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mamacub

unhappy parents - advice needed pls

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hi everyone,

last night we had our first pack meeting. we're a brand new pack, btw. everything went very well! the boys were all uniformed, there was a fun-filled program, and everyone came. the boys had a blast! however, there was a problem, and i'm really upset by it.

 

at our two den meetings this month (i have tiger cubs), i asked everyone as they walked in if they worked on anything for me to record in the advancements record. at the last den meeting, this one dad came up and said "no, we haven't worked on anything, i don't have the handbook. i'm a bad father." he said that not in a serious way, just a sort of self-deprecating way, i guess. i told him he wasn't a bad dad, b/c he was here with his son. so there is nothing for me to record. when we sat in a circle and talked about how their assignment of requirement 1F went (helping with a chore at home), we got to this little guy and we talked about what chore he was *going* to do, since they hadn't done it. so all was well, or so i thought.

 

last night, our cubmaster handed out the tiger cub totems. this boy did not receive one, because he didn't earn it. at the end of the meeting, the mother came up to me and said that her son was upset because he was expecting to receive his paw. i told her that he hadn't done the three requirements to earn it, and that i was sorry. she went on to say that he knows the requirements, and that her husband told me this at the last meeting. of course, he did nothing of the kind. i told her again i was sorry, and that he could receive his totem if he earns it for the next pack meeting. she looked rather unhappy, and they were the first ones to leave.

 

i also had another boy whose dad came up and said "my son did requirement 1F and 2F, can he get his totem now?" i showed him in the book where the requirements were for the totem, and he said "oh, well he knows those things. can he get it now?" i cannot understand why this father didn't even know what his son had to do to earn the totem - not only did i give out a paper at the den orientation meeting that told the parents what their boys had to do to earn that, but we also discussed it at each den meeting. this father was at both meetings, so he was indeed given this information.

 

i did not give in to these two parents. although i felt bad for the boys, i am a by-the-book person, unless there is a real exception. i don't feel that lying to me or denying knowledge is an exception. but again, my heart broke all night for these boys. they *did* receive recognition last night - they were called up to the podium, given the cs handshake, and we announced what requirements they did earn.

 

so after all of that rambling, i need to ask: did i do this the right way? should i have given in? any thoughts are appreciated.

 

sorry for the novel,

mamacub

tiger cub DL, pack 5

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What I have done in this situation, as CM to help DLs, was to have the award for the very next den meeting. The parents would be told that the award was available for presentation at the den meeting or the pack meeting. They usually opted for the pack meeting, but the boy's accomplishment was noted at that den meeting. (Or, the totem could be given now and announced at the next pack meeting.)

 

You've identified a problem though, and hopefully someone will have advice on it: the mom saying one thing, the dad something else.

 

Welcome to the forums and to Cubs! It's good to hear that you're off to a good start. That communications thing is tough, but hopefully will get better. Parents need to be reminded how important it is that they communicate with DLs...clear through bridging to Boy Scouts!

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Mamacub,

 

Welcome!!! You were absolutely correct and according to your story, handled it very well. This is a very common tale, especially with new scouts and parents. I hope they have gained some understanding that in scouting, there is a sense of integrity and caring, both of which you have demonstrated. Best of luck with your den and new pack.

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Handled perfectly, in my opinion. The requirements were not met, they don't get the award. I echo Semper's comments on integrity, if you set the standard now, you will avoid problems down the road. Great job!

 

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Learning early that the award comes after completion of requirements will help the boy all through Scouting.

 

Immediate recognition is important to boys. I would do these awards at the very next den meeting, or the same meeting if it could be arranged. Even if the pack meeting is only 2 weeks or a month away, that is a very long time for a Tiger. He will have forgotten what he did by then. But he will remember that when he completed the requirements all he got was a promise for an award to come.

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thanks to everyone for your comments - and the kind welcome! i like the suggestion of giving the totem to these two boys at the next den meeting, which is this upcoming thursday. i'll also be sure that our cubmaster announces it at the next pack meeting as well, so the boys get the same recognition that their peers did.

 

hopefully this will be the only small snag in our time togther. i know that the one parent (who said that he told me about the requirements but really didn't) has also complained because we started our go-see-it at 10:05 a.m. (it was set to start at 10), and he got there at 10:20. i just don't see the value in bending the rules for one family - how is that fair to everyone else?

 

again, thanks to everyone for all of the insight. i'm really looking forward to being a part of this community!

 

mamacub

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Giving out recognitions for things that have not been earned is a VERY bad habit to start. The boys & their families have to understand that they must EARN these things. They also have to get into the habit of signing off on completed items in their son's books.

 

However -

 

The three things the boys must do to earn their Totem are:

 

1) Learn the Tiger Cub Motto: Search, Discover, Share

2) Learn the Cub Scout Sign

3) Learn the Cub Scout Salute

 

These are very basic, easy things that you SHOULD be going over/doing at EACH den meeting.

 

I explain these 3 things at our very first Tiger den meeting each year (I am permanent Tiger Leader!). We have a flag ceremony to start each meeting with everyone saluting the flag. Those in uniform use the Scout Salute, those not in uniform place their hand over heart. We then repeat the Cub Scout Promise using the Scout Sign. At the end of our meeting we form a Living Circle & do the Tiger Motto.

 

If the Tiger Teams attend just 1 den meeting they receive their Totem at the first Pack meeting.

 

For the 2nd half of the year we switch to the Cub Scout Law with the flag ceremony & the Cub Scout Motto with the Living Circle. During the year, when receiving recognitions, we do the Scout Handshake with each Tiger.

 

By the end of the year, without even realizing it, most of the boys have almost everything they need for Bobcat already memorized!

 

Constant repetition is the key. These are NOT just things that the parents sign off on & then forget about because they are never used again. Cover them each Tiger meeting & give the boys their Totems.

 

PS - If you know they have finished a requirement, you do not have to wait until a parent signs off on it. You can sign off on it yourself. I collect all books the week before the Pack meeting, take them home, go thru them, sign off & transfer to my records. The books get returned at the Pack meeting or the next den meeting. Good record keeping is a must.

 

Welcome & Have a G-R-R-R-R-R-E-A-T Tiger year!

 

(This message has been edited by ScoutNut)

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Way to go mama!

 

Stand your ground. I think Scouting would be perfect if it wasn't for the parents who don't know or think they know the program. I've run into it lots of times. Heck most of us here have had to deal with a parent situation at one time or another.

 

 

 

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I agree with Scoutnut. You don't have to wait for parents to sign off on everything. You are Akela too. We practiced the requirements at every meeting as well. You should know which of your Tigers has completed the requirements. I do believe in sticking to your guns though. Good luck.

 

Carol

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You did the program right mama. Two years ago we had a den leader who was granting rank to her boys automatically (I found this out when I asked to check her individual boy records- I suspected as much and was proved right). We replaced her and near the end of last year we were going through the bear book with a couple of the boys in the den who were way behind. Sat down with the parents to work up a schedule so that the boys could catch up and get their awards by the end of the year..... and the parents were speechless. They thought that just showing up 75% of the time was good enough for the rank. They had never opened the book and had thought it would be a repeat of the previous year. Wrong. But we worked out a schedule for them to finish on their own at home.... and they never did.

 

Cubs is a family program- some people really need to be reminded of that.

 

CMM

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Sounds like you handled it perfectly. Awards & ranks must be EARNED. The boys (and many parents) have to learn that you earn your way thru life, and it's never to early to start teaching that lesson.

 

As for your starting time scenario, I'd say you did only one thing wrong...you started 5 minutes late. Announce loudly & well in-advance what time you will be starting & start PROMPTLY. Otherwise, some people will just get progressively later & later, expecting you (and everyone else) to wait on them. Don't do it...set a high standard early & expect people to live up to it.

 

Ah...Cub Scouting...the boys are great; it's the parents that cause problems! =8^)

 

mark

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I would only add to the great posts so far that parents cannot be assumed to know how things work and, sadly, cannot be assumed to read. They must be trained in how things work.

 

This training can be in a group or can be as individuals. But you need to train them in what you expect and then hold them (and yourself) to it.

 

As far as the woman who said that her husband was supposed to tell you what their son had done, could you have repeated what was needed (training her) and then said something like "I really am sorry, but what I thought your husband said sounded very different from what you are saying now. Could the three of us talk to get things completely straight?"

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thanks, everyone, for your advice and comments. i enjoyed reading all of the different perspectives. i had a lot of driving time this weekend (visiting relatives), and i was able to think about this situation. in the end, i feel like i did the right thing. i do have to comment, though, on the one posting from ScoutNut that discussed the fact that i should be doing all three of the requirements at each den meeting. as a matter of fact, we have had two den meetings so far, and we've virtually done all 3 requirements each time. but i guess i understood the requirements to be that the boy knows these things without me leading him to do them. maybe that was the wrong assumption. i'm a girl scout leader, too, and i know that when i lead the girls in the girl scout promise, the new ones don't know it yet, but they put their sign up and practice with the rest of us. i go over it line by line at the first meeting, but learning it completely happens either on their own or through practicing it with us every time we meet. does that mean they would know it without my guiding them on it? no. so then to me, they don't know it, even though they are "saying" it with me. they would not be able to without me standing in front of them, leading them in it, unless they had practiced it at some other time. back to cub scouts - this is what i thought the boys were to have done with these three requirements - gone over them with their adult partners. perhaps i misunderstood.

 

but then i think about how the boys are not expected to master these things, just to have tried them. so this area is still a little grey for me, as you can see. i suppose i saw those three totem requirements as something they were to have earned outside of the den meeting, although that may not necessarily be the case. to me, one of the main purposes of tiger cubs is to work together with your adult partner. in that vein, how do i respond to a parent A who changes his story in order to get his son an award, and parent B who says they did x, y, and z when they really needed to do a, b, and c? i don't see the "work together" thing going on, but maybe that's not for me to judge.

 

well anyway, i could go on forever, and it isn't necessary for me to do so. it's after midnight and i think i'm getting a little too abstract for my own good! so thanks so much again for taking the time to give me your opinions. i appreciate it!

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