Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Cubmaster Mike

How many chances do you give a boy before he is asked to leave?

Recommended Posts

I have a Webelos 1 boy. He is one of our special needs boys and has a pretty severe case of ADHD. For the last two years he has been getting harder and harder to handle. When the boys graduated from Bear to Webelos last year, we lost three out of four other boys in the den. I spoke with the parents of the one other boy to remain and they acknowledged that this first boys behavior almost made them not to return. They had visited another pack in town, but our program is so strong they decided to stay with us. I have confirmed with the other parents who left that the boys behavior was a deciding issue. We have since added six new boys and have a strong den. One of the parents of a boy who graduated out as a Webelos II volunteered to remain and lead the boys. He has done a great job and we have supported him with training, a den chief and committee participation.

 

At the start of the program year we discussed this boys behavior in our Pack Committee. I spoke with the single mom and explained that we had behavior requirements and that her son was expected to comply. She has attended den meetings and helps to a certain point in controlling the boys behavior. The DL and I have also spoken with the boy and explained that there are behavior expectations. Being a disruption to the den will result in loss of privileges to attend meetings and continued behavior will result in being asked to leave the pack. I have watched this den closely. The den leader does not want to admit defeat but at times he is stretched to his limit with the boy. When I see this I step in and assist where I can and have pulled the boy aside myself and given him warnings and acted on those warnings when he fails to comply.

 

We have lost one of the new boys as a direct result of this boys disruptive behavior ad his pestering of the other boys. He shouts out at den a d pack meetings and interrupts ceremonies and games. Several of the other boys have also shown displeasure and I notice them moving away so that they dont have to sit next to him in a den meeting or pack meeting. Mom is not helping as much as I think she should. Both the committee chair and myself have made it clear on several occasions that we will meet with the parent if the DL tells us that the behavior warrants it. He has held back from agreeing with us taking that next step. The DL no longer has a boy in the Pack and has stayed back a year to get the den up and running. As we move to graduation in June and I am looking for a new den leader for Webelos II, parents are not stepping forward because of the challenge of dealing with this boy and are considering leaving.

 

I know what I have to do, but that does not make it any less difficult. I do not want to override the DL unless it is absolutely necessary. How many chances do I give before I tell the boy and his parent to find another pack? I will not sacrifice six boys for the sake of one. I have dealt with the mom before on an unrelated issue and she will not go quietly, and will sound off loudly both to the Council and the charter organization (school PFC).

 

What say you all?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe the correct answer is seventy times seven.

 

Has there been a discussion with the mother about medication and when it may be best to be given to help both her son and others get the most from the scouting experience?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I agree philisophically with Semperdude, I think that you must be practical about this. If you allow a bad child to run off the rest of the group (be it a den, patrol or troop), have you been successful? Do you even have a den, patrol or troop any more?

 

No, you have to set limits. I do not see it any different than a scout who physically abuses other boys. If the child cannot act within the boundaries, then you have to eventually let him go. Usually, there is more than one pack in the area, they can give it a try with them. Don't allow him to run off the entire group.

 

Of course, you have to give him a chance. Work with the mom, have her try different medications. Get ideas from his doctor or school counselor on what works for him. But if those things don't work, take the next step.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds to me like you have been more than patient with this young man. You want to give him every chance, but I agree, if he is ruining the scouting experience for all the rest of the boys, what can you do? Sounds terrible, but is it fair to spoil a program for 99% of the boys to satisfy one individual? There comes a point where if minimum behavior expectations are not being met, the boy must go. Make sure everything is properly documented so mom can't claim you're picking on her son. Good luck, a hard thing to have to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am sorry - This is NOT a bad boy - This is a SPECIAL NEEDS boy. Big, big difference. He does not do these things on purpose. He has a medical condition.

 

"I notice them moving away so that they dont have to sit next to him in a den meeting or pack meeting"

 

And you just watched & let this happen? Do you have ANY idea how that made this boy feel? Do you have any idea how bad a self-image a child with ADHD has? The amount of teasing they have to suffer with is horrible and to have it happen in a supposedly "safe" scout setting is unacceptable.

 

Expecting this boy to be able to change & do things "normally" is unrealistic. The program for a boy with a severe case of ADHD has to be different from what is normally used. There has to be minimal "down" time & lots of active, hands on stuff. Sitting around classroom style for any length of time is asking for him to meltdown.

 

You need to do what you should have done 2 years ago, have the mother attend every den meeting with her son. She should be his "Adult Partner" to be there to help him focus, settle him down, & if need be, to take him home. You need to sit down with her & her son & talk to them about behaviour modification techniques for him, modifications you can make to your program that would help, & how you can ALL make scouting work for this boy.

 

If you accept special needs boys in your Pack you need to make sure you can make the modifications necessary to meet their special needs. If you cannot, then you should reccomend them to another Pack or your District's special needs Pack.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry if I hit a nerve Scoutnut. I shouldn't have used the term "bad child". He's not a bad child, but he is exhibiting bad behavior. And, medical condition or not, you cannot allow it to ruin the entire group. While I am certainly willing to work with a child's special needs, you can't tailor the program around him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My heart goes out to this little Lad.

I strongly believe that we should do everything that we can to keep each and every Lad in our programs, girls too in Venturering.

However we are not trained to manage Children who have needs that we can't meet.

Maybe the time has come for a meeting with the Den Leader and this Lads mother to see what can be done be done. I don't know all the options but maybe he could take his medication at a different time? Maybe his school teacher could attend a couple of Den meetings and give a few hints to the leaders?

Sad to say maybe asking the boy to look for a pack with leaders that are better qualified might also have to be an option.

Eamonn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all!

 

My son is ADD, one of the boys in the den was ADHD (7 just crossed over), and I believe 2 others were also at the very least ADD.

 

The best way to handle it, from a mother's point of view, and a den leader's point of view. 1st--ask the mom, the teacher, the counselor at school what works for him and when. 2nd---ask the mom NOT to come to den meetings (I promise you once the boy knows that the den leader runs the program and he has to do what the den leader says because mom's not there to "protect" him his behavior will change. Do you honestly think he acts like that at school?

 

ADHD is a medical problem and most things he can not help, however, he is old enough to know that if he's been told once or twice it is time to stop whatever he is doing to disrupt. Remember, I am a parent of an ADD son (actually one ADD son, one ADD daughter and one ADHD son).

 

Also, if he is on medication it all depends on when your den meetings are compared to what type and time of medication he is on if any. If the boy is on anything like Concerta, or Adderrall XR, they are time released and only needs one dose through the day (generally) but if he is given that medication at 7 am you can bet that for sure by 7 pm it has worn off (they say 12 hours but sometimes it doesn't quite stretch that long), so another guess would be to find out what time he takes his medicine if it is time released and if you can, re-work your den meetings earlier so that meds haven't wore off.

 

If he is on anything that is not time released Ritalin or the new stuff that is non-stimulant---you're out of luck really cause they don't last too long...maybe 4 hours tops. Problem with giving any of these medications any later is it disrupts the sleep pattern.

 

As for the boys that are moving away from him or don't sit near him. They have a right to sit away from him. He is disrupting their fun and learning. Maybe they think he will figure it out sooner or later and stop but he has no control so they need to be told (when the other boy is not around), that they probably should try to help him control himself instead of walking away from him. As for Special Needs, I never have considered any of my ADD or ADHD children Special Needs. They are not Special Needs children. They are VERY bright children (most ADD and ADHD children are in the near genius range) but sometimes their brains kind of short circuit and they blurt things out (answers, statements whatever) before others have a chance. They do before they think. A child without ADD or ADHD has time to think before reacting.

 

If you keep the boys going from sitting to standing, or from reading to talking, (constantly change what is happening) you will find that the boy will be easier to handle. ADD and ADHD children have trouble staying focused....not necessarily paying attention they just get bored doing one thing (sitting).

 

I'm not sure what he is doing to disrupt but if the boys are sitting and learning something how about if every once in a while the leader said, "BREAK!" and they all got up and took one lap around the room or the table? That would be enough to give that boy a few more minutes of still time.

 

Just my thoughts as a mom and den leader.

 

ScoutMomAng

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ScoutMomAng,

 

Most of your suggestions seem like good ones. I think that most Cub Scouts benefit from changing things up, and not making it seem like another school class.

 

But your statement that "most ADD and ADHD children are in the near genius range" didn't ring at all true to me - it sounded like something most parents want to believe (and for all I know, yours may well be). I did a quick search and found this web site http://www.samgoldstein.com/template.php?page=postings&type=articles&id=30 that has lots of information about ADHD. The article included this quote, "Why then does it continue to be suggested anecdotally that children with ADHD fall inordinately at the higher end of the intellectual distribution?" so apparently it's a well-known phenomenon that parents believe this.

 

It also says, "the research in this area is well-grounded, and has been generated and replicated over a twelve to fifteen-year span... There is no scientific data to suggest that children with ADHD are more intelligent nor creative."

 

So that's the other point of view. Feel free to hold to yours.

 

As for the original question, I'd say the good of the many has to outweigh the one. If one boy is driving away other boys, you can't let that continue. Definitely try the various suggestions, but in the end, you might have to make the call.

 

Oak Tree(This message has been edited by Oak Tree)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The closer you follow the program the less problems you will have. If a scouts behavior interferes with the deliver of the program you are instructed to send them home. If their behavior is serious or repetative then the parents need to meet with the committee to determine a plan of action for the scout, up to and including removal from the unit. But that is the committee responsibility not the Den Leader's.

 

The committee may require that a parent be present at all times, or perhaps the problem is the leaders ability to handle challenged scouts. The point is the problem needs to be brought to the committees attention so that the den program can continue to serve the boys.

 

 

BW

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Bob on this one. By following the guidelines in the program, you insure that every Scout is being treated equally when it comes to discipline, and this is important should the time come that you have to take some action on a Scout that the parents may not like. In our pack, we had the following sequence of events in case of a disciplinary problem.

1. We'd sit down with the Scout for a moment, remind him how important it is for him to be a part of the den, and that his behavior is slowing down the meeting.

2. Continued behavior (more than one meeting) would result in a talk with the parents and possibly having a parent attend all meetings with the Scout.

3. In those rare cases where the Scout is simply uncontrollable in a Scout setting, the Committee may decide to remove the Scout from the pack. In 8 years or so in the pack, we had this happen exactly one time (in a pack that averaged about 50 Scouts).

 

You want to give the Scout every chance, of course, but the leaders aren't trained to be behavior experts, or psychologists. We're just parents, doing our best. Sometimes a Scout may just be beyond our capabilities to handle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What Bob said.

 

Send the boy home. The committee meets with the parents to plan a course of action. Implement the plan.

 

Bottom line, the boy's behavior cannot interfere with delivering a quality Scout program to the den and pack.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before you start talking about asking this young man to leave your Pack, I would suggest a meeting with his parent(s). Ask for advice/information from Mom on his condition. Do your own research to educate yourself on his condition. Look for behavior modification techniques that you can put into place, not just for his benefit, but for the benefit of the den. I would not, I repeat not, discuss medication with his parent unless she brings it up. Unless you are a physician, psychologist or psychiatrist, you are not qualified to raise that issue. You may have an opinion on it, but it is not your place to make suggestions regarding medication. It is your place to observe and report his behaviors and let his parent(s) and docotrs make medication decisions. I speak from expreience as the parent of a child with ADHD. Medication can be a very sensitive issue. I ask for input from all of my son's teachers, coaches, and Scout leaders. I need to hear their observations so that any changes or adjustments to medication can be discussed with his doctors.

 

I would urge patience, but it sounds like everyone has already shown patience. Do you have a Den Chief? It might be helpful to ask your Den Chief to make this kid his top priority. I agree with ScoutMomAng that it might be better to have Mom not attend meetings -- if you have an Assistant Den Leader or a Den Chief to keep the boy on task. Kids with ADHD can be difficult, but given the right circumstances, they can be just as bright, creative and talented as every other kid in the Den. I can tell you first hand, that they do not want to feel like they are different. They don't want special attention. They just want to fit in -- which is often difficult given the issues they deal with. Anything you can do to help the child feel like he belongs will go a long way towards giving him some self-confidence. It may even help to move him in a better direction with regards to his behavior.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was a decission I had to make this year. One of my Web's that moved up into the troop. He was always a hand full and hard to control. He had real anger issues. So for 3 years I tried everything I have used in my 40+ years of working with kids. NOthing worked. At the point that he was actually endangering the other boys I had to make a decission. I talked with several other adult scouters. One gentleman who has been in scouting for over 60 years looked me straight in the eyes and ask this "How much better program would you be able to give the other boys in the troop if you didn't have to spend so much time dealing with the problems brought on by this boy?"

I had to admit a lot. It was one of the hardest decissions I have ever made in scouting. But we ask him to leave. I talked to his mother and told her that of all the troubled kids I have worked with in my adult life I worry about him more than any other and begged her to get him counseling.

He ended up in getting suspended from school and one of the requirements for returning was counseling. He has been in angermanagement counseling now for about 4 months and I talked to one of his teachers last week and she told me he is a totally different child. When we ask him to leave he was told that if he could get his anger under control he would always be welcome to return.

 

But you have to make a choice of how you spend your scouting time. Can you give more by helping more boys or by losing them and trying to help one.

I felt like a failure when he left. We are supposed to SAVE the all. But in reality we can't. Sending hugs because you are going to have to make one of the hardest choices a leader ever has to make.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OakTree,

 

Hmmmmmm....having trouble starting this one....don't want to admit I was wrong (or you are right or even vice versa). What I know is that MY ADD and ADHD children showed almost no signs of near genius before their diagnosis, (except my daughter but that's a long story for another day). When I took them in for their diagnosis...all at different times, I dared the psychologist to "label" my children ADD or ADHD. He tested the middle one, (the one that just crossed over) and I was by no means expecting what he told me. He was smart, and VERY smart at that, however he was ADD. I didn't believe it. He gave me some books to read, I read, I believed. I went back. He sat me down and he told me that from studies most children with ADD or ADHD do not normally seem very smart, but given the medication and taken as directed over about 2 years most teachers (at least in our area) end up putting the ADD and ADHD children in the TAG (Talented and Gifted) Program, and he anticipated that with DJ. It only took about a year before the teachers started talking...I put a halt to it because it was making him a nervous nelly. So, according to the doctor we seen, "Most children with ADD or ADHD push the near genius status" I suppose there are studies out there that will contradict it and there are studies out there that will support it. It's a condition that has been around for a long time yet not enough research has been done. Maybe the doctor was wrong to say "Most" (and me too), and probably would've been better off saying "MANY" (and me too). However, I still don't think this boy needs to be sent on his way, at least not yet. Get a plan of action first, find out what works, find out what doesn't and have his mother NOT attend at least a few meetings. Sit down with the other boys and explain to them a little of what is going on with this boy and ask for their help. Surely some of them go to school with him and may even be in his class, maybe they know something the teacher does to keep him on the straight. This is definitely one boy that NEEDS cub Scouting. What a shame it has taken this long for somebody to care enough to find out what else could be done. Hindsight is always 20/20.

 

However, when you find something that does work, make sure you pass that information on with him, to the new den leader, to the new scout master or whomever so they know and they don't have to go through the same thing.

 

I think the pack has been patient with the boy but it doesn't seem like they have really seriously looked to see what works for the boy. I think they need to give it more time before they oust him.

 

JMHO

 

ScoutmomAng

Share this post


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
Sign in to follow this  

×