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  • "Uppity" Parents?

    So out cub scout group literally blew up in the last 3 years. We were down to 1 scout three years ago, gained 12 scouts last year and now were up to 23 scouts. Were really excited and we have a great diverse group of kids from all backgrounds.

    However, we have one parent who seems so "uppity" and for better words or less rude. The first time I met her, I introduced myself and she went into a tirade about how the trading post scout store wasnt open when she needed it and how it was unprofessional. I apologized that it happened, and it would be a good idea to call next time, or let me know and I can get the items you need for you. Her son is a Web II and for better words or less is a spitting image of his mother. If hes not careful, he could get the perception as a bully since I teach and I see those types everyday.

    Another instance with this parent. Our CM just changed jobs, and we have been pitching in to help him so hes not in meltdown mode as much. He tends to "ramble on" a bit, but we all just kinda blow it off because three years ago, he was the entire leadership in the program, so he appreciates, and loves the growth and learning hes seeing..

    anyway after giving out all the awards and talking about how hes proud of the kids and thanks the parents, he goes to his office in the hut for a minute and this mother says to him "You apparently never learned how to speak publicly did you?" How rude of her. Hes a minister at a local church, so he plays it off, but were volunteers and I dont think this mother sees that. She also had the audacity to tell the CM that she feels her sons Web II den leader is incompetent with the curriculum. Your talking about a W2 DL that has been in scouting since 1963 and is an Eagle, AOL, and has worked in every leadership position at the pack/troop level.

    I know personally I will not allow her to talk to me and especially my wife the committee secretary. I get paid to deal with parents like you, but thats at school. Not at scouts.

    What are some ideas to help with these "uppity" parents who think they dont stink?

  • #2
    Except for the fact that the Scout is a short tenured 2nd year Webelo, I'd seriously consider advising the parent to shape up or ship out.

    I might do that anyway. I don't know that I'd want to burden a Scout Troop with that parent.


    • #3
      If it's your role to do so, apply calm courteous assertive backbone to your approach and try not to hurt her feelings too much as you tell her she is doing wrong and being unkind to volunteers.


      • #4
        Ugh, such parents are the bane of all scouters.

        They are an expert on everything, and contribute nothing but heartache.

        A million years ago, when I was a SM, a mother wire brushed me about the grossly high cost of her son's share of the patrol food bill for a camporee (about four bucks per scout). I was incompetent, the scouts were wasteful, and she fed a big family for literally pennies per serving, etc.

        I bit my tongue, listened as patiently as I could, and said "Ma'am, that's great...would you care to be our keynote speaker at our next troop meeting, and teach the boys how plan their menu and buy food the right way?"

        She gasped, and didn't say another word. She just excused herself and left. She never had another lecture for me.


        • #5
          I think it's past time to have a face to face with this woman.

          You and your son obviosly have needs and requirements that this pack can't and hasn't met, so we find it best to release your son to you to find the suitable pack. Your records are at the scout office ready for you to pick up and take to your new unit. Good day and good luck. Goodby.

          That would work.(This message has been edited by Second class)


          • #6
            Life is too short to deal with folks like this...

            Remind her that the Pack is run by volunteers.....Volunteers means no pay and a performance that is well volunteer level.

            I would offer her three suggestions......

            She is free to enjoy her and her son's scouting else where.

            She is free to drop him off at the door.

            Hand her an adult application and suggest she becomes the Packs advancement chair and run the pack meetings.


            • #7
              A hike through bear country might help. Oh, you're cubs ...

              First of all, be positive.
              Scout shop? "Yes, but when it's open it has the neatest stuff. Worth rearranging one's schedule for a visit!"
              Talky CM? "He may be long in the tooth, but what preacher isn't? We'd be nothing without him, so it's worth hearing what he has to say."

              This might not change her. It might change the boy. But your respect for the folks, adults and kids, who are putting their all in the program needs to be loud and clear. At the very least it will keep your attitude positive.


              • #8
                She has filled out a volunteer application, but I dont think she understands the work that goes into it. She wants to be on the committee, but it seems like she loves to roll her eyes, scoff, or make off hand comments to her friend who is almost like her. I would be completely happy with her dropping her son off, but Im not sure I would want him by himself. This boy likes to call kids names and is just rude. I had a little heart to heart with our boys while playing games that name calling will not be tolerated and will cause you to miss meetings and events. I cant speak for other packs, but for our pack we do not tolerate name calling and bullying. I dont know about other states, but ours (GA) takes that stuff seriously in the schools and volunteer organizations.

                Like I said, I havent had any long term direct interactions with this lady, but what I am hearing disturbs me because you just cannot talk to volunteers that way. Hopefully when I attend Wood Badge this weekend, they might have some suggestions to deal with these types of issues.


                • #9
                  I have worked for and with the public for many years. I learned a technique that seems to work with folks like that. It is to AGREE with them, in everything, and then turn it around like desertrat's suggestion.
                  The trick is to show that you both are on the same side and you have heard them, even if they are making no sense whatsoever.

                  Out of Scouting, I had a passenger on my bus come up to me and berate me for being the worse driver this side of the earth's core. She was very specific. When she was finished, I said, "you're absolutely right, ma'am. I am a TERRIBLE driver. You ,and all your fellow passengers are taking your life in your hands riding with me. (Keep in mind that 10 or 15 people are within earshot, and have stopped to listen). Might I suggest you be more cautious in the future and wait for the next bus? In rush hour, they come along here about every 15 minutes. I am sure you'd feel safer that way." She raised her eyebrows (I remember that!) and backed down the bus steps.

                  Next day, I saw her at the bus stop, and as I pulled up, she stepped back and waved me on. Same thing for the next week.
                  Then, one day, she did board my bus, and when we arrived at the station, she waited until she was the last one to step off. She stopped and apologized to me for what she had said weeks before. I smiled and said "don't worry about it". She became a 'regular' on my route and she wrote a letter in to my super about how good a driver I was.


                  • #10
                    I assume you are the CC. Just because she gave you an application does not mean you have to approve or accept it. I can only respond to what you have given us, but this is what I'd do.

                    1. Do NOTHING with that application until she has completed training! Yes, you can "raise the bar" too. This Is Scouting, Fast starts and position specific for committee AND cubmaster. (As well as the required YPT of course.) Do you have a specific job in mind for her? If your jobs are filled, it really makes no sense to have an idle, warm body as an MC. A bigger committee is not necessarily a better committee.

                    2. Once you have ALL those certs,(assuming she hasn't had a change of heart by now) and turn in the app, then and only then is she welcome at the leaders' meeting. Keep the meeting focused, and "gavel down" anything that isn't pertinent business. (Little Johnny's belt loop or activity pin is discussed with the Den Leader, not the pack committee, for example.) After a few of these interruptions, hopefully she'll get the idea. She can roll her eyes all she roll back, with a smile, of course. Under-the-breath snarky comments can be addressed with "I'm sorry, did you have something else, Mrs. Jones?" That will put a stop to the snarkiness in short order. Try it, it works for me!

                    3. Get the full support of your COR. That's is whom she'll go running to when she doesn't win her silly battles with you. If you are the COR, well--looks like the old Buckaroo stops here!

                    Keep your chin up! She won't be with you for long anyway! Don't get yourself rattled, always smile! You're a volunteer, and remember why you're doing this!


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the ideas. Im actually just a humble den leader, but my wife has to bear the brunt of it, and I am the one who has to hear it. Thats a good point on accepting/rejecting the volunteer application. Im sure our CM has went ahead and pushed that through. He doesnt like to sit on monies and applications. I think eventually the problem will correct itself. Im not prepared to sacrifice good parents to keep them in the pack.


                      • #12
                        You can always de-charter her if she continues to be a nuisance. Or, give the acquiring SM/CC a frozen smile when he says, "So tell me about Ms. X."


                        • #13
                          If this person becomes a volunteer leader, I suggest that you make it very clear what her RESPONSIBILITIES are and what AUTHORITY, if any, comes with them. Make sure the chain of command is clear and where she occurs in it. And then....don't back away from what you just made clear.


                          • #14
                            As the den leader this isn't your issue. Do you have a good committee chair? If so, they could have a nice (in-person) conversation with the lady about her expectations.

                            Here's my spiel:

                            "This isn't school or a business. It is a volunteer club that tries to put on good, fun, safe programs for kids. Sometimes it is a little rough around the edges because Mr. CM works 80 hours a week at his day job, and Ms. DL over there is juggling too many things too, and Mr. Advancement Chair has the same trouble getting to the scout shop during normal business hours that you do. And you might like to know that Mr/Ms/Mrs A almost single-handedly brought this pack back from the brink just two years ago and has been working over-drive to rebuild long-term leadership, ever since.

                            So we're all in it together and we're not perfect but the kids do have fun. Around here, we like to highlight the positive and show our appreciation for the work our volunteers have already done. Now, I understand you want to become involved and that you share our goal of a fun program for the boys. What specific, positive, role do you envision yourself playing in this organization?"

                            Make it clear that the position of naysayer and scoffer is already taken.

                            Oh and as for the boy - somebody needs to have a different conversation with the parent about the consequences of continued name calling and other inappropriate behavior. If your policy is that he'll have to miss the next meeting, etc., put it on the table with him AND his mother right away. That's a DL issue, to my way of thinking (with the backing of your CM and CC).


                            • #15
                              A humble DL taking WB? That doesn't happen in our unit. Hope you enjoy the weekends, at the very least you should meet some guys who've dealt with similar situations with varying degrees of success. Whatever you do, don't make this person's issues creep into your ticket. Your goals should be for your position as DL.

                              It's the COR who does the final sign-off on all applications. They can be the "heavy" and say to a candidate, "I've checked sources, and at the moment there are doubts about you're being a team player, so I'm not signing you on as committee member just yet. I would like you to sign on as a scout parent and give it a year to prove them all wrong."