Jump to content

Can a parent act as a MB counselor for their child?

Recommended Posts

Sorry for another noob question. I've read the BSA MB counselor material on the web and perhaps I missed it.


In our troop the policy is that you cannot sign off on the TF to 1st class requirements for your own child. This seems like a good policy to follow.


When it comes to Merit Badges, under BSA policy can a parent act as a MB counselor for his own child?


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 39
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Although my esteemed colleque and friendly acquataince Mr Mori is correct, you may wish more documentation that "This guy Ed on the internet says ..." particularly if you wish to change Troop Culture you may want somehting from the BSA website, use :


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yah, KnotHead, OGE's got the right of it.


It is permitted, because why would we ever deprive a kid of a shot at a badge if his dad was the only qualified counselor around, eh?


But most good parents avoid being MBC's for their own son if they can, and most units and SM's will have some rules, formal or informal, to direct boys to other counselors or at least emphasize no one-on-one by requirin' another lad to pursue the MB at the same time. A lad gets the best experience that way, and everyone avoids "the appearance of impropriety" which can come with a parent givin' their own son an award.




Link to post
Share on other sites

And in another highlight of BSA editing (all quotes from scouting.org):


Question: Can merit badge counselors coach their own sons or close relatives (for instance, a nephew)?

Answer: Yes, but only if the young man is part of a group of Scouts who are all working on the same merit badge.


This answer does not seem fully consistent with other places I've seen, which would not suggest this particular restriction.


Also, the web site indicates that the Scoutmaster picks the counselor.


Your Scoutmaster will give you the name of a person from a list of counselors.


So a parent doesn't just decide they'll do some particular merit badge with their son, sit down and do the requirements, and have their son hand in the card.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks again everyone for the insight and the links!


EDIT -> Is the Committee Guide Policies and Procedures (No. 33088) available online or just in hardcopy? I've googled but so far can't find a pdf or online link. Thanks


(This message has been edited by Knot Head)

Link to post
Share on other sites

BSA Requirements 33215 is online.


BSA Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures #33088 is only available in hardcopy. That said, since it's a policy document, many things it says are available elsewhere online.


Here's a superb resource at the National website for MB Counselors:



BTW, just as Beavah said, I preferred not to sign off on my sons' advancement whilst he was a youth member. Gave him the chance to meet and work with others, avoided any perception of preferential treatment. BTW, yes, I have observed preferential treatment by parents of their own children to the expense of others :( within the program.(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)

Link to post
Share on other sites

As stated above there are good reasons not to do it, not the least of which is the appearance of impropriety. But as far as I know, if the counsellor is registered with the District as a MBC, and if the SM accepts it, it's a done deal.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes you can but should you? There are two sides to the preference equation. Having taken one MB from me my son will never take another one because I am too hard on him. Some parents might tend to lean the other way. Both sides are to be avoided.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes you can but should you?


Sure, why not? One scout method is Adult Association and as a parent are you not an adult? Is using scouting to strengthen the relationship between a boy and his parent in some way a bad thing? Is sharing your knowledge and passion for a skill something that is harmful to your son?


The BSA in no way discourages the parent from being a counselor to their son. It seems so silly that the same people who have no problem being a scoutmaster to their own son would discourage or blockade you from being a merit badge counselor to your son.


All the BSA requires is that you be approved and registered with the council for the topics you counsel.




bw(This message has been edited by Bob White)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd like to be able to say that the policy is clear, but apparently, there is at least a little confusion.


But as for opinions about the merit of the practice, now THOSE will vary widely. I have mine, too. All of them have value. But here is mine.


Our Scoutmaster has a fantastic system and method for doing the the three Citizenship badges. They are interesting, VERY informative, and guys all say they get a lot out of all of them. The SM's son is well past 18, but when he was in the Troop, we discussed the pros and cons of our SM counseling his son. It was the opinion of EVERY SINGLE ADULT involved with our Troop that it would be wrong to deny this Scout the benefit of such a great counselor.


All the adults in our Troop seem to feel the same way about the way I counsel Personal Management. And when it was time for my sons to do PM, it was a no brainer they were going to do it with me. My younger son took almost a year to complete the badge because he wasn't accepting the half a$$ed work he was trying to pass of whe doing his "To Do" list and schedule. No one coluld believe that it took MY SON so long to complete the badge. The was no appearance of impropriety.


On the other hand, I also counsel Communications and Family Life. I do a pretty good job with the Family Life, and my older son did that one with me, the younger son I sent to someone else. As for Communications, I feel there is nothing special I can provide. So I sent both of my sons to other Counselors.


Every Scout is entitled the best experience he can get. If that is with his father (or mother!!!), then not only should it be permitted, but it should almost be required.


All in my VERY Humble oppinion!


Good luck to you, and welcome to the forums!!!



Link to post
Share on other sites

mkp750, When you say the policy is "unclear", what part of the policy did you mean?


from the BSA advancement Policy and Procedures manual under the heading "Qualifications of Counselors"..."An approved merit badge counslor may counsel any youth member including his or her own son, ward, or relative."


If it is the part about who approves them, the same BSA policy manual in the same section says this... All merit badge counselors must be approved by the council advancement committee.


Is it the part about which or how many merit badges the parent is allowed to counsel?


Let's look at what the BSA says about that. From the same section of the same BSA advancement manual...

"There is no restriction on the number of merit badges a youth may earn from one counselor."


I am puzzled by what part of the BSA's policy you find "unclear"?

Link to post
Share on other sites



I am delighted you have never in nearly 30 years of Scoutering encountered a single MB Counselor, who was a parent, never crossed the line with an integrity issue in giving their kid a pass in earning a MB.


Sadly, I have. Once it happens, the well is poisoned for all, and poisoned for a long time to come.


Frankly, I pray the National Advancement Committee withdraws the privilege of a parent Scouter counseling their own child.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...