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  • Discipline problem

    Are you tired of me yet?

    I scanned the Cub Scout topics, and I don't see one about discipline, but I hope I haven't duplicated a thread.

    We have one kid who makes everyone else MISERABLE. The problem is that his mom (actually his grandmother who's raising him) is the Webelo's leader (the boy is a Web1, about to be Web2), and she does TONS for the Pack. She's always there every time the doors are open, but... so is her kid. He's HORRIBLE!

    (When we moved into the neighborhood, he found my son the first weekend, and my son invited him to his playhouse out back. The other boy had a bag on his bike--turned out it was MARKERS. My son came to get me, and when I went out there, the kid had WRITTEN ALL OVER THE WALLS, FLOOR, AND CEILING OF OUR PLAYHOUSE!)

    Who does that at a house of people you JUST met?!? Anyway, fast forward to school starting, signing up for Cub Scouts, and guess who's in our Pack? When they asked me if I'd be the Tiger leader, I asked, "What grade is the marker kid in?" He's two years older, so we won't ever share a Den.

    I feel really bad for the kid, awful as he is. He's on meds, he's a crack baby, his mother abandoned him, his grandfather curses him, he has not friends, he gets sent home from school all the time, etc, etc...

    THIS kid NEEDS Scouting! But...he LITERALLY makes everyone around him absolutely miserable. EVERY outing is an ordeal. EVERY Pack meeting I have to separate him (but that often means separating his grandmother WITH him, which means the other Webs are leaderless).

    Last year, the Bear Den leader, after being in Den with this kid, the father and son quit and went to another Pack because of him. It was a real loss; he was the best Den leader I can imagine, and I was looking forward to my son sharing a Web den with his son later.

    ANYWAY, this kid is a CONSTANT (and I mean *CONSTANT*) behavior problem. Redirect, redirect, threaten, time out, lecture, warn, redirect again, time out again, UGH!

    On our camping trip, the kid next to him slopped his cocoa, and he (the issue kid) was asked to move over a little. His response? To DUMP HIS COCOA ON HIS OWN HEAD. The kid ain't right.

    But I have tried and tried to mitigate his effect on the other Scouts because I really, really don't like the idea of kicking a little boy out of Cub Scouts...especially in a small town where everyone is all up in everyone's business.

    What would get around is that that Mean Methodist Church Cub Scout Pack sent a poor little motherless boy packing. Nevermind how poorly behaved he is.

    I'd like to invest in trying to help the kid, but at what point does being understanding and supportive of a kid with obvious problems get overridden by the best interests of the Pack?


  • #2
    The reality is Grandma needs to not have so much Pack responsibility that she can't keep her grandson in check.

    Has the CC offered find another Webelos Leader?

    Jumping packs is an option, no guarantee it will be better.


    • #3
      No one asks her to do anything; she's just ...helpful, and enthusiastic, and involved.

      But her ONLY actual responsibility is the Webelos den.

      I'm really hoping some more Webs will join from recruiting night, because the Web2's are aging out, and my 2 Bears will share this kid's Den next season.

      The two Bear parents DECLINE absolutely to be Den leaders. They just wanna show up. Which is fine, but they'll have to show up to a Den with this kid in it.

      What really needs to happen is she needs a parenting course. But I can't force someone to do that.


      • #4
        We don't mind rehashing problems we have discussed before, especially with a specific real life conflict.. Although misbehavior has come up before, it is always different because of the other equations.. Like yours is a helpful grandmother, another would be an equally obnoxious Father, or mother or three siblings of the cub scout. So it is always a game changer with the whole situation..

        Grandmother might be overly helpful, in order to be there, but not with the boy, who she has 24/7 and probably needs a mental break from.. So I feel for Grandmother, because she at least is not trying to run from her problems with a dump and go, method..

        Unfortunately if you start really feeling he is ripping your little pack apart, and more folks are ready to cut & run due to his antics, you do need to way the good of the whole pack over the one boy..

        Luckily sounds like he is moving to WebII so you only will have this headache for a little less then a year longer, if you do not ever let him go. You may end up though loosing those two cubs & parents that will be joining his den..

        Make sure you have good communication with them, and can sense when things might be getting to the point of them being fed up.. But, honestly, if neither of these parents want to lift a finger to create their own Webloes I pack, they are asking for the mixing of this den..

        From all I have read, you are a very tiny Pack, with few willing to help share the Adult responsibilities but just wanting a free ride.. Although this Grandma is very helpful which is rare in your unit, unfortunately this boy may be more then a unit with very little Adult leadership can take on and handle.

        If you do cut him loose, just remember anyone who hears the story, will know the kid. I doubt they will blame your unit for kicking out a sweet little innocent.. Many may not be joining your Pack knowing he is a member..

        Do you have a Unit Commissioner to talk to about his advise? He (if doing his job) should know how fragile your unit is, and what it can deal with.. If you don't have a Unit Commissioner, you can call and speak with your District Commissioner, who will not know your unit personally, but should give you some direction & guidence and may send out a UC or himself to watch a Pack meeting and see what the situation is then give advise..

        You just seem like your little unit hanging on by threads in so many directions, I can't get a good feel for advising you as to what to do..


        • #5
          Thanks for your replies.

          We are sort of holding on by some threads; it was especially touch-and-go last year when the CM had to step down due to personal issues. They asked me to step in, but I was happy as a little clam just being the Tiger leader.

          Then the year changed over and the Bear leader and his son quit--he would have been the Webelos leader. So the grandma stepped in. Her (dreadful) kid was the ONLY Web at all until the fall recruiting night, where we got TWO 5th grade Webs. So she's led those two guys through Web2, and they're bridging.

          I absolutely agree that she could use a break from the kid. I know he's alienated every family in the neighborhood. So you're probably right about folks knowing he's not an "innocent." I suspect she might be clinging to Cub Scouts in order JUST TO BE AROUND PEOPLE.

          She's a little hard to take, herself. My mother would have said of her, "She...lacks social skills." I've been in the middle of the Cubmaster Minute, or other times when I should have the floor exclusively, and she'll burst out, "YOU WANT ME TO GO POUR THAT KOOL-AID NOW? 'CUZ THEY'RE GONNA BE THRISTY. HOW MUCH LONGER YOU GONNA BE...."

          I've taken to just repeating quietly, "Pat, I need to talk right now. Pat, I need to talk right now. Pat, I need to..." She and the boy have also ridden their bikes over to MY house during WOLF meetings, which I have the largest Den (6 boys) and want to talk to me about Pack stuff.

          I've had to firmly say, "I need this time to be for the Wolves, or we're not going to finish our projects. Your Den time is tomorrow night. I'll help you then, if you like.

          Anyway, my point is that she's somewhat of a discipline problem, herself. NICE AS CAN BE, she is! But lacks social skills and knowledge of common courtesies.

          (On a side note, the deposed CM still has a kid in the Pack of course, and and he's also bad about chattering loudly while I'm trying to speak. In his case, I think it's a subconscious passive-aggressive thing). But I've had to announce that the next ADULT who disrupts our lesson will owe me a dollar!)


          • #6
            Forgot to add that I did email my Commissioner and my Executive. Both about the discipline problem, and our Committee being hobbled.

            My Exec is setting up a meeting with the UberCommissioner (whomever is over MY UC) and our Rep.

            My Commissioner is "mulling over" what he thinks I should do about the discipline problem.

            So at least I'm not bailing out this barge on my own!


            • #7
              >>"EVERY Pack meeting I have to separate him (but that often means separating his grandmother WITH him, which means the other Webs are leaderless)."


              • #8
                Yeah, a percentage of the parents just sit at the waaay back of the room. I HAVE had to say, "I need an adult over here, please." And they do come. (They're probably trying to stay away from the obnoxious kid).

                We meet in a church hall; the stuff's already set up in such a way that people CAN be really far back. When I have TIME, I do away with all but the very front chairs, just enough for everyone, but it forces the parents to sit up with their kids.

                To the grandmother's credit, she DOES stay on him, but the *BICKERING* and *WHINING* and *FIGHTING* is still distracting.

                I did have the brain-light on our camp out to put something in their pockets, and every time they're bad, take one out of their pockets. Whomever has the most "widgets" at the end of the night gets something. If you run out of them, you clean toilets or something.

                But the problem kid would RUN AWAY and refuse to gimme his widgets. I guarandangtee you. They really, really do need counseling, and the Children's Minister (the Chair we're losing) has tried to help them, but... y'know. One does one's best.

                I guess I could KEEP his widgets on my person if he gave me a hard time. Oooooh! Or give grandma his widgets. Make HER walk one to me every time he was bad.

                Here's the big question: AS THE CUBMASTER in charge of an event, DO I, at that moment, have the authority to SEND HIM HOME if he strikes another child?

                Grandma *threatens* it all the time. "Get UP or we're going home. Stop running, or we're going home. Stop yelling or we're going home."

                I have not wanted to overstep my bounds, but can I SAY, "Just...go." (name that commercial!)

                If I have that authority, I'll make him up 3 or 4 little Behavior Widget of some kind, and knock them off one at a time, and when they're gone, grandma just takes him home.

                (Of course, I would have a meeting with them ahead of time to tell them what's happening.) That may be the only thing that he understands.


                • #9
                  " AS THE CUBMASTER in charge of an event, DO I, at that moment, have the authority to SEND HIM HOME if he strikes another child? "

                  ABSOLUTELY! And if for some reason, they refuse to listen, you let them know in no uncertain terms that ALL advancements, all written paperwork concerning beltloops, pins, ect.. will stop and that the scout in question is considered "suspended.


                  • #10
                    I just had a CMgasm. BWAHahahahah!

                    See, I'd ASK the Committee these things, but they *don't know*. They're just nice folks who agreed to let their names be put down for the Charter.

                    I emailed my Commissioner and told him the idea about the behavior widgets. I'm awaiting his reply, but I think it's a FAB idea!

                    If he keeps his widgets, he'll earn some treat. And to make it fair, I'll have similar widgets for the other boys.

                    But HE needs to know that HIS widgets are more serious. "You lose your widgets, you're goin' home." Oh, and putting his hands on another Scout is INSTANT loss of ALL widgets.

                    I just like saying widgets. And CMgasm. I made up a word! :0)

                    Thanks for your input! This helps tremendously. I'm gonna go to the Committee (such as it is) and tell them what's what.

                    They don't want to get their hands dirty, anyway, so they'll back me up. They all know the boy. I WANT him to succeed, but not at the cost of making everyone miserable.


                    • #11
                      How about award candles?

                      I've seen two versions:

                      1) A single candle - usually a 9 or 12 month - is lit at beginning of pack or den meetings. It stays lit as long as all scouts are behaving. If they act uyp and you have to warn them more than 2 or 3 times the candles go out!

                      If the candle is burnt away by the end of the year, the pack or den has an ice cream party or pizza party.

                      2) Individual candles- Same principle, but each scout gets a candle.

                      Same as above: Pizza or ice cream party or some other sort of prize.

                      THis also encourages scouts to try to make as many meetings as possible.

                      I'm okay with one candle for the whole pack, but I steer away from individual candles.


                      • #12
                        Not all places will let you have an open flame inside. Especially when there are young children running around, knocking into stuff.

                        A clear glass/plastic, bean/bead, jar works just as well.


                        • #13
                          I understand the candle concept, and that's not bad. We wouldn't be prohibited from having a candle, but ALL of the boys are frustrated by the one kid.

                          If HE caused it to be blown out over and over and over, I'd be worried that they'd gang up on him.

                          I've typed up a behavior contract to present to him and his grandmother. I'm trying to think up unique widgets to give out.


                          • #14
                            You might want to consider having the boy & grandma & you work out a behavior contract together (depends on how able you think the boy & grandma will be to do this - they might both be unable to pull this togehter - boy might be too scattered, and grandma might be too harsh, or flighty. Your portrait of the two of them doesn't make common sense sound like it is present in large quantities)

                            If you think they can handle it, the advantage of having them help write a behavior contract is that they have more ownership of it, and so more likelihood of taking it seriously and trying to stick to it.

                            Regardless - expect a scene the first time he loses his widgets and gets sent home. Make sure grandma doesn't blow her top at him - just keep it matter of fact when that happens, and try again the next week. Unless he does something serious (like hitting somebody) then let each meeting be a stand-alone occurrence. Don't allow last week's bad behavior to color expectations of this week - let him start fresh. Maybe, sooner or later, he'll manage to stay for a whole meeting.

                            Good luck with this.


                            • #15
                              The unfortunate fact is that one problem kid of the kind you describe can drive a dozen people out of a den or pack or destroy the unit.

                              The smart move is to suspend the kid for a couple of weeks or a month each time he displays this bad behavior. When he comes back he gets no slack cut --- the first bad behavior and he is gone again.

                              If you lose the Webelos grandmother, that's unfortunate but another fact of life.

                              If the boy really likes Scouting, that provide the maximum incentive for him to exercise self control --- the thing he needs most in his life.

                              That's doing the boy a favor, and the pack too.

                              Seattle Pioneer