In this counseling answer:
•Try to find out what may have happened at swimming classes.
•Perhaps talk to the teacher to see if she became afraid of doing a certain lesson if she was teased or dunked underwater by one of her classmates.
•I would not recommend forcing her sister especially as she has such a strong negative reaction. I would suggest finding out why this has occurred
As salamu alaykum,
Thank you for writing for us. For five years old is a challenging age indeed! It is great that you have engaged your daughter in so many positive activities. This will help with self-confidence, social skills as well as cultivate new interests in the future.
As you stated she suddenly did not want to swim anymore and would scream and cry whenever you attempted to take her, it is possible that she got scared during a lesson or that something happened. This fear may have transferred to gymnastics. I would encourage you sister to try to find out what may have happened at swimming classes.
Perhaps talk to the teacher to see if she became afraid of doing a certain lesson if she was teased or dunked underwater by one of her classmates. While there may be no reason other than an active imagination (common at this age) it is best to try to find out if indeed something did happen.
You may also Insha’Allah sit with your daughter and engage in a coloring activity. You may want to ask her to color a picture of her and the family, of her swimming, doing gymnastics as well as other things.
If she is willing, her pictures may show you what has happened (if anything) or may give you insight as to why she no longer wants to participate in these activities. Often times children can better express what they are feeling in art mode instead of talking.
It may be that she went through a frightening experience while learning a new swimming technique and the teacher may have insisted she continue to try as part of the learning experience. Or it could be that your daughter just truly isn’t interested in these activities anymore and is expressing this through defiant behaviors.
Once you have ruled out any possible trauma, Please do Insha’Allah ask her what activity she is interested in. Ask her to name a few things she likes doing. If she is able to name interests, please do get her involved in the ones she enjoys. At this age shyness and critical self-awareness may be a hindrance to trying new things. Try to encourage her by pointing out all her accomplishments as well as assuring her you will be staying for the entire lesson should she need you.
Check out this counseling video
I would not recommend forcing her sister especially as she has such a strong negative reaction. I would suggest finding out why this has occurred insha’Allah. If you try to force her, you may be met with more resistance and increased fear. Try to work with her on choices, stating that you want her to learn new things and take classes for enjoyment and attainment of new skills, but give her a choice.
I went through this when my daughter was 5.5. I enrolled her in a youth class at the gym I went to and she did not want to go. I made her, explaining she would like it once she got familiar with the teacher and routine. Well, when we went she refused to participate and just sat on the bench. I waited for awhile while class began hoping she would join in. She didn’t.
The teacher encouraged me to go exercise that she would be fine and that she could watch. I explained to my daughter I would be in the next room and to watch the class today. When I returned tears were rolling down her face and she was in terms same spot. Years later I asked her why, she said: “mom, I was scared to death, I didn’t know anyone there gheesh”. My lesson learned. Thinking back I found it strange as a few months later she joined 3 classes and activities
My lesson learned. Thinking back I found it strange as a few months later she joined 3 classes and activities successfully. However at that moment, in that time she could not get over her fear of the unknown.
Perhaps this is what is happening with your daughter as well I don’t know. Insha’Allah, sister, it will be a passing phase as with my daughter. In the meantime, find out if there was a trauma, encourage her to pick a few activities she is interested in and continue to praise her abilities and choices. Insha’Allah if there were not any trauma or scares she went through, she will soon get over this phase and return to the active happy little girl she was.
You are in our prayers, please let us know how she is doing.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides.