Jump to content

Advise on unreliable parent

Recommended Posts

Here's the situation. I have a scout in my wolf den that comes from a single parent household. So far, he has not come to a single den meeting, 1 of 4 pack meetings, and 2 outdoor activities (1 being a service project). The Mother just got a new job so I understand she's busy/tired/etc. I and other parents in the den have offered to pick up her son and take him to meetings/activites. I've also talked to her about that since he's not a Tiger, she no longer has to be at the meetings. She says she understands and apologies for missing a meeting (usually with an excuse such as the kids were sick or she was really tired after work). She has never accepted any offers of help. She also sends me a lot of emails saying she has things to drop off for our donation drive (but doesn't), needs to buy popcorn (I don't think she did), etc. I've come to the point where I don't rely on her for anything critical and if she comes or follows through with anything, I take it as a bonus.

Sadly, the boy is a great kid and can really benefit from being around boys his age and doing activities. The last time I talked to him, he has not done any of the acheivements for the wolf rank. It's not looking good and I think we're going to lose him. Anything else I can do other than start showing up at his doorstep before meetings?

Link to post
Share on other sites

You need to tell her that you will come by and pick up her son before the meetings. I know that she has turned down offers for help, but I believe that you should take the initiative and announce: "Hey, I will drop by in a few mintutes to pick your son for tonight's Den Meeting and would like to continue doing this every meeting." Of course, if she says no you will have to back down. However, make it clear to her that she does not owe you a thing for doing this and it would be "your pleasure" to help out.


Don't depend on her to help the Den. This is your opportunity to help her as a Scouter. Don't expect anything in return and you will be happier for it.


Your scout can still finish on time. He should have until May or June before he crosses over to Bear. He may not receive his Wolf at the same time with his peers, but he still has time.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like you have done what reasonably can be done.


Try a few Postcards to the Cub and get his den mates to send them, and continue inviting him to come to meetings/outings with the monthly/annual schedule of events.


Stay relaxed. If mom brings him back great. If not, hopefully he can be come to Boy Scouts later.



Link to post
Share on other sites

What Jeffry H said. I did this for most of the time I was a CM and DL for a couple of boys. There were a large number of single moms and they desperately wanted a male role model in their son's lives (desperate especially, if I was the chosen one, heh, heh). But I did quite a bit of extra duty for those boys and along with my son, we usually had a great time. It did take quite a bit of extra time though.

I still see one of those guys..all grown up now. He was a great kid and has grown into a nice young man.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Face it, she's just not that into you.


Seriously, it would be great if you or a combination of den parents could make it happen for this kid, but ultimately you can't set other peoples' priorities.


Sounds to me that your doing about all you can for the boy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Without dealing with her myself personally and not hearing her speak or seeing her body language...it's a tough call to make.


But here's what I tink: She is saying she or her son are not interested anymore, but she and her son are not quite strong enough socially to say so.


She says she has stuff to drop off or popcorn to buy? Kinda sounds like a stall tactic to me or a "buy time for now" tactic. You know what I am talking about? Bill collector calls, and you say you have the check in the mail. You really don't, but it gets the collector off the phone for the time being. Somebody is selling girlscout cookies at the office. You don't want them at all, but instead of saying no, you say you don't have the $$ and that the person should check back with you next week after you get paid.


All you ( or rather, the mom)are doing is sidestepping the situation.



Overall, you can only do so much to see this boy stick with scouting. He may be wnting mom to handle it, or he may be waiting for mom to say he isn't interested.


I mean, we as scouters are known to be persuasive and not give up easily when it comes to recruiting, camping, getting volunteers or selling stuff.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Boys will come and boys will go.


I know every boy deserves and needs scouting.


I know it is difficult for parents find......time, energy, money and interest in scouting.


More often than not it is the Parent that quite scouting not the boy.



I have lost sleep and spent countless hours chasing after wayward scouts. Your efforts are noble, I would spend the effort on the boys who ARE active in your den. Remember they and their parents want them at the meeting, concentrate on them.



Link to post
Share on other sites





You have received some really good advice. One of my first thoughts is similar to boomerscout's.


In other circumstances with trouble-making scouts I have heard, "Every boy can sure need Scouting, but Scouting doesn't need every boy". Changing tracks slightly. Boy Scouting is not the only youth program out there. I believe it is the best, but there are also religious, character and sports groups just for youth; Sunday School, Little League, Girls and Boys Club, 4H, etc, etc. etc. Anyone of those programs may be a better fit for this young Cub Scout and parent.


For a majority of the Scouts I've met, they have remained in the program for a few years (if not all the way along the trail). But each year, I've lost a few new Scouts. Disappointingly, they found something else or we just didn't satisfy their needs. A handful of Scouts walk away each year. Nothing hostile, they are just taking a different path to maturity.


I even know of a few "Social Scouts". They love to camp, they get a kick out of hanging with their friends. But darnit, they will never bring their handbook or even think about cracking open a merit badge pamphlet. They take months off for football, baseball and track; but will always return for a couple of months at a time.


As much as you and maybe other leaders have offered to help the parent, I think the parent will take or at least send their Cub Scout to meetings, if they understand that is what their son wants.


I would only recommend that other Cubs befriend him at school, community playground, and sports. If the boy enjoys hanging with his friends, he will want to be with his friends during Den Meetings. Ask the den if they remember their friend? and ask them if they've said hi to him during lunch or recess? Maybe he will return, and ask his mother if he can attend, if Cub Scouts is where his best friends are at.


Good Luck!


Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv


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
  • Create New...