I've had more than one new scout urinate near or on their tent in the middle of the night because they were scared in the dark. Typically the Patrol Leaders take care of it and the adults don't over react. Actions need to be understood in context. Peeing in defiance would require a different response.
Your issue Grubdad has some history and part of the complication is the adults, or adult, are still learning the right responses. All troops and adults go through the same growth, and it never really stops. What you learn from this situation will better prepare you for the next. Our troop policies are the results of a series of situations in the past and how we handled them, or maybe more often mishandled them.
What's really hard about dealing with misbehavior is most new adults instinctively want to react with a compassionate response because we truly want scouts to grow from their experiences. The problem is that human nature combines our past experience with our self-serving desires and misplaced compassion gives the wrong self-serving expectations. In other words if you give a scout a yard, he will want a mile and repeat his behavior to see if he can get it. And for those adults who use the "Three strikes your out" approach; Please!
What I learned from my experiences over the years is to not take a scouts behavior of any type personally. And practice holding the scout accountable for his behavior, whether it's good behavior or bad. And hold them accountable as soon as you can so that they can process their the right and wrong of their decisions. Holding a scout accountable is as easy as asking what parts of the law they used or abused in their decision.
Our goals as adults is to help scouts develop habits of making right decisions. So, if we can just get them to reflect on the consequences (not being friendly, courteous or kind.....) of wrong decisions, hopefully they eventually want to initiate the habit of making right decisions.
Truth of the matter is that the more wrong decisions as person of this age makes and are held accountible, the faster they learn to change. I learned that from a youth counselor long before I was a scout leader. I just didn't really respect what he said until it was applied in the troop. Up to a limit, we want scouts to make bad decisions so they learn the habit of making good decisions. What gets in the way are those few scouts who don't want to be there in the first place and actually enjoy the stress they create. I just hand those guys off to the parents and let them deal with it.
In a boy run troop or patrol, the objective is to get the group thinking of right decisions so that they as a group hold individuals accountable for their choices. They may not mention the scout law, but they all know right from wrong because they continually hold each other accountable. As the scouts develop a maturity of holding each other accountable for their behavior (good and bad), the adults learn less and less about misbehavior because the scouts have learned how to deal with it or really nip it in the bud.
One example off the top of my head is when I walked over to watch the scouts play Capture the Flag. I was far enough in the woods that the scouts didn't know I was there. As one of the new scouts ran by at full speed, he said a few four letter words. An older scout running near him said, "hey we don't talk like that here". The new scout said "got-it". All that happened in just a few seconds and without much thought. But the group as a whole excepted that the language was wrong and as a whole nipped it in the bud before the behavior become a problem.
Sounds easy, but that kind of culture takes some time to develop. It starts with adult expectations and how to deal with good and bad behavior.
You will eventually get it, we all do with a little practice.
Edited by Eagledad, 12 May 2016 - 02:21 PM.