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Advice for disrespectful cub scouts


Best Answer MattR , 03 September 2017 - 11:57 AM

Cubmom07, first of all, welcome.

 

Secondly, I hate to say this but the reason these kids (sorry, but I won't use the term scouts) "roll their eyes at me and act like they don't hear me every single time" is because there doesn't seem to be a reason why they should. While positive reinforcement and talking to scouts about how they should act scout like is usually a good thing, there are times when they are just figuring out the boundaries. Not the specified boundaries but the real boundaries. If the worst thing that happens is they get a lecture then maybe that's reasonable.

 

I suspect there is one scout that is leading this, mainly because he doesn't want to be there, and the others are following along because, let's face it, they have power over the adults and power is fun.

 

How to solve: This is echoing Col. Flag and CambridgeSkip, but what would you do if this were your son doing this? And why? There's most of your answer. No, you can't drag a kid off by his ear but you can get him out of there. These kids need rules and consequences for not following the rules. They should be very clear to the boys and their parents. Do not back down. The reason these boys are running amok is because they know the rules don't apply to them. Make sure that you are willing to follow through on whatever rules you come up with. Also, as an unwritten rule, if one of these scouts does what you ask of him then thank him afterwards. Tell him it made everything go better and it sure is fun having him around. The boys need to know that every interaction with an adult is not a bad thing.

 

Good luck.

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#1 cubmom07

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 07:47 AM

As we start a new school year, I'm in desperate need of advice for handling a group of disrespectful Webelos 1s. The issues we have are:

 

1. They talk and goof off during Pack Meetings while the other Dens are receiving their loops or pins. I have had these boys roll their eyes at me and act like they don't hear me every single time when I ask them to stop. I've spoken to them about showing respect for the hard work the other boys have completed and even asked how they would feel if the entire room was talking while they were up front receiving their pins. No luck. They even did this during our flag retirement while the Cubmaster was speaking to the entire group about the importance of the ceremony. Parents? Completely oblivious and of no help at all. 

 

2. There have been several instances of hitting and/or fighting and every time these boys are involved in some way. One boy in particular seems to be the main problem with this situation. He has been counseled, talked to, etc, but he acts as though he thinks the leaders are idiots and he doesn't have to follow our rules. He replies in sarcastic tones and with a completely bored look on his face. 

 

3. They completely disregard requests from Pack leaders. An example (just one - attitudes like this are unfortunately all too common): Following our recent recruiting event, 3 of these boys were asked to take the trash can over to the dumpster, empty the can into it and return the can to its normal indoor place. Not an unreasonable request, right? Their initial response was "I don't touch garbage." When they were pretty much forced into helping, they emptied the can and all but one boy started walking off. When the other two were told to come back because the first one needed a buddy to help return the trash can inside, they looked back at me with blank expressions, turned around and continued walking off. At this point, I'll admit it - I lost it. I yelled at them to get back here and asked why they think its OK to ignore me. I get a lame "we were debating who was going to come back and help" which didn't help my state of mind. I told them to no uncertain terms that this wasn't something that should need debate - if someone needs help, they are expected to get over there and do it. Period. 

 

This group of boys has seriously made me question why I'm even involved in the Pack. They make me dread going to meeting and events because I'm the only adult that seems to care about their horrible behavior.  I've truly enjoyed being a part of something my son enjoys so much, but so many of the parents in our Pack completely "check out" upon arrival at an event or meeting that its difficult to know what to do. Thankfully, my son will cross over in the Spring and we won't have to deal with any of this in about 9 months, but I would like the next months to be a better experience. My son has told me on numerous occasions that he can't believe how these boys act and that he's embarrassed to be around them. Den meeting are safe from them as my son is Arrow of Light, but we have a great deal of activities involving the entire Pack and I want to make things better this Fall. I just don't know how to begin. Any helpful suggestions would be extremely welcome. Thanks in advance!!!

 

 


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#2 RememberSchiff

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 07:53 AM

@cubmom07 welcome to scouter.com

 

Bullying is a red flag and the Pack should have removed them at least temporarily.

 

As a den leader you can reject any scout from your den and it does not matter if your den is the only Web I in the pack or even undersized. The Pack could  then approach other parents to form a new den, advise scout to seek another pack, or good-bye and good luck.

 

Scouting is not for those who decide not to follow the Scout Oath and Law.


Edited by RememberSchiff, 03 September 2017 - 08:08 AM.

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#3 ItsBrian

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 08:00 AM

Hi, welcome ( I'm new myself)!

 

I worked with Cub Scouts at a day camp for the summer. They are honestly a pain, but fun. To have them listen, you should give a reward. When I was a cub scout, my den leaders would sometimes bring snacks in at the end of meetings for behaving, etc.

 

Ex: Amount of something done rewarded with a snack.

Who doesn't love food?

 

Also what I learned this summer is that you're going to have to repeat yourself over and over and over again.

 

The best thing you can do. Get parents involved! Host an information meeting explaining how X amount of parents are required to stay at each meeting. When I was a Den Chief, there were always four parents sitting in the back, even if they didn't do much, their kids knew "Wait, my mom is here, I can't do this".

 

 

Maybe you can include some type of rewarding system? Ex: Helping an adult without asking, helping a scout with asking, etc. 

 

 

I have more help if you would like, just let me know!


Edited by ItsBrian, 03 September 2017 - 08:01 AM.

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#4 ItsBrian

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 08:02 AM

Also, it is COMPLETELY okay to yell or raise your voice. The camp director had yelled at a good four-five kids daily for their behavior. It's how you have to get your point across to them.


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#5 Col. Flagg

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 08:26 AM

Meeting with parents and Scouts. Put them on probation. If behavior doesn't improve then ask them not to attend Pack meetings. There's no reason that the Pack should suffer. When they crossover you should let the receiving troop know their behavior issues.
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#6 cubmom07

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 10:58 AM

Wow! Lots of fantastic advice! Thank you for taking the time to help me!
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#7 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 11:32 AM

Meeting with parents and Scouts. Put them on probation. If behavior doesn't improve then ask them not to attend Pack meetings. There's no reason that the Pack should suffer. When they crossover you should let the receiving troop know their behavior issues.


What he said!

At the end of the day you can't put up with this and neither should the rest of the cubs have to. Get the parents involved and if they don't sort themselves out those cubs are history. Harsh but sometimes necessary.

Remember as well that cubs should be preparing them for scouts. They can't go behaving like that in scouts they need to be learning now.
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#8 MattR

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 11:57 AM   Best Answer

Cubmom07, first of all, welcome.

 

Secondly, I hate to say this but the reason these kids (sorry, but I won't use the term scouts) "roll their eyes at me and act like they don't hear me every single time" is because there doesn't seem to be a reason why they should. While positive reinforcement and talking to scouts about how they should act scout like is usually a good thing, there are times when they are just figuring out the boundaries. Not the specified boundaries but the real boundaries. If the worst thing that happens is they get a lecture then maybe that's reasonable.

 

I suspect there is one scout that is leading this, mainly because he doesn't want to be there, and the others are following along because, let's face it, they have power over the adults and power is fun.

 

How to solve: This is echoing Col. Flag and CambridgeSkip, but what would you do if this were your son doing this? And why? There's most of your answer. No, you can't drag a kid off by his ear but you can get him out of there. These kids need rules and consequences for not following the rules. They should be very clear to the boys and their parents. Do not back down. The reason these boys are running amok is because they know the rules don't apply to them. Make sure that you are willing to follow through on whatever rules you come up with. Also, as an unwritten rule, if one of these scouts does what you ask of him then thank him afterwards. Tell him it made everything go better and it sure is fun having him around. The boys need to know that every interaction with an adult is not a bad thing.

 

Good luck.


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#9 Eagledad

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 04:09 PM

Everyone's comments are on mark. The reason we don't react to other kids bad behavior like react to our own is that we think we can make a difference with by lecturing. But we learn after a few examples like yours that we have very little leverage for motivating change of behavior. That is why the better leaders don't try to change behavior, they find ways for Scouts to see the repercussions of their behavior so that they feel motivated to change.

Anyway, we learned to quit working around the parents and include them on the team. We talked a lot to the parents basically bragging about and how they were doing in the program. Then when we needed to talk about bad behavior, they didn't feel like we were dumping on them. We are a team and work problems out as a team.

Saying that, sometimes the parents weren't willing to contribute to the team as much is required, so it was no surprise that they quit. Most parents are all in, but once in a while, you will have to let the scout go to save your sanity. My advice from hard learned experiences is the same as others here, get the parents involved with their son's behavior in the program. Don't let their kids be just your problem. This is sound advice even in their late teen age years.

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#10 Wëlënakwsu

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 05:16 PM

Yelling... Not good. If you have to yell, you've lost control, you're setting a poor example.  Ask a new first year teacher and an experienced one about yelling.

I find it "telling" there is no mention of the Webelos Den Leader in the  original post, ie lack of leadership. Do the Webelois have a good program to keep them busy, ie "idle hands..."?

Re the one boy in particular being trouble, different Scout leaders have their own limits with how much to put up with... but if you going to suspend or expel, do it now at the start of Scouting/School year.


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#11 ItsBrian

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 05:31 PM

Yelling... Not good. If you have to yell, you've lost control, you're setting a poor example.  Ask a new first year teacher and an experienced one about yelling.
I find it "telling" there is no mention of the Webelos Den Leader in the  original post, ie lack of leadership. Do the Webelois have a good program to keep them busy, ie "idle hands..."?
Re the one boy in particular being trouble, different Scout leaders have their own limits with how much to put up with... but if you going to suspend or expel, do it now at the start of Scouting/School year.


Yelling is not always the best thing to do, yes. But, yelling does have its pro and cons. It doesn’t always mean you’re a poor example, it could just be the way you are. Yelling has kids understand because they know they are in trouble.

FYI: this is all based on my experience this summer with a camp director of a day camp for cub scouts
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#12 cubmom07

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 05:33 PM

Thanks for all of your replies. I have some great options and a pretty good idea of what my next step will be. I want all of these boys to succeed and build character, so I'll see what a new approach brings!
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#13 ItsBrian

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 05:35 PM

Correcting my post two ago: 

 

Yelling is still not the best but will get their attention. I would say the time to yell is IF it the scout is doing something dangerous to himself or others.. ex: kids injuring each other...

 

I didn't mean if they are running for no reason yell at them.

 

Sorry for the confusion!


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#14 SSScout

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 06:22 AM

All good ideas.   I would note the following (from personal experience at the Pack Meeting, CSDC and as a Sub Teacher, who has to jump in with two feet , so to speak) :

The kids act like this for many reasons.  Follow the leader,  Get the Adult's goat,  Make everyone look at me.  I need to be entertained because I never learned how to entertain myself (these kids can't sit still 2 minutes, right? )  I can do whatever I want because nothing bad or good (!!) will happen.  And if something does happen (good or bad, doesn't matter) , hey, it's attention to me !

 

What each of these reasons stem from is that the Parents are letting go early in the kids life. The kid (Cub, now, in your keeping?)  hasn't had the parental attention they needed early on, to model/teach/reward good , social behavior or to rein in destructive behavior.

SO:   Take the main trouble leader aside and give him some "special" responsibility, and then PRAISE him/her (!) when they succeed.   Help them succeed. 

If necessary, YELL,  (""HEY"") but then bring your voice down to a near whisper so they have to pay attention to hear what nonsense( to them) you might come up with.

It's a Patrol/Den , right?   Look to their need to be in a "Gang".  Take'm on hikes (with parent escorts !) , to the zoo, to the movies, and give them some "good gang" experiences.   Give them the Patrol/Den pride of accomplishment, let the others see the need to rein in their buddy ( "hey , Nathan, quit being a jerk. Sit down for awhile.") . If you have to take each of them aside , in turn, to have that discussion, do that.

 

Most importantly,  remind them of the Scout Promise and Law.  Sit down and discuss (that means listen to them, too) why the SP and SL are important.  Are they good things to follow?  Why not?

AND, finally, set some rules with consequences (reward and punishment) and be consistent in their enforcement.  NEVER set a punishment you are not willing to follow thru with and NEVER set a reward you cannot give when appropriate.  Remember, these kids have an innate sense of what's fair, and they will call you on anything that is not consistent or  appropriate.

 

Oh, did I forget to mention the parents?  Certainly include them. Make sure they know when Little Prince is not living up to the Scout Promise and Law, but ALSO let them know (in the Cubs hearing !)  how proud you are of  Magrid's  help last night. 

 

Thank you for your service to our future, and.... see you on the trail.

 

Thank you for your


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#15 blw2

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 09:47 AM

I think at the WEBELOS age especially...but really for all ages..... they act up when they are bored

....Idle hands, and all of that.....

 

You said the webelos are disrupting when other dens are getting awards?

    one solution might be to involve the webelos den in the award presentation....  they are, after all the older scouts that the younger ones would hopefully be looking up to.  Give them a chance to be that role model we hope they are.

 

Something I tried to do some of when I was CubMastering, was to involve the scouts more....and to get them out of their seats.  Sadly, I didn't do it enough and wasn't all that good at it....  I tried to use the scouts, especially the older scouts, to do things like pick teams, pass things out... But I wish that I had done more.

 

After getting pushed away from pack life and looking more into troop life, I benefited from hind site and realized that embracing the patrol method....even down at the wolf or bear level.... really could have been a game changer.  Let the scouts make decisions of what to do and how, let them DO a lot more.

 

I see that a huge amount of the issues in the cub days could have been at least partially resolved.  The whole program, and how we presented it, involves all together too much sitting, too much inside, too much getting talked to.

 

I feel your pain though.  Something I always struggled with was the kid acting up when his parent was sitting in the back of the room.  I never wanted to attack it head on because I felt it was that parent's job to deal with it....they rarely did.

 

But in the context of scouts, instead of attacking, I feel the better approach much of the time anyway, might be to call that kid to the front and give him a task....

but it can't be a task for task sake.....but instead something fun, and preferably something that gives that scout some responsibility and authority to learn from.


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#16 ItsBrian

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 10:02 AM

I think at the WEBELOS age especially...but really for all ages..... they act up when they are bored
....Idle hands, and all of that.....
 
You said the webelos are disrupting when other dens are getting awards?
    one solution might be to involve the webelos den in the award presentation....  they are, after all the older scouts that the younger ones would hopefully be looking up to.  Give them a chance to be that role model we hope they are.
 
Something I tried to do some of when I was CubMastering, was to involve the scouts more....and to get them out of their seats.  Sadly, I didn't do it enough and wasn't all that good at it....  I tried to use the scouts, especially the old
er scouts, to do things like pick teams, pass things out... But I wish that I had done more.
 
After getting pushed away from pack life and looking more into troop life, I benefited from hind site and realized that embracing the patrol method....even down at the wolf or bear level.... really could have been a game changer.  Let the scouts make decisions of what to do and how, let them DO a lot more.
 
I see that a huge amount of the issues in the cub days could have been at least partially resolved.  The whole program, and how we presented it, involves all together too much sitting, too much inside, too much getting talked to.
 
I feel your pain though.  Something I always struggled with was the kid acting up when his parent was sitting in the back of the room.  I never wanted to attack it head on because I felt it was that parent's job to deal with it....they rarely did.
 
But in the context of scouts, instead of attacking, I feel the better approach much of the time anyway, might be to call that kid to the front and give him a task....
but it can't be a task for task sake.....but instead something fun, and preferably something that gives that scout some responsibility and authority to learn from.


I agree with you! Webelos are at that age to where they know everything, and can do whatever they want. I noticed at the camp I had worked at, the wolves were better behaved than the webelos!
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#17 fred johnson

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 10:06 AM

Biggest mistake I ever made in scouts was not to deal with bad behavior early enough.  

 

I was once impressed by a cub scout presenter.  There was a scout that could not sit still to participate.  The tiger cub was extremely disruptive.  Extremely.  The presenter paused, explained the issue to the tiger cub and if he could not behave, he'd ask him to leave.  The scout did not behave.  the presenter ask the cub scout to leave.  It's a hard lesson to give, but an important one.  

 

Just as important, if you don't do it, you drag everyone down.  The scout program has great flexibility to deal with people with different challenges and issues.  But there are boundaries.  If the scout can't operate in those boundaries and if the adult leaders can't find a way to work around it, sometimes the hard lesson needs to be taught. 


Edited by fred johnson, 13 September 2017 - 10:09 AM.

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#18 Eagledad

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 11:38 AM

Biggest mistake I ever made in scouts was not to deal with bad behavior early enough.  

 

I was once impressed by a cub scout presenter.  There was a scout that could not sit still to participate.  The tiger cub was extremely disruptive.  Extremely.  The presenter paused, explained the issue to the tiger cub and if he could not behave, he'd ask him to leave.  The scout did not behave.  the presenter ask the cub scout to leave.  It's a hard lesson to give, but an important one.  

 

Just as important, if you don't do it, you drag everyone down.  The scout program has great flexibility to deal with people with different challenges and issues.  But there are boundaries.  If the scout can't operate in those boundaries and if the adult leaders can't find a way to work around it, sometimes the hard lesson needs to be taught. 

I didn't have trouble at the Cub age because I knew to just keep the cubs moving. If they weren't exhausted by the end of the meeting, I added more jumping,  yelling, clapping, and cheering somewhere in the program.

 

Personally I feel Cubs are unfairly expected to behave like adults at Pack Meetings. IF I saw scouts talking to each other during my meetings, I took it personally that I was doing something wrong, not them. My goodness they have sit all day in school and then sit for another hour at meeting that is supposed to be fun. The scouts had so much fun at our meeting that their siblings came to join in as well.

 

As for the Webelos, they are called the Cub Master assistants. They helped with all awards and led the flag ceremonies. They also were expected to perform at least two skits and three run on skits. They loved it. Scoutmasters told me that they never had a scout from our pack that was afraid of getting in front of the crowd. I believe that by the time our cubs left the pack, they had enough experience and confidence to lead any troop campfire.

 

We taught our den leaders to have at least 20 minutes of free time where the scouts are running. Most of them had a basketball goal that was used heavily. I suggested sacrificing arts and crafts for physical activities is always a preference when boys are acting up. If they can't focus, just send outside with the basketball and they will go home thinking it was a good meeting. I only had two Webelos meetings a month, but they were 90 minutes long with 45 minutes of game time. I never heard a single complaint and had 100 percent participation. Boys just love to run. 

 

But to Fred's post; how he describes discipline is exactly how we taught the patrol leaders and senior scouts. If a scout is acting up, warn him once. If he continues, send him out of the room or activity. Don't yell, don't argue, don't debate, just quietly ask him to leave and deal with him later when you have the time. The youth leaders liked that method because it took conflict out of controlling behavior. If the scout was still a problem, then the SPL , JASM or SM might be brought into the picture, which was very rare.

 

At the adult level, we learned over time to get the parents involved sooner than later. AND, LOL, we made the scout call their parents to come in early and talk with the SPL or SM. I think that scared them more than anything. As Fred implies, just nip it in the bud.  It's better for everyone including the misbehaving scout.

 

Barry


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