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

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#101 perdidochas


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Posted 25 April 2017 - 04:34 PM

My Cub just crossed over into a Boy Scout Troop along with 5 other of his den mates, most of whom have been together since they were Tigers. They are a great group of boys: well-behaved, active, polite, and fun (with the occasional boys-will-be-boys exception). They all love the Scouting experience, especially camping, and are thrilled to be actual Scouts now.

This new Troop seems good in many ways, very active, with a good Scoutmaster and some great older boys. But there are a few boys who are ruining the experience for many of the other Scouts, and for the parents who attend campouts and events. One is chronically mean, an instigator, a liar, nasty, breaks rules constantly, and mouths off to adults. He really is a bit scary, and I have this fear he's going to hurt someone someday. While most of the boys avoid him, he and a couple followers tend to dominate any situation. Any campout he attends has a completely different and negative and stressful mood to it. We have known him since he was in our Cub pack, and I was really disappointed to learn he's in this Troop.

There are two or three other boys who are almost as bad, and a couple more on the edge. In this bunch there is constant arguing, name-calling, bickering, physical confrontations, and foul language including various iterations of the F-word. This is combined with a near total lack of respect for others, including adults, including actively ignoring instructions or loudly mouthing back.

We just got back from a great Camporee, but this stuff really dragged us down. And the worst kid wasn't even there! The adults who attended got really getting discouraged and upset with all this. We are constantly doing damage control as an almost full-time job. Most importantly, it really damages the experience for the good Scouts in the majority, and sets a horrible example. One thing that seems obvious is that there are no negative consequences for bad behavior except perhaps a stern talking-to by the Scoutmaster. This particular situation was also hampered by really inexperienced and ineffective patrol leaders, because most of the older boys didn't attend.

My friends and I agree there needs to be a better system based on bad consequences for bad behavior. The excuses I hear, though, are that nobody wants to be the "heavy", or that "it's no better in any other Troop". Nobody wants to be the one to confront the parents of a Scout with unacceptable behavior.

What policies and procedures are in use to address this sort of thing?

Sorry for the long post, but I would really like to learn how this can be addressed. Even if I found a better troop, I would hate for my son to have to leave all his friends from the last five years of Scouting.

Thanks for any help.

I don't think they have a good Scoutmaster if the above is going on.  I'd find another troop for my son and his compadres. Kids like the above are not Scouts, they just pretend to be.

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#102 perdidochas


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Posted 25 April 2017 - 04:51 PM

Thanks a lot for the great replies. Let me clarify a few things.


I am just a dad who intends to participate in every activity and campout with my son, as I did in Cubs. I have no leadership position.


I understand policies and procedures won't fix things. I am just trying to get a feel for what is considered unacceptable, and how it is typically dealt with.


This has been a problem with these particular boys for years. Five years from our personal experiences with the #1 troublemaker I talked about first, who had also been in our Cub Pack.


These are not isolated or occasional incidents. They seem almost constant.


The Scoutmaster is well aware of these chronic issues. At this Camporee I was helping him prepare the adults' dinner and got to chatting with him a bit about it, mentioning one particular incident. He immediately rounded up the three boys involved, took each one aside one at a time, and apparently read them the riot act, from what I assumed because of all the tears. Since I and the other dads that came from our Cub Den are all brand new here, we're still learning the lay of the land, and haven't yet talked with him in depth about it. This Scoutmaster is a very good guy, but I get the feeling he might be a bit exhausted from doing this for some years. Maybe he doesn't have the stomach for meting out tough consequences? I am hoping if some of the other dads make it clear to him that we support him 100% he will be more empowered and consistent.


I spent several hours driving to the Camporee with two scouts who have been in the troop for a couple years, and they had some very useful insights and observations. I learned a lot about the situation by chatting with them.


I realize there is a balance between wishing for a perfect world, and letting chaos reign. Please keep any suggestions coming.

Just a little aside--let your Scout go on events/campouts/outings without you sometimes. Scouts need that. I was a committee member when my boys were T-21, and I went on most (not all) of their campouts, primarily because we were low on leaders willing to camp.  I let them go on their own because they need that for their independence.  

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#103 Back Pack

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 07:23 AM

I don't think they have a good Scoutmaster if the above is going on.  I'd find another troop for my son and his compadres. Kids like the above are not Scouts, they just pretend to be.

Anyone like that in my old Troop would be on probation. If they acted like that again they'd be invited to leave. I have to agree it sounds like the adults are not doing their job. That's not a "good Scoutmaster", that's a bad one.
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