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  • Uncooperative Scout

    I have a young man in our troop who ... well, the best way i can say this is he is uncooperative. It isn't an issue of not hearing. He can be down right defiante. The way I have dealt with it is to make sure I have eye contact with him before I give him an instruction, and at that I may have to tell him something more than once. Dad is active - stays for meetings and camps with us when he can. And, Dad can be pretty harsh but it is voice only - I've never seen him make a move towards this kid. And the kid really likes having Dad around.

    We have taken him to summer camp without Dad, and while he did get a little homesick he did overall well. I noticed that he preferred to do things on his own - took different Merit Badges than the other boys, for instance. He is a great one for dragging his feet and lagging way behind and I finally told him that if he continued to do that he would be sitting out with me and another leader while the boys went swimming or whatever else was coming up. I also told him he would have to listen to one of the other boys walk along side him and tell him his "water lecture"! haha - that is almost as bad as water boarding according to the rest of the boys :-) Anyway, he finally picked the pace up.

    He has to be rode constantly to help with anything - cooking, cleaning, packing up, setting up - when we go camping. Now, he says he likes Scouts and always wants to go camping. But he just doesn't want to DO anything.

    This past weekend was the Klondike and he was so uncooperative with the other boys (small enough troop they went as one patrol). This was an issue at every single station. No matter what the patrol was attempting to do he would either do nothing or actually work in a counter productive way. As a result this group of boys who normally would at least make an honorable showing of things didn't place in a single event, and to a boy they blame this one boy. (We have talked about how winning isn't the only goal, that they are learning to work as a team, etc. and I've taken the time to let them know how proud I am of them and proud to be their Scoutmasters.)

    Talking to this youth yields nothing positive. He cries and says everyone is being mean to him. I have seen his behavior and have no doubt the other boys are telling the truth. But, I don't know how to teach them to handle it. I don't let them bully each other. They are trying to figure out how to deal with this - frankly they are to the point they'd rather he just stay home.

    Please - how do I teach them how to illict cooperation from him when even I can not?

  • #2
    Eating is another issue, though Dad is the first one to say he eats what is presented or he goes hungry - just like at home (he doesn't like peanut butter along with everything else). And yes, he helps plan the meals. Makes for a long week of summer camp when you have a youth that won't eat the food.

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    • #3
      Give the Scout a "buddy" or two. Older Scouts who can encourage him. Have him lead the hike, not bring up the rear. Get with the PLC or your Guides and have them give words of encouragement to him. Sounds like something is bothering him. People are social animals by nature and only seek solitude when something is up. There sounds like there is more here than he's telling. May be big or may be small. Only he knows.

      We use older Scout mentors. They tag team kids who try to "hide in plain sight" by encouraging them; motivating them to help and lead. Ask them what they like. How would they do the activity? What do they prefer to do? Maybe that will help him get more invovled.

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      • #4
        Now might be a good time to sit down with scout and have a chat about scouting.

        Does he want to be involved with scouting?

        Doe he enjoy it?

        If either are no, sit down with Dad and Scout and suggest he take a month off and then reevaluate his commitment.

        I am dealing with one of these currently. He has figured out that if he makes the meal unedible he can get out of being a cook.....He also has a bowel issue that he uses to get out of clean up. So I sat down with CC, mom and scout and had this discussion. He blamed me, the other scouts and his mom because he is being forced to attend. Nobody likes him....well ya burned the pancakes and ducked out on your KP.

        We will see what happens.

        Far as summer camp food goes, they will eat by tuesday or Wednsday......

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        • #5
          You don't say how old he is, but if he's on the young side, he could just be less mature than the other boys his age. There was a boy like this with my older son's WEB den and then his NSP. He quit for a year or so because he felt like he just didn't fit in with the rest of the boys interest -wise. He came back when he had matured some and fit in much better with his old patrol, both in Scouts and at school.

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          • #6
            Mom,

            "I have a young man in our troop who ... well, the best way i can say this is he is uncooperative."

            There is part of the problem ... you've put the "best" light on the issue, instead of the "worst". That's the primary problem with the world today ... downplay everything ... make everyone feel good....

            There is only one thing to do ... get the parents and the boy together and read them the riot act....at length. Shape up or ship out...everyone else is behaving themselves, working together, respecting each other ... this boy must as well.

            Scouting is dangerous. Kids die while Scouting every year. Unrully boys increase that risk.

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            • #7
              I have asked him if he likes Scouts and he tells me that he does part of the time, though he can't tell me what part he does not like beyond it is hard. I know last summer he complained he wasn't used to walking, which is very possible in this day and age (we already have a plan to prepare better for this summer by beginning a regular hiking program as soon as the new boys cross over in a week).

              I am going to take the idea of putting him in charge of something and running with that. I have been thinking about that for ALL of the boys, actually. We are a small troop - rebuilding from a big mess about 3 years ago, finally having aged those out who weren't inclined to change (youth and adults both), and we will be doubling at cross-over. We have been implementing the patrol method as we could get transitioned, which is why I didn't go on the Klondike trail with the boys in the first place - I want them turning to the SPL for leadership rather than me. Anyway, that process will get smoother as we go. Back to this scout ...

              I have talked with Dad to make sure there is nothing going on with the other boys that I am not aware of, and Dad reassures me there is nothing on that front. I have taken to telling him that I can only listen to him if he stops crying as I can't understand him. I do think he is starting to realize that tears don't move me much.

              Ok ... this gives me a couple of ways to go with this. Basementdweller, sorry you have to deal with one, too, but glad I'm not alone!

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              • #8
                it sounds to me as though you may have an undiagnosed Scout (or maybe the parents aren't sharing). I agree with giving him a task to do. Experience tells me that he will work better with kids not his own age. He may listen to SPL if he's 2 years older and clearly in charge, or he might do well with some of the newer Scouts. Ask mom. She may be more open about it than dad. Find out what works at home.
                BDPT00

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                • #9
                  Does he seem "lost" while you are giving instrutions? Could it be he has a learning disability/senory issuses they aren't telling you about? My DS has a problem that looks like ADD/hearing loss so he takes clues to what he should be doing from the other boys sometimes and if you didn't know it, it would sort of look like he was hanging back, doing nothing, or being counter productive. But, The Troop knows about his problems.

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                  • MomToEli
                    MomToEli commented
                    Editing a comment
                    No ... not lost. Uninterested, actually. He simply ignores what is said. If I ask him if he heard me he will say yes, but then continue to not do as instructed - I'm talking about things like. Mind you - eventually he does comply when he realizes I am not going to back down. I don't raise my voice. I just repeat the request and eventually he will do as asked. Honestly - and don't take this wrong - he reminds me of my Chocolate Lab when she is standing down by the burn pile and I'm calling her in. She will stand and look at me with that "make me" look on her face - eventually she will decide I mean business and come in the house :-)

                    The bigger problem is trying to teach the SPL how to deal with it. I would say it is very possible he could be diagnosed, but mom and dad have opted for no meds - which I don't fault at all. But it does seem to get worse when he gets tired.

                  • Ltfightr
                    Ltfightr commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yeah, I have one that does that the stare thing. Not mine! But one of the Pack. With him, it gets a WHOLE lot worse when he's tired. Not much help. Sorry.

                • #10
                  Does he seem "lost" while you are giving instrutions? Could it be he has a learning disability/senory issuses they aren't telling you about? My DS has a problem that looks like ADD/hearing loss so he takes clues to what he should be doing from the other boys sometimes and if you didn't know it, it would sort of look like he was hanging back, doing nothing, or being counter productive. But, The Troop knows about his problems.

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                  • #11
                    Well, there is a "Scout Spirit" requirement for every rank. So I assume he is not advancing...right? Consequences?

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                    • MomToEli
                      MomToEli commented
                      Editing a comment
                      He is one of my lads who hasn't done a pull-up yet so he is still a Scout. He and the other boy both crossed into the Troop almost a year ago now and neither of them seem to mind not having advanced. That may well change now that more boys are coming in who may well pass them up. Nothing like a little peer pressure to get you off dead center. But Scout Spirit is the next bridge I have to cross with him.

                  • #12
                    This boy will probably need some very concrete examples of Scout spirit with which to compare his own behaviour.

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                    • #13
                      I've had Scouts like this. They don't stay around long. Scouting is a group activity. There may be some things you can do here and there on your own, but if the fella isn't willing to at least TRY to work and play with the other kids, he's just making himself and others miserable. He should pull his weight or go home. That's just how it is. How are the other Scouts learning teamwork and leadership when they create a duty roster and this kid constantly blows it off? How does the buddy system work when he takes off by himself? How much fun is it to be this guy's PL or tent mate?

                      Unless your troop is sponsored by a pediatric counseling center, you have to go with what the dad tells you. If the Scout has undiagnosed issues or if the dad is unwilling to share, your hands are tied.

                      Have a sit-down and set clear expectatons for cooperation. Don't sugar coat it. Then send him home when he doesn't meet them.

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                      • #14
                        This boy sounds like he is having issues engaging. Some kids need a bit more of instruction. You can teach a scout to fish and he will eventually learn. Some kids need more work than others. I like the mentor idea. Have the boys encoruage him. Even if he has just one friend it can make all the difference.

                        I think the whole "riot act" thing is a bit much right now. Let's remember that Scouting is for the boys to have an escape and to learn. Just because the kid is not Joe Scout yet does not mean he deserves a tongue lashing. Try a few things, meet with mom and dad, have a few guys cozy up to him and help him. Doing one's duty with a smile on your face goes both ways for both the troubled scout and his mates.

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                        • #15
                          Mom: Not trying to stereotype, but does this Scout have a diagnosed mental disorder/disability?

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