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Eagle94-A1

Dealing with Helicopter Parents

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All that said, if a mom or dad knows that a boy is having a tough time, I like to hear about it.

Sometimes that conversation with the parent is all it takes to keep her from hovering.

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28 minutes ago, qwazse said:

All that said, if a mom or dad knows that a boy is having a tough time, I like to hear about it.

Sometimes that conversation with the parent is all it takes to keep her from hovering.

Isn't that what the SMC is for, to find out what is going on with the Scout? Both Scouts in question have had 2 SMCs to date. That has not been brought to the SM's attention.

As for having a conversation about how hovering actually hurts their Scouts, we have had it multiple times.

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9 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Isn't that what the SMC is for, to find out what is going on with the Scout? Both Scouts in question have had 2 SMCs to date. That has not been brought to the SM's attention.

As for having a conversation about how hovering actually hurts their Scouts, we have had it multiple times.

clarificarion:

It helps an SM to hear from parents whose scouts are having a tough time in the troop. That news often precipitates an informal SMC.

It doesn't help to hear from parents whom themselves are having a tough time with the program. It may help the CC. But that depends on how those concerns are delivered.

 

 

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1 hour ago, qwazse said:

clarificarion:

It helps an SM to hear from parents whose scouts are having a tough time in the troop. That news often precipitates an informal SMC.

It doesn't help to hear from parents whom themselves are having a tough time with the program. It may help the CC. But that depends on how those concerns are delivered.

 

 

Thanks for the clarification.  Yes, it does indeed help.

I am still seeing things on the thread in the lens of  this situation. Bear with me.

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On 12/16/2017 at 7:36 PM, Eagle94-A1 said:

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.

The problem with new parents observing a troop is that they don't know the boys outside of their own boys' friends/cohort.  Those of us who have been with a troop for a while, know the boys. We know when we can trust the older boys to supervise.  We had an ASM who was fairly new to the troop (his son was a Life Scout, and we were his third troop in town) and he was there only occasionally and only camped with us once or twice  (he worked offshore in the oil industry, and was out of town two weeks a month minimum), and he used to want us to helicopter the boys when they played their outdoor games during meetings.  Why?  He didn't trust the older boys.  He didn't trust that they would do what they were supposed to do in an emergency.  I didn't have any problems with it. I knew them, and knew how capable they were.    I figured they could handle the first stage of an accident as well as most of the adult leaders.  We would be able to assist after that. 

 

In terms of the tents, my answer to the parent would be--If you want him to have a new tent, buy him one.  Our troop allows personal tents.  

Edited by perdidochas

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In my experience, it's the Scouts are quicker on the noticing problems and initiating first aid, too.  As for tents, personal tents are OK, but not hammocks.  Only adults can hammock. Middle son and his buddy are nto happy about that since buddy has been hammocking since Cubs, and he converted my son to the Dark Side." Middle son has only used his hammock 2 times since getting it. 

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23 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

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.

This one paragraph, I believe, is a large part of the problem in many Scouters minds, and why you see so many negative reactions from them.

badgering two ASMs because - every minute an ASM/SM spends with you is is a minute he does not spend with the youth. Not to mention badgering gets old.....and why are you asking rather than your son?

I really wanted to know if there would be opportunities for my son - you wanted to know, not your son wants to know. What is important to the ASM/SM is what your son wants out of Scouting not what mom or dad think their son wants/needs to get out of Scouting.

get some cooking stuff checked off at a campout, because he needed some cooking stuff signed off - Get stuff signed off, the bane of ASM/SM's - it's not about learning, it is about getting stuff signed off, because the youth need stuff signed off. Again it is about getting stuff signed off to check another box on a requirement towards a goal the Scout may not even care about. Scouts want to have fun and learn cool stuff. Sometimes, usually later rather than sooner, the Scout may want to do advancement. That is when the ASM/SM starts to become more concerned about advancement.  Unfortunately, a lot of the advancement push I see is by adults long before the youth care. In fact the adult push is, in my opinion, one of the main reasons I see youth pushing back on advancement.  I have watched too many youth flounder under the pressure from mom and dad, to only flourish once the parents backed off and gave the Scout space.

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 - so, he may have to wait. If waiting bothers him, he should talk to the ASM/SM about how else he fulfill that requirement if he really doesn't want to wait until camp.

 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 - more likely his answer was vague because it was not your son coming to ask him, it was you. One of the primary reason for merit badges are so the youth interact with adults other than their parents. When parents start asking me specifics about merit badges for their son, I tell them to have their son come talk to me. Now, if they want to understand the mechanics of being a merit badge counselor, I will gladly teach them (in fact I do that as part of my district and council positions). Your son, not you, need to be the one working on the details, finding out what needs to be done and asking their MB counselor the questions.

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. - it is up to the Scout to get it done, in fact making sure the opportunity is there is also up to the Scout. Scouts plan the program, and when they set up program during annual planning, and outing planning, the ASM/SM's are whispering in their ear "did you think about x and y?" But even then it is up to the Scouts to plan out those activities. Once the Scouts make a plan, it is up to the adult leaders to make sure that details the Scouts cannot accomplish are handled.

@WisconsinMomma, you have caught a lot of flack on this board that I do not think you deserved, but you have also made a number of comments that illustrate exactly why many "old school" leaders get frustrated. I, like most leaders I am sure, am happy to discuss, explain and even teach parents on any number of Scouting topics. But the moment the parents vision differs from the Scouts vision of what they want, the parents words fall on deaf ears. Even when the parent and Scout are in sync, the moment a parent starts doing the things the Scout should be doing I push back. The Scouting experience is for the youth, not the parent. On that point I do not and will not waiver except in extreme circumstances.

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THEY. STILL. DO. NOT. GET. IT!

After the meeting on Saturday where we went over the entire advancement process, i.e. how meetings and activities are not meant to earn awards but work on skills, etc,  as well as how the PLC plans the program not the adults, they still don't get it. We had our Christmas party last night, and all the adults ended up together and talking. Some of the discussion was talking about trips done in the past, and how we hope the PLC  plans some cool trips this year. Two of the dads started talking about places they've been to on their own,  and how they talked with officials at these places so that the Scouts can earn XYZ MBs that weekend. They started going on and on about it. Since it was a Christmas party, I didn't say a word. But man I was tempted to say it's about the knowledge, skills, and abilities, not the badges. SM tactfully stated it's something for the PLC to consider.

At one point the topic became a possible AT trip this summer. OK PLC has not planned anything yet for 2018, but there has been enough talk about it that the adults are looking into it to give the Scouts some options: time of year, section, etc. Only thing set is one of the prep trips, the one we had to cancel 2 hours before kick off. And we don't have a date for that yet.  Mom pipes in about how that would be great for her Tenderfoot son to do since he needs a 5 mile hike with map and compass to earn Second Class. Now this is the Scout whose Mom a) refuses to let him camp without her, b) has camped with the troop only once, besides summer camp (and on the camp out he snuck into Mom's tent the first nite), and c) has told mom he is not interested in Boy Scouts.

Now the Scouter who heads up these has 2 requirements in order for the Scouts to go:  #1 Must be First Class or higher and #2 Must go on at least 1 prep trip prior to the AT trek OR  been on a previous AT trek. For adults to go on the trek, they must have gone on the prep trips, or a previous, AT trek. He mentioned this to her, and she was questioning this policy since it isn't BSA's but his. He mentioned how it's a safety factor. If a Scout or Scouter cannot pull his share , he jeopardizes the entire crew. Then goes on about how the one time he allowed an exception, for an adult with previous backpacking experience as a youth. However the adults was not ready for the trek, and it  caused issues that almost turned into a survival situation. Adult got dehydrated and collapsed. His group of Scouts took care of him until the trek leader could get to him. Thankfully nothing serious, water and rest took care of it. I then mentioned that one troop I know of also puts an age limit on HA trips:13. Basically mimicking the HA bases policy. Hopefully that will lose mom's interest. I know the trek leader doesn't want to put an age on it. The first AT trek he did with the troop, was a trek he did with his then 9 year old son.  Son would have been 12 when the first trek was done, and with a 13 year old rule, son would have not went. So dad would not have got the trek going.

 

Why does everything have to be about advancement?

 

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19 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

@WisconsinMomma, you have caught a lot of flack on this board that I do not think you deserved, but you have also made a number of comments that illustrate exactly why many "old school" leaders get frustrated. I, like most leaders I am sure, am happy to discuss, explain and even teach parents on any number of Scouting topics. But the moment the parents vision differs from the Scouts vision of what they want, the parents words fall on deaf ears. Even when the parent and Scout are in sync, the moment a parent starts doing the things the Scout should be doing I push back. The Scouting experience is for the youth, not the parent. On that point I do not and will not waiver except in extreme circumstances.

Great post. Why is it so hard for parents to let their kids do all the work? I'd ask the rhetorical question if parents do the same thing for the kid's school work, but the answer I suspect it most likely affirmative. There seems to be a high correlation between the parents that hover in Scouting and those that hover for school work. This is the equivalent of cutting a kid's meat for them.

@Eagle94-A1, I really feel for you and your efforts. If the SM has not fully bought in to the patrol method and boy-led approach, AND he is not afraid to act as gate keeper to keep the adults at bay, then it is truly an up hill battle.

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58 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

THEY. STILL. DO. NOT. GET. IT!

.......

Why does everything have to be about advancement?

 

Exactly.  We tell our Scouts (and parents) none of our outings are advancement focused.  That being said, there is always an opportunity for advancement, it's just the scout must initiate that advancement.  We are a large troop so there is usually enough leaders on the outings for many key items.  Also we have Life scouts and above sign off on any advancements for Tenderfoot - First Class.  No adult leaders sign off, we participate in some (present yourself to a leader packed etc). Yes, the young maybe 11 year old has to go and have a conversation with an older scout about what they have completed...scary thought isn't it

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Helpful Tracks,  yes, I'm being totally honest about what I was like when I was learning about how the Troop works.   Now, I am more relaxed, but I think these kinds of concerns are common, and it's part of learning how things work in Troops. 

 

ETA: I am hanging around here to learn from you guys, doh! :) 

Edited by WisconsinMomma

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20 hours ago, Tampa Turtle said:

" I have watched too many youth flounder under the pressure from mom and dad, to only flourish once the parents backed off and gave the Scout space." Amen. I have rallied more than one reluctant Eagle with the "who cares what your parents want, what do YOU want" speech." One time the scout said "no one has ever asked me".

If your boy needs to ask and it is a problem for him have him make his own "to do" list for the meetings. (only 1-3 items). Not ideal but better than you doing it.

When my sons need to call the Scoutmaster, now, this was for their first few times, I would write them a list of the points they needed to make in a conversation. This was something my dad taught me, now to prepare for a phone conversation. Think about what is important to communicate, make some notes, and then make your call.  Now they do their calls on the fly, but I will probably still teach them to make their own prep notes before making important phone calls. 

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3 hours ago, SSScout said:

Wow,  must be an important topic...   fourteen pages.....

It is to me since I am dealing with the situation. Even after the 3rd group meeting, and individual one on ones, they still don't get it.

 

Here irony. I quoted the line 'Failure, the best teacher it is" in regards to Scouting. And one of the Helicopters gives it a thumbs up. yet she won't let her son try stuff on his own in case he fails.

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I sympathize with you.  This has been our biggest problem this year.  Fortunately, the two biggest crossover rabble rousers have transferred to another troop.  God help them!

 

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