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OldGreyEagle

There's No Such a Thing as a Bad Boy...

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Many times in many places in this fourm we have discussed discipline and what activities would cause a scout to get thrown out of a troop. The recent toad-killer is one and we have had older scouts defying authority etc. The common refrain is generally, we as the adult leaders as are responsible for the welfare of the troop as a whole and sometimes some kids just have to be

dropped.

 

My second most favorite magazine the whole wide world came yesterday (Scouting). It has a feature article on recognizing and dealing with teen-age anger. In the article it recounts a few incidents that I would thought would have got the kid the boot and instead, the scout stayed and made Eagle.

 

If possible, can those of you who get the magazine read this article and respond with your thoughts? Are the expectations set by the article regarding dealing with anger reasonable?(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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I have read the article and agree with it but the thing that isn't mentioned is that many of us are not trained psychologists and we also have to balance the safety of the troop over the needs of one boy. This was a extraordinary scoutmaster who went out of his way to help this boy and I applaud him for it.

 

The lesson I have learned is to try to get both sides of the story. If one boy hits another we talk to them both seperately and find out what happened and what caused it. If we deem it necessary we will ask parents to join us and discuss the matter.

 

I have asked a boy to leave the troop before and have recommended that a couple of boys recieve help before returning usually after a meeting with the boy and his parents. The number one thing we do is involve the parents in any discplinary matter and keep them informed throughout.

 

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I have no solutions but I see it as a symptom of our culture going to hell in a handbasket.

 

Kid's, especially boys, need outlets for anger and agression and that isn't really satisfied by looking for signs of growning anger and thinking about happy things.

 

Up until about 30 years ago, boys fought. Boys rough housed. Boys went on adventures. Boys did exciting things.

 

Now fighting is taboo. Since nearly everyone is in daycare, rough housing is taboo. Adventuring is difficult because everyone is either in daycare or their moms's are paranoid about kidnappers.

 

The kids in my neighborhood are suffering from terminal boredom. Nothing keeps their interest for more than 15 minutes. They come out to shoot hoops and the game lasts 15 minutes. They then get a football and play for another 15 minutes. What do you mean, WALK to the store? That's ten minutes away by foot!

 

When you do nothing with your time, frustration and anger is sure to build.

 

What about those poor outcast kids? Well, that's our current culture again. Every neighborhood had the fat kid or geeky kid who couldn't play ball but he always wound up on someone's team. He may have been the last picked but he still played. Now we have organized teams with practices and no room for the kid with no talent. Of course he feels ostracized and can take little solace in the idea that in 20 years he'll be outearning the jocks and dating a super model.

 

 

 

 

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OGE

I have read the article and while it has very valid points and suggestions, the part about the SM sticking with an angry young man is rather skimpy on the details. Substitute knife for stick and is the SM going to work with this lad?

I really believe that 99.9% of scouters are here to work with kids, and that most of us go that extra couple of miles with problem kids. How many time have we heard "this boy really needs scouting"

I think we do the best we can and that the article serves to reinforce the attitude that scouters go the extra mile. It is important that we never view ourselves as professional therapists nor saviours, rather people who donate a lot of time and energy for a program that promotes good. In fact it is the good of the program, more than leadership quality in youth that keep me involved.

But, I do believe there are just Bad youth, thank God, not many in the world, but they are there. Examples, the kid in CA who was sentenced to 50 yrs for shooting up his school, Columbine, the list goes on and on. They are bad kids. Sure we could explain it away that they are victims, from bad homes or kids not able to deal with anger, but I don't buy those arguments for the evil those kids wrought. And by excusing or explaining those horrible deeds away because of misguided emotions, we will end up with anarchy.

Promotion of duty to country, and citizenship in the scout program serves to keep that anarchy at bay. As adult leaders, we look to the health of the troop over the needs of one boy at times (Again Thankfully, I think these are rare occasions) and when a kid has to go, I believe most avenues have been tried to address a boys/families behavior and the end result is unacceptable behavior that will only hurt or destroy a unit. It is these thoughts that led me to say that the Toad killer should be removed from scouting. Not based on that one incident, but the culmination of his behavior and that of his mother. And if that lad was in my troop, I still would have him removed and quite possibly, the leaders of the troop would be more aggrieved at the decision than the boy and his family. Scouters sometimes realize the implications of losing a boy for "bad" reasons, as reinforced in training, those lost kids may now take a road to ill repute.

Tx Jbroganjr

(this message has not been edited by jbroganjr, all misspellings and insane advice are there to keep you thinking and on your toes)

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Yaworski mentions something I've often thought about. I grew up in a rural town where every boy owned a gun. Some boys went deer hunting in the morning before attending school. Their guns were in their pickup trucks. Every boy and even some girls had a pocket knife. Some of these kids came from "rough" homes -- alcoholic or abusive parents. Yet, I don't remember anyone threatening to shoot someone else or cut them, except for the town crazy boy who threatened to shoot his dad unless he got a new sports car. Knives and guns were not toys. I remember the occasional fist fight and even a few bricks being thrown at people.

 

Yaworski is also right about boys need a way to be aggressive. Telling them to "think happy thoughts" only encourages denial and eventually they will blow. That adrenaline has to go somewhere. Being physical is important. A friend of mine who has a masters in physcology and has raised a boy, said at about 10 years old her son got where he need to someone to play wrestle with. If he didn't have that physical activity and contact he would start acting up.

 

There are a few people who are just born "bad", something isn't right. Also, most behaviors and attitudes are pretty much set way before a boy gets into Boy Scouting. I think a lot of the school shootings happen because the kids don't know how to react, don't know how to properly deal with their anger, think something is wrong with them because they "feel different" and they think no one cares. For a variety of reasons, these kids lose touch with reality. I think most adults walk around in a fog, unaware of reality and what is really important. A lot of adults are in denial about what their kids are doing, especially if the kid is having problems.

 

Some kids are so used to having every moment organized for them they don't know what to do with free time. They don't know what a pickup game of baseball is. They don't know how to play without an official field, 18 kids, coaches, umpires, etc. Kids are in daycare or "mother's morning out" or play groups. Recess is almost non-existant.

 

I saw in my son's science book the question of "what would you do with your time if you didn't have the technology of TV and video games". Are there that many kids who never make up games? Never go outside?

 

I think it helps if they see adults who do things --- work around the house, garden, have hobbies, take hikes, etc. But if they never see that they never know.

 

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Boy, sctmom brought back memories of thousands of hours spent playing baseball in the street in front of the house with the sewer covers as bases, and if you hit the ball in Mrs. V's front yard, you'd better run! The same street converted to a football field in fall with the curbs being the sidelines. I don't think kids even think about things like that any more.

Sad!

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We played baseball in a cow pasture. You didn't dare slid into 2nd or 3rd. Too many briars and cow patties. I remember playing with about about 11 kids, ages 8 to 16. We made up the rules as we went along, often depending on the skill level of the person at bat. Oh, how tired that imaginary man on base must have got!

 

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In the B-P book "Aids to Scoutmastership" he quotes a Mr. Casson from Teacher's World magazine. The quote talks about the boy being a complicated work of nature. It was written in the early 1900's but it went a long way in helping me understand why the boys today have some problems. We have been trying fit every boy into the same mold when the nature of boy's behavior is the way in which leadership is born. I think that the quote is too long to paste into this post but I would be willing to open another post for that purpose. Look for it under the subject "Aids to Scoutmastership" B-P

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And I thought I had an idyllic cildhood. I guess my mother should never have called the police because the neighborhood bully used me for a punching bag, he wasnt bad, just helping me develop character. Hard physical play is one thing, fighting only teaches that violence is an ok way of settling disputes.

 

 

I learn that getting punched hurts, I dont want to hurt, so I try to get away. Adults say, hey, its just kids being kids, leave them alone.

 

I still hurt when I get punched. I want it to stop. No one will stop it. So, I get a gun, next time I see the guy who punches me, I kill him. Two lives ruined because, after all, its just kids(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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And yes,I am hyper sensitive about fighting. I was the fat, pimply obnoxious kid who was the butt of many practical jokes. Maybe some of you out there would have taken delight in torturing me. Did it ever teach me anything? Only that bullies are devoid of intelligence. Somehow I wanted to make it stop for others.

 

Other kids who are bullied become bullies themselves, because they want to share the pain they have received. I can in no way ever let a comment go by that fighting is an OK behavior. It aint and never should be.

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OGE,

My issue just came. I plan on taking it to the beach this week to read. I'll get back to ya.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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OldGreyEagle,

I can see where you are coming from. I was overweight, non-athelic, bookish, and due to the fact that I was not aware of a slang term was accused of being homosexual. I was constantly the butt of mean spirited jokes, name calling, and being beat up (I did fight back and was good at taking care of my-self so most did not try twice). This started about 4th grade and continued until about 9th grade (it only stop because I was not much fun). All of this caused a lot of anger, which unimportantly I directed towards my brother.

Was all this fun? No. But from this I learned the following. One to control my anger, since giving into got me into a lot of trouble (this has help in dealing with my own children). To ignore annoying people who just want to push my buttons. To look at my self in a realistic way and to accept the facts about my self that are not perfect and to admit those imperfections (this is a course the first step to fixing those items that can be fixed). And since I came from a family that does a lot of good nature teasing, I learned to determine the difference between that and hurtful teasing. I also learned to make fun of my self to put people off balance.

I have read the article mentioned and support what it said. I think that if I were faced with a Scout that had that type of anger I would do the following. First I would try to find out why he felt the way he did. I would talk to him about my past and then explain that violence against others is not proper and will not be tolerated. I would then talk to the parents about the problem and ask them what I can do to help their son control his violence. The main cause of this problem today is not a short attention span; violence in movies, TV, and games; or any other of the current things we blame it on. It is that kids are not taught self-discipline, and the best way to teach self-discipline is by punishing bad behavior and rewarding good behavior. Doing one and not the other does not work since it send only half the message, which is worst then sending no message. Just punishing bad behavior without rewarding good behavior just teaches that the child is bad and awarding good behavior and ignoring the bad makes for a brat that thinks they are above the law. One last point AT NO TIME can you excuse bad behavior due to circumstances. This ignores one very important point that even though we can not control other behaviors, we are responsible for how we respond and are responsible for the consequences for those behaviors

 

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I agree everyone has to take responsibility for their own actions. I can see re-reading my post that you could think I was excusing violent behavior, I did not intend that. A better way would have been to say violence never solves any thing and all it can do is escalate.

 

Everyone has their own experiences and takes away different things. I know that had firearms been available to me, you would know me as OldGreyConvict

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OGE

I was immediately drawn to the article and it was the first one I read. I am a foster parent in a therapeutic program for troubled teens. I have seen some angry boys! I must agree with the writer on several points. First, it does take a tremendous amount of energy and patience to deal POSITIVELY with these boys and not interpret their anger on a personal level.

 

These boys come to my home angrier than a trapped bee. And it is a shield they use to protect themselves from those vulnerable feelings of loss, shame, helplessness, hopelessness and fear - as the writer said. I currently have two foster boys (ages 12 and 17).

 

The 12 year old is the one who displays outwardly directed anger and is on medication for an anger disorder (Intermittent Explosive Disorder). He is the one who acts out violently with tantrums (yelling, screaming, throwing, and physical force). He will be attending a Special Services school this fall as our local public school has determined that he is a threat to the other students (he did ultimately send a child to the hospital because he picked him up and threw him down the hall - over a comment about his untied shoelaces).

 

The 17 year old is the one who directs his anger inward. He draws evil pictures, writes hate lyrics for songs, he cuts himself, he lies and steals, he mumbles and has very low self-esteem, is very oppositional and defiant in a passive way. He is on probation and has a record for minor infractions of the law - trespassing, harrassmant, general defiance.

 

Both come from very dysfunctional families. The last 10 months have been difficult for my family at times. But the first thing I did when thay came was to put them into my 14 year old son's scout troop. They came to live with my family on October 22, 2001 and on October 29, 2001 they joined Scouting. (When girls are placed with us they become Girls Scouts!)

 

They have gone camping, fishing, hiking on the Appalachian Trail in Maryland, hiking at Valley Forge, PA., camping on the beach in Wildwood, participated in service projects, and learned many scout skills and done things they would never do in their family.

 

The positive reinforcement they receive from Scouting cannot be measured. They feel that they are a part of something special and when they put on that uniform it gives them a greater sense of self-esteem. They know that something fun is awaiting them at the meeting or the outing. And trying to understand the Scout Law has been like learning a foreign language to them. A scout is trustworthy?? What does that mean to a juvenile delinquent??

No one ever took the time to teach them any of it in their lives. But they are learning now.

 

It is the community interaction that helps these kids feel better. We also take them to church with us and to the YMCA frequently to play basketball and swim. Letting them get physical and take out their rage on the ball or the pool is much safer than allowing them to stew in their anger.

 

The 17 year old has been giving us problems at home, school and at his part-time job and we are nearing the point of giving up as our family is beginning to suffer from his anger.

We are trying the best we can. It is not possible to undo 17 years of pain but we are trying to work with him. It breaks my heart to even think of giving up on him but when the police come to your door.... it's tough to take.

 

I was thinking about enrolling him in Karate classes as he expressed an interest. Any opinions about that? My son took classes for 3 years and he did well and learned much more than defending himself. He was taught the disciplines of the martial arts. I thought maybe it would be good for the 17 year olds self-esteem but am weary that he may use his skills in a negative way. I hope not, though.

 

I believe that Scouting is truly a path to healing some of the pain that angry teens feel and was so happy to read the article and felt validated. The Scout Master is also very supportive of the boys and understands their special needs. My husband and I are both adult leaders and one or both of us attends the meetings and outings to keep close supervision on the boys.

 

Even if a foster child stays with us only a short time we hope that the one thing they learn is that there is another way. And when they grow up perhaps they will remember one or two things we taught them. Perhaps they will break the cycle of dysfunction in their families and put their children into the scouting program (Boy or Girl)... I can only hope.

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