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BOTD 04-25-2017 Swimming into Danger - An 18 Smacked Production

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Skater

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Bransom Postmaster
Swimming into Danger
An 18Smacked Production



Sawyer - 11
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You took your eleven year-old son, Sawyer, to the beach for a fortnight holiday. He is a fairly good swimmer, but tends to think he is stronger than the reality of the matter. You cautioned him about where he could and couldn't swim, so that he would avoid the area of the beach where strong rip-currents and undertows are known to occur. You were pleased when he had made friends with three boys about his age who were also on holiday here. But, in what seems like a show of bravado, you notice the boys (all of them, including your son) swimming up to the place where you had cautioned. Twice now, you sternly spoke to them about where they must avoid, and you explained why. But, a day or two later, they start encroaching on your limits once again.
Sawyer is no stranger to feeling your hand on his bare bottom, and you also brought the hairbrush you use for more serious matters. You reminded him to mind you while on holiday- right when you arrived at the little beach house you rented for the fortnight. Was that sufficient notice, or does he deserve another chance before serious consequences are levied? And, what should those consequences be, exactly?


What is the best way for you to address a serious situation, before it gets deadly serious?


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AFinch

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Sherrif
I think a natural consequences approach is more effective here than a spanking. That is, if he can't manage to swim where he's permitted, then he won't be allowed to swim at all. He's sitting out for an hour, and if he fails to learn from that, next time it will be a day.

David M. Katz

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Marshall
A day's restriction from swimming. We can go in to town and sightsee but no beach tomorrow.

If that doesn't get his attention then shorts are coming down for the brush.

Kier wrote: Better he cry than I cry.


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Kat

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Editor Extraordinaire
K Club.

Kat

ivor

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Marshall
K Club too

(A brief speedo type answer Smile )

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Jack

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The first thing I'm going to do is remember that things look much different from in the water than on the shore. I'm going to swim out to the boys and very clearly indicate from this vantage where I expect them to not be. If I can very clearly tell that Sawyer has disobeyed me, then he'll be going in with me. If it's not clear, I'll wait, and tell him he's used his last chance.


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MemoryMan

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Sherrif
I like the K club approach.......................but THEY?............peer pressure and all that.

It may seem safe to them and they have already been swimming there without any problem; but rip currents are notably inconsistent.  I'm not concerned only for Sawyer's safety, I've already spoken to the other boys; now it is time to meet their parents.

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Emlyn Morgan

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Trailboss
Ah, yes, a rip tide! a strong narrow outgoing current. We have a couple at Ifni. The surfers use one to take them out beyond the waves. I know where they are, but can you always recognise them from the shore?

Here in Walidia where I am at present, I have daily experience of intentionally swimming across a strong estuarial current to reach an island. I estimate that for every yard of progress across the current, I'm carried one yard seaward by it if the tide is ebbing, or landward when incoming. But you accept it, and enjoy it! You reach a point on the island some distance from directly opposite your starting point on the bank.

So I know the theory and (in a similar current) the practice of what to do if carried out by a riptide: you accept that you can not swim against the current: you will be exhausted and get nowhere (I've tried it, but only in the estuary.) So you let the current carry you out while swimming normally (not over-vigorously - there's no panic - the sea is your friend) to the side of the current. Eventually you will find yourself out of the current and can swim back normally to the shore.

Well thats the theory. But can you swim back to shore when the tide is going out? I don't know, so I probably would panic!

Anyway, I'm going to whack that boy!

db105

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Trailboss
AFinch wrote:I think a natural consequences approach is more effective here than a spanking.

For a moment I thought you were suggesting letting him drown.

Thankfully you explained:

 That is, if he can't manage to swim where he's permitted, then he won't be allowed to swim at all.  He's sitting out for an hour, and if he fails to learn from that, next time it will be a day.

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squarecutter

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Sherrif
Sawyers swim is over... for now. Later, if I think he has taken on board the severe lecture he will get then he will be allowed back in. He gets this chance as we are on holiday but IT WILL BE HIS LAST before that brush comes out

18Smacked

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Cowboy
So, in this BOTD, I was thinking about age 12 as one of a boy's exploration and stretching the limits of what were parental boundaries that now get explored on the way to adulthood. I think (traditionally, at least) this is the age at which this most typically begins to really occur initially. But, the notion of the juxtaposition of what could potentially be a truly-life-threatening activity against that exploration, and how far a father would be willing to permit this exploring to transpire was  the interesting rub here. On the one hand, I think most parents want their children to make that transition to adulthood and wish to facilitate the process as much as possible and as is reasonable. But, when what can be extreme danger lurks, it is a parent's duty to shelter their child and  protect them from that risk. There is a delicate balancing act that all parents face, and as with any weighing instrument, those scales shift back and forth as perceptions change.

Sir Emlyn presents a great detail of the nature and danger of riptides. He is quite right; they are notoriously unpredictable, and as a result, they have frequently taken many swimmers by surprise. I got caught up against one and the force of the current practically pulled my swim suit right off my body. I remember I had to float so that my face and body were towards the sky, while I had one hand holding on to my swim suit. In the mean time, I was turned around from where I had been heading, so I ended up in a very different direction and was carried a great distance away. My parents were not watching or paying much attention, so they never realized what happened. But I do recall walking quite a far distance to get back to where my parents were sitting, once I did get back to shore. I then got very frightened over the entire experience, because the gravity of it all finally struck my brain. I have since always inquired and been cautious when swimming in areas where riptides are known to occur.

But, that is the other big (biggest?) problem with them- they are notoriously fickle! They are not a steady-state condition, but instead, something that is very variable. As a result, they have taken many a swimmer off-guard, because they are unawares that the riptide can simply start happening without notice. In fact, they can even occur below the surface of the ocean's water, with no indication whatsoever that a riptide is occurring- most dangerous, indeed! That can lead to an undertow as well, and that is even scarier.

Finally, Sir Emlyn does provide the oft stated advice of what to do should we ever encounter ourselves in the grips of a riptide, but, to my genuine relief, he confesses that he would, in fact, panic if this would happen to him. It is a relief to me to hear this, as I often had that very thought myself. I am glad to know that I am not the only one who felt that way!

Now, the responses generally are in the direction of "natural consequences," meaning not that we allow the boy(s) to actually get into any true troubles with the riptide, but rather, that we restrict his swimming times until he complies to the limits of the area where he is permitted to swim. Jack's suggestion that we swim out to where they are going so that we can appropriately define the acceptable territory for swimming (and likewise, where my son must not be swimming) as seen from the viewpoint of being out in the water, is very soundly based, in my eyes. MM suggests that I speak with the other boys' parents and get their cooperation in enforcing safe limits with all of them. I think that is another great idea, as the peer pressure notion will either work for or against my rules.

For the most part, however, the consensus says that the boy deserves a sore bottom for his foolishness. I fully concur with this thought!

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db105

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Trailboss
18Smacked wrote:I got caught up against one and the force of the current practically pulled my swim suit right off my body. I remember I had to float so that my face and body were towards the sky, while I had one hand holding on to my swim suit. In the mean time, I was turned around from where I had been heading, so I ended up in a very different direction and was carried a great distance away. My parents were not watching or paying much attention, so they never realized what happened. But I do recall walking quite a far distance to get back to where my parents were sitting, once I did get back to shore. I then got very frightened over the entire experience, because the gravity of it all finally struck my brain.

No wonder you felt scared. It sounds very dangerous. How did it happen? Were you swimming where you could not touch bottom with your feet?

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18Smacked

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db105 wrote:
18Smacked wrote:I got caught up against one and the force of the current practically pulled my swim suit right off my body. I remember I had to float so that my face and body were towards the sky, while I had one hand holding on to my swim suit. In the mean time, I was turned around from where I had been heading, so I ended up in a very different direction and was carried a great distance away. My parents were not watching or paying much attention, so they never realized what happened. But I do recall walking quite a far distance to get back to where my parents were sitting, once I did get back to shore. I then got very frightened over the entire experience, because the gravity of it all finally struck my brain.

No wonder you felt scared. It sounds very dangerous. How did it happen? Were you swimming where you could not touch bottom with your feet?

I had simply been swimming at the ocean and, as is typical with the ocean swim spots, there were no particular markers on how far one goes out when swimming, but I was not intending to go especially far from shore. It was definitely well over my head- it would not have been possible to put my feet onto any solid surface where I was at that time. I was lucky that it did not last that long, though at the time, it seemed like it was a long time. As quickly as it started, it suddenly ended.

I was about 12 or so when it happened, but even then, I was never the sort of kid who got frightened when a crisis occurred. But, after it was all over, while I was walking back to where my parents were, I started to consider how bad this might have been- then I did get scared. There were no lifeguards on the beach where we were (as is typical for most ocean swimming spots on the north east coast), so no one in particular was watching out for me. My parents knew I was a capable swimmer and, more likely than not, did not pay a lot of attention to what I was doing. This was the scariest situation I ever encountered in my life, but the scare did not hit me until after the fact.

There is one humorous aspect to all this. We'd gone as a family to the beach for the day. When I went out swimming where I was and I felt my swim suit being tugged almost off of me, I initially thought that someone was doing that to me. But who would have done that? My dad? No, not out in a public situation. My brother was not swimming with me, and no friends were with us. Yet, my first thought was- this must be someone doing this to me! Who would have done that was not in my head....

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