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Tiger Den Leader needing advice controlling own son--Suspect affecting my relations with parents

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#1 Eagle1985


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Posted 02 February 2017 - 09:02 PM

Hi all,

I need some advice on controlling my own Tiger Scout son in den meetings.  At home he's pretty good, but at den meetings he doesn't let me be "the teacher" to the den.  E.g., Interrupting, not listening, telling the den what to do, not letting me try to give the other Tiger Cubs equal chance to answer, etc.


This has gone on all year... not getting better.


He's a sensitive boy who is very competitive and prone to cry if he loses (we did Tiger-rific games tonight).



In all fairness though....
a) I suspect my own reaction to it is making matters worse.  I'll pause the meeting to tell him 1:1 (though it ends up being in front of others) to let me be the leader or to stop talking.

b) During the winter/inside months, it's easy for me to lean more towards talking/instruction during den meetings.


After 5 months of this, I feel "stares" from the other den parents -- I wonder if they are passing judgement on me as though I'm being too harsh on my own son.  (One mother is a middle school teacher).

It seems like the other parents are making great connections with one another but not with my wife and I.  On the other hand, I usually get a thank you from a parent for volunteering and do occasionally hear feedback that they are very pleased with my administration and programming. (And in all honesty, I am giving it 150%).



Separately and possibly related.....

My wife and I have separately come to a common feeling of ostracization within the Pack.  No connections with other parents/family outside of Pack/Den meetings.


Feeling discouraged,

Eagle1985, but newbie Den Leader

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#2 David CO

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 03:08 AM



Welcome to the forum.  Is this the first time that your son has had to "share" you with other people?  Sometimes young kids can become a little possessive of a parent, and act out when the parent is interacting with other kids.


This happens every once in a while in youth sports.  Do you think this could be happening?

Edited by David CO, 03 February 2017 - 03:30 AM.

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#3 Adamcp



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Posted 03 February 2017 - 07:47 AM

If it were me (and I did have my own sensitive son in my Tiger Den back in the day), I would tell him that if he did not stop the behaviors you mentioned, E.g., Interrupting, not listening, telling the den what to do, not letting me try to give the other Tiger Cubs equal chance to answer, etc., I would not take him to the next Den Meeting.  He may not actually believe you, and you may indeed need to leave him home once or twice to make the point, but unless he has other behavioral issues, I would hope that would work.  And he has A LOT of potential Scouting ahead of him. Missing a few Tiger meetings and getting him on track is well worth it, if it turns into 12 years of successful scouting.


As an aside, when I was a Tiger Den leader, I had come across the idea of a Conduct Candle.  This idea was for the whole Den.  The concept went like this: I lit the candle at the start of the meeting.  As long as the Scouts stayed in good behavioral control, the candle kept burning. If they did not, I blew out the candle until they started to behave.  I told them that at the end of the year, if the candle was burned all the way down, I would get them a prize.  (You can't pick a honking candle jar, something pretty small will do.)  It worked pretty well.

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#4 gumbymaster


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Posted 03 February 2017 - 11:12 AM

As a Den leader, this is a harder problem than what I faced.


When I was chosen to be Cub Master, I had a serious discussion with my Son about what that meant as far as how he had to behave, because I could not stop the meeting for everyone else to deal with his misbehavior.


We also have a fairly good "it takes a village" mentality in our Pack, so I made it clear to other pack leaders that I would support their calling out my son, etc., just as they would for their own, or for other disruptive members of the den.


Still, I've had to leave him home with mom from a meeting twice.  Once, somewhere in Webelos 2 I think and once, even now that he is a Den chief.  Not so much for disruptive behavior during the meeting, but in my case where a pre-meeting tantrum was not over yet, and I just knew I could not deal with both the meeting and getting him calmed down in time.


It is a hard decision, and for a week or two they will resent you for excusing them from the meeting and still going yourself.  But if they enjoy the activities and miss their friends, they will learn, for at least that hour, as a leader you have to prioritize your responsibility as a leader.  Establishing that NOW, firmly, should lead to less continued problem with it in future years.


If your council has a university of scouting or pop wow training event, this exact topic is usually one of the courses covered, and I highly recommend your attending it.  There is also usually a course on managing den behavior in general.  If not, you may find your local roundtable a source of helpful support and ideas to help manage this (and other) challenges you face.


Sometimes, part of the problem is boredom.  Chances are your son sees you preparing the meeting, or maybe you're excited about your plan and talk with him about it, or seek out his feedback.  If he already knows what is coming, it is not new and exciting, and he may feel like he doesn't need to pay attention.  If this is the case, I suggest trying to keep him as in the dark about the activities as the other scouts - hard, but worth it.


Thank you for your service, and remember that within that disruptive behavior is also a lot of pride your son has in you for being the leader.

Edited by gumbymaster, 03 February 2017 - 11:14 AM.

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#5 pchadbo


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Posted 03 February 2017 - 11:45 AM

Welcome!  I was an Assistant Cub Master then Committee Chair, what I found worked well is that the Cub Master and I "traded" sons during Scouts.  I watched his son for him to be the ring leader he needed to be and he watched my son so I could be the boring paperwork guy (as CC) that I needed to be.


The boys both "got it" soon enough.

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#6 fred johnson

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 12:08 PM

Lots of good ideas here.  One of the best parts of scouting is also for the parents to make other adult friends.  I am sad that you are missing out on that.  I'm also sure that your son can sense that too.  


There are more too ideas too.  


  • Ask someone else to be den leader next year.  Take the opportunity to step back and then really step back.  Be supportive and thankful to the new den leader.  
  • Ask people to share meetings.  Everyone take a meeting or a subject.  Then let them run it and you can sit back or sit back with your son.

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#7 Adamcp



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Posted 03 February 2017 - 12:49 PM



There are more too ideas too.  


  • Ask people to share meetings.  Everyone take a meeting or a subject.  Then let them run it and you can sit back or sit back with your son.




I really like this idea. It worked super well when I was a Den Leader. Back in Aught-Nine. ;)

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#8 Eagle94-A1


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Posted 03 February 2017 - 04:15 PM

My youngest was the same way. I called Mom and had him picked up. That helped. but did not solve 100% the problem.

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"Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt

#9 F-P


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Posted 03 February 2017 - 07:03 PM

I also had my son stay home from a meeting. He was incredulous that I was still going. I think the other boys got the hint too.
Regarding the teacher, why not ask how she handles her class, what works, etc. Might be able to get some tips and break the ice.
Also, I think one thing to remember is that you are automatically more interested in scouts than most of the rest of the parents. Where you have been planning the meeting for two weeks, they remembered the meeting twenty minutes before they needed to be there. I always felt there was a bit of divide between the leaders and the parents.
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#10 blw2


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Posted 06 February 2017 - 04:01 PM

Welcome!  I was an Assistant Cub Master then Committee Chair, what I found worked well is that the Cub Master and I "traded" sons during Scouts.  I watched his son for him to be the ring leader he needed to be and he watched my son so I could be the boring paperwork guy (as CC) that I needed to be.


The boys both "got it" soon enough.

I love this idea.... We did this back in my cub days, but it was informal and just sorta happened.... some times.

 I wish we would have formally say down and discussed this with the other scouters.


My suggestion, and this is looking at it in hind site.... I really wish that I would have learned more about the patrol method when i was working in the pack.  now I know Tigers are a long way off from this.... but I believe the concept can still work on some levels.  involve the scouts in running the show, put them to work.


I don't know if tigers is still this way, but it used to be that it was supposed to be a shared leadership thing, with scout/parent teams taking turns.  You as DL would be overseeing and facilitating, but all the scouts and parents would be engaged.


Wouldn't apply very closely, but a couple easy reads that helped me to understand the patrol method and where these cubs are ultimately going if they stick with scouts

BP's Aides To Socutmastership, you can read it online over at scoutmastercg.com

and also over there, get Clarke's book "So Far So Good."

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#11 Stosh


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Posted 06 February 2017 - 07:50 PM

The last person that can hold a child in disciplinary check is never the parent.  One does not bring the full force of parenthood down on their child outside the home.  :)  Kids know this and thus whatever they do may be punished, but, heck, they live in the present, who cares.  So parental effectiveness is pretty much a grand idea at best.


As mentioned, all disciple for one's own children should be done by another scouter.  If there are more than 2 leaders, tag teaming is even better.  One own child will normally feel that as long as their parent is the leader they will receive entitlement privilege....which in most cases is true.  The parents who think this might happen will overly react the other direction and hold their own children to a far higher standard than any of the other scouts.  This dove-tails into the other thread where the scout is losing interest, he feels he is in a no-win situation so why keep trying.


Relax, don't ignore your son, but don't interact with him any different than if he was some other leader's son.  Then deal with that leader as if your son was his.  So your son is acting up, address the problem with the other leader and ask him why he thinks it's okay for that scout to act up.  His initial reaction will be, "Because he's your son!"  To which the response is, "Not during scouts, I expect he be taken care of by my leadership corps."


When my son was in scouts, this worked really well.  Now that my son is no longer in scouts, I don't have to worry about it anymore.  :)

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#12 bearess



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Posted 10 February 2017 - 06:47 PM

I lead the Lion den, and my son is a Lion. He's a gregarious, enthusiastic kid as it is, and being inscouts with his mom as a leader exacerbates it. I've given him 'talk tokens'- he gets eight beads at the beginning of a meeting. When he wants to talk, he gives me a bead. It works well and makes him think about when to talk and when not to.
I also find that calmly dealing with issues helps. He was crying during Blue and Gold B/c he didn't get a pen from friends of scouting. I asked him to sit down and he did. It was embarrassing for me, but there was nothing to be done about it.
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#13 Appliancedude


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Posted 24 February 2017 - 12:32 AM

Take him out to dinner.  My son is a wolf and I'm the wolf den leader. And your situation is a mirror image of mine.  I finally figured out why.  He's jealous.  I took mine out to dinner before a den meeting.  Just the two of us.  And we talked.  I asked him if he know why I was the den leader.  And told him it was all for him.  His response was "and everyone else in the den".  And we talked.  And I explained to him that no, it wasn't for them.  I did it for him.  That the others just got to benefit.  But everything I do in scouts is for him.  Complete turn around in attitude.


Good luck


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#14 SSScout


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Posted 25 February 2017 - 07:36 PM

1)  If you are the Den Leader, make sure the other parents AND the Cubs know this. The Parents should make clear to their urchin of this fact. Doesn't hurt to do this publicly, let the Cubs see their mom/dad nod in unison when you make this "announcement".  "In loco parentis" still applies.

2) Make no threats you are not prepared to follow thru on.  If you make conditions (beads, candle burning, time outs, not  attending, whatever)  do it and don't look back. When the discipline/reward time has passed, move on to the next thing.  A past  punishment must NOT be used for a future problem. 

3)  Use games, "statues" or exercises ("Den Leader Says !")  when the Cubs reach their limit of attention.  Reward all the den when everyone has been successful at the project.  If one has been less than attentive, reward him for what he has accomplished. This is important. Gradually, the problem child will see he can get attention for the "good" stuff as well if not better than the "bad" stuff. 

4) Realize that you may never understand their home dynamics.  Makes no difference, ultimately.  As the Cubs mature, they realize that some of their "home" behavior can be appropriate outside the home, some of their "Scout" behavior can be appropriate at home.  But not all the time, same as at school, for instance.   

5)  Yeah you're just a well meaning volunteer, but that is the best thing.  You are not PAID in money to do this Scout stuff.  You don't have to do it, do you?  Your family's well fare doesn't depend on it, not withstanding your own Cub?   You are doing it (we hope !) because of your love of the kids and Scouting, at whatever age you ,and they , are.  


Thank you for your work on behalf of our future.      See you on the trail.  

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