Don’t Let Bullying Ruin Your Child’s Swimming Lessons

Don't Let Bullying Ruin Your Child's Swimming Lessons


You send your child to the local pool to learn how to swim, and find out later they have suffered from Bullying During Swim Lessons.  Why does this happen, and how should you handle it?  This is a question none of us want to face, but as we head into the summer months and kids being at the pool and beach we realize this might be something you as a parent will encounter. Check out our bullying facts about what how it occurs during swim lessons and what to do.

Related: Dealing with Bullying in School Sports

Bullying Facts: What Type of Bullying Happens During Swim Lessons?

What kind of bullying during swim lessons could they be a victim of?

  • Appearance.  For kids who are overweight, really thin, tall or just not as developed as other kids their age, appearance can be a huge way to be bullied.  Wearing a swimsuit that doesn’t fit well, or not having the best equipment can also be a point for bullies to pick on.  Build your kids self esteem and encourage them to not worry about what others say or think about how they look.
  • Fears.  Swimming can be one of the toughest challenges for kids to overcome.  Fear of water is very common, and younger kids especially can clam up and even cry when faced with water.  Being afraid at swim lessons can lead to being picked on, laughed at or even in some instances pushed too hard by coaches.  Make sure your child is comfortable with the water, or at least genuinely wants to become comfortable with the water.
  • Lack of Skill.  Some kids are born with natural ability and love of the water.  Other kids have to work hard to get the basics down.  When an older kids is in with the younger crowd due to lack of skill and needing more work to improve, it can be tough on their self esteem. It can also be a point that bullies will choose to pick on them for.  Encourage practice outside of the swim lessons, and also let them know that everyone learns at different paces.

What if the coach is the bully?

Address issues with someone in authority. If the coach is bullying or being too pushy with your child first address them.  If that doesn’t work, don’t hesitate to go to whoever is above them.  If you have your child enrolled in swim lessons with a local pool or YMCA you can usually find a good resolution to the problem.  No swim coach should be allowed to belittle or bully children under their care.

Related: Tips For Dealing With Bullying As A Family

Find another swim coach.  Sometimes in small towns this can be tough, but your kids and their self esteem are worth it. Find another coach or location and make sure you let them know why you are leaving.  If at all possible hold the swim coach accountable for their actions.  Bullying children is not tolerated under any circumstances.

Giving your kids a great future in the water is important.  Unfortunately bullying during swim lessons is something you have to consider could happen.  This year these bullying facts and tips will help you to avoid this problem, and recognize it should it occur.  The key is to keep your kids safe in the water and happy while learning.

Have you ever dealt with bullying during swim lessons? Are there any bullying facts that you want us to investigate further? Tell us in the comments.
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21 thoughts on “Don’t Let Bullying Ruin Your Child’s Swimming Lessons”

  1. I had been bullied throughout my youth, due to aphasia acquired at childbirth which affected my speech and ability to appropriately interact with peers, but the worst bullying experiences occurred when I was in an aquatics club and high school water polo/swim team. I loved swimming and had hoped to continue competitive swimming well beyond high school, but the way I was treated made it an unpleasant experience. I had great coaches on both the aquatics club and high school team, but I felt they were either blind to what was happening or too powerless to deal with mean-spirited teammates. I had always tried to get along with people, but those kids were intolerant of my awkwardness.

  2. It is really sad when you can’t even enjoy swim lessons with out the fear of being bullied. But thanks for reminding me that this can happen anywhere.

  3. Some people dont realize that this is bullying and they dont understand what effects it can cause. Thank you for sharing this, I hope a lot of people read this and pass it on.

  4. I would have never thought that kids would be bullied at the pool! Horrible. My kids have done a few lessons, but have never experienced this. Hopefully never will either.

  5. Sports bullying is terrible. I have seen boys on different teams belittle each other and girls tear other girls down for weight or development… it’s terrible. Thank you for shedding light on this important issue.

  6. I never even thought of the possibility of bullying during swim lessons, but I can see how it can happen. So sad that kids can’t just be kids and enjoy life with no worries.

  7. Thankfully my son is still pretty young so I haven’t had to deal with anything like this. This makes me worry about the bullying he may have to face later in life.

  8. Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    Wow, I never would have thought of that. My boys never took lessons (they are self taught), so it never occurred to me.

  9. Sadly back when I was 3 years of age and taking swim lessons, my three older sisters were there and teasing me along the way. They scared me half to death when it came time for me to go in the deep end of the local pool and to this day I am still afraid of deep water.

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