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  • Discipline at scouts

    I am a webelos' leader, formerly bears. I've had the same boys for almost 2 years. There is a boy in the pack, who has asperger's and adhd. I understand that his rude behavior is linked. Today he was
    poking fun at me in a very rude way. (What his uncle said about me and he was repeating.) He has
    been rude to visitors that I've gotten to come help out. (Asked a boy scout helper, who's not white if he
    was adopted- right in the middle of the presentation.) He insists upon treats every meeting, complains
    loudly if we don't have them, and complains before he know whether we have them or not. He also
    comes up with inappropriate actions for charades or scenarios, when having discussions. If he has a
    negative feeling toward someone, it's very negative and very voiced. I don't do well at disciplining
    other people's kids. Should I mention this to the parents? Is there nothing I should do about it at

  • #2
    As a mom to 2 kids with autism, I say talk to the parents. Find out what strategies work at home. Create a Den Code of Conduct with the boys input and guide them to some of the specific concerns you have. Have each of the boys sign it and hang it prominently in your meeting space each week. Provide structure (boys choose a card telling them what charade out). Provide a visual schedule of den meeting events (I do a Gathering time, opening ceremony, den activity 1, 2, 3 (2 is usually an active game or craft while the others may be more discussion/academic time), closing. Avoid sometimes having snacks and other times not. If you have a food project, make it clear it is a project, not a normal occurrence. Be consistent and stick to a routine.


    • #3
      I talked to the parents this past February. I was told nothing more than the fact that the boy really likes treats. The problem with treats is that I don't agree with them. Not that I don't like treats, but that I don't think we need sugary goodies every week. I've brought healthy snacks before- but that was back when we had 3 leaders taking turns running the various parts of den meeting. It's been me every week, all den meeting long and I am not doing treats as well. Sometimes another leader thinks to bring treats and sometimes she doesn't.


      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        I am so done with snacks and treats at den meetings. We have an hour, a snack takes up 15 minutes of that time with clean up. They can get crumbs in moms car on the ride home. Drinks when we are outside are ok. Preferably water. If there is a birthday, I make an exception but absolutely no #%€¥\{}# cupcakes !!!

    • #4
      Sakatima has the most of it. Agreed to guidlines, with consequences for infractions Apply the consequences as they apply. Routine, and STICK TO IT. Do not allow inappropriate behavior to go unchallenged. Prior to meeting, politely ask for the parents cooperation. Courteously tell them directly of your problems, that you will report to them their sons behavior, if it is disruptive. When necessary, report to the parents, with the Scout present, what he did that was inappropriate and why it cannot be allowed.. In the Den, depending on what the incident is, you can either ignore it and move on, remind the Scout what the rule is and move on or address it directly and tell the Scout it is inappropriate and apply the consequences. try to Reward, rather than punish. Beads in a jar for good behavior, , enough beads at the end of the month, we have a pizza party, that sort of thing.
      I heard of one Den that had some behavior problems, the Leader did this: She had three candles. mark them with a line so far down. At each meeting, she lit all three. If there was a bad problem, she put a candle out. If the candles burned down past the line, they would have a pizza party, ice cream sundaes, something special. Then, new lines, new chance to earn a treat.

      All the Scouts will benefit from your fair, firm, just application of these suggestions.


      • #5
        Techniques for controlling behavior problems is certainly something that is lacking in our Cub Scout training. You are busy trying to run a den meeting and the burden of managing the inappropriate behavior of one boy should not fall on you. If his behavior continues to be disruptive and Sakitima's suggestions don't help, I would insist that one of his parents attend the den meetings with their son.


        • #6
          Cub Scouts and ADHD isn't a great mix. The medicine these kids are on puts them into near-sedation for the school day. By the time Scouts rolls around in the evening, that medicine has worn off, and the kid needs to get all that pent up energy out of his system. You get to deal with that tonight instead of Mom & Dad, so for that, they're grateful.

          Group behavior techniques like the beads in a jar or the behavior candle work well when you've got a group of generally good kids who needs a gentle reminder to behave. From your description, it sounds like this Scout will almost always be the cause of the candle going out or the bead not going in the jar. When this happens, either everyone will begin to act out because the reward is gone, or the other Scouts will stage a version of a blanket party on the offender. You need to deal with the offender directly.

          If a Scout engages in inappropriate behavior at one of our meetings, I pull the Scout aside (while maintaining 2 Deep leadership), and explain to him what he did wrong, and ask him to tell me how it would make him feel if someone did the same to him. Depending on the severity and frequency of the violation, I may ask him to apologize to the party he offended immediately, sit out for an activity, or I may separate him from the group and tell his parents to come pick him up immediately. When they arrive, I'll explain to the parents what he did, and tell them that he has to apologize sincerely before he is welcome at another meeting.

          Yes, it's related to his disease, but if he's ever going to function in society, he needs to learn that his behavior can be hurtful to others.

          If he is so affected by his condition that he can't function, then he should have a parent with him all the times, like a Tiger Scout.


          • sasha
            sasha commented
            Editing a comment
            FWIW, the scout mentioned in the original post is autistic, not ADHD. If it weren't for all the ADHD boys who can't handle sports, we wouldn't have a pack and for that I am grateful. Keeping a strong, active program is the best solution for ADHD kids.

          • TSS_Chris
            TSS_Chris commented
            Editing a comment
            @Sasha: According to the OP "There is a boy in the pack, who has asperger's and adhd".

            We've got a lot of ADHD boys as well. Yes, keeping them active works, but there are a few who regularly push the limits. Occasionally, they need a reminder of these limits, otherwise other Scouts may leave the program because they don't like what he is getting away with.

        • #7
          I would ask the parents to show up to a few meetings. Let them help you with strategies. If they refuse, think about letting the boy go. It's not fair to the other scouts to have a disruptive scout (even if disabled).


          • #8
            So this kid is going to run off the rest of the den.

            Require a parent to sit with him thru the meeting and assist....No exceptions.

            Parent will either do it or he will quit problem solved.

            Having 9 year old boys signing contracts is ridiculous they can't even remember the home address and phone number......The will forget about it a couple of minutes after they do it.


            • #9
              Use very simple rules. A short list that a co-teacher helped my 3-4th grade Sunday School class come up with many years ago:

              1. Respect others, 1.a. Talk in turn, 1.b Show kindness. 2. Stay on task. 3. Have fun.

              Have them on the wall to point to if a child is disruptive. (E.g., if he's complaining about a snack, point to rule #3. Scouting is about being comfortable in your own skin. So, you must learn the discipline of finding joy even when you would prefer things to be different.)

              Use very simple consequences. The kids need to know that you are there to "help" them succeed with the rules:
              1. Warning. "Kids, sometimes you don't even realize you're breaking a rule, that's okay we'll help you by letting you know once."
              2. Quiet Corner. "Sometimes it is hard to follow a rule even after being warned, especially in the middle of us doing stuff. If that's the case, you will find a corner to sit quietly until you think you can come back to follow the rules."
              3. Parents. "If you can't handle the quiet corner, that's okay. We'll call your mom and dad, and they can sit with you, or maybe take you elsewhere. As soon as you think you can come back and follow the rules, we'd be glad to have you."

              It's really tough for kids on the Autism spectrum. The least little disturbance can push them over the edge. But, it means a lot if you will step through the discipline process efficiently so as to *help them* succeed.


              • #10
                I handled a similar problem with an eMail to all den parents: "Make sure that I have your current cell phone number. If Lil Johnny doesn't behave this meeting, I'm calling you to come get him."

                The next few meetings were remarkably well behaved. No parent wants to interrupt what they're doing to come get an unruly child, and they let their kids know it!
                Our meetings were 2 hours twice a month; might not work as well with one hour meetings.

                I agree with Basement, the energy you're putting into babysitting this one child is cheating the rest of your den. Make the parents deal with it. You're not trained! You tried; time to pass it on.


                • #11
                  This is a well worn topic. I agree talk with the parents and if behavior continues they need to be there. That's how I got started in my DL career...I was there to fill in for the regular DL while he dealt with my son! Seemed only fair...and he was better behaved for another dad. There will always be boys that require more work than others.

                  That said I have had some boys where the parents were entirely in denial; I did not have much patience for that.


                  • #12
                    Yah, hello christineke. Yeh pose a tough question, eh?

                    Kids with Aspergers spectrum I'm told often lack da ability to interpret social cues. They just don't read body language or voice inflection the way the rest of us do. Imagine if yeh had a brain that couldn't process a frown as a sign of displeasure, eh? How hard would that make relatin' to and figurin' out other people? As a result come across as "very rude" or inappropriate. Most of us learn what is and isn't appropriate by reading the reactions of others, after all. If a lad can't do that, then he's goin' to have a hard time, and need help. This will be even more pronounced in an ADHD lad, who will be more apt to blurt things out.

                    Certainly involve da parents if yeh think it will be helpful. Other than that, one thing that can work is if yeh establish an easy, non-threatening way to give the boy the feedback that he's missing. Establish some norms that allow you or other adults (or the Den Chief might even be better) to pull him aside and just give him an explanation. "Joey, when you repeat negative things about someone out loud like you just did to me, it hurts them." "Joey, these actions you did for the charades were good, but this one was bad. Don't use it again." Yeh have to think about this a bit like programmin' a computer. How do yeh give him clear signals that he can interpret?

                    For Boy Scout aged boys, I encourage adults to share this with all da Patrol Leaders, eh? They are da biggest assets in workin' with kids if yeh treat 'em like adults and bring them in on things. I think it also helps to explain the problem to all the other boys. If the other boys know that Joey doesn't understand when he's being annoying, it helps them to understand it's not what he's trying to do, eh? Makes 'em less likely to be negative back. Lots of times, Aspergers' kids get a rap for hitting other boys for that reason, eh? They're being annoying but don't know it, the other boys respond the way they would to a kid who is deliberately being a jerk, the Aspy lad strikes out (or storms off) because he feels he's being picked on for no reason, the rest of the lads feel he went nuts for no reason, etc. If yeh break the chain at da first link, yeh can better support the lad.

                    So in conclusion, what you're experiencin' is fairly normal for this sort of boy. It's a product of his disability, and he doesn't understand what's goin' on. Yeh don't want "discipline" here, any more than you'd discipline a lad in a wheelchair for gettin' places more slowly than the rest of the boys. Yeh want to look for ideas that help the adults and the other boys support scoutin' for the lad, and help the lad slowly figure out how to do scoutin' well despite his disability.