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Parents more interested in advancement than their son

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I've noticed an increase in this with my last group of new scouts. Parents with the entitlement attitude, treating me and my ASMs as if we're employees instead of volunteers. At times it borderlines on bullying.


Example: Scout comes to me a few weeks ago and says he's been trying to get in touch with a MBC but can't get through, he's left messages but no response. I advise him to try again, maybe she's on vacation or out of town for business. A few weeks later I get an email from dad saying the same but adding how he thinks in inappropriate and unfair to his son that he has to wait when son is done the MB. I ask what number he's using and a week later no response. So I call the number we have in our MBC list which is available online to all members and the MBC picks up on the first ring. She tells me she would be happy to work with the boys just give her a call!

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Yes, that attitude is out there. I try to get the parents up to speed on how we operate before they make the decision to join our troop.


It's about developing boys into leaders, not about earning Lifesaving or Personal Fitness at age 11.

I've pulled a few parents back, to allow their sons to do their thing, be it setting up a tent or cleaning a pot.


Best to squash that attitude as soon as you see it. One effective way I have used it to refuse to speak to an aggressive parent about advancement.* If little Johnny wants to speak to me, see me before or after the meeting. Or call me at work. Or call me at home. (that never happens.)



* I do this by explaining that adult association is one of the methods of scouting, and his desire to advance will overcome his not wishing to speak to me; and short circuiting that process cheats Johnny of developing. And you wouldn't want to cheat your son, would you?

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1) SM, ASM's, CC, and Adv Chair all have to have a common vision. If vision has not been discussed among these folks recently, make this a priority. It is easy to assume that the others have the same vision that you do, but that assumption is usually wrong if it has not been discussed repeatedly and written down.

2) Communicate to the parents. Troop vision might be published on the troop's web site, most certainly should be communicated in an annual or semi-annual parents meeting.

3) Parents whose vision for their son is focused on advancement get a consistent message when talking with SM, ASM, CC, and Advancement Chair.

4) Enlist the aid of parents that understand the troop vision. They can assist in explaining the benefits of the troop program and the changes that they have seen in their son that is worth much more than rank advancements.

5) If parent doesn't come around, have a meeting with the parent and suggest that this is obviously not the right troop for his family, and you will be more than happy to transfer the scouts records to another troop.


Note: this type of behavior needs to be handled quickly and directly. Other scouts and families will notice if troop standards are bent for a vocal parent.

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Here is an example from a quick google search:


I have no association with this troop.


A troop might start with the mission of their chartering organization as a guide. You are volunteering your time - what would you like the troop to look like in 5 years? Excellent outdoor skills? A lot of boys with rank of Eagle? Servant based leaders, with Older scouts that help younger scouts without being asked? Boys that volunteer with other charitable organizations? Boys that are strong leaders that are leaders in other school organizations? A fun place for boys to hang out with buddies, and perhaps learn a few basic skills?


Unless the goals are shared, it can be expected that the various families involved will make assumptions of what is important. chaoman's initial question referred to a parent whose vision is boys getting the eagle rank. Implied is that he thinks that lots of eagles is his vision, but rather, perhaps that learning is, with perhaps eagles coming out of it. (simply making an assumption here).


Without a shared vision, people pull in different directions, and it becomes difficult to tell someone like the parent chaoman refers to that his view is not in line with what the leaders are trying to accomplish.

The neat thing is, that when you start to discuss a vision and gain acceptance, while you will lose some scouts whose families' view doesn't line up with your troop's vision, you will attract other families that want the type program that comes from focusing on that particular vision.

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well the one we had in our troop just left the troop because son wasn't given a POR which would "hold him back" he's 14 and at life already but attitude is terrible and leadership is terrible so he needed some time to sit back and figure out what he was doing wrong so that he could earn respect and a POR... but oh well, they left and he'll probably be eagle in less than a year, but I won't have to sign eagle paperwork for a boy that doesn't want to be a scout.

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Vision doesn't have to be a complex statement, and actually we sometimes use different words for different parents:


"Troop __, we take bad kids."

"Hike and camp, hike and camp, hike and camp ... and fish!"

"We want a troop full of first-class scouts."

"Don't worry, we'll let them know once they've hiked a mile out of their way."


Note: we don't exclusively recruit kids with behavioral disorders. Our calendar isn't only hiking and camping. Most of our boys are Star or Life, going on Eagle. And, we do guide boys even when they're only 100 yards off trail (sometimes).


But, those little catch-phrases give adults a picture of what our youth are about.

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I have seen this lately. I have had to, as ASM, push back a bit more and tell the parent that the boy needs to be the one to see me. Also crabby parents that complain that their son is missing an advancement requirement we worked on not 1, not 2, but 3 campouts last year. Turns out his son (while getting his Life):


(1) Hadn't camped for a full year.

(2) Couldn't name anyone in his Patrol. Including his PL.

(3) Couldn't remember the Scout Law.

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Not that I'd recommend doing it this way but...


Years ago, we had an ASM who had a little confrontation with an "Eagle Mom". The Scout was going along fine at his own pace, and Eagle Mom got to the point of being obnoxious. The ASM finally told her that if she'd like the Eagle badge, he could get her one tomorrow for $3.50. Her son, however, would have to earn it. Surprisingly enough, Eagle Mom transferred to another troop, (Oh yes, so did her son) and I don't believe either of them made Eagle there either.


Although the ASM's method might be considered "unorthodox," I did later congratulate him on his "testicular fortitude". :)(This message has been edited by FrankScout)

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Ya, Frank, sometimes that's the only way to deal with "mama bear." Especially if she's trying to work each ASM in hopes that one will eventually cave.


Sometimes, even when we're courteous and gentle, moms take it hard -- even moms who are truly helpful.

A mom was brought to the edge of tears when I explained last year (or was it the year before?) that it'd be fine if junior wouldn't advance beyond Life scout. That boy just started his Eagle project today.

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