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Smart Mouth

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So I have a large den of Bears. And, of course, we have some personality conflicts. Who doesn't. Generally, I let the boys work things out on their own and move past it. Tattle Tails and pettiness drives me batty!


But at my last meeting, one of my bears was being THE BIGGEST smart mouth to my assistant den leader. basically telling him that he didn't have to do what he said or listen to him because he's not his dad.


Well, I'm not his MOM either but he BETTER listen to ME! My asst. den leader was BESIDE himself . I, too, am STILL quite irritated about the entire thing.


So, would you address this with mom first OR with scout in front of mom or with scout in front of mom and assistant den leader.


I, personally, feel he should formally apologize to my assistant den leader.So perhaps having the assistant den leader there wouldn't be a true sincere apology because it's at my request right then.


I want this scout to understand that this is NOT what scouting is all

about... it's about building character, having and showing respect, showing compassion. You know, basically all of those character connections that they're supposed to be picking up along the way.


UGH. just wanted to see what anyone else had done in the past before I

handle this.


--- I will add that it was told to me that as I was discussing when we would begin working on the whittling chip... one scout said, yeah, we gotta take the safety class so that we don't stab ourselves or something and this little boy then said "like I'm going to stab you."


I did not hear it... this is all heresay... this all happened in the same night... ??? I dont even WANT him carrying a knife in my home or at any den meetings should that be the case?


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I wasn't there but "Like I'm gonna stab you?" would be a dismissive statement, one that indicates that stabbing him could only be the act of a moron.


For the other issue, bring it up to the mother first. Make it clear that if this continues, her son will be welcome to find a new den. Nothing says that we have to accept all comers. Nothing says that in our efforts to save one boy we should ruin the experience for the other boys. We aren't there to save everyone, we're there to help those who want to be part of the program.

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With respect to our mission statement, we all work to prepare the youth to make ethical choice throughout their lifetime.



Youth, from 1 to 21 are constantly learning habits. Both good and bad. At home, at school, at sports and at scouts. Some of them are bad habits that Scouting (with only one hour a week) may never improve upon.


It appears that the boy in your Bear Den has learned to be a smart mouth. Not that an apology would be insincere. But he probably does not realize that he is being offensive, and not have a clue why you would want an apology (which is a civil adult reaction to disagreements, not a common youth reaction).


I would expect that his learned behavior has come from home. So I would start with the root of the problem and speak to both the parents about Den protocols and his expected behavior.


Second, if you have a Den closing, I would give a Den Leaders minute to all the Bears(many Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Advisors minutes are available in alot of literature and online) to remind them of the Scout Law and to say please, thank you, yes ma'am, no sir, and an occasional I'm sorry.



Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv(This message has been edited by Crew21_Adv)

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When mom comes to pick up Mr Smart Mouth have a little sit down with mom, Mr Smart Mouth & your assistant den leader. Explain what happened & tell mom & Mr Smart Mouth this type of behavior will not be tolerated.(This message has been edited by evmori)

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Drum him out of the corps......string him from the yardarm.....

But failing to do those things, a talk between the scouts parent(s), yourself and your asst. is definately in order. This boy needs to learn that the way he talked to your asst. was 1) disrepectful 2) disruptive to the rest of the den (and also gets some other potential smart mouths thinking "well he said it" to the adult) and 3) hurtful because your asst. is there volunteering his time to help these kids, not be verbally abused.

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I agree with keeping the parents as involved as possible, at least during cub ages.

And I agree with Gold Winger that the statement made by the boy with regard to 'stabbing' was not something to take as a serious threat or concern. As GW says, it sounds dismissive. Rude perhaps, and that should be addressed with the parent(s), but little more than that.


I have had similar situations before, years ago, and the response depended a lot on the boy, the parent, and the situation.

In milder cases when the parent arrived to retrieve their child, I asked the boy to relate to the parent what was said. Sometimes I would offer to refresh his memory. This is a great way to determine honesty. If he answered truthfully and if the parent understood the problem and agreed that it needed to be addressed, I had almost nothing more that I needed to do - it was handled at home.


If the incident(s) were more severe I met with the parent alone first to express my concerns. If the parent(s) shared my concern, we worked out what they thought would be the best way to address the concerns. Sometimes the boy was able to adjust and sometimes he just quit...but at least the parent understood what and where the problem was.

If the parent was in denial, I engaged additional observers to relate what they saw. This is often a losing approach because denial is a powerful thing to overcome. So some of these boys eventually left to play sports or something. A couple of times the parent would later experience the behavior for themselves and denial shifted quickly to concern.


Bears are entering a very difficult age and they are very susceptible to peers and negative role models. This continues right through middle school and into high school sometimes. I wish you luck but it seems to come with the territory. Handling problems like this is why you're getting paid the big bucks.:)

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I will say that when he said "like I'm going to stab you" it wasn't a QUESTION... he was making a STATEMENT... like I AM going to stab you.


I have found out today that these two boys definitely have a personality conflict... and the instigator seems to have a way of wanting to just say things to hurt people's feelings -- I've witnessed it first hand at Day camp this June, it was pirate themed, he went out of his way to tell another boy that wore a pirate hat for the day that he was stupid, that his hat was stupid. He just isn't "nice." Not that I can expect them NOT to be nice all the time but he just seems to go out of his way to be mean.


Walking down the hall at school and telling one of my other scouts who was wearing a Tony Hawk t-shirt "you're not cool enough to wear that."


And mom proceeded to tell me that these two boys have a personality conflict. I have no problems with this other boy (the pirate) ... still issues are with this other kid ("blondie")

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Maybe I am dating myself horribly. But I remember that once upon a time, there was a suggestion that each Den should have a conduct candle. The candle is lit and burns for each meeting. However, when any Cub Scout displays poor conduct, the candle is blown out for that entire meeting. With much notice, fanfare and explanation.


The the entire conduct candle is burned, then the den gets a party.


Maybe today's Cub Scouts are much too sophisticated for a conduct candle. But in those days, actions like this would cause the conduct candle to be blown out and every Den member would know whose actions had delayed their party.

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With this being on record and your knowledge, The boy that made the threat/statement would never ever carry a knife while in my charge.


Is it worth the risk?? Not with my son it isn't.


A parental conference is in order. My reaction would be based on how the parents responded to the discussion.

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Last time the "you can't make me , you're not my dad/mom/teacher" speech was addressed to me, I leaned down to the speaker's face and said slowly and directly to him, in the presence of the whole Den/Patrol/class, "Yes, you, do, be, cause, your, dad/mom/teacher, will, know, when, you, don't." And then I ask if they would like to call my bluff. Sometimes, one of the boys will honestly ask, "what does 'bluff' mean?" and we can discuss poker and the boys get a kick out of that. Rarely any more trouble of THAT sort.

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