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Behavior problems: What is expected, how to deal with?


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#21 Grubdad

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 08:20 AM

I posted my last reply before I read Stosh's excellent post.

 

I am torn between the punishment vs. nurture choice. I agree that Scouting should be a positive and guiding influence for all boys, and especially for those that need that extra guidance and structure because of a deficit in their own lives. I was one of those boys.

 

So I am not wanting to immediately kick anyone out, with the possible exception of the #1 troublemaker who has been a toxic element for seven years now, since I first encountered him in Cubs. I know at least three families in our Cub pack who quit Scouting because of this kid, and the lack of response to his behavior. These families never returned to Scouting, and you can bet don't have much good to say about Scouting to anyone.


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#22 Krampus

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 08:38 AM

I posted my last reply before I read Stosh's excellent post.

 

I am torn between the punishment vs. nurture choice. I agree that Scouting should be a positive and guiding influence for all boys, and especially for those that need that extra guidance and structure because of a deficit in their own lives. I was one of those boys.

 

So I am not wanting to immediately kick anyone out, with the possible exception of the #1 troublemaker who has been a toxic element for seven years now, since I first encountered him in Cubs. I know at least three families in our Cub pack who quit Scouting because of this kid, and the lack of response to his behavior. These families never returned to Scouting, and you can bet don't have much good to say about Scouting to anyone.

 

Well, as my old friend Spock used to say...

tumblr_inline_npj08hCrD11rls7hh_500.jpg

 

Seems like it is either this kid leaving or MANY kids leaving. As an SM that's a no brainer. We'd be sitting down with mom, dad and Scout to discuss his behavior and this probation. If he goes on a camp out, mom or dad have to go to....mostly to witness that we've dealt with him fairly. Give him six months. No foul language, no trouble, no bullying. One instance of any of those he's banned from the next outing and must demonstrate his changed nature during meetings and service projects. Second strike and he only allowed to attend meetings. Third strike, we have a meeting with district to discuss his disciplinary issues.

 

He will get the message before it comes to the second strike and leave.


Edited by Krampus, 10 May 2016 - 08:38 AM.

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#23 Beavah

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 08:41 AM

Occasionally one does come across a boy who is devoid of social skills that they really didn't know. Parenting skills cannot be assumed in this day and age.

 

Scouters who have been through trainin' for kids with special needs will also recognize this to be a symptom of kids with certain learning disabilities, eh? 


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#24 Krampus

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 08:46 AM

Scouters who have been through trainin' for kids with special needs will also recognize this to be a symptom of kids with certain learning disabilities, eh? 

 

Not always. There's a distinct difference between someone with learning or social disabilities and kids that are just off the rails. To those trained in working with such kids it is easy to spot.


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#25 Stosh

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 09:08 AM

Well, as my old friend Spock used to say...

tumblr_inline_npj08hCrD11rls7hh_500.jpg

 

Seems like it is either this kid leaving or MANY kids leaving. As an SM that's a no brainer. We'd be sitting down with mom, dad and Scout to discuss his behavior and this probation. If he goes on a camp out, mom or dad have to go to....mostly to witness that we've dealt with him fairly. Give him six months. No foul language, no trouble, no bullying. One instance of any of those he's banned from the next outing and must demonstrate his changed nature during meetings and service projects. Second strike and he only allowed to attend meetings. Third strike, we have a meeting with district to discuss his disciplinary issues.

 

He will get the message before it comes to the second strike and leave.

 

If one feels that the problem lies with just the boy and that only the parents can deal with it, they are missing out on a major learning opportunity for the PL, the patrol members and the adult working with the program.

 

First of all if one is using the patrol-method, how is the this boy not isolated from the rest of the troop?  And why aren't the patrol members taking care of each other?  Maybe the PL needs some extra guidance/support from SPL in handling this issue?  What adult resources are going into this issue?

 

I have had more than one occasion where the boy who is seeking attention gets positive attention from his patrol mates and settles in quite nicely. 

 

If one is using the troop-method, it offers up a wide range of distractions and a greater audience to draw from and does nothing but cause major problems.

 

I find that the biggest "trouble makers" are those that have found it difficult to find a comfortable "home" in their patrol and their "friends" have not been very friendly.  Under these circumstances, maybe more than just the one boy ought to be kicked out for not taking care of their buddies.

 

Once one figures out that the leadership, maturity and boundaries all fit together, things run a lot smoother.  I have mentioned many times I don't seem to have these kinds of problems in my troops, and I really don't think the make up of my boys is any different than for anyone else's.


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#26 Krampus

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 09:14 AM

@Stosh, from the sounds of things this kid has been a pain of many years. The Patrol Method may not be the answer.


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#27 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 09:31 AM

 

I have had boys quit the troops over the years, but I have never had to "send a boy home", "have his parents come and pick him up" or tell him he can't be part of the troop any longer.  If I ever get to that stage of the game, I'll quit Scouting because I can no longer an effective Scouter.  All the boys that join my troop are my responsibility to HELP out, not KICK out.

@Stosh

 

I fear my comments may have been taken the wrong way here. I am not advocating sending a scout home as a run of the mill, standard reaction for someone who has behaved badly. It is very much a “nuclear option” used in exceptional circumstances. In 20 years as a scouter I have been forced to use it in on just 4 occasions. Twice with cubs* and twice with scouts. On each occasion my own moral has taken a battering.

 

The two scouts were both part of a gang of 5. When I took over my current troop in 2009 I inherited a discipline problem from the previous SL. It sounds almost identical to the OP. This gang were rude to scouts and adults alike, constant back chat, constant attempts to intimidate. I tried every trick in the book to get them interested and engaging. They all failed. Eventually I laid down the law. 3 of them pulled their socks up because, basically, they liked scouts and realised it was time to choose it or lose it. The other two eventually got sent home. One was almost immediately afterward for calling me stupid in front of the whole troop. The other one was nearly a year later when she slipped back into her old ways after an initial improvement. She sat on the ground during a night hike and refused to move when she didn’t get her own way on something. I say sent home. I tried to get her parents on the phone but they didn’t pick up. Both came back for a while then later on quit.

 

It wasn’t something I wanted to do, or enjoyed at all. In fact I felt like a failure on both occasions. Those incidents were (I think) both in winter 2009/10. I’ve not had to do it since or even threaten to do it. If I am ever pushed again though, if I ever have scouts ruining things either for the other scouts or the adult volunteers on my team I won’t hesitate to do so again.

 

*The two cubs incidents were very different. Both for out of character one off incidents where again I was left with no choice. 


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#28 Beavah

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 09:36 AM

OP here. Thanks for the responses. I am getting some very useful input here.

 

I had lunch yesterday with one of the dads from our previous Cub den who is a good friend. We decided it would be a good idea for the four former Cub dads who were on this campout to meet with the SM to talk about the experience, share what we observed, and see how we can improve.

 

I was reminded by my friend about yet another incident last weekend where the #1 perp on this trip also made a particularly bad racial slur. This was not one of those little comments that could have been open to interpretation, but instead a sweeping condemnation of an entire racial group. This sort of thing, if I ran things, would have resulted in serious punishment. I don't think the SM was aware of it, though.

 

If it were up to me, I would take the five bad apples and tell them they were on strict probation until further notice. This would mean that at the next event, the most minor infraction would result in them being separated from the troop and their parents being called to come pick them up. This may not reform all of them, but it would sure send a message to them and the rest of the troop. As it is now, all the other Scouts see is that these five have all the power: The power to disrupt. The power to get attention. The power to intimidate. The power to get away with it.

 

I also really like the idea of the parents of the bad apples being required to attend the next event and micro-manage their boy. One problem is that the absolute worst one belongs to an ASM, who has always been incredibly hands-off regarding any sort of discipline. In Cubs he would often stand by passively while his boy was being obnoxious or mean. But I don't think he wields any political clout, and he's a pleasant enough guy, so I don't foresee any major resistance there. But I don't foresee any major improvement, either.

 

I actually think most or all of these problem boys want to be there. I think to them it may be an opportunity to get away from adult supervision to violate boundaries and run wild.

 

Keep the suggestions coming! Thanks!

 

Yah, hmmmm....

 

So a group of newbies is goin' to go to the fellow who has been runnin' things for years and demand changes after goin' on one trip, eh?   Like da custodian at Hogwarts they want to see some punishment!!! :mad:

 

How do yeh really think that's goin' to go?  

 

In many troops it's goin' to get a CC or SM sittin' with da group, listenin' and noddin' sagely, thankin' 'em for their input and then havin' the "this is not Cub Scouts and you are not in charge" conversation.  Comin' in and demandin' to see some punishment of other people's kids isn't a great way to start life in a new program.  Not even punishment, eh?  Yeh want to see someone else's kid kicked out!   Helicopter parents can be really destructive to good Boy Scoutin'.

 

Besides, you don't know these boys yet, eh?   What experience yeh have with troublemaker #1 is from years ago.  That's what's known as "prejudice", eh?  Kids change with time, often lots.  

 

I know this is hard, eh?  Yeh apparently have a tight-knit bunch of kids and former Cub Scout parents who all joined this troop together as a fully intact clique.  Yah, yah, all those new crossovers are great kids, eh?   They would never use bad language when you weren't around.  :laugh:   And you'd know, because you are around on everything the lads do, right?

 

In Boy Scoutin', we take kids of all ages and backgrounds from all sorts of families, eh?   Some whose families use more colorful language, some who might be from broken homes where the lads are still learnin' better behavior.  Scoutin' isn't a gated community, and we really don't do punishment. 

 

I return to my original diagnosis.  Yeh need to sit back and stop rabble rousin'.   No comments until yeh really become a member of the troop and not just your den, eh? Get to know all of the good things about the troop, and the older boys, and the Scoutmaster, and da other adult leaders and parents.   Settle in, and give yourself time to get comfortable with da chaos of youth leadership that yeh never had with dads runnin' the show in Cub Scouts.

 

Just like workin' with kids, yeh have to spend at least 4 times discoverin' and praising the good things they do before you'll ever be successful in pointin' out one thing that they might improve on.  Other parents will listen to yeh more after you have built up some social capital, just da way kids will.

 

Then, down the road a ways, if your son feels there are issues go talk to the SM.   But if yeh take anyone with you, at least half of 'em have to be parents of older boys who weren't part of your den/pack. :unsure:

 

Beavah


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#29 Stosh

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 09:37 AM

Most problems if left untreated for many years will tend to get worse over time.  As SM go to the parents and tell them their child needs professional help and see how far you get.  :)

 

When I was in the ministry I would teach Senior High Sunday School, Middle School confirmation and late grade school Vacation Bible School.  That way I have many consecutive years with the kids in my congregation.  When the 4th grade Sunday School teacher gave me a dire warning about "Johnny" who would be coming into my VBS class in the summer.  He had been a pain in every teacher's neck since the start of 3 year-old's Sunday School.

 

Well, what they couldn't figure out is why I didn't have a problem with him in VBS and Confirmation and by the time he got to HS he was doing well.  I didn't have the heart to tell them the problem might not have been the boy.  My first clue?  The 4th grade Sunday School teacher gave me a dire warning......


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#30 Stosh

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 09:52 AM

@Cambridgeskip

 

My comments were never meant as a judgment of anyone.  Not everyone has the skills or background to handle difficult situations and I completely understand that.  Not all SM's are good with ADD/ADHD or Autism or any one of a number of social issues and/or even physical and mental problems that young boys are challenged with. 

 

Yet how we react to those things tells us as much about ourselves as it does about those we encounter.

 

Psychology has always taught us that there are only two options we face at times like this Fight or Flight.  Or lets put it this way, are we going to engage the problem or are we going to separate ourselves from the problem?

 

So I can put a scout on probation for 6 months and wait for him to fix his own problem (which he has had all his life) or one will officially make the separation know to the world. 

 

Or I can engage the scout for 6 months and find out what the issues are and whether or not I can help him.  Now I might not personally be able to help him, but maybe I can find others who can if I have a good handle on understanding his problem.

 

I find I drag less guilt home with me with the second option.

 

I have had a lot of experience with at-risk kids over the years and one of the first things I did for self-preservation in the program was to realize I was the "outsider"  I had to engage and understand their situation in life if I was going to be of any help in their lives.  Let's put it this way, If I couldn't get through to these kids they didn't get kicked out of the program, they got sent to jail.   I was their last chance.  The onus was on me! NOT THEM!  I had to step up my game for them!  Over the past 45 years, my perspective has never changed whether it be with at-risk kids, church group kids, scout kids or neighborhood kids, it's all the same.  I might be their own chance... and I don't know which ones they are when they come to me.


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#31 qwazse

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 09:58 AM

Everyone has a list of behaviors they think they'll countenance or not. That changes over time. And as we mature as scouters (i.e., accumulate a series of regrets), how we deal with things on that list gets modified.

 

As a unit leader It is important

- for parents to tell me if they observed something that I missed,

- for the boys to be able to tell me what went on from their perspective,

- for them to reconcile with their fellow scouts,

- for all of us to be willing to change so things go better next time.

 

If that's happening most everyone will stick together. If not, someone will go home and maybe stay there.


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#32 Beavah

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 10:00 AM

Not always. There's a distinct difference between someone with learning or social disabilities and kids that are just off the rails. To those trained in working with such kids it is easy to spot.

 

Yah, always.  It's always a symptom, eh?   It just might not be da diagnosis. :)

 

I reckon a kid being "just off the rails" also isn't much of a diagnosis, eh?   More like da sort of story we make up in our heads to justify a response to a lad that's more based on our emotion than our thoughtful better nature.

 

For me, there are really only two times to remove a lad. 

 

One is when the troop lacks the capacity to deal with his issues.  This varies by troop, and it varies within a troop over time dependin' on the strength of the youth leaders and the adult leaders.   I personally like da rascals, eh?  Others, like this OP, perhaps not so much.

 

The second is when it's necessary pour encourager les autres.   Sometimes, especially in turn-around situations, yeh have to leave one body on da floor to let the rest of the lads know you're serious, and to let the good kids know you've got their backs. 

 

Both should be rare, eh?  The first because yeh should be havin' those conversations up front; the second because when things are runnin' well and youth leaders are doin' their job and adults have deeper relationships with kids yeh can steer by makin' small corrections.  Yeh don't need nuclear options.

 

Anyways, that's another reason why just goin' in and demandin' to see some punishment or to see one lad removed isn't good for a troop, eh?   Such things only work if they're done well and as part of a bigger picture.   Adults just punishin' kids sets up adult vs. kid dynamics that aren't healthy.  Just like Hogwarts, eh?

 

Beavah


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#33 Krampus

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 10:19 AM

Yah, always.  It's always a symptom, eh?   It just might not be da diagnosis. :)

 

I reckon a kid being "just off the rails" also isn't much of a diagnosis, eh?   More like da sort of story we make up in our heads to justify a response to a lad that's more based on our emotion than our thoughtful better nature.

 

For me, there are really only two times to remove a lad. 

 

One is when the troop lacks the capacity to deal with his issues.  This varies by troop, and it varies within a troop over time dependin' on the strength of the youth leaders and the adult leaders.   I personally like da rascals, eh?  Others, like this OP, perhaps not so much.

 

The second is when it's necessary pour encourager les autres.   Sometimes, especially in turn-around situations, yeh have to leave one body on da floor to let the rest of the lads know you're serious, and to let the good kids know you've got their backs. 

 

Both should be rare, eh?  The first because yeh should be havin' those conversations up front; the second because when things are runnin' well and youth leaders are doin' their job and adults have deeper relationships with kids yeh can steer by makin' small corrections.  Yeh don't need nuclear options.

 

Anyways, that's another reason why just goin' in and demandin' to see some punishment or to see one lad removed isn't good for a troop, eh?   Such things only work if they're done well and as part of a bigger picture.   Adults just punishin' kids sets up adult vs. kid dynamics that aren't healthy.  Just like Hogwarts, eh?

 

Beavah

 

Sorry, @Beavah, it is not always a symptom either. What did Mama Beavah teach you about absolutes like "always"? ;)

 

I will disagree with you on your two conditions. There are times that you have to remove a kid because of his potential to cause issues too. Part of making things safe for everyone is avoid issues before they happen. I am not about to take Powderkeg Jr., to Philmont and get in the back country with him. If he's poison at troop meetings, service projects and camp outs, imagine what he will do on a 75 mile trek in the back country.

 

One of the toughest things we as Scouters will ever have to do is give up on a kid for the good of the unit. It is a bad feeling knowing you have a kid that has a poor family life, no role models and a not-so-bright future, and you have to let him go because he's not able to be corralled. Everyone has a breaking point and for a Scouter to know when to give up on a Scout is one of the hardest things they will have to do...but it does happen even though we may not want to admit it to others...or ourselves.


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#34 Grubdad

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 11:21 AM

Hey "Beavah". I'm getting a little exhausted by your mis-quoting me and making wildly incorrect assumptions.

 

In your first post you said: "First, speak to the Scoutmaster as a friend and supportive individual.  Have other parents do the same.  Lots of times it helps to be confronted with the impact a poorly behaving boy is havin' on da other boys.

The second suggestion is that yeh need a new Scoutmaster, eh?"

 

I wasn't even considering your second suggestion because it certainly did not seem to be my place to advocate this, and I think the SM is a good guy and I'd like to help him.

 

Later you paste my quote: "We decided it would be a good idea for the four former Cub dads who were on this campout to meet with the SM to talk about the experience, share what we observed, and see how we can improve."

 

And you twist that around and accuse me of: "So a group of newbies is goin' to go to the fellow who has been runnin' things for years and demand changes after goin' on one trip, eh?"

 

How do you reconcile this? My post agreed exactly with your first suggestion, but you later twist it around to accuse me of being "demanding". 

 

You then make the wild assumption: "Besides, you don't know these boys yet, eh?   What experience yeh have with troublemaker #1 is from years ago.  That's what's known as "prejudice", eh?  Kids change with time, often lots."

 

Wrong. Last fall our Cubs camped with this troop as visitors. Troublemaker #1 and his toadie went next door to a private campground in broad daylight and urinated in the middle of it to annoy the families there, which they did. He then lay down on the center line of the adjoining highway to show off. He mouthed back to several adults including myself, and terrorized many of the kids in our den and the rest of the troop. This was all in the course of about six hours. Then, a month ago he was at an activity with another troop and he and the same accomplice did something so egregious that our SM was contacted about it by their SM, resulting in a reprimand for those two and a lecture to the rest of the troop. I don't know the offense, but it was certainly unacceptable. So I have pretty current experience. And you accuse me of "prejudice"?

 

Then you said: "Yah, yah, all those new crossovers are great kids, eh?   They would never use bad language when you weren't around."

 

Is this sarcasm useful in any way? Not to mention, again, assuming something I never said.

 

You said:" Yeh need to sit back and stop rabble rousin'."

 

Again, a total contradiction to your initial suggestion, where you suggesting the extreme action of replacing the SM, which I disregarded.

 

And identifying bad behavior and looking for a way to improve it is "rabble rousing?"

 

Your input has stopped being useful in any way.


Edited by Grubdad, 10 May 2016 - 11:24 AM.

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#35 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 11:59 AM

@Cambridgeskip

 

My comments were never meant as a judgment of anyone.  Not everyone has the skills or background to handle difficult situations and I completely understand that.  Not all SM's are good with ADD/ADHD or Autism or any one of a number of social issues and/or even physical and mental problems that young boys are challenged with. 

 

Yet how we react to those things tells us as much about ourselves as it does about those we encounter.

 

Psychology has always taught us that there are only two options we face at times like this Fight or Flight.  Or lets put it this way, are we going to engage the problem or are we going to separate ourselves from the problem?

 

So I can put a scout on probation for 6 months and wait for him to fix his own problem (which he has had all his life) or one will officially make the separation know to the world. 

 

Or I can engage the scout for 6 months and find out what the issues are and whether or not I can help him.  Now I might not personally be able to help him, but maybe I can find others who can if I have a good handle on understanding his problem.

 

I find I drag less guilt home with me with the second option.

 

I have had a lot of experience with at-risk kids over the years and one of the first things I did for self-preservation in the program was to realize I was the "outsider"  I had to engage and understand their situation in life if I was going to be of any help in their lives.  Let's put it this way, If I couldn't get through to these kids they didn't get kicked out of the program, they got sent to jail.   I was their last chance.  The onus was on me! NOT THEM!  I had to step up my game for them!  Over the past 45 years, my perspective has never changed whether it be with at-risk kids, church group kids, scout kids or neighborhood kids, it's all the same.  I might be their own chance... and I don't know which ones they are when they come to me.

 

@Stosh

 

It's not about the skills or otherwise to handle situations like autism or ADHD. To be blunt, been there done that. Over twenty years I've seen most forms of difficulty. In the vast majority of occasions with the right effort and program and support you can get the best out of even the most difficult. Scouting has that bit of magic to do that! The stories I could tell of that sort vastly out number those where I couldn't do anything.

 

Those two scouts who I sent home had one thing in common.

 

They didn't want to be scouts.

 

They came because their friends were there. They were there to hang around with them. Beyond that there was nothing that scouting was offering that they wanted. The outdoors. The patrol system. Service to others. None of those fundamentals held any interest for either of them.


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#36 Krampus

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 12:01 PM

Last fall our Cubs camped with this troop as visitors. Troublemaker #1 and his toadie went next door to a private campground in broad daylight and urinated in the middle of it to annoy the families there, which they did. He then lay down on the center line of the adjoining highway to show off. He mouthed back to several adults including myself, and terrorized many of the kids in our den and the rest of the troop. This was all in the course of about six hours. Then, a month ago he was at an activity with another troop and he and the same accomplice did something so egregious that our SM was contacted about it by their SM, resulting in a reprimand for those two and a lecture to the rest of the troop. I don't know the offense, but it was certainly unacceptable. So I have pretty current experience. 

 

Well, based on that first incident, that Scout would get the following in my troop:

  • He would be barred from any future camp outs for six months.
  • He would be limited to service projects and troop meetings.
  • He would be forced to write a letter of apology to the park or whomever owned the facility.
  • We would have a meeting with him and his parents where we review the troop's code of conduct, the Oath, Law and expectations of him.
  • He would be told that ANY violation as profane as his recent actions would be grounds for us to recommend termination of his membership from our unit and that he would be barred from participating in ANY future unit activities. Funds would NOT be refunded.
  • We would document all of this, have him and his parents sign, a district rep would be present and we would file a copy in our unit records, give him a copy and give a copy to the district.

ANY violation approaching the level of indecency you stated above would kick in his termination. 

 

There's no place in Scouting for that behavior. Your SM has his head, well....it ain't in the sand. Cannot believe anyone would let that situation go for more than 24 hours. That's just dumb.

 

There would NOT have been the chance for a second incident in my unit.


Edited by Krampus, 10 May 2016 - 12:04 PM.

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#37 Stosh

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 12:38 PM

@Stosh

 

It's not about the skills or otherwise to handle situations like autism or ADHD. To be blunt, been there done that. Over twenty years I've seen most forms of difficulty. In the vast majority of occasions with the right effort and program and support you can get the best out of even the most difficult. Scouting has that bit of magic to do that! The stories I could tell of that sort vastly out number those where I couldn't do anything.

 

Those two scouts who I sent home had one thing in common.

 

They didn't want to be scouts.

 

They came because their friends were there. They were there to hang around with them. Beyond that there was nothing that scouting was offering that they wanted. The outdoors. The patrol system. Service to others. None of those fundamentals held any interest for either of them.

 

How can one kick a boy out of a program that might have been physically present but mentally and emotionally absent?  Those boys had already left long before you said a word.


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There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#38 Beavah

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 05:17 PM

Yah, Hmmmm....

 

@Grubdad, we're all tryin' to figure out what's goin' on in your program from afar, eh?  As you keep sharin' information, we keep updatin' our own thoughts and offerin' new suggestions.  Yeh get to take 'em or leave 'em or stew on 'em. :)

 

Yeh seem like a fellow who has some vision and leadership ability, who might make a fine Scoutmaster in a few years.   With that in mind, let me illustrate how I read your last post (droppin' all the I'm mad at Beavah parts).   Feedback can be a gift, eh?

 

Last fall our Cubs camped with this troop as visitors. Troublemaker #1 and his toadie went next door to a private campground

 

I've never in my life seen an adult who was good at workin' with youth call a boy a "toadie", eh?   That's just not what good scouters do, no matter what a boy has done.  So when yeh did this, the message I took from it was that you aren't really used to workin' with a range of youth of this age yet. 

 

in broad daylight and urinated in the middle of it to annoy the families there, which they did. He then lay down on the center line of the adjoining highway to show off.

 

What I notice is that you are inserting motives - "to annoy the families there", "to show off".  I reckon if we're honest, we really don't know the lad's motives, eh?  The actual actions were that boys peed in a field and a boy laid down on a road.   Given your first bit, I'm not sure how much is the boys' behavior and how much is your view of their behavior because they're Troublemaker #1 and Toadie in your mind, eh?  It's missing context, and the context matters.  After all, I've laid down on roads and peed in fields. ;)

 

So my question is whether the lads' Patrol Leader knew, and what he thought about it?  The SPL?  Other adult leaders who weren't visitors?

 

At some level, these are actions which could merit relatively strong response, so I'm wonderin' why the SM and other troop leaders chose somethin' less.  Was it that they had more information or were less concerned?  Or was it that they're conflict adverse when it comes to addressin' youth behavior of this sort?

 

He mouthed back to several adults including myself, and terrorized many of the kids in our den and the rest of the troop.

 

Yah, you were a visitor, eh?   It wasn't really your role to be talkin' to the lad, and he didn't really know you from Adam.   Now, boys shouldn't mouth off to visitin' adults either, though occasionally I've had Patrol Leaders ask an adult politely to mind his own beeswax so that he could handle it as a PL :unsure:.  At the same time, if you copped some attitude with the boy, then yeh invited him to do the same.

 

How do you think your lad was "terrorized?"  Lads who are truly terrorized almost never return, eh?

 

Then, a month ago he was at an activity with another troop and he and the same accomplice did something so egregious that our SM was contacted about it by their SM, resulting in a reprimand for those two and a lecture to the rest of the troop. I don't know the offense, but it was certainly unacceptable. So I have pretty current experience.

 

Nah, this isn't "experience", eh?  This is hearsay.   You weren't on the outing, and you don't know the offense.  In the grand scheme of things, it's really very unusual for a new parent in a troop to be bringin' up stuff about a boy that is second hand that way.

 

Now, it does concern me that someone was lecturin' the whole troop about the behavior of two boys (unless da rest of the troop was in on it, too?). 

 

-----

 

So you're sendin' up some red flags, eh? 

 

I'm just askin' yeh to take a deep breath and reflect for a bit.

 

Overall, it sounds like the Scoutmaster might be a bit conflict-adverse, and not quite up to doin' what he should in terms of respondin' to the boys' behaviors.  Scoutmasters who are good at addressin' boys' behaviors tend to Praise in Public and Reprimand in Private, eh?  Not lecture da whole group. Keep in mind that there's not much yeh can do about that as a new fellow, eh?  Folks don't really change their personalities or approaches just because a new guy talks to 'em.  So yeh can give polite feedback and let him know he has your support in shiftin' more to quiet consequences and less to riot acts.    

 

It also seems you've got expectations that might not quite fit what troops are about, and that yeh might have it in for this one lad.  That can cause as much or more grief for a troop as a boy who behaves poorly.   So if on reflection yeh think that you've got it in for this boy a bit because of past history, then I think yeh have to step back.  Let one of the other parents who has less history with the boy meet with the Scoutmaster.   Spend your time helpin' your lad practice his knots or get his pack together for da next campout, eh?  It's much more rewardin'.

 

Or yeh can just ignore cute old furry critters, eh?  Da choice is always yours. :eek:

 

Beavah


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#39 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 11:47 PM

How can one kick a boy out of a program that might have been physically present but mentally and emotionally absent?  Those boys had already left long before you said a word.


To be clear, I didn't kick them ( it was one boy and one girl by the way!) out. In specific occasions I sent them both home, which is a big difference. It's the short sharp shock which, on vanishingly rare occasions, is what is needed to demonstrate that no, you are not going to get your way here. The up shot on both occasions was that they left of their own volition.. They left not because of being sent home as such but because of what it represented, that the movement was bigger than they were and they were not going to be allowed to have their own way if it meant that they disrupted it for others.
There was something that was bigger than they were.

On that point of how can you kick someone out who's heart isn't in it? Seems to me quite easily if I was ever forced to. Thankfully I never have had to. If they are physically there though then yes, in all practicalities, you can remove them if necessary.


Edited by Cambridgeskip, 11 May 2016 - 12:26 AM.

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#40 qwazse

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 05:12 AM

... How do you think your lad was "terrorized?" Lads who are truly terrorized almost never return, eh? ...

Beav, you are knawing the wrong end of the tree here.
"Harangues", "bullied", "terrorized" have nothing to do with how the victim feels. They have to do with the goals of the perpetrator.
How lads respond depends on their upbringing, I and my buddies were brought up to "get big" and "don't get mad, get even" and as a result any perpetrator was roughly three strikes (in our little minds,that rounded up to 7 times 70) away from recieving leveling punches. And when that happens, the SM's troubles doubled.

Likewise, with 'skip's reply, it's clear to me that he disciplined by removing the perpetrators from the event, not scouting in general. Should he question himself for overreacting? Sure, but the Bonnie and Clyde should have done some soul-searching as well. A simple "Mr. Skip, can we apologize to the troop and ask them to invite us back?" would have been in order. Happens all the time with youth who really care to be scouts.

Finally, regarding the psychobabble armchair ADHD diagnoses ... Ignoring the possibility of conduct disorder in these instances does great harm. You can reform your community around one and not the other.

Blaming the victim undermines the value of any reply.

The unit leader sets the tone one way or another. He/she trains the SPL/PL on how to react and what deserves a reaction. Any unit leader worth his/her salt welcomes feedback from newbies. Heck the one who gives the best feedback gets on the short list of his replacements. :)

Edited by qwazse, 11 May 2016 - 05:13 AM.

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