive.

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I said other, I would personally be more likely to use another strategy to get them in the pool. I can totally see how it would go though. I have a kid who would be thrilled with a push and it would create a lighter atmosphere.

 

I wouldn't blink at another family doing it. If you're abusive, you likely don't play abusive in public like that.

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It's not how I would have handled it but that's because of how ds and I interact. Dh might have done something like that.

 

As long as the situation wasn't dangerous I wouldn't think twice about someone else doing it to their child. It's up to the instructor whether or not it's acceptable (some instructors don't want parents to intervene) but if the instructor doesn't want parents to be strictly hands-off then it's up to the parent how to handle the situation.

 

I do think it helped give the child what he wanted - attention - so maybe it wasn't the best idea but <shrug>.

 

ETA: I voted other. I would have talked to my child about being rude and holding up the class. Saying I would handle it differently though isn't saying I think that parent was wrong. I also voted not abusive.

Edited by Lady Florida.
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Other. I would not have given a push, but I also would absolutely not allow holding up the lesson. I'd hope the lesson began without the child

 

As described, not abusive.

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I wouldn't be amused with a kid who did this when it was lesson time.  I wouldn't push a kid in at a lesson...I wouldn't want the other kids to think that it's ok to push people in. Kids don't have the maturity to know when it's safe or when it's not. 

 

But at a friend's pool on a random day? Sure, I'd push the kid in. 

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If I was seeing this happen, I'd have probably stood up/moved toward the kid being pushed in (my first response would be to help/protect) kid comes up fine, no screaming/coughing then I'd feel a little embarrassed that I jumped the gun and I'd realize it was just how they interacted.  My only remaining concern would be explaining to my kids why so-and-so and their mom could rough house at the pool before lessons but we couldn't.  Still not my place to police their actions.

 

As a parent I could see pretending like I was going to push the kid in but I'd not likely do it.  I was "taught", at around  age 5, to swim by being thrown in the deep end.  I still have a serious fear of ALL water bodies including pools.  

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In a public or club pool setting, pushing people in is against the rules and an adult who does so is setting a poor example. Not wise or safe. I was a lifeguard and swim instructor for many years and have seen serious accidents result from just in fun, not a big shove, push into the water aimed at a good swimmer.

 

As a parent, I would not push my kid in because I expect them not to push others, including me, in. I would expect my kids to get in quickly and quit wasting valuable lesson time. Nor doing so would result in consequences later.

 

Sounds as though this was a jokester type kid (I have one of those!) and no harm done, but I would not have done it.

 

I don't push people into the water for safety reasons, and I don't put up with shenanigans that waste other people's time and money.

 

I would probably give the child a look that clearly told him he should get in that pool immediately with no further delays or we would be leaving and he should expect unpleasant consequences when we got home. For us, the consequences would probably be a lecture about respect and acting appropriately when part of a group and having the child reimburse us for the cost of the wasted swim lesson. Before the next lesson I would remind the child of what had happened and clearly lay out how I expected them to behave.

 

If I saw a another parent push their child in in that situation, I would half-way expect the life guard to call them out on breaking a pool rule, but otherwise I would not think it was a horrible thing to do. I try to cut parents who are actively parenting a lot of slack even if their choices are very different than mine. I would be far more annoyed if another child's immature behavior was holding up my kid's class and the child's parent was not intervening in any way.

 

Wendy

This, because of potential dangers and horrible role modeling. If child did not get into pool immediately, home we would go. Next time, I would get there early, so that child would have a chance to be first in the pool.

 

In the pools we have swum in, lifeguards stop any and all pushing (though I have only seen kids pushing other kids). Kids who disregard the warning are banned for the day. The pushed kids could hurt themselves or land on other swimmers. The logic is -- even if they didn't, the potential is there. Things can get out of control.

Edited by Alessandra
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I would probably lean into my child's ear and say that they need to get in the pool now. Remind them they are holding up the class. If they couldn't comply then I guess that's when we'd leave. As a witness, seeing what was described (child's reaction, etc.), I wouldn't worry.

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The only case in which I would think it abusive would be a very fearful child who is not yet a swimmer. (i was that child and I have never really gotten over fear of drowning, which might have something to do with times people pushed me in believing I would just "learn" to swim in the moment.)

 

Some parent/child relationships are also filled with more conspicuous banter and interplay, which does not necessarily have to be a bad thing.

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What you describe does not sound abusive.

 

I can't say what I would do as it would depend on the entire situation and relationship. When my kids haven't wanted to get in it has been because of fear and anxiety--pushing those children under those circumstances would not have been a good idea. That isn't what you are descrbing though.

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At times like that, I revert to a "what if everyone did that" perspective.  It's no biggie if one parent pushed one kid (a confident swimmer) into the pool one time.  But a parent legitimizing that behavior can lead to numerous kids pushing and being pushed, making things hard for the lifeguards and possibly dangerous. 

 

It's not abuse, no, unless of course the kid is not able to swim or clearly afraid of the water.  But I wouldn't do it under those circumstances.

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I wouldn't have thought anything of it.  The child was probably having fun, and was from a family where they playfully teased.  

 

Now, if I really had to say whether it was appropriate for swimming lessons, I'd say no.  There's a time for playfully teasing and pushing each other into the water, but swimming lessons isn't the place.

 

But the parent maybe felt a little awkward -- who knows.  Maybe they didn't want to hold up the lessons and just thought that was the easiest way to get the kid in the water, knowing he wouldn't mind it at all.

 

For my own child, I'd probably just "give him the look" -- as another poster said, and they'd know that now wasn't the time to goof off.

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I voted other for the first question because I wouldn't push a kid into the water, but wouldn't hold up the lesson either.  The lesson would have to proceed without the child.  I also wouldn't push a kid into the water.  While I don't think that is abusive, it can have a negative effect on the kid swimming later on.

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It wouldn't have bothered me. I've push one of mine into the pool before.

 

When I was a kid I told my dad he wouldn't push my face in my birthday cake. I truly didn't think he would. He would, and did :)

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