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Variation: Advancement : Boys v. Parents

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The original thread was interesting... and probably more typical .. but ...


...what do you do when the advancement issue openly pits boy v. parent?


My Scout, while having "drunk the Kool-Aid" on the "importance" of getting Eagle from his Mom/Dad/SM/ASM's, has made no real effort nor progress towards that endeavor.


While interested in the outdoor aspect and some of the "fun" merit badges, he is almost completely adverse to most of the Eagle required MB's. (It took almost the entire school year for him to bother to complete CoN ... and then it was a cat-fight between Mom and Scout.)


Do you every tell a parent to "back-off"?



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Yah, welcome to teenage boys, eh?


IIRC, your lad is still a fairly young fellow. Lots of time, no need to push, and with teenage boys when parents push they like as not get rebellion rather than compliance.


Yeh just have to decide whether you want to have an Eagle Scout son or whether you want your son to earn Eagle Scout. If it's the latter, then yeh give him some space to make it his. He'll catch on when his buddies start moving ahead of him.


Yah, and I agree with your lad, eh? For most younger fellows, da required Eagle MB list is BORING. Typically it's the last thing that gets done, after they mature a bit to be able to push through boring stuff, and after they've had some of it in school so that they have a grasp of the basics of things like Cit. Nation and Cit. World and such.


Sounds like your lad is doin' fine and is pretty typical. I'd suggest mom & dad support him by being positive about his scoutin', rather than finding ways to get on his case.




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Anyone who is willing to come between a parent and their son, is far braver than I am!

I really liked what Oak Tree posted in the other thread.

Troops need to communicate to both parents and youth that as a Troop we are going to do everything possible to ensure that Scouts master the skills needed to become a First Class Scout. We will support Scouts with their advancement, but at the end of the day it is their advancement and up to each Scout to decide if he wants to use the opportunities that are available for him.

I was very much the proud Dad, when my kid made Eagle Scout. Still truth be told he was 17 and had reached the stage where he was very much his own man.

He is also very mule headed and at times very stubborn. Which of course comes from his Mother's side!

The more people seemed to get on his back the more he rebelled.

The bigger deal everyone made about Eagle Scout the more he talked about kids he knew that he deemed unworthy of the rank.


We as adult leaders need to take a long hard look at what we decide our job /role really is.

I decided a very long time ago that my job was training the youth leaders and helping them deliver the best possible program.

While there were times when I got involved with quality control in the area of advancement. (MBC's not doing what the requirements said.) Other than offering words of encouragement, that's about as far as I was/am willing to go.

Once parents get this message there is no need for a Leader to have to get between Scout and parent.


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Actually your issue is pretty much the same as that in the original thread. Parent wants son to earn Eagle, son not doing the required work, parent upset.


As others have said (in both threads) it is the Troop's job to provide it's Scouts with opportunities to advance, and the Scouts job to take advantage of those opportunities.


It is the responsibility of the Troop to make sure it's families understand how the program works. Beyond that, it is not the responsibility of the Troop to get involved in family squabbles.


I suggest you talk to your wife, and suggest she back off pressuring your stepson.

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To pressure or not to pressure, that's your wife's call. Once you've told her that you think there's a bigger picture at stake, let her take whatever stance she feels is appropriate.


But, encourage her that every once of pressure should come with a pound of praise for the things you both admire in the boy.

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I gotta agree with Eng61's Scout's view that the Eagle Required MBS are pretty dry and besides a few, are MBs I'd personally avoid. My son (Second Class after about 14 months) has done two (First Aid and Swimming) and is planning to do two more (Lifesaving and a Citizenship) at camp along with two "fun" merit badges--Small Boat Sailing and Whitewater.



How is your Scout doing on Rank advancement? Is he 1st class yet?




For reference:


1. First Aid

2. Citizenship in the Community

3. Citizenship in the Nation

4. Citizenship in the World

5. Communications

6. Personal Fitness

7. Emergency Preparedness OR Lifesaving

8. Environmental Science

9. Personal Management

10. Swimming OR Hiking OR Cycling

11. Camping

12. Family Life


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I'm pretty sure he's 1st Class at this point...just finished his 2nd year of Scouting...


I know all of his buddies that he joined with are 1-2 ranks ahead of him.


It seems that the farther ahead his buddies get, the less he is interested...also, the less the SM/ASM are interested in him as well, but I would expect that...


Wife and I talked about this a bit the other night...after this next year (8th grade), Scout will likely join the Marching Band (with his older step-brother) ... this means that he will miss all the troop meetings and most of the weekend outings for the first three-four months of the school year.


Wife has observed that all but one of the boys in the Troop that have joined Marching Band have dropped out ... and the one who has remained can't get elected to any leadership positions that I guess he needs for further advancement ... so he's basically done as well.


Unfortunately, I think the whole Eagle thing was "oversold" a bit by the SM and ASM ... Scout might be doubting that a bit.

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I moved up from Webelos to Boy Scouts as soon as I could. I attended all or almost every campout, camporee, outing, event, etc. Went to summer camp with the troop and then a second week as a provisional camper. Worked two summers as BSA Camp Staff. Participated in 3 national high adventure trips. Member of the Order of Arrow. I enjoyed the fun and adventure. It was my hobby instead of sports or whatever. Rank and badges never really drove me. Particularly the Eagle required badges. They seemed worse than boring school work. Indoor stuff that did not have an direct application to my teenage life. Write a paper and give to the counslor. Who cares? That is the 25% of scouting that is not OUTING.


I was a Life scout for at least 4 years. I earned the rank of Eagle 3 months before my 18th birthday with 36 MBs. The last ones earned were the Eagle required "paper badges".


My parents and troop leadership often encouraged me to finish up the remaining Eagle stuff. It was boring and did not interest me. I am glad now that my parents hounded me during that last 6 months to finish up but I did not like it then. As a parent I want my sons to earn the rank of Eagle. But I also want them to enjoy scouting. I see my sons growing more mature, more reliable, more self sufficent. I see them enjoying their friends and time in scouting. My 15 yr old Life scout could finish up the 4 MBs and his project in a couple of months. My guess is it will take him about 18-24 months.


His time in Scouting is not a goal driven experience to earn the rank of Eagle. It is a way to spend time with friends having adventure. He knows he could earn the rank of Eagle any time he wants. He just does not want to right now. When it matters to him, he will.


I would say the parents need to evaluate why their sons stay in scouting. Is it for the fun and fellowship or is it to earn a rank? Ask the boys why they are in scouting? Most will tell you they would like to become Eagle scouts but that is not the reason they stay in scouting.



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"what do you do when the advancement issue openly pits boy v. parent?"

we stay out of it unless he/she is openly chewing out their son in front of the other boys. If that happens, we quickly, but politely, tell them to knock it off.

We attempt to get them to understand that some merit badges, such as the citizenships, are geared to boys having finished at least ninth grade.

We may offer to custom tailor a program for their son depending on how many troop duties they (the parents) will volunter for in order to lighten our load.

We generally leave the kid alone. We will encourage him to attend any training sessions we offer; this is one time a group in a classroom mb program may be in order.

My biggest gripe: parents who expect a stellar program to be offered to their sons without any involvement on the parents' part other than opening the checkbook



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Tread carefully, thats how. You have to have a pretty good relationship with a parent before broaching that topic. When you think youre there, bring up the point when you have time to talk and go slowly and gently. Be ready to back off if you get pushback or adjust tact. Some dont want to hear it and you arent going to convince them otherwise. Those are the ones you just have to let go as long as it isnt too blatant that Mom is doing/pushing too much. But it wont get better as he goes and if it doesnt take care of itself you need to finally put your foot down. In fact, some parents get empowered as it goes and they continue to push harder and harder seeing the light at the end of their tunnel.

I lost more than one Star/Life Scout to area troops because I wasnt going to let it go any further.


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Advancement is often an adult thing. I like boys that are motivated by fun - hey are the "Hey guys, lets lash together a bridge! It'll be fun!" Compare that with "Hey guys, lets lash together a bridge. It'll satisfy a requirement."


Which one of these approaches teaches leadership? Which one would you rather follow? Somnetimes the best thing for a boy is to go find something different to do that holds more interest for him. If he is more interested in Marching Band (or theater, or madrigal singers, or fgootball, or ...) he will be more likely to develop the great character and citizenship there than he will if he is pushed to get advancement checkmarks in scouting. Not all boys are motivated by or interested in the same thing. Encourage boys to follow thier interests (legal and moral of course), and explain to parents that an award without an appropriate level of passion behind has no benefit in the long run.

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I was a band dork in HS. Did it slow my rank advancement? Maybe. But so did watching Wide World of Sports on the Saturdays I wasn't camping or at band practice!


Be very statisfied that he got 1st class in two years. (My #2 son took 3.)


Now's the time to stop looking at other boys. Maybe that leap ahead in rank will mean one, maybe two, will get Eagle soon, but in normal circumstances the rest will be dawdling along until a light goes on at age 17.5 (probably later for a couple that will miss the deadline).


There's no reason that that one band member couldn't hold a leadership position that would count toward advancement.


I think your wife sitting and talking is the best first step. Stop talking to the boy about advancement. Now that he's 1st class, start asking what kind of outing he'd like to plan for his patrol. Maybe there's a place he'd like to take the family to see. Ask if there's a high adventure base or jamboree he'd like to save up for. Give him a few extra chores worth your paying him to do.


After a summer of hard work around the house, he might decide that working on those required merit badges might be a good way to get some time off!


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A High School in the District where I live won the State title in its Division a few years ago. From that team I know of Three Eagle Scouts, one of which was the starting Fullback. The Drum Major that year also made Eagle.


Sports/Band does not spell the end of a scouting career unless the boy/parents want it to. Slows things down? Certainly does, but does not end it. Yes, the scout needs to be organized but thats where parental support (as opposed to parental directing) comes in

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