Jump to content
Eagle94-A1

Dealing with Helicopter Parents

Recommended Posts

With all due respect.... (and I mean it sincerely, not just being said because I'm going to tell you something you really don't what to hear....)

 

My parental attitude towards raising the boys is not really connected to Wood Badge in any way.  I think it is a balancing act and will back off on making some of the decisions for the kids... but... I do make some decisions for them, such as -- put that computer game away!  (that's a big one nowadays). 

 

There is no balancing act between either/or.  The two are supposed to be complimentary on one end t and total hands off at the other.  Somewhere in between MIGHT if one is lucky, be okay.  If one wishes their son to develop a moral and helpful leadership character in their developing years, Boy Scouts used to be and to a certain extent still is in some ways, still evident today.  I enrolled in Scouting as a kid and my parents were not involved in any way shape or form in the program other than my Dad was a district commissioner for a year.  I stayed with the program for 4 years, but Scouting stayed with me my entire life.

 

The boys are sort of going along with Scouting and I don't know if they have any particular goals and desires for the program. 

 

My one and only aim/goal in Scouting was an excuse to get out of the house and hang out with my buddies.  Nothing more.  After 4 years I was a 2nd Class Scout with 1 MB

 

While they generally like Scout things when they get there, they don't necessarily desire on their own to go.  Both boys if given totally free choice would likely live on the couch with a remote control and an ipad, and so for us, Scouting is a way to pull them off the couch and put structure to some life skills.  Nothing's perfect.  

 

50+ years ago it was the TV.  We were all "glued to the set".  It's no different today   :)  After 50 years, I no longer have cable, rabbit ears, but I have internet connection.  My TV is my computer monitor.

 

Most of all I just want the kids doing something other than electronics.  If I ask the kids to pick something and they pick nothing then we might pick things for them once in a while.  

 

So, do what my Mom did, kick them out of the house and tell them not to come home until supper time at 6:00 pm.  Make sure they don't have their cell phones with them.  If all the moms in the neighborhood did this the boys would find something to do.  Get into trouble?  Not if they have a program like Scouting to feed off of.

 

Right now oldest is sort of working on family life and both boys are taking swimming lessons. The middle son says he wants to work on swimming and that's his thing, so that is good.  Both will learn valuable things at the upcoming Electricity merit badge class, and then we'll see.  I'd rather have them do something than not do anything at all.  

 

And as one who took RC Swimming lessons from blowing  bubbles to Life Saving, one doesn't need to get Scout credit for learning to swim.

 

We can ease up on the kids -- and I like the process you suggested for the Citizenship in the Nation merit badge -- that sounds ideal.  I have read some books about becoming an Eagle scout and there is a lot of instruction to parents that they must push and that the big three with the 90 day logs are a huge obstacle.  

 

Scouting is not the be all to end all in life.  It is a way to develop as a person and become a useful citizen in the world.  I vote and I never took a Citizenship MB.  I learned more from my parent's example than I did reading a book at school or going to a boring MB class in Scouts.

 

It is interesting, most Scout parents I have met push their kids. 

 

Why? 

 

 I agree that as kids get older they will decide whether to go for Eagle or not. 

 

Why worry about that it's the Scout's choice.

 

Some examples of pushing, a dad at TKD is always offering parenting advice and has said you must push them and drag them, etc.  Looking at his kid, his kid has turned out fantastic, top of his high school class, a TKD instructor, doing great in college.  A mom on our committee was reviewing a log of all the merit badges that had been earned by the troop over the last 10 years and said about her son -- I made him get all of those.  Our retiring treasurer/former cc told us that his oldest son was pushed to Eagle at 14 and that then he let his second son take a little more time.  At our recent committee meeting, a cooking merit badge counselor complained he hasn't heard from an Eagle candidate who is coming up on 18 and needs to finish. Should be interested in the kids' progress, or que sera sera? 

 

Again, is it the scout getting Eagle or is the parent?  Or worse yet, the parent getting it for him?

 

I've met a lot of pushy parents!  I don't plan to be as pushy as those parents, but I may push a little.  It would be very hard to let, especially my middle kid, do nothing.  

 

He'll figure it out, it's all part of growing up.  The problem is parents get in and interfere in that process, the kid never grows up, and the big question is how to get the 35 year old "boy" playing computer games out of the basement.

 

Today we were out target shooting with a .22.  Youngest loves it.  Oldest liked it and tried it,  middle didn't want anything to do with it, but dad made him shoot one round.  Middle didn't like it but survived the experience.  Was it the wrong choice?   That's really still our decision as parents.

 

I spent the whole day today sitting in the woods for 8 hours "deer hunting".  Saw 2 squirrels and spent a fantastic afternoon in the woods.

 

No, the only real decision as parents is whether or not they are going to let their kid grow up or baby him and make all his decisions until he's 35 and then scratch their heads as to why he's in the basement.

Edited by Stosh
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen pushy parents that cause their sons to lose interest and/or rebel.

 

My uncle pushed my cousin to get Eagle at 13. As soon as he became an Eagle, he quit. Still had 5 more years of adventures left.

 

Another Scout I know has been dragging his feet because he is not interested, but his dad wants another Eagle in the family. The troop changed from a hiking and camping troop, to a high speed, low drag advancement oriented troop because Dad is the SM and wants his son to be Eagle. Troop went from 3 active patrols (approximately 24 Scouts), to one patrol of 4 active Scouts. And 3 of them are new Scouts Everyone else has either quit, transferred, or Eagled and still registered, but not active, so they can get their palms. Some of the Eagles have not been on a camp out in years.

 

One interesting Life Scout I knew had 63 MBs because he was pushed by parents/ He rebelled b/c he got ticked off at them pushing. Missed Eagle by a service project.

 

Regarding change within a unit. You need adults who share the vision and are willing to back up and enforce the vision. One reason we got change going was the adults meeting and getting one vision. While it was not a 100% Scout-led vision, it was enough change to get it on the right path, and we had enough adults at the time agreeing to it. Now there is no enforcement, and the helicopter parents are taking over the troop now as they are ticking off the established Scouters to the point they are slowly backing away.

 

I do not know who attended the leaders' meeting last weekend, but I do know all of the helicopters were there. Long story short, they started a mega fundraiser for the pack and are still in charge of it.  Now that their sons are in the troop, the troop is involved with the fundraiser. I know two pro- Scout-led adults were not there because we were suppose to go backpacking today, and  1 was in the hospital.  So I do not think enough of the experienced adults to fight for the Scouts, and we will now have a Webelos 3 den with the troop that the adults will teach.

Don't understand how a troop that isn't a backpacking/camping troop can develop Eagles.  I know until my boys' troop upped their game and started camping in a wider variety of ways and places, it was hard to get the Camping Merit badge.  Once we added higher adventure to our campouts, Camping merit badge became easily attainable.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't understand how a troop that isn't a backpacking/camping troop can develop Eagles.  I know until my boys' troop upped their game and started camping in a wider variety of ways and places, it was hard to get the Camping Merit badge.  Once we added higher adventure to our campouts, Camping merit badge became easily attainable.  

 

They attend MB weekends, colleges, etc. Long story short,if the MBC says it's earned they get credit. Good news is that the troop got fresh blood in adults, and looks to get some more. Hoping it turns around.

 

Update: We now have a date for a meeting of all adults. It will be during an event the Scouts will be at. It's going to be intersting.

 

Also, the old saying he who controls the purse controls everything appears to be true. And I think I know how the helicopters are gaining control. We had a joint fundraiser with the pack, and the folks running it are the helicopter parents who just crossed over. Long story short, pack sold more tickets, but we provided the 95% of the manpower during the event. Helicopters running the event decided to give the troop more money IF the troop uses it to buy the equipment they want the troop to have. Here is the the first funny, helicopter parent is making all kinds of comments about taking care of gear, if you break it you buy it etc, and the Scouts are rolling their eyes because they have heard this before. And the system of maintaining the equipment is very adult oriented and DOES NOT WORK as this is the same system that has been in place since before oldest joined. There is no individual accountability as if something breaks, it is very easy to slip it back into the system.

 

My suggestion is to tell the patrols how much they have to spend and let them decide on gear. Also insatead of having troop gear, brak it down into individual patrols. Sadly my idea is being ignored. Hopefully the new PLC will bring this up at their first meeting and can get the adutls to see the light.

 

Another funny. One of our new Scouts earned Second Class last night. He's the first to do so. After the meeting, one of the helicopters goes up to the SM complaining about how her son is not Second Class and how can this other guy earn his if her son hasn't. When explained, she then goes on about why hasn't his book been signed off since he 's done the stuff too. When that too is explained, she goes off in a huff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't understand how a troop that isn't a backpacking/camping troop can develop Eagles.  I know until my boys' troop upped their game and started camping in a wider variety of ways and places, it was hard to get the Camping Merit badge.  Once we added higher adventure to our campouts, Camping merit badge became easily attainable.

 

Or cooking. You have to camp and cook a fair amount of weekends to earn these badges. I see plenty of troops signing off without actually doing the work

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They attend MB weekends, colleges, etc. Long story short,if the MBC says it's earned they get credit. Good news is that the troop got fresh blood in adults, and looks to get some more. Hoping it turns around.

 

Update: We now have a date for a meeting of all adults. It will be during an event the Scouts will be at. It's going to be intersting.

 

Also, the old saying he who controls the purse controls everything appears to be true. And I think I know how the helicopters are gaining control. We had a joint fundraiser with the pack, and the folks running it are the helicopter parents who just crossed over. Long story short, pack sold more tickets, but we provided the 95% of the manpower during the event. Helicopters running the event decided to give the troop more money IF the troop uses it to buy the equipment they want the troop to have. Here is the the first funny, helicopter parent is making all kinds of comments about taking care of gear, if you break it you buy it etc, and the Scouts are rolling their eyes because they have heard this before. And the system of maintaining the equipment is very adult oriented and DOES NOT WORK as this is the same system that has been in place since before oldest joined. There is no individual accountability as if something breaks, it is very easy to slip it back into the system.

 

My suggestion is to tell the patrols how much they have to spend and let them decide on gear. Also insatead of having troop gear, brak it down into individual patrols. Sadly my idea is being ignored. Hopefully the new PLC will bring this up at their first meeting and can get the adutls to see the light.

 

Another funny. One of our new Scouts earned Second Class last night. He's the first to do so. After the meeting, one of the helicopters goes up to the SM complaining about how her son is not Second Class and how can this other guy earn his if her son hasn't. When explained, she then goes on about why hasn't his book been signed off since he 's done the stuff too. When that too is explained, she goes off in a huff.

 

In terms of the MB colleges, etc., I just can't understand how anybody can sign off Camping merit badge without the 9b being fulfilled correctly.

 

9b. On any of these camping experiences, you must do TWO of the following, only with proper preparation and under qualified supervision:

1. Hike up a mountain where, at some point, you are at least 1,000 feet higher in elevation from where you started. ** **The wording in the merit badge pamphlet (as shown above) is different than the wording in Boy Scout Requirements 2017, which reads: "Hike up a mountain, gaining at least 1,000 vertical feet." 2. Backpack, snowshoe, or cross-country ski for at least 4 miles. 3. Take a bike trip of at least 15 miles or at least four hours. 4. Take a nonmotorized trip on the water of at least four hours or 5 miles. 5. Plan and carry out an overnight snow camping experience. 6. Rappel down a rappel route of 30 feet or more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or cooking. You have to camp and cook a fair amount of weekends to earn these badges. I see plenty of troops signing off without actually doing the work

Yup, that's quite a bit of work to do correctly.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, today was the day we had the parent's meeting. Here is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The Good: We now have a committee that will do the work. We have a mix of old and new parents involved. part of the hope is that by given everyone a job, they won't bug the Scouts. Fingers are crossed.

The Bad: Some issues, i.e. problems with families, needing to use more of the Patrol method, etc were glossed over. Mostly due to the....

The Ugly: Several uglies to be exact.

One was concerning advancement.  How advancement is done has been gone over 2 or more times, depending upon the new parent, was gone over again, and some of them still don't get it. They expect their Scouts to earn something EVERY meeting and camp out. One of my friends posted a head banging on the wall gif. Very frustrating. 

But worse, was the comment that insulted me and several other Scouters. The dad of the Scout who is not allowed to camp unless mom camps too, a dad who has never been on a single camp out with us ever, questioned the safety of his son on trips since we are not essentially hovering over the Scouts. THAT. TICKED.ME OFF.  Especially since he is a registered Cub Scout leader, and supposedly knows about the G2SS, etc. Apparently he wants us hovering over the Scouts all the time since "they are just children."  I admit the  "just children" comment ticked me off to no end. As an 11 year old "child," I had to do basic first aid until EMTs arrived and brought someone to the ER. When I got hypothermia in Canada, it was a 15 year old "child" who recognized I had hypothermia and started treatment. It was the 13 to 17 year old "children" in my patrol who continued treating me. And when I was injured returning from a water rescue, it was a 15 year old "child" who recognized that I was not OK, and was in shock and that the  "shoulder looks funny."

We follow the guidelines. We have multiple people with certifications and training, just in case. I was involved in a water rescue of a Scout that resulted in me spending 4 weeks in a sling waiting to have surgery .That surgery left a 1" and a 5.5" scars as a reminder of that day. Then  I spent another 7.5 weeks in an arm immobilizer so my shoulder could heal. Then I did another 6 months doing rehab so I could get some of my mobility and strength back.. I still do not have 100% mobility, and suffer pain when it gets cold or rains. But I am not concerned about safety because I am not hovering over their scout all the time? We had another Scouter willing to spend over $300 and a weekend to get the needed WFA certification to take the guys on the AT. He also purchased a PLB and WFA kit supplies, but we are not concerned about safety? We have 4 first aid kits, plus several of us carry our own kits, but we are not concerned about safety? That ticked several of us off.

And one Scouter is very concerned. His impression of the conversation is that if anything happens to that guy's son, he'll be suing. He is now considering taking out personal liability insurance because of this one parent.

One thing I was heard part of the conversation dealt with equipment. #1 priority is new stoves. The ones we have are 30+ years old, and are unreliable. We are down to one that works most of the time, and adults have been lending personal stoves to the patrols to cook on. The Scouts also want some other equipment. including tents. Some of the tents are damaged and not usable, and others missing pieces due to neglect But they can be cannibalized and  are still viable. But these tents are not the best, and the troop is looking into phasing in new backpacking tents, one patrol at a time. I wasn't there for the rest of the conversation, but apparently this ticked off the dad above. He wanted to know why his son had to deal with old tents that someone else damaged and not use a new tent. Do not know how that went.

We got another meeting next month set up. I'm taking this a month at a time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 If this dad is so worried about his kid, why does he drag him into the lion's den every week?  This isn't a helicopter parent he's an A-10 Warthog parent.  Your buddies right, I carry $1,000,000 liability umbrella policy on my homeowners insurance just for parents like this.  Welcome to your next 7 years unless you pencil whip him though and get him his Eagle by the time he's 12.

I'm afraid with that kind of a start, the finish will be worse than ugly. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mom is doing the dragging. Kid is more interested in Pokemon Go. They were some of the biggest complainers about advancement, wanting to know why we discourage Merit Badge Universities (because they give away MBs) to why we some Scouts get so many at one time and not their son ( because they may have started work on a 3, 6,9, 18,.48 months previously and finally completed it) to why don't we recommend MBs before First Class ( so they can focus on the basic Scouting skills), to why can't we sign off on advancement ( this is not Cub Scouts, we want not only qualified people signing off, but we also want no appearance of favoritism).

I am hoping the parents realize he has no interest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To those parents I would reply:

The amount of protection and oversight a child needs is directly and inversely proportional to the development of maturity. (Notice I did not say age).

As both child and parents grow, there is no longer the need to change the child's diapers, bath them, spoon feed them or rock them to sleep. Both the child and the parent have matured beyond that. At some point we mature past picking out their cloths, holding their hand when they cross the street and cutting their food up for them. by the time youth are Boy Scout age, they are becoming very independent little creatures, that is good and normal. At this age, constant oversight is not needed for those youth or by the parents of those youth. Doing so only stunts their growth. Can the child's safety be 100% guaranteed if they are not under constant observation? No. But, their safety is not 100% guaranteed even if they are observed 100% of the time.

Perhaps in this case the maturity level is not on par with their peers (in this case either the child, the parents or both), and that is okay also. But that delay in maturing should not hold the others back. That is part of Scouting, it is as safe as can reasonably be expected and still allow children to mature into adults. We will be moving forward in the regard. When you are ready to join us you are welcome. In the mean time we march on towards becoming better Scouts and Scouters.

Is that a bit harsh? Maybe, but adults show they are maturing as parents when they allow their children to take more and more responsibility and accountability. The children can ONLY mature when the adults do that. One or two or even an handful of Scouts/parents cannot be allowed to hold the rest of the group back by insisting that the program be scaled back to fit their needs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't understand why you feel personally insulted because a parent with little camping experience is concerned about their child's safety.   It's natural for a parent to worry over their kids as they try new things.  When my oldest first joined Boy Scouts I worried every time he was away from home, not so much for safety but for getting along with others and having a good time, staying involved, etc.etc.

It takes some time to switch from Cub to Boy Scout mode, it's not automatic.  If in Cubs kids are getting things checked off every meeting, then it's very different to switch over to Boy Scouts, and what I"ve found is that there's not a lot of communication with parents.  My husband goes with our son, so as the parent who's not at all the meetings, it took longer for me to get the info for how things work, and then to understand the process.  And I have done research and reading on the internet to try to get it

Advancement is complicated, look at all the steps of blue cards and how they go.  It's a lot.  And parents want to know how it all works and they should.  They should be informed of camping details and have their questions answered about how things generally work.  It's OK for parents to want to be in the loop and develop a comfort level and it takes time to get settled with a new way of doing things.  

I am surprised when people here have said that kids should be ready to rock in Boy Scouts straight out of Cubs. There's a huge learning curve for parents and scouts. Try not to take every question and concern as offensive.   I would be unsatisfied with old equipment too, no one wants to hear that there is only one working stove for a large group. That's a problem that needs to be fixed and it's understandable parents will be interested in seeing that issue resolved.  

There is a leap of faith to let your young son go out camping and struggle with difficult new things.  It's not easy to do that.  And parents are involved, and they should be.  I should tease Stosh about riding his bike uphill in the snow both ways to his BSA meetings as a child.  Parents are involved, and they need to know about how things work and most important, why they work the way they do, why it's important.  Use the time of questions to build relationships and trust with the families, and try to answer without judgement.  I know it's the same questions over and over and that's part of the job, isn't it?  Are you an SM / ASM? 

My kids have worked on Merit badges before first class, they have a lot of them.  It's not wrong.  

Don't wish this kid out of Scouting.   Give it more time for everyone to settle in and be patient with the family.  They are learning too. 

It is extremely helpful for me that my husband goes on campouts and outing with our son and I will hear small comments about what happened at camp that give me encouragement -- knowing that my oldest made a snack on his first outing and that he enjoyed a particular card game, and that my second son worked really hard on his totin chip and working with an axe are little tidbits that help me stay connected to his scouting journey.   If I didn't hear little reports like that it would be harder for me to be in the dark, it would be sad, actually not to know what the kids are experiencing.  My kids don't talk much at all about what they do at camp or school, I hear very very little.It is hard to be left out of your son's Scouting journey after making some wonderful memories in Cubs. 

Edited by WisconsinMomma

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

I don't understand why you feel personally insulted because a parent with little camping experience is concerned about their child's safety.   It's natural for a parent to worry over their kids as they try new things.  When my oldest first joined Boy Scouts I worried every time he was away from home, not so much for safety but for getting along with others and having a good time, staying involved, etc.etc.

With the tone and body language he was using, he insulted every single Scout by calling them "children." As I stated in another post, THEY ARE MY SCOUTS (emphasis) Just as I am sure you get quite  ticked off and defensive of your sons when others insult them, YOU INSULT MY SCOUTS AND YOU HAVE AN ISSUE WITH ME ( again emphasis). Further, as a registered Cub leader, he should know about all the safety guidelines and policies that BSA has implemented. Since his wife went to summer camp, he should know that we had Scouters renewing their certifications so we can do things safely, instead of hovering over Scouts at classes like his wife did with her son.

 

3 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

It takes some time to switch from Cub to Boy Scout mode, it's not automatic.  If in Cubs kids are getting things checked off every meeting, then it's very different to switch over to Boy Scouts, and what I"ve found is that there's not a lot of communication with parents.  My husband goes with our son, so as the parent who's not at all the meetings, it took longer for me to get the info for how things work, and then to understand the process.  And I have done research and reading on the internet to try to get it

The 18 to 24 month long Webelos Program is suppose to the the transition from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. I've worked with 2 Webelos dens, and both implemented that transition. Those parents when they move up get it. No problems. But through observation and  talking to a freind who is with the pack these parents came from, the pack treats Webelos as Cub Scouts, and has the habit of pencil whipping requirements. We got three Cubs crossing over tomorrow. I've only seen 1 visit us at a meeting. Same one also went camping with us. So the question is How did they earn AOL without the visits and camp out/ outdoor activity?

To me that is an identifiable problem.

 

 

3 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

Advancement is complicated, look at all the steps of blue cards and how they go.  It's a lot.  And parents want to know how it all works and they should.  They should be informed of camping details and have their questions answered about how things generally work.  It's OK for parents to want to be in the loop and develop a comfort level and it takes time to get settled with a new way of doing things.  

I am surprised when people here have said that kids should be ready to rock in Boy Scouts straight out of Cubs. There's a huge learning curve for parents and scouts. Try not to take every question and concern as offensive.   I would be unsatisfied with old equipment too, no one wants to hear that there is only one working stove for a large group. That's a problem that needs to be fixed and it's understandable parents will be interested in seeing that issue resolved.  

Again their is suppose to be an 18 to 24 month long transition period called Webelos. Again the two Webelos dens I worked with, their members have had no problems integrating with the troop. 3rd patrol from that pack had a member with issues because he had patrol mates in his NSP that came from packs that did not implement such a program. He was so frustrated b/c Scouting was not what he was promised and almost quit.

 

Regarding advancement, that is now part of the AOL's Scouting Adventure, specifically 

2. Visit a Boy Scout troop meeting with your parent or guardian and, if possible, with your den members and leaders. After the meeting, do the following:

  1. Describe how the Scouts in the troop provide its leadership.
  2. Describe the four steps of Boy Scout advancement.
  3. Describe ranks in Boy Scouting and how they are earned.
  4. Describe what merit badges are and how they are earned.

Upon reflection, I do not think the helicopter parents sons ever did the troop visit either. Maybe that is the problem, the pencil whipping?

 

3 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

There is a leap of faith to let your young son go out camping and struggle with difficult new things.  It's not easy to do that.  And parents are involved, and they should be.  I should tease Stosh about riding his bike uphill in the snow both ways to his BSA meetings as a child.  Parents are involved, and they need to know about how things work and most important, why they work the way they do, why it's important.  Use the time of questions to build relationships and trust with the families, and try to answer without judgement.  I know it's the same questions over and over and that's part of the job, isn't it?  Are you an SM / ASM? 

 

Yes, we have gone over things over and over and over and over. And as I stated, they are not listening. It almost as if they do not care how things are suppose to be, how they are hurting the other Scouts, nor even listening to their own sons. THEY WANT EAGLE SCOUTS. (emphasis)

An aside, the two sets of helicopter have both mentioned at various times how their sons are either "not interested" or "losing interest fast." Why are they forcing their sons to do something they are not interested in?

 

3 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

My kids have worked on Merit badges before first class, they have a lot of them.  It's not wrong.  

No, there is nothing wrong. I earned  several MBs before First Class, in addition to the required First Aid MB at the time. Both my sons have MBs they earned before First Class. But instead of having them focus on the basics, which they need to go camping and do activities, it's as if they are pushing their sons to do MBs. 

 

3 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

Don't wish this kid out of Scouting.   Give it more time for everyone to settle in and be patient with the family.  They are learning too. 

 

If the family is willing to learn, I am OK with being patient. But when a family is unwilling to be patient themselves That's a problem. When a family ignores multiple conversations and meeting and wants things done their way. I have a problem. When a family attempts to play 2 ASMs against the SM to get what they want, I have a problem. When a family is jealous about one Scout advancing faster than their son and complains, I have a problem.

Further when the Scout shows no interest in the program, refuses to do his share of the work, and causes problems, for is patrol mates to the point that adults are having to intervene all the time, then YES I do wish that scout would quit.  I had a problem Scout in my patrol briefly, and it almost destroyed the patrol. We had such a Scout in the troop's NSP, and he is oneof the reasons why we do not use NSPs.

 

3 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

It is extremely helpful for me that my husband goes on campouts and outing with our son and I will hear small comments about what happened at camp that give me encouragement -- knowing that my oldest made a snack on his first outing and that he enjoyed a particular card game, and that my second son worked really hard on his totin chip and working with an axe are little tidbits that help me stay connected to his scouting journey.   If I didn't hear little reports like that it would be harder for me to be in the dark, it would be sad, actually not to know what the kids are experiencing.  My kids don't talk much at all about what they do at camp or school, I hear very very little.It is hard to be left out of your son's Scouting journey after making some wonderful memories in Cubs. 

 

That's what talking to your son about his trips is suppose to be about. Heck I am at most camp outs, by I let my sons alone for th most part. It's on the ride home that I get the details.

 

More later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I think there is a disconnect between AOL and Boy Scouts.  My den of AOL Scouts did all the Boy Scout Adventure requirements last year.   We basically did the book.  Throughout Cub Scouting we worked through the handbooks, and honestly I was not thinking at all about Boy Scout preparation until the AOL year, or 7 months, as it really is.  The boys in my den went through the Boy Scout prep but the parents weren't all there, it wasn't a parents intro to the BSA course.  My main motivation was to encourage interest in the boys crossing over and for the boys to pick a troop.  Their troop picking was easy, they had a good visit at the troop they went to, some of the boys knew other boys who were there, and another boy went to another troop where his brother was.  I think the boys were very basically prepared for Boy Scouts, but obviously they were not pre-working the Scout / Tenderfoot ranks or anything like that.  One troop adult met with parents while the boys visited the Troop and gave a little talk but it was more of a recruiting speech.

My oldest is a scout who had a tough time when he started, and he is not the easiest.  He is the kid who wanders off to go look at rocks or bugs or frogs or whatnot, and that is a problem.  We managed to get around an adult who complained to us (he wanted us to constantly hover over our kid).  My husband goes to alleviate the burden on the patrol, but everyone kind of helps him get back to the task.  He takes medication and a social skills class, so we are working on things beyond boy scouts to help.  If the boy in your troop has any similar social or attention issues that make it difficult for him to fit in, I can see why the parents worry more.  I worry a ton.  We are 1.5 years in and now I'm more relaxed, but it took nearly the whole first year for me to get the hang of it, to see my son be successful (loosely) on campouts, and in that time, we have seen him get better at some small things.  One day he went up to talk to the SM on his own without prompting to get something signed off.  That is a big deal.  He's getting a lot better at things like packing for trips, etc.  But it's one baby step at a time.  Your relationship with the parents will build one baby step at a time too.   It takes repetition and experience to build those skills and confidence.

I remember badgering two ASMs because I really wanted to know if there would be opportunities for my son to get some cooking stuff checked off at a campout, because he needed some cooking stuff signed off, and there are only so many campouts, so if he wasn't able to cook and have the right opportunities at the camp in the spring, he might have to wait until summer camp or another time.  I hoped that he would get a chance to do the cooking stuff.   The first answer I got from the first ASM was vague.  He is a cooking MB counselor and he's been around forever and so he probably gave a glossed over answer when I was looking for reassurance on the details, so I asked another ASM more point-blank -- will these cooking skills be specifically covered because I'm worried about it.  The ASM said yes, and said that of course it's up to whether the scouts do the skills, and I said, yes, I just want to make sure the opportunity is there.  Note that an adult does all the grocery shopping for our Troop and it doesn't sound exactly like patrol cooking but I'm not there so I don' t know exactly whats' going on.  

So you could describe me as hyper-focused on advancement, and perhaps I was.  I don't get to see a lot of what's going on at Scouts but I can read the handbook and see where my sons are at on the requirements and talk to them about that. 

It sounds like you are very angry and so maybe you want to refer this scout family to a different adult to work with?  Would that help?  

You know they are right that an 11 year old is a child.  Anyone under 18 is legally a minor and that's their definition.  Growing up is a lot of baby steps.  They are worried over their precious child and to a degree it is totally understandable.  I know you care but no one cares more about that kid than his parents. 

If I were to tell an SM/ASM that my kid was losing interest, it would be like I was asking for help to keep the kid more engaged.  What are some good strategies for that?  Finding the kid a compatible buddy to work with,  making the program more interesting,  probably asking your PLC for ways they can make their meetings more fun... they are identifying a problem for the troop to help with.

I can say with my boys I would love for them to become Eagle scouts, but we totally understand it's a long road, and we might not get there.  Right now we're on the swimming skills baby step.  Wish us all luck!   I hope to end up with boys that know how to swim and cook and a few other things.  For me, the basic life skills, cooking, personal fitness, personal finance are all super-valuable.  Getting reinforcement of that from BSA is great.  I sincerely love MBs and that's OK. :)

ETA:  Is there a way to get some detachment from the situation to make these issues less painful for you?   Safety questions need to be addressed, they are important questions and the parents may just need reassurance and hand holding.  That's OK.  Maybe you have a pat answer like, we follow all the rules in the guide to safe scouting, we use the buddy system, we supervise x, y and z.  Are there follow up questions you can ask to get to their concerns?  Do they just need some reassurance that their kid is doing OK?   Or if he's not doing OK, that that is OK and the Troop is working with him to help things along?   The parents are your partners, and you are on the same team, really! 

 

 

Edited by WisconsinMomma

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the time I was in Junior High School, my parents were pretty much hands-off any involvement I may have had outside the home.  That included school and church.  It was pretty much the same with my buddies.  "Hey, Mom, I'm heading out with the guys. See you at supper time."  Yep, prior to Junior High we pretty much need getting kicked out of the house, but misery loves company and the group formed.  We did Little League, same team, Scouts, Rifle Club, Civil Air Patrol, and a ton of other activities.

I have no idea how any of us ever grew up without the constant hovering parents do today.  Was life more difficult back in the day?  Yep, because one couldn't rely on Moms and Dads to help out.  If you wanted to do something, you figured out how to make it happen on your own.  Were we better prepared for life at 18 than 18 year olds of today?  I think so, your mileage may vary.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Making excuses for past behavior and the enablement of inappropriate adult intervention in the program does nothing to alleviate the problem and only models that behavior for those observing. In other words, creating the practice sets bad precedent. Excusing it will only lead to it's continuance and further erode the purpose and effectiveness of the program.

"Children" will only grow up as quickly as adults let them. Limit those opportunities and it stunts that growth. By defending the mindset that they are children instead of them as individuals ready to grow into adults, the die is cast. It's not a growth opportunity, it's heavily monitored activity sessions. If the boys know adults are always watching and ready to step in, it's not much different than school, and thus no real reason to be involved in the program.

I would hate to have my sons involved in such a troop where parents successfully badger adult volunteers and circumvent the boy-led aspects of the program. One shouldn't wonder that enthusiasm wanes at both the adult and boy levels in such a scenario.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


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

×