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Grubdad

Behavior problems: What is expected, how to deal with?

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I can say I've done that in bear territory when my over-night bottle was already full. There are some times when that is necessary. ;)

 

Of course one could always use the Buddy System when in such situations and that problem could be handled.  :)  Just because one is over 18 doesn't mean the buddy system isn't necessary.

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Ever watch TV? These days you can have a dozen different types of catheters delivered right to your door apparently, even free samples I think.. No need to ever leave the comfort of your bag.

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@@Grubdad, I would take it as a good sign that these adults want to hear from you.

Over the years, I've learned to yell less. I let the SM know (usually while within earshot of the offending scout) that I have the keys ready if someone has to be taken home. (Honestly, with our conduct disorder kids, the parent has to be nearby and ready to do that.) I've learned to tell a boy that I know what we ask is tough, but he is tougher and can do better. I've learned that if another boy can say that to the kid it's even better. I've learned that a bad kid who knows to apologize to his buddies at the end of the day is worth his weight in gold.

I've learned that riding shotgun on the ride home, a scout may reflect a lot. The boys in the back will be all ears.

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Ever watch TV? These days you can have a dozen different types of catheters delivered right to your door apparently, even free samples I think.. No need to ever leave the comfort of your bag.

 

It just Depends on what you are used to.  :)

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On a recent backpacking hike weekend we had a couple 13 year olds decide during the night that the 10 miles in was enough and they would skip the 10 mile return. So they used a smuggled cell phone (that mom had insisted he always take) to try to play divorced Dad and Mom to pick him up and take him and his buddy home. Apparently (as we found out later) they refused and talked Grandma to drive down a sand access road at 2am and meet them and take them home. 

 

We did not find out until morning; I guess we were so dog tired (it had been 10 miles in hot sand) they must have stepped right by me. We adults were mad because it could have gone south with them that night and the other boys were mad because they didn't pack up their trash and we all had to split up their share of troop gear.

 

The boys and parents were told they were not allowed to come on another outing unless they followed the Troop rules and were put on a two month event ban (that the youth leadership decided). One kid never came back and the other, who deeply apologized is still in and an infrequent camper.

 

My wife observed common sense dictates that Grandma should have found an adult leader and said she was taking them in the middle of the night.

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The caveat I always use with the parents is, if you don't inform us of a potential problem up-front, the phone call at 1:00 am will be either to come get your child or we'll meet you at the ER.  It's remarkable how that loosens the tongues of the parents.  I always leave the door open to a private phone call/visit/whatever it takes, to make sure I have all the information necessary to take care of their child.  The onus is on the parents.  I make sure that all the parents in the room are my witness that I addressed this issue fully because it falls directly under the #1 rule of our troop, Safety First.  I let the parents know that either way they are going to be embarrassed, a little bit up front when they tell me the problem or a whole lot when the whole troop finds out later on.  Their choice.

 

I never understand why they don't tell you--especially newbies before summer camp. I try talking to them and explain we have had to deal with all kinds of situations including:

 

- A late bed wetter where we would assist in the discrete disposal of the training pants to avoid humiliation.

- A night screamer.

- A boy who if you didn't give him his 5am meds before he really got up you had a Tasmanian Devil Child.

- A extreme claustrophobic--we just made the great outdoors his bedroom. If it rained he slept on the picnic table under the tarp.

- Allergies of all kinds.

 

Why so why don't they give us a heads up? I know occasionally when I am the camp medicine officer I hand out some pills for a boy I've known a few years and say 'Whoa that explains a whole lot!".

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Of course one could always use the Buddy System when in such situations and that problem could be handled.  :)  Just because one is over 18 doesn't mean the buddy system isn't necessary.

 

I was at a Back to Brownsea for Webelos 2's and the poor boy left a package in the 8" space between tents because he was too scared to walk the 30' to the outhouse.

 

We were so proud of the Life Scout who, when no young boy would fess up, volunteered to use his cat shovel to pick it up and dispose of it properly. He was nicknamed 'scoop' for a month afterword and at the COH was honored with a trowel spray painted gold -- the first troop 'Golden Scoop' award. His ECOH is coming up--I am so using that story.

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OP here.

 

I really appreciate these thoughtful replies. You have given me a lot to think about.

 

At the Troop meeting last night, one of the Assistant SMs, who I know well from our Cub pack, asked me about some of the issues from last weekend. Apparently he had heard that things had gotten a bit out of hand at the Camporee. We talked a bit about some of the chronic challenges a few of these boys had posed, and he is planning to get the parents involved, and give notice that their behavior won't be tolerated any more.

 

He quizzed me about what happened on the trip, so I gave him some examples. I told him I didn't want to come off as the new guy who was telling him how to run his troop, but he encouraged me to share my observations because a fresh perspective was sometimes useful. So I gave him my thoughts, which were that it seems these boys have gotten reprimanded so many times, but with no consequences attached, that they have learned they can get away with just about anything and risk only a scolding. That if there were real consequences, like missing the next Troop activity, it might be a real wake-up call. He got a look on his face which seemed to say, "Wow, why didn't we think of that".

 

He and a couple of the other leaders went and had a little pow-wow to discuss the situation, which, apparently, they had all been concerned about. The ASM who is my friend said he is going to talk to all the parents of the usual suspects about the situation, and before the next campout will present them with letters spelling out exactly what is expected, along with maps to the campout so the parent can come retrieve their son if there's a problem.

 

We have a few special needs boys in our troop, and they do great. Everyone understands their challenges and works with them and any special behavior quirks. It is also tragic when kids come from abusive or neglectful homes, and act out or are socially confused because of it. These are harder to identify. Other kids may have mental or emotional problems. Again, these situations may be hard to identify. And some kids are just plain mean bullies. So it's not easy.

 

For instance, one kid at the Camporee was this real nice, friendly kid, but he was a bit of a handful to manage. Often didn't follow instructions, and would wander around at times doing his own thing. It turns out he is autistic. It's the mean ones that worry me.

 

Thanks, again, for the suggestions and ideas.

 

Yah, @@Grubdad, thanks for the update, eh?

 

Sounds like a good temporary resolution, and I like your approach of deferin' to the current leaders while givin' 'em information.

 

Da question will be how the follow-up looks, eh?   The problem with written statements and "contracts" and all the rest is that they're just threats, eh?  Threats wrapped up in adult legal-schmeagle nonsense, but really just threats.   I'm not a fan of such things.  For kids to learn yeh just need consequences.  Put your hand on a hot stove, it gets burnt.   There's no need for the stove to make threats, and the learnin' happens pretty fast.    Behavioral consequences need to be similar, eh? 

 

Whenever a troop is tryin' to change an existing culture that isn't workin', yeh almost always need to act once, eh?   Someone needs to be sent home, and the principle explained to all the boys after he's gone.  The trick will be not gettin' itchy trigger finger.   Goin' home for terrorizin' a new scout?  Yah, absolutely.  "The role of older scouts is to protect and support younger scouts, because that's what real men do" is an easy principle to explain.  If yeh are a scout, yeh have to behave like a man, and if yeh can't do that, yeh go home with the little kids.

 

Goin' home for bein' inattentive peein' on the side of a trail?   That's more somethin' that an older PL can handle by pullin' a lad aside.  It doesn't work for a big consequence.  Goin' home because an adult is tallyin' up all the little things you've done wrong over the past months or years?   That's an adult doin' somethin' to you, rather than a natural consequence.  It doesn't work to teach the boys principles.  In fact, there's a good chance the rest of the boys will feel it's the adult bein' unfair and learn the wrong lesson.

 

Hopefully, da SM will get this right, or close enough.   He's got to get the ASM dad of Troublemaker #1 on board too, eh?  Everyone has to be pullin' together or things will pull apart.

 

@@Eagledad, I hear yeh on the lads being afraid about peein'.   I recall once when a new scout took a dump just a little ways outside of his tent in the middle of the night because he was afraid to go into da stinky latrine in the dark.   Someone else who was an early riser discovered it by the "steppin' in it" method :eek: .   Could have been one of those "make a Big Deal out of bad behavior" moments, eh?  Happily the PL told the silly Beavah fellow to shut up and go clean off his shoes, and then took the lad aside and handled it like a champ. :cool: 

 

Beavah

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@@Eagledad, I hear yeh on the lads being afraid about peein'.   I recall once when a new scout took a dump just a little ways outside of his tent in the middle of the night because he was afraid to go into da stinky latrine in the dark.   Someone else who was an early riser discovered it by the "steppin' in it" method :eek: .   Could have been one of those "make a Big Deal out of bad behavior" moments, eh?  Happily the PL told the silly Beavah fellow to shut up and go clean off his shoes, and then took the lad aside and handled it like a champ. :cool:

 

I cannot say I blame the kid given the state of some of our latrines in our council camps. Texas heat + pit latrine + last week of a 6 week camp + no wind = Well, I will leave it to your imagination.

 

As to the latrines at night, having nearly stepped on a Copperhead while taking in shower in one of those lovely pit latrines/shower stalls, I have sympathy for the lad.

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On a recent backpacking hike weekend we had a couple 13 year olds decide during the night that the 10 miles in was enough and they would skip the 10 mile return. So they used a smuggled cell phone (that mom had insisted he always take) to try to play divorced Dad and Mom to pick him up and take him and his buddy home. Apparently (as we found out later) they refused and talked Grandma to drive down a sand access road at 2am and meet them and take them home. 

 

We did not find out until morning; I guess we were so dog tired (it had been 10 miles in hot sand) they must have stepped right by me. We adults were mad because it could have gone south with them that night and the other boys were mad because they didn't pack up their trash and we all had to split up their share of troop gear.

 

The boys and parents were told they were not allowed to come on another outing unless they followed the Troop rules and were put on a two month event ban (that the youth leadership decided). One kid never came back and the other, who deeply apologized is still in and an infrequent camper.

 

My wife observed common sense dictates that Grandma should have found an adult leader and said she was taking them in the middle of the night.

 

I had a similar situation like this, but it was a whole patrol of boys.  The only "punishment" was PL's letter of recommendation from the SM for the boy's Eagle was denied for 6 months while the PL proved such a letter was warranted.  He figured it out and nothing more was ever said about the issue.  No one in that patrol dared to say a word.  It never happened a second time.  

 

Without any adult involvement, appropriate apologies were made to the adults individually, to the other patrol that had to clean up the camp without them, and for 6+ months there was not even a HINT of impropriety from any of the scouts.  For me the issue was over and done with when the PL stepped down and turned the patrol over to another boy.  He stayed with that patrol as a patrol member. 

 

I was asked to leave a few months after the 6 months were up, so I have no idea what sort of long term affect the self-imposed punishment lasted.  The former PL eventually got his recommendation and the Eagle rank.

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- A boy who if you didn't give him his 5am meds before he really got up you had a Tasmanian Devil Child.

 

Hey that is my kid! His nickname is Taz. He has a Taz bed light, sheet set, a poster and a few plushies. The difference is if you don't give him meds before bed he won't go to sleep. You is slow to wind up in the morning but if he doesn't get the morning meds I would rather face down a F-5 tornado.

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My son was the same way.

 

I have had so many boys over the years like that it's kinda scary.  At least I know how to handle it.

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OP here.

 

I have been putting a lot of time and effort into trying to figure out this situation. To summarize, without getting into too many details and anecdotes:

 

- At the Campout we attended, there were a few boys who blatantly and almost continuously acted in ways that were unacceptable, including disregard and backtalk to adult and scout leaders, regular foul language including the F-word and racial slurs, and almost constant yelling/arguing/taunting/shoving others. These are not kids with disabilities or special needs, which we also have a few of in the troop, and who do very well.

 

- From my own previous observations, as well as discussions with some of the more reliable scouts, this behavior is fairly regular, and is often worse.

 

- There were zero consequences for these behaviors other than a stern talking-to. At the following Troop meeting, a couple adult leaders had caught wind of what had happened and quizzed a few of us about our observations. This was then discussed at the committee meeting, which resulted in the Senior Patrol Leader, at last night's meeting, to remind the Scouts to try to work harder to follow the Scout Law.

 

- It appears that the culture of the Troop is to be very lax, and to not deal with issues like this in a serious way. I believe that any Scout can screw up now and then, and that all boys are far from perfect. But when a boy is blatant and consistent with obnoxious behavior, and disregards any sort of reprimand, then the next step is for that Scout to experience a minor punishment, such as not being able to attend a future activity or event. This troop appears to not be willing to do that in any way.  I think they talk tough at times, but that's about it.

 

- We have started looking at other troops in our area. We attended a another troop's meeting Monday, and were impressed by the friendly way the boys interacted. But at our meeting with our current troop last night, a casual observer could have reached the same conclusion. So I think it will be very difficult to judge what another troop's culture is until we are deep into it.

 

- A couple friends in the current troop are as concerned as I am, but feel "it's like this everywhere", and that I will find the exact same situations and attitudes in other troops. I am hoping they're wrong, but am afraid they might not be.

 

So further suggestions would be useful to me. I'd like to decide sooner rather than later if we are going to switch troops. So any suggestions on how to find a troop that is closest to our attitudes and beliefs would also be appreciated.

 

Thanks!

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- We have started looking at other troops in our area. We attended a another troop's meeting Monday, and were impressed by the friendly way the boys interacted. But at our meeting with our current troop last night, a casual observer could have reached the same conclusion. So I think it will be very difficult to judge what another troop's culture is until we are deep into it.

 

Where I live, parents flat out ask troops how they deal with the situations that you are describing. We are very honest with them and tell them what we would do: counsel them, probation, further counseling, denial of rank advancement, additional counseling and discussion with district,and finally suspension from the unit. We let parents know that we will not white wash such situations.

 

I'd talk to the units you are visiting and be honest with them. Be specific and ask them how they would handle these issues. I am sure they will give you an honest response.

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Good suggestion, as always, Krampus.

 

It seems obvious that we should be able to get a straight answer. I guess I have gotten so used to this troop, and our Cub pack before, sweeping these things under the rug, that I am assuming all troops might tend to talk a good game, but with no follow through. I was also a bit hesitant to discuss specific situations with other troops, because I didn't want to air the dirty laundry of the current one, or appear to bad-mouth them.

 

But I think you are right. If I don't come right out and get straight to the point, I won't have done my research effectively. I just hope I can get honest answers.

 

Any additional suggestions are welcome.

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