Saturday, August 15, 2009

Swimming and Attachment Parenting

"If you scream, I'm going to let go." ~ I overheard this from a grandparent teaching his grandchild to swim.

"Chicken." ~ From a mother whose child didn't want to get in the pool.

As a parent who practices attachment parenting, I find statements like these alarming. If our children learn at a very young age that we will not be there for them if they don't do what we want, what do we expect from them as both teenagers and adults? I know, people say to me all the time, "I grew up that way and I am fine." I don't believe that. We are living in a world of people suffering from disease, obseity, emotional problems, insecurities, etc. I strongly believe that if we can let our children know from a very early age that we honor their personal time schedules as well as their individual needs and wants and that we will be there for them no matter what, that we can change the world for the better.

As an attachment parent I taught my children to swim without the threats, without yelling, and without ridiculing. I held them close to me in the pool when they were ready to enter the pool and always let them know I was there for them. I reassured them over and over that I would not let them go and I kept my word. If they weren't ready to dip their head, then we waited. If they only wanted to swim a few feet away from me, then I stayed nearby, if they wanted me to sit by the sidelines when they dove in the pool then that is where I was. Yes, it took several years before they were proficient swimmers but I wasn't just teaching them to swim. I was also reinforcing that I am always there for them and respect their individual time frames for learning.

For more information on attachment parenting check out these sources:

The Natural Child Project - One of my favorite sites that I recommend to all new parents!

Natural Family Site

Attachment Parenting Index - Dr. Sears

The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart - Jan Hunt

NightTime Parenting by Dr. Sears - This was my introduction to attachment parenting. I remember picking this book up in the book store and remember how it changed my life in only a few minutes of reading. I recommend this book for any new parent.


  1. It took me 9 times of taking Minnow class before I passed because I was scared to jump off of the low diving board. Mom kept enrolling me though and eventually I did it. I think good mom's run in our family!

    Positive reinforment and encouragement work wonders!

  2. We definitely are lucky Sherry! I think Mom and Dad both did a good job of raising six kids to be individuals. They never compared us or made us feel that we weren't up to par. I feel like our individual schedules were honored. That is probably why I have the most amazing siblings!

  3. Cathy:
    Most parents are only going by how they were raised and I truly believe don't know any better. I worry about these children being told this at a pool, because so many kids drown each year by jumping into a pool without anyone around!

  4. I agree that parents do have the best intentions with their children. Sorry that didn't come across in my post. I have been fortunate to have come from a family that has respected me as an individual and to surround myself with homeschoolers who treat their children in very attached ways so being at the pool all summer and hearing statements similiar to these has been a challenge for me. However, I know from my elementary teaching days that parents of all kinds do what they believe is best for their children and always have good intentions. Thanks for that reminder Jean.

  5. Dear Cathy....did you send me Parenting from the Heart??? If so, thank you!! I was just roaming around on your blog and found out it was a book you liked..and I wasn't sure who had sent it to me. Thank you!! and thank you for Dr. Sear's book too - it has been a huge help!!! We love having Anthony close by at night too!! Love you all!!