Toddler's tears at swimming show | Shanghai Daily

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September 11, 2009

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Toddler's tears at swimming show

UNDER instructions from her grandfather, an 18-month toddler performed her swimming skills in front of local media and residents in a coastal city in northern China on Wednesday, but sparked controversy at the same time.

Instructed by her family, the girl smiled to people waiting at the beach in Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province, before her performance at about 9:20am, the Hebei Youth Daily reported yesterday.

She was with her grandfather, Wang Tiemin, but suddenly burst into tears when he tied a red rope round her waist. It seemed the red rope was reminding her of what was about to happen, the newspaper reported.

Wang put the little girl into the water and she cried again when her body touched the surface. But she immediately began to perform the backstroke.

Wang suddenly grasped her legs and pulled her body out but with her head still in the water, and then let go. He repeated the exercise several times. Each time, the girl ended up on her back, floating on the surface of the water.

Wang then dragged her into the water using the rope but she bobbed up to the surface in seconds.

She completed her performance by swimming slowly to the beach with Wang's help and smiled to onlookers.

But many people are questioning Wang's motives and some even called the police, alleging child abuse.

However, Wang insisted it was his way to educate his granddaughter and said the girl wouldn't have cried if she had been accompanied by her grandmother.

A local resident, Yang Jingru, told the newspaper that Wang's training methods were acceptable.

But Chen Jianping, professor of pediatrics at a local hospital, said training for toddlers should be easy and joyful, otherwise there may be a danger of developing a distorted personality.

And Hao Qizhi, a domestic family education expert, said children under three were establishing their sense of security.

An environment lacking a sense of security could have a negative impact on their lives in the future, Hao said.




 

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