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Scout Step Parent with Issues

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  • #16
    I certainly have had to bite my lip a lot when the boys (and young men and women venturers) were being chaotic yet not creating a safety issue or disrespecting anyone. But, I would reccommend two strategies besides "sit down and shut up."
    First, go on at least one overnight a year with your troop. If at all possible, bunk with a dad you may know well. (Or, if your wife goes on these outings, I'm sure she'd also appreciate your company.) Spending some time around a campfire with other adults can smooth over a lot of issues.
    Second, talk to the troop committee chair about what adult leadership positions are unfilled. It may be that they need need something that you can do well. Also, consider becoming a merit badge counselor. Based on your experience as a coach, you might do well helping boys with Personal Fitness.

    Let's face it. Not everyone was cut out to sit in those meetings. And sometimes, aldults communicate a feeling of unwelcome because they expect you to be all bubbly about something that you don't enjoy or appreciate at the moment. Hopefully they are grown up enough to get over their hang-ups.

    Finally, I certainly couldn't coach any sport beyond grade school. I tried, did O.K., but quickly reached the limit of my skill. Fortunately parents who could take it to the next level were available for my kids. If you're one of those parents, thanks a ton!


    • #17
      That sounds strange to me.

      Is the biological Dad still in the picture? If so, that could be causing the extra strife.

      I'm a Webelos Den leader, and I treat all people that come with kids nicely. I don't care what the relationship is (well, except for the uncle that was a sexual offender, who wasn't allowed back).


      • #18
        Just reread your OP.

        To some degree your attitude about the Scouts already dooms you. You already think it's silly and expensive and useless. Have you thought about stepping up to teach your stepson's group something you think that's useful that is in their advancement for this year? (not being a leader full time, just giving a hand)


        • #19
          Never mind - I was thinking sporting beltloops because I was thinking Derby and Cubs.

          We have had sports days for our troop where they invite up Cubs, perhaps your son could plan something along those lines.(This message has been edited by momma_bee)


          • #20
            I don't know what all has made you feel this way, but I'm sorry.

            the only thing we came across since being in cub scouts and now in boy scouts was 1 rule (and I don't know if it was a national, council, district, or camp) and that was that a boy was only allowed to share a tent with a "parent" and they wouldn't allow step-dad to share a tent. Step-dad was involved in everything else and was only told about that rule when we signed up for webelos summer camp so that's why I don't know the origin of that rule.

            to me it doesn't matter who is what to who... if they are there to support the boys and scouting and are good representives of the oath/law then GREAT!

            I'm just curious how much is from being a step and viewing it as that... could it be that wife does more and is there more? I know my husband is not (and I mean majorly NOT) into camping and outdoors... he only goes to troop meetings when I'm tied up with other things (meeting is 20min away so why drive back and forth) and will help at fundraisers when I'm busy... he will help with eagle projects especially when the boy is needed major muscle to help him with his plans....... anyway, when he is there not all the adults really know him or know much about him - same for him to them - so he doesn't feel as welcome as I do, but the more he goes to those things he's getting better at getting to know everyone and feel apart of.


            • #21
              WOW! thats incredible. I cant imagine anyone making much of a distinction between step and bio parent. I wish i had your problem. i went 6 months as the only father in the troop besides the scoutmaster who was a step father. No other fathers at all. i woudl have welcomes any father, step fathers, older brothers, uncles. Just some other men. Not that i dont like women but it would be nice to see some adults that know what its like to have been a boy.

              If you are truly interested in the wellbeing of this boy and you and he have a good relationship then to heck with what they think.


              • #22
                As a 4th yr Cub leader (T,B and W) Not sure about what to say about the step-parent issue. I couldn't tell you if the adults with a boy are step-parents or parents, unless the adult makes a point of it, or I meet the biological parent of the same gender. I treat them all the same--as people that are trying to do their best to raise a boy.

                Scouts is about turning boys into men. Cub scouts does that with adult leaders doing most of the work. Boy Scouts does that by putting boys into the position to lead and learn, sometimes by trial and error. In terms of costs, I think scouts is still a lot cheaper than sports (where you also need expensive uniforms and equipment, as well as much higher registration fees).

                The hokie-ness is there because kids like it. Kids love the corny skits and stupid jokes. Some of us grown up kids like them as well. I really don't understand what you mean by "pseudo-life" lessons. What's a pseudo life?


                • #23
                  "Yeah, I suppose that's a possibility as well. I haven't really analyzed it from that side. But I have noticed that when I introduce myself as the Step-Dad that 99% of the time the conversation ends with a kind of "your not needed here" eyeroll look. "

                  Why introduce yourself as step-Dad? Why not just as Dad, and let them figure out the step in context?


                  • #24
                    Are you a new stepdad? That would account for some measure of nervousness/self conciousness.

                    My husband is step-dad to my son, but it's not a title we use.

                    He's just dad. We all went campin' with the Pack, and Dad handles the PWD. I cannot cope with the noise level. It's just not a division we see, but my husband's been in our lives since the boy was 3 (and is now 9)

                    No one in the Pack has asked if my husband is his physical father or a step father. All they see is the way the two of them (well, I reckon, the 3 of us ) interact.


                    • #25

                      First off, you're probably doing the right thing by mostly keeping quiet and observing, because a Boy Scout troop is a different kind of program and it's this difference that has the potential to be life-changing. It takes a while to understand how things work. As a coach who has had to deal with parents who think they can do your job, you have a good understanding of the situation you're in because this IS a diffent kind of game.

                      In the troop medium-size troop I serve, we have only had one step-dad that I know of, but there could have been more because it's mostly irrelevant. This step-dad was a huge asset to the program for all the boys and enjoyed the time sharing adventures with his son. (I intentionally didn't say "step-son", because he didn't.) We never have parents sharing tents with boys, so I wouldn't know if there is some bizarre twist in that rule.

                      My brother is also a step-dad who has jumped in to help provide a great program for the sons he loves.

                      The only problem we've ever had with family situations was in divorced families when the bio-parents turned scouting participation into a battle ground. The boy loses every time.

                      Please believe me - your biological status with your son is not an issue and this program can be a fantastic opportunity for you to help your son (and his buddies) grow into responsible, productive adults.

                      Others have recommended getting involved.
                      If you like the outdoors at all, go on some campouts as soon as possible and find some friends amoung the adults. I've found that the late-night cup of coffee by the campfire is the best place to learn their philosophy.

                      We can't jump to this conclusion, but it's very possible your situation and observations have little to do with your parental status and have much more to do with observing a program which is not completely healthy and on-track. You may be a great coach, motivator and leader with a multitude of insights on how things could run better, but it's a volunteer organization and everyone there has to be presumed as doing their best. You have to work your way into their confidence and really understand the lay of the land before they will readily accept everything you have to offer.

                      Roll up your sleeves and get in the game. Study the Boy Scout handbook and Scoutmaster's Handbook, while recognizing the gritty details of execution aren't always as clean as the pictures and aren't intended to be. Go ahead and start taking the available training to help you get on the same page as other leaders. Much of the initial stuff is on-line. I encourage you to take the Scoutmaster's Fundamentals course (typically 8 hours on a Saturday) and the Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills (a full-weekend course where you will work as a Patrol with other adults).

                      As you learn more about how the program is supposed to work and get to know the troop (boys and leaders), you will find places where you can help make things better. For example, perhaps you have leadership skills from your place of work where you lead and manage a team. You might find out the Scoutmaster is frustrated by the process of conducting semi-annual troop leadership training and you can help him by putting together a good workshop using BSA materials and your real experience. (Just keep it scaled down for 13-17 yr olds!)

                      Enjoy the ride!


                      • #26
                        Thanks for the many replies.

                        I've taken all of this in stride. Unfortunately, I really don't see any improvement in the way the organization operates.

                        The confidence that others in the thread said I would see, never materialized.

                        Someone asked if I, not since I was a idea of camping at my age involves something motorized and 30 feet long! LOL

                        (This message has been edited by asichacker)


                        • #27
                          Sorry to hear that. Apparently the troop activities still appear chaotic to you.

                          Do you feel more welcome than before? Have you followed up on the suggestions to get more involved with leadership or instructing?

                          Is your son enjoying himself? Does he like camping? Does he appear to be getting anything out of it? If you are still concerned with the chaos do you talk with your son about what you think is wrong and get his feedback? If so, does he agree with you?

                          It may simply be that scouting is not your cup of tea.

                          Im kinda in the opposite boat. My wife played sports in school and is what you might call a natural athlete. She dreamed of having at least one sporty kid. As for me, I was not athletic and never had an interest in sports (though I did row crew in high school and enjoyed it). When the kids (two boys and a girl) came along my wife enrolled them in soccer and baseball and I dutifully helped out by trucking them around and attending games to show the kids I supported them like I felt a good parent should even though sports were not my thing. Alas for my wife, none of them proved to be sporty, and soon lost interest, but the boys got into scouting and enjoy it. They like the camping and hiking and so do I. Scouting was a good fit for us.

                          Im both a Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader, although more focused on the Cubs at this point. In the Cubs we adults are in control and things are fairly well ordered, but when I go with the troop its a different world. There are times when the Cub-Commander in me would like to step in and show the way, but thats not how it works - the boys run the show. I know that no matter how bad things seem (his troop is pretty well organized, not perfect but certainly not what I would call chaotic) my son is learning from the mistakes. More importantly, we talk about the highs and the lows and what HE can do to try and fix things he doesnt like.

                          The bottom line to me would be what my son was feeling and what he thought of the Program and whether he felt that he was getting something out of it. As long as he is happy and not being negatively affected then let HIM enjoy it, even if it isnt YOUR thing.



                          • #28
                            I always, always tell new parents that watching the boys reinvent the wheel every six months is the most painful thing in the world. It's a learning experience for the boys, and it is a slow uphill slog.

                            I would advise you to hang out with the adults and talk about non-scouting things. The local weird happenings, price of tomatoes, whatever.

                            You may never be a died in the wool, bury me in my Jack-shirt Scouter. But, do try to put forward a smile and positive attitude about and around Scouting.


                            • #29

                              I may have gotten a little carried away in my last post.

                              From your son's point of view right now, it's all about Fun, Friends, and Adventure.
                              These are the things which should be making him want to be in Boy Scouts.
                              In a few years, he'll start to feel the need to start controlling some portion of his world. At that time, Scouting leadership opportunities will help him grow a lot.

                              No sweat if you're not interested in the camping. Volunteer to assist on the Troop Committee, drive and drop-off on campouts, etc, and you'll be welcome in any troop!


                              • #30
                                I jinxed myself!

                                I thought that my wife had given up on the sporty kid, but a few hours after I made my post to this thread I discovered that she had enrolled Wolf Cub son in Little League again!

                                Oh well take me out to the ball game