"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.