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Help with Tiger Cubs - better meetings, less frustration

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  • Help with Tiger Cubs - better meetings, less frustration

    Hi all. I'm a semi-new Den leader with a Den of 4 Tiger Cubs. Outside of Den meetings, all the boys are well behaved, respectful kids. I know this firsthand having had some of them over to play with my son on non-scouting occaisons.

    However, when we all get together for Den meetings, that behavior seems to go OUT of the window and they want to basically display the exact opposite behavior they normally exhibit.

    Have any of you also experienced this and if so, how did you deal with it? I have talked with the parents about instituting a code of conduct, similar to what they all have in their 1st grade classrooms. This would be used in conjunction with a mnemonic device involving a scouting word they all know that each word would be something to foster better behavior at den meetings.

    The "code" would be introduced and explained to them. If they all exhibit they behavior associated with the code of conduct, marbles representing that would go into a small "goal jar". When the goal jar is filled, then all would go to ice cream.

    I would be very interested to hear how other have dealt with this. Thanks!

  • #2
    My husband rolls out a big piece of paper and writes "_______ Cubs" in the middle. Then he asks the boys what rules they should have for the meetings, prompting them of course. LOL

    After they have discussed the rules each boy does his handprint and signs his name inside the print. Then they hang it up on the wall where they can clearly see it each meeting.


    We've had 2 incentives this year. The first was the conduct candle. When it burned out they got root beer floats. Very crazy...but he did not have to blow out the candle once during a meeting!

    The second incentive was earning beads for their flag for conduct, uniform, book. They got banana splits just this past week for that.

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    • #3
      My son's Tiger den was like that--and I didn't know it could be any other way!

      By the time they reached their Wolf year, I knew better, and we had a Marble Jar, earning for an Ice Cream Party. We also wrote ICE CREAM PARTY really big, and when things were out of control, they lost letters. Remaining letters become marbles for the jar.

      We also used Wolf Ears--two little slips of paper each boy got at the start of the meeting. Mess around, lose an ear (ha!) have an ear left the end of meeting, get a tootsie roll.

      NOW they're Bears, and we're not using gimmicks. Overall, it's not necessary, because leadership has gotten better. Last night, we had a chat about "Respect" because there wasn't any. After that, they got back on the right path.

      So, there's my experience.

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      • #4
        My first question, whenever I hear about TIGERS behaving badly at their meetings, is - Where the heck are their Tiger Adult Partners!?

        Tiger Partners should be sitting/standing/hopping/singing RIGHT NEXT to their Tiger Scout. They should be working WITH their Tiger on all crafts, sitting NEXT to him. They should be doing the opening flag ceremony WITH their Tiger, standing NEXT to him. They should be doing the Cub Scout Sign & saying the Cub Scout Promise WITH their Tiger, standing NEXT to him. They should be playing games WITH their Tiger, as a TEAM. They should be going up and down, while singing the "Grand Old Duke of York" WITH their Tiger.

        When a Tiger starts acting up at a Tiger den meeting, the FIRST PERSON to correct him should be his Tiger Partner! Those adults are not there just to sit in a corner together and chat. They can go to Starbucks and do that.

        I am assuming that by now they have all earned Bobcat. If so, then they already know a Scouting device that is used to foster good behavior. A hint - it looks like wolf ears that are QUIETLY listening hard for Akela. Yep, it's the Cub Scout Sign.

        A den Code of Conduct, and a behavior jar, are great things. However, I feel they are needed more starting in their Wolf year when their parents are not by their side all of the time. If you do make a Tiger Code of Conduct, make sure you get input from the Scouts. Without their input it will not be THEIRS. It will be YOURS. Remember this is Scouts, not school.

        Just as a frame of reference - I have been a Tiger den leader for 11 years now. My dens have ranged from 14 to 2. I have had some boys who were so shy, they hid under the table and held on to their Partners leg for most of the meeting. I have also had boys who could only stay still for 3 minutes at a time (once I had an entire den of 6 boys like that!). In all of that time I have never had to put a Code of Contact in place, or use a behavior jar.

        We talk about Doing Our Best, what it means to Help Other People, and to Give Goodwill. I have used the Scout Sign often. I have also gone up to a boy, put my hand on his shoulder, taken the ball/ruler/whatnot from his hand, and walked him over to his Partner.

        Boys are usually most nutsy during the gathering period, waiting for everyone to arrive. Make sure you have activities for them to do. Usually, coloring or puzzle pages work well. If you have a Boy Scout Den Chief helping you, he can lead them in a quiet game. My guys this year are an active bunch, and love to play with a ball, making up the rules as they go. Whatever they are doing, when the flag comes out, they know the den meeting is starting and they need to get over to their Partner for the Opening. During the meeting, if they all start getting antsy, I know it is time to change up what they are doing. I will pull out a silly song, move the tables for a game, or go outside for a game or to pick up litter. Anything that gets them up and moving around for a bit.

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        • #5
          Thanks everybody for the comments! I'm meeting with all the parents this Saturday to discuss and develop a game plan.

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          • #6
            Hello! So nice to hear their are other Tigers out there out of control...

            I say it's the age. We were at the Blue/Gold Dinner and one dad said it perfect, they are still in Spongebob Mode...The other groups so well behaved and the Tigers well they just couldn't sit still. I assume that's why they seated us in the back of the banquet hall.

            I find the parents are very helpful. We keep them involved and if one child is a little noisier the parent can help out so there is more order in the meeting.

            Of course, they can't wait for snack time!

            Anyway, patience is the key. Enjoy them and remember they are learning, we sometimes don't realize how much. Your doing a great job I'm sure.

            Take care,
            Linda

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            • #7
              TC's were fun, I had worse problems with the Bears. I had promised myself that I would never use a conduct prop. Started using a conduct candle by the 2nd month, along with a "code of conduct" poster/contract with lots of do's and as few as possible don'ts (done by the boys). I would use the candle as short term recognition (sm. candle or draw lines on a larger one) and give a special treat for the first, dollar store toy for second, "MY" brownies for the third, etc., ending with a pizza or ice cream party for the last. I used the host family each week, so as to give everyone their 15 min. of fame, and it got everyone use to being the leader and giving respect to that leader. As long as they were properly prepared for the craft or whatever, it worked well. Plus it gave the team (TC & partner) to bond at home getting ready. Let that host do a little extra at each meeting (opening, lighting the candle, pass out snacks, etc.) Make sure the partners get involved too, if they aren't singing, let the boys turn around and watch to see who isn't being involved, and make them do a silly stunt or song in front of everyone, they will sing louder as a group... And try to let them ride the "roller coaster" of attention spans. Gathering game as a high, opening as a low, cheer/song - high, craft - low, game/activity - high, char. conn./closing - low, snacks - high, clean up and send them home. (etc...) They will endure the low to get to the high. Use the Scout Sign instead of the voice, if your hand is in the air longer than 30 sec., blow out the candle (or give them one warning). As they learn, shorten the time. And most definatly, recruit a den chief!! or a couple of crazy asst's. It's good for you and the Boy Scout (3 of my 4 den chief's have made Eagle!). But, most of all, have fun. If they see you getting frusterated, they will feed on it...

              Just some ideas, good luck, and thanks for being a Scouter!

              YIS, Fred

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              • #8
                I've never worked with Tigers. But that said, I've always thought of the "conduct candle" and other similar techniques as silly - a bribe for what they should be expected to do anyway.

                I first encountered a candle as den chief to a Wolf den. While the Cubs did enjoy the pizza, there was this undercurrent of "Oh, man, here we go again..." eye-rolling going on whenever the candle would be lit. Perhaps it was just the approach of the leaders, which was heavily laced with condescension. But I think as the kids get older, they really do want to be treated like adults, not little kids who need to be bribed.

                Modeling good behavior is still the best way to teach it. And in Tigers, as others have said, the adult partners are the ones who should be setting the primary example.

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                • #9
                  I have to second, where are their adult partners?????

                  They are 6 year old young men. You cannot expect them to sit quietly for an hour or during the meeting. They have an attention span of 5 minutes dependent on topic and time of day. Plan for this and understand it.

                  Poor behavior stems from adults not understanding those we serve and poorly planned meetings.

                  Keep the meeting fast paced.
                  Things take half as long as you planned
                  Keep it to things the boys like and enjoy.
                  After sitting in school all day they are not gonna sit.
                  Games......lots of games.
                  Let the boys socialize and play with each other.

                  I would not lecture the group of adults, no point in it and you will simply tick them off. I have pulled individual parents a side and asked them not to give little Johnny mountain dew before the meeting.

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