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Involved parent vs. leader parent - does it matter to the boy?

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  • Involved parent vs. leader parent - does it matter to the boy?

    Just wondering if there is any data on this or any opinions. From the perspective of the individual scout, is there anything to suggest that kids do better in scouting (or stick with it more often) based on whether their parent(s) is/are participatory parents, unit leaders, non-involved parents, etc.?

    I'm thinking about this more in terms of kids with at least one parent/guardian in their unit serving as a leader in some capacity. Are those kids at all more inclined than others to want out of scouting because they are around a parent more often than they'd probably want to be, especially in their teen years? Or does this not make a difference in scouting since adult leaders are supposed to back off whenever possible and let the patrol method work?

    Anyone have any info or experiences on how kids feel about their parents' level of involvement, and how it impacts them?

  • #2
    Opinion only, since no two families are alike, and I've never seen any such data. We've had it both ways, depending on the boy and the parent. Both types (boy with involved or uninvolved) parent have advanced/made Eagle over the years. But...you know the toughest job for a youth in any troop? Being the Scoutmaster's son.

    Think about it!

    Comment


    • qwazse
      qwazse commented
      Editing a comment
      That's the one plus about SM and Advisor being two unrelated adults ... we pass our kids off on the other guy!

  • #3
    Good question. From my observation ...

    No difference, so long as the parent pushes their kid out the door to meeting during those tough times when it's just easier to stay home and do something else in those couple of hours.

    It has more to do with the kid's personality. From my "involved" parenting (you know you're involved by the number of complaints from your spouse) ...
    #1 had a good scouting/venturing experience until 18 in spite of me.
    #2 had a good venturing experience until 17 because of me. (Sometimes I wonder if it was for me.)
    #3 is having a good scouting/venturing experience with or without me.

    But, I think my involvement has helped other scouts who in turn have made it a good experience with my sons and daughter.

    I've seen similar patterns with other parents.

    Comment


    • #4
      The one advantage a lad has with an invovled parent is he always knows he has a ride to the meeting/activity/event. The scout does not have to be as diligent about sharing the troop calendar with his parents because the parents are already modifing the family calendar to ensure the scout can participate.

      All the scouts in my sons patrol have/had at least one parent involved in the troop as an ASM or Committe Member. All earned the rank of Eagle around age 17-17.5. Most will turn 18 after the first of the year but did not see a strong reason to pay a years dues for a few months so most have dropped out as of the first of the year.

      I am not sure we pushed our sons any harder to earn advancement as non-involved parents but I know we helped our sons be aware of the potential for advancement opportunties of all the various events available to them. I know one district camperee that the troop did not attend but both of my sons attended in order to complete most of the requirements for Emergency Preparedness MB. One son was also able to complete several T, 2nd and 1st class requirements that he would have had to wait months to complete.

      The drawback to the scouts can be that they frequently have a parent nearby that is keeping an extra eye on them. That means they do not have the same scouting experience of going away for the weekend and being totally away from the family support system. Even if they never interact with their parent, they know in the back of their mind, that if it really gets bad, Mom/Dad is their to help out.

      Comment


      • #5
        This observation is only from what I know from the troop my son was in.. Of the drop outs, it's was about 1/3 involved parent and 2/3 uninvolved parent. Of those who got Eagle or stayed until 18 and aged out for us 100% involved parent... Well one scout had an uninvolved biological parent, but had scouting parents... That was my son's best friend.. His parents were not involved, but we adopted him for scouting and got him to and from scouting and was his sounding board (along with my son) as we drove back from a meeting..

        Since others don't have similar observation, makes me try to reflect on if the troop treated the two groups differently, and did not give those with uninvolved parents the attention they needed.. But, I don't recall anything like that.. Since we left a troop specifically due to there choosing who were scouts deserving the attention, and what scouts deserved not just no attention, but unfair obsticles thrown in their paths.. I think I would have noticed it.. But, I don't recall that.. Maybe a few headaches, that had you rolling your eyes whenever they started up whatever it was that was like nails on a chalkboard... Whining, bullying, avoiding doing their fair share of the chores... etc.. But those scouts could have had involved parents or not..

        I do think a lot did had to do with if the parents got them to or from meetings or events.. For events, small events would be reason son couldn't go.. Siblings birthday, Aunt (who lives two towns over) is visiting, didn't eat his green beans.. etc..

        Comment


        • #6
          yes, there (back in the 90s I think) is some data that shows scouts with involved parents are more likely to stick with the program longer. Seems like it also pointed out that Eagle Scouts typically had active parents in the program. Barry

          Comment


          • RememberSchiff
            RememberSchiff commented
            Editing a comment
            Unfortunately, that study did not determine whether scouts voluntarily stayed with the program or were pressured by "involved" parents.

            As our kids gradually mature and develop as leaders, no matter what the activity, we parents should gradually step back. Their interest will grow as they take charge.

          • perdidochas
            perdidochas commented
            Editing a comment
            I think it's a combination thing. One, if your parent is an involved leader, for the most part, your parent has made it a point that scouting is an important thing. That example leads to the scout thinking that scouting is important. Second, the type of family that volunteers (i.e. scout leaders, athletic coaches, etc.) is a natural fit for scouting. Third, the communication is better. I know that some scout activities would have been skipped if I didn't know about it as a leader.

            My oldest is an Eagle, my youngest a Star, one eagle required MB and EDGE training of a younger scout, away from Life.

        • #7
          Originally posted by resqman View Post
          The one advantage a lad has with an invovled parent is he always knows he has a ride to the meeting/activity/event. The scout does not have to be as diligent about sharing the troop calendar with his parents because the parents are already modifing the family calendar to ensure the scout can participate.

          All the scouts in my sons patrol have/had at least one parent involved in the troop as an ASM or Committe Member. All earned the rank of Eagle around age 17-17.5. Most will turn 18 after the first of the year but did not see a strong reason to pay a years dues for a few months so most have dropped out as of the first of the year.

          I am not sure we pushed our sons any harder to earn advancement as non-involved parents but I know we helped our sons be aware of the potential for advancement opportunties of all the various events available to them. I know one district camperee that the troop did not attend but both of my sons attended in order to complete most of the requirements for Emergency Preparedness MB. One son was also able to complete several T, 2nd and 1st class requirements that he would have had to wait months to complete.

          The drawback to the scouts can be that they frequently have a parent nearby that is keeping an extra eye on them. That means they do not have the same scouting experience of going away for the weekend and being totally away from the family support system. Even if they never interact with their parent, they know in the back of their mind, that if it really gets bad, Mom/Dad is their to help out.
          That's why as a Scout Leader, I intentionally miss some campouts that my boys go on. I want them to experience camping without me around. That said, until my boys were ASPL/SPL level, I rarely spoke with them on campouts. Troop culture has it that the SPL/ASPL can eat with whatever patrol (including the adults) that they choose prior to the campout (i.e. when menus are being planned). Now, I speak to one of them during mealtime (oldest was ASPL then SPL, now youngest is ASPL).

          Comment


          • #8
            When I was a Scout my parents involvement with the troop was driving me to meetings. It was a double edged sword for sure. Ultimately I got my Eagle and never left the program. But it's probably advantageous to have a parent in the troop as well.

            Comment


            • #9
              My parents got me to meetings, and got me to campouts. My father did not attend a single meeting or campout though (he would drop off then drive home, and another parent would show up on Sunday to pick us up). I was part of a big troop, and there was plenty of adult association available at the Troop level.

              My sons are stuck with me as an ASM / SM (depending on the boy and the time). I leave them alone at meetings and campouts, and focus on serving the Troop - not my sons (directly). They benefit in ways others have pointed out - I know the calendar, I commit to the meetings and driving, and we don't put family stuff in competition with Troop activities. Does this give my boys more opportunities than some? Yes it does, but the same was done by my father - he knew that Scouts mattered to me (and I had ZERO athletic ability until a puberty growth spurt so that was not an issue for me).

              The most important support from a parent is getting the boy to the meeting - that means NOT being the roadblock to participation. Next is helping ensure that the unit has the resources it needs to deliver the program. That can be drivers, committee members, donations, BOR staffing, merit badge counselors, etc. After that comes being a uniformed Scouter.

              My dad knew that my unit had everything covered, and years later I found out that he wrote some nice checks to the Troop to help out others less fortunate. My sons' unit needed some Scouters, so I stepped up to that role (ending up as a Scoutmaster for a few years).

              Comment


              • moosetracker
                moosetracker commented
                Editing a comment
                Agree Horizon.. Reading your post I have to alter mine which is posted earlier.. An involved parent doesn't mean they are in a direct leadership position.. Many of our parents worked on the Committee or help with Driving.. It though did need to be something more then monetary support.. Something that had the parents buy into the importance of the program, and the scouts see their parents showing an interest in Scouting..

            • #10
              I think my boys usually seem glad; they have asked me to go on a few I skipped to give them more room. They occasionally check up on me to make sure I am OK. I think they see that their are some perks...yeah the arrive earlier and leave later and have to clean up more BUT they get higher priority on capped lists and it is the main father-son thing we all do. Also they enjoy whipping the old man in as many ways they can.

              Comment


              • #11
                First, I'd exclude the extremes that seem to be about 5% to 10% of the scouts. The scout with a parent who pushes them to be in scouting but where the scout works even harder to get out of scouting. And ... the scout who's parents are not there and do not value scouting but the scout gets there and is really involved.

                After those extremes, I have a few thoughts.

                ---- Kids value what their parents value. If the parent shows through actions that they value scouting, the kid will value scouting more.

                ---- Most Eagle scouts have motivating parents that keep them on the path. I've only seen one or two scouts that gets there mostly on their own.

                ---- Most scouts face major distractions or even want to quit at some point. Having an involved parent helps them stay on-track.

                ---- Logistics are hard. Kids are busy and calendars are mostly full these days. Involved parents help kids navigate all the calendar confusion and avoid really screwed up situations.

                ---- Parent involvement is a good prediction of how far kids will go.

                So with that said, I always joke that Eagle scouts parents really deserve those Eagle scout parent pins. It's not a declaration that their kid earned Eagle. It's a symbol that they worked their tails off driving the kid, washing clothes, helping organize sleeping bags, etc.

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