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problem with den leader

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Hi, I am a mom to one 7 year old son who is homeschooled. My son joined the Scouts in September and has enjoyed it so very much until yesterday. My son saw 2 members of his den at school (he was with a friend who was picking up her children) and said hello. One of the boys said "My mom thinks you're a brat!" His mother is the den leader. Can you offer me some advice on how to handle this? If the little boy had called my son a brat, I would have told my son to work it out on his own, but his den leader, his AKELA, is supposed to be a leader, a friend, someone he can trust. He cried himself to sleep last night.


Thank you for your help.

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It's amazing that some adults still don't understand that anything they say around their kids will get repeated.


I'm sorry that this is happening to you. I would have a chat with the den leader before the next meeting. Just take a few minutes and tell her what happened. Don't give her the chance to make excuses, just tell her what her son said, how your son felt and TELL her she needs to let your son know it was a mistake.


Personally, I would start looking at other packs. A den leader, AKELA, has a responsibility to live up to the promise just as much as the boys do. She blew it.

I would want closure for my son but then I'd be heading on to another pack.


Hope it all works out for you, This is not what scouts is about.



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I agree with what Ann said, I would tell the den leader what happened in a calm, firm manner and expect an apology. I would also start looking for another den. It may be a misunderstanding and it may be fine to continue with the pack you are in. If you do decide to leave, I think it is important to let the Cubmaster or the Committee Chair know why you have left the pack. They will appreciate the information.


As a den leader and pack leader, there are boys I like and boys I don't like as much. I am careful to make sure that I NEVER say anything disparaging about any boy in the pack in front of my sons or the other scouts. And though I may need to discuss the behavior of a certain scout with other leaders it is never in a gossipy manner. It simply isn't appropriate as a leader or parent.

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Call the mom. Did she really say this? Are you sure you're going to take her kid's word for it?


Maybe she did, in which case, lesson learned (I hope) for her: kids repeat things at the most inopportune times. Maybe she didn't, in which case, she and her son have an interesting conversation coming up. If she did say it, and she 'fesses up, I'm not really sure what the "fix" could be. She should certainly apologize, but what else? What would make things right, from your perspective (is this even possible)?


If she didn't say it, she should have a little heart to heart chat with your son and let him know that she thinks he's great/special/etc., and she should also have her child apologize for saying nasty things. Then the whole den should do something fun together and get everybody back to playing nice.




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Oh wow! There are so many ways to look at this:



1) The kid's mom did not say it and the kid did. Remember as a kid, saying your parents said something is the ultimate source of proof or authority.."Oh yeah? My dad/mom says that G I Joe is way better than your stupid Superman!"


REall? WEll no! Of course not, but the kid who said it, and usually the one who heard it think so and it's the same as having 100% scientific proof of being true!


2) You ever say you want to kill somebody or wring their neck? Sure you do. But do you really want to? Well maybe knock them upside the ehad, but not really choke or kill them. Could be an exasperated mom was being especially expressive while feeling overwhelmed.



3) Two people talking about two differet things: Example: This past Christmas, my son was wearing a Beatles shirt. He thought it was the coolest shirt ever and was telling my wife about how cool it was.....again...for the 100th time. At the same time, my wife was taliing about egg nog and how none of my son's cousins or friends liked it.


My son then look at my wife with an awful face and asked her: "WEHy would youn tell me something like that?"


Turns out my son..in all his great hearing, heard my wife say: "Nobody likes your shirt, not even your cousins or friends!"


No, my wife didn't say that, but my son heard that.


Who is to say the same thing didn't happen with that kid.


4) Then is could be just what it is: he mom may have said exactly that. And that could mean one of two trhings itself. I call a bunch of kids brats to their face. BUT...I am joking and they know it. They call me a brat right back, we laugh and then we talk about whatever else. People have a commradierie where they do that. Friends, pals and buddies rag on each other all the time.


But it could be that she does think your son is a brat. But what really matters is this: Does she act like he's a brat to his face? I personally do not feel like being best friends with every child in my pack.


And yes, I do think some of them are brats, Some are wild, abrasive , spoiled jerks. Some need a little bit of discipline. Some need A LOT of discipline. Some need their necks wrung daily. Some are the coolest kids ever.Some are as sorry as their parents: selfish, inconsiderate, spoiled , self centered brats! And I treat every single one of them the same.


Could be that mom really does need to watch what she said in front of others...but we should right?


Tell your son that it's a mistake and let it pass.


Unless she actually does treat him different or singles him out, I wouldn't worry about it.


So far, the ONLY thing you know is a "He said ...that he said.... that she said..."

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I agree. The other kid was obnoxious to say such a thing, but you cannot be 100% sure the Den Leader said anything like that at all!


I'm a CM, but I also lead the Wolf Den, and I KNOW my son sometimes gets a little wild because HIS mom is running the show, and he thinks he can get away with it.


This other kid *might* just be jealous of the time and effort and attention HIS mom is putting into these other little boys, and that conflict of feelings might be coming out in how he treats other boys in the Den; it might not be ONLY your son.


I would say if you've BEEN there all along, and you've never SEEN personality conflicts between your son and the Den leader, that you need to Let This Go. We're talking about 7 year olds here (I have one). You can't account for every word they say.


I know your little guy was hurt, but you need to explain to him that KIDS will often say very hurtful things, EVEN IF THEY'RE NOT TRUE, and that you cannot BELIEVE the Den leader would ever say such a thing, and didn't we have so much fun doing _____....etc...


Shake off the dust, let a 7-year-old's comment slide off your back, keep going to your Den meetings, enjoy yourselves, and just keep a watchful eye for conflicts. THEN decide if something needs to be changed.


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Did that make sense?


If the other boy is very insecure or feels threatened by his mom paying attention to all these other little boys, he may (consciously or not) want to drive them away from his mama.


I'm not trying to play psychotherapist here, but I think that other little BOY might have a problem with his mom being a Den leader, but I don't think YOU necessarily have a problem with the Den leader...


...at least not without more evidence. The other little boy may have just been extra obnoxious that day.


Do you see what I'm saying?

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Thank you all so very much for your advice. I did talk to the den leader last night in a very nonconfrontational way. She denied having said anything and in fact told me that her son had been in trouble at school several times during the week for saying unkind things to other kids. So, all is well for now. I gently told her that I wouldn't have said anything to her if this was a spat between the kids, but because her son said SHE said, etc.---and so was compelled to talk to her since she is the den leader.


There is one more issue I would like your opinions on, if you don't mind. My husband was a paralyzed veteran (he passed away when my son was a baby). So, I am very sensitive about issues dealing with disabilities. Do you think it is appropriate for scout leaders (in this case, the pack leader and den leaders) to park in a handicapped parking place. The meeting takes place at a church, I know that it is private property, but I personally think, once again, that a scout leader should be setting a good example in all areas. Am I wrong? I don't intend to say anything, but if I need to get over it....please tell me so. Again, thanks for your help.



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On the one hand, it IS DREADFUL manners to park in a handicapped space if you don't have the sticker. MAYBE for one minute while you get a huge box out of the trunk, but then move your car. Maybe.


On the other hand, the WORST form of bad manners ...


...is to correct a peer's bad manners.


I suggest you approach the management of the building where this is taking place, and ask them to say something "to whomever seems to be parking there illegally."


On the third hand, are you absolutely certain there isn't an invisible handicap? Myasthenia gravis or something?


Just playing devil's advocate.

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Glad that the original problem was solved so easily..


As to the other one.. I don't think you are out of line at all.. I also don't think it would be out of line to make a comment.. Similar to this one, calmly and rationally.. The Cubmaster SHOULD be setting a good example, and this is a pet peeve of mine too when I see someone who has no disability park in a handicap place.. If they have a handicap sticker, I try to tell myself that it could be an ailment not visibly noticiable, but when a 20ish year old jumps out and dashes up to the store.. It is very, very hard not to think he is abusing a handicap sticker that is for his parents or grandparents..


It does cause people to think poorly of the person who abuses a system meant for those less fortunate then you.. Now if you want to park in the VIP's parking space.. Go ahead.. Be my guest..

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This is one of my pet peeves too, but usually only out in public. my thought is, he knows (or thinks he knows) that no handicapped people will be needing the spot while the scouts are using the building so he parks there. I bet he doesn't use that spot during regular church hours.

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Again, thank you. I did, in fact, say something to the scout leader several months ago...again, in a very nonconfrontational way (did not say it sets a bad example), he justified parking in the spot by telling me that he has a severely disabled niece...as though that entitles him to park in a handicapped spot (he has no invisible handicap--in our state you have to have a hangtag to park). I haven't said anything since. As I mentioned earlier, having lived for 20 years with a wheelchair user, I am sensitive to this issue, and so is my son. I just think that it is hard to teach a young child the gray areas. You shouldn't park in a handicapped spot, but it's okay if it's in a private lot or if noone is using it. Anyway, I won't belabour the point and I do appreciate your help so very much.

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If you bring it up once then it would be bad manners to bring it up again..


I don't agree it would be bad manners to bring up the subject once, in a helpful manner of letting them know that as a person who needs to set an good example this does not.


We do it to our adult leaders all the time.. It is taken as a helpful friendly reminder that you have to set a good example and are not..


Our young adult leaders need to be reminded of what they put on facebook, and that the younger scouts are reading their face book..


The kids can see you smoking over in this spot..

Your jokes are getting a little off color and the scouts can hear you..


This to me would fall into the same helpful reminder if done in the right way.


edited to say : if someone called management on me, or reported my action to the COR or CC or someone of a higher authority before giving me a "helpful reminder", and allowing me to correct my actions then I would see that as a slap in the face, and very bad manners.(This message has been edited by moosetracker)

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I think I would not say anything further about it. He knows, you know, your son knows, what's right. Sometimes you can't change a person's behavior but you can make your own decisions not to do those same things. And while I am very sympathetic to your concern, I also want to point out that try as we might, we ALL do things that are wrong sometimes. Thank goodness we don't always get called out on them.

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