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

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This is one of the problems with mixing up the boys.  If one has 5 boys that are causing problems, what's the sense of having one in each patrol?  They were probably feeding off of each other and now they are split up to feed off the different patrols.  I'm sure they wouldn't be too impressed with being split up either.

 

After all, I see this as a common sense issue.  Why take a bad situation and spread it throughout the troop.  Why not just focus it into the new patrol and work with the problem at a single source.  ... I'm just thinking that if one were to just toss them into an older patrol, they wouldn't get the attention needed to break away from mom and dad and connect up with the other scouts.

 

Yah, hmmm....

 

There are different philosophies and different approaches to these sorts of things. 

 

One of da approaches is the adult-run school approach, eh?   Yeh track the kids.  Put all da problem kids together.   That way the problem kids don't slow down the bright kids, and yeh can keep da problem kids in jail with fewer jailers.  Hopefully they drop out, and yeh view that as a good thing. :(

 

The alternative approach is that you divide and conquer, eh?   Yeh don't concentrate the problem, yeh diffuse it.   You use da strong youth leaders yeh have built in each patrol to take care of one part of da problem.   Those youth leaders come together and brainstorm with each other on how they're handlin' their challengin' scouts.  

 

There's a huge difference in what the challengin' scout experiences through each approach, eh?   In the first, he's with other boys who misbehave and reinforce his own misbehavior; he's with other boys who don't care and reinforce his own not caring.   If he's just immature or homesick, he's with boys who make him more homesick.   In the second, the kid who needs more support is with a patrol where most of da rest of the boys are doin' well.  All da other youth in the patrol can provide support.  Homesickness isn't reinforced.   Da culture doesn't enable misbehavior, it works against it.  Culture teaches boys a lot more than an individual teacher can, eh?  That's the point of Scoutin'. 

 

Plus, in da second case the older boys get real challenges of leadership, eh?  They get to work on takin' care of their homesick lad or dealin' with their problem member.  That's not taken away from 'em by an adult.  And as we see in several of da examples, adults as often as not enable da bad behavior, eh?  They undermine da youth leaders and substitute lectures for consequences.

 

There are some reasons for tracking, eh?  If yeh don't have strong patrols or good youth leaders yet, then givin' 'em da added challenge of a member that needs more support might be too much.   Or if yeh have too many challenging boys, so that they overwhelm da patrol's culture.  This should be a temporary thing, though, eh?  The adults should be buildin' strong patrols, and the adults should be mindful of not takin' on too many problems until they do.

 

Beavah

Edited by Beavah

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No hard and fast rule. Sometimes the pack of trouble makers can make a good patrol if re-directed--I've seen it happen if they like camping and they want to be there. I have also seen clumps of trouble makers broken up and distributed to 'good patrols' who then felt they were being punished. And all of this is the slippery slope of adult manipulated Patrol assignment a bad habit my Troop keeps falling into.

 

One needs to look at the Trouble makers and see who is who. There often is one who quietly manipulated or eggs on the others. And before doing anything ask some trusted boys for opinions as they usually have a better idea of the personality of the boys better than adults do.

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No hard and fast rule. Sometimes the pack of trouble makers can make a good patrol if re-directed--I've seen it happen if they like camping and they want to be there. I have also seen clumps of trouble makers broken up and distributed to 'good patrols' who then felt they were being punished. And all of this is the slippery slope of adult manipulated Patrol assignment a bad habit my Troop keeps falling into.

 

One needs to look at the Trouble makers and see who is who. There often is one who quietly manipulated or eggs on the others. And before doing anything ask some trusted boys for opinions as they usually have a better idea of the personality of the boys better than adults do.

 

As a group they can be isolated and focused on resolving their issues.  5 troublemakers in one patrol.  Won't listen to anyone.  A TG is assigned to merely watch them for safety.  What are they going to do?  If they are 300' from their nearest examples and one lone TG just sitting there, they will eventually look to him to provide something like what the other boys are doing.  As soon as they ask that question, the learning can start.  Now they will listen.

 

I just don't know what it is, but for some reason I really never have had to deal with situations like this so I'm kind of at a loss to help.  I've had my ADD boys, my ADHD boys, my broken family boys, my Asperger's boys, my at-risk boys and for some reason They don't give me trouble.  I'm suspicious that what I dish out is not the same servings that most people do.  If one has problems, I guess suggesting that they keep doing what they're doing is not going to be very well received.

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I favor the group if they want to stay as a group. We had such a group...little savages they were...all 8 of them. Poorly uniformed, forgot gear on campouts, etc. But they liked to camp (however chaotically), hiked hard (if profane), were great at making fires (had to be watched) and catapults (had to be watched) and lashing (had to make sure they didn't tie up the others). But they were very competitive and would work hard at games and competitions. Five years later, even though some moved else wear we got 5 Eagles out of them. 

 

At the same time we got another patrol of 9  nice boys, all A students, beautifully uniformed. Always worked together, nice uniforms, did a lot of Merit Badges. 2 of the nine were great scouts and Eagles. 3 dropped out and 4 are on the way to Eagle but never liked to camp, had parents hovering all the time and doing end runs to the Council and generally were out for their own advancement over the Troop. But they were at 1st very easy to manage.

 

Looking back those troublemakers were closer to more 'old fashioned' scouts and more fun to go on adventures with. They were worth the hassle.

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There's nothing adventurous about sitting quietly and paying attention to the speaker.  I, personally, have always like the ones that are a bit rough around the edges. 

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I favor the group if they want to stay as a group. We had such a group...little savages they were...all 8 of them. Poorly uniformed, forgot gear on campouts, etc. But they liked to camp (however chaotically), hiked hard (if profane), were great at making fires (had to be watched) and catapults (had to be watched) and lashing (had to make sure they didn't tie up the others). But they were very competitive and would work hard at games and competitions. Five years later, even though some moved else wear we got 5 Eagles out of them. 

 

I wish my challenging Scouts were like that. They I know how to handle. Probably because that was me and my troop growing up.:)

 

 

At the same time we got another patrol of 9  nice boys, all A students, beautifully uniformed. Always worked together, nice uniforms, did a lot of Merit Badges. 2 of the nine were great scouts and Eagles. 3 dropped out and 4 are on the way to Eagle but never liked to camp, had parents hovering all the time and doing end runs to the Council and generally were out for their own advancement over the Troop. But they were at 1st very easy to manage.

 

That's the challenge: how to get the kids to get away from always going to mom and dad. I handed out camp schedules last nite, and one of the two immediately went to his dad to give him the schedule.

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I had two Eagle Scouts, in my Venturing Crew and big time in OA that had mom maintain their calendar for them so they knew where they had to be. 

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My friends and I agree there needs to be a better system based on bad consequences for bad behavior. The excuses I hear, though, are that nobody wants to be the "heavy", or that "it's no better in any other Troop". Nobody wants to be the one to confront the parents of a Scout with unacceptable behavior.

What policies and procedures are in use to address this sort of thing?.

I have not read all the replies in this thread. But do you have a strong PLC (or what I would call a Court of Honour). In my group we have historically maintained a strong aura, or "wow" factor around the Court of Honour. If a scout is invited to a CoH, then he has done something pretty serious. Bad behavior has to be dealt with by the boys. If this person cannot even respect a CoH decision for him to pipe down, then the last courses of action are to call in the parents and maybe request his removal. Edited by ThomasG

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Hope nobody minds, but I wanted to post a follow-up update to this thread I started last year.

 

Summer Camp was the straw that broke the camel's back. Constant fighting, bickering, negativity, conflict with other troops, insubordination, etc, with no consequences. After returning home, the six of us dads whose boys had all crossed over to this troop together that year had a meeting to discuss it. This was in July. All except me decided to state our concerns to Troop leadership and committee, and then wait until the end of the year to see major changes. I decided to give them a month. At the end of that month, after seeing zilch from the Troop leadership and committee, my boy and I moved on to another Troop, one of a couple we had been visiting and researching.

 

The change was and is dramatic. Like 180 degrees different. It was almost a foreign experience to see boys playing together without fighting, to see them work together without bickering. They are typical teenaged boys, with all the harmless mischief, "coolness", and zaniness that includes. They are far from perfect. But they have a positive attitude, are a true pleasure to be around, and I have spent a lot of time with them at campouts and activities.

 

The Troop adult leaders allow ZERO crap from them, and a couple sometimes seem to ride them pretty hard, and sometimes the tone seems a bit negative, although the boys don't seem bothered by it. But I try to do the opposite, and be Mr. Positive Reinforcement. Another new dad is a really good guy, and feels the same way I do, and treats the boys in a positive way. So we are hoping to find that correct balance.

 

We just returned from a four day campout, and it was a pleasure just to tag along with these Scouts on their various activities and watch them interact and have fun together.

 

So sometimes the best thing to do is just to move on. It sure was for us.

 

David

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My Cub just crossed over into a Boy Scout Troop along with 5 other of his den mates, most of whom have been together since they were Tigers. They are a great group of boys: well-behaved, active, polite, and fun (with the occasional boys-will-be-boys exception). They all love the Scouting experience, especially camping, and are thrilled to be actual Scouts now.

 

This new Troop seems good in many ways, very active, with a good Scoutmaster and some great older boys. But there are a few boys who are ruining the experience for many of the other Scouts, and for the parents who attend campouts and events. One is chronically mean, an instigator, a liar, nasty, breaks rules constantly, and mouths off to adults. He really is a bit scary, and I have this fear he's going to hurt someone someday. While most of the boys avoid him, he and a couple followers tend to dominate any situation. Any campout he attends has a completely different and negative and stressful mood to it. We have known him since he was in our Cub pack, and I was really disappointed to learn he's in this Troop.

 

There are two or three other boys who are almost as bad, and a couple more on the edge. In this bunch there is constant arguing, name-calling, bickering, physical confrontations, and foul language including various iterations of the F-word. This is combined with a near total lack of respect for others, including adults, including actively ignoring instructions or loudly mouthing back.

 

We just got back from a great Camporee, but this stuff really dragged us down. And the worst kid wasn't even there! The adults who attended got really getting discouraged and upset with all this. We are constantly doing damage control as an almost full-time job. Most importantly, it really damages the experience for the good Scouts in the majority, and sets a horrible example. One thing that seems obvious is that there are no negative consequences for bad behavior except perhaps a stern talking-to by the Scoutmaster. This particular situation was also hampered by really inexperienced and ineffective patrol leaders, because most of the older boys didn't attend.

 

My friends and I agree there needs to be a better system based on bad consequences for bad behavior. The excuses I hear, though, are that nobody wants to be the "heavy", or that "it's no better in any other Troop". Nobody wants to be the one to confront the parents of a Scout with unacceptable behavior.

 

What policies and procedures are in use to address this sort of thing?

 

Sorry for the long post, but I would really like to learn how this can be addressed. Even if I found a better troop, I would hate for my son to have to leave all his friends from the last five years of Scouting.

 

Thanks for any help.

I don't think they have a good Scoutmaster if the above is going on.  I'd find another troop for my son and his compadres. Kids like the above are not Scouts, they just pretend to be.

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Thanks a lot for the great replies. Let me clarify a few things.

 

I am just a dad who intends to participate in every activity and campout with my son, as I did in Cubs. I have no leadership position.

 

I understand policies and procedures won't fix things. I am just trying to get a feel for what is considered unacceptable, and how it is typically dealt with.

 

This has been a problem with these particular boys for years. Five years from our personal experiences with the #1 troublemaker I talked about first, who had also been in our Cub Pack.

 

These are not isolated or occasional incidents. They seem almost constant.

 

The Scoutmaster is well aware of these chronic issues. At this Camporee I was helping him prepare the adults' dinner and got to chatting with him a bit about it, mentioning one particular incident. He immediately rounded up the three boys involved, took each one aside one at a time, and apparently read them the riot act, from what I assumed because of all the tears. Since I and the other dads that came from our Cub Den are all brand new here, we're still learning the lay of the land, and haven't yet talked with him in depth about it. This Scoutmaster is a very good guy, but I get the feeling he might be a bit exhausted from doing this for some years. Maybe he doesn't have the stomach for meting out tough consequences? I am hoping if some of the other dads make it clear to him that we support him 100% he will be more empowered and consistent.

 

I spent several hours driving to the Camporee with two scouts who have been in the troop for a couple years, and they had some very useful insights and observations. I learned a lot about the situation by chatting with them.

 

I realize there is a balance between wishing for a perfect world, and letting chaos reign. Please keep any suggestions coming.

Just a little aside--let your Scout go on events/campouts/outings without you sometimes. Scouts need that. I was a committee member when my boys were T-21, and I went on most (not all) of their campouts, primarily because we were low on leaders willing to camp.  I let them go on their own because they need that for their independence.  

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I don't think they have a good Scoutmaster if the above is going on.  I'd find another troop for my son and his compadres. Kids like the above are not Scouts, they just pretend to be.

Anyone like that in my old Troop would be on probation. If they acted like that again they'd be invited to leave. I have to agree it sounds like the adults are not doing their job. That's not a "good Scoutmaster", that's a bad one.

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