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Eagle94-A1

Dealing with Helicopter Parents

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Well it just got escalated.

 

Long story short, an online discussion noted how one of the new scouters is now bringing his wife and Tiger to the camporee this weekend. I made comments about how this is a Boy Scout event, and Cubs are not suppose to be there. Major  pushback about how the troop had allowed 10-15 years ago siblings to camp with them, and other major pushback. Noted all the factors involved in why Cubs do not need to be there. More push back. Then 2 other private discussions on push back. One ASM of the troop is one of those pushing back. Apparently his troop growing up allowed siblings and did a lot of family camping. So he sees nothing wrong and thinks I am overreacting. He also stated " you are fighting a battle you will lose."

 

The troop is no longer fun anymore.

 

One good friend has backed off because of the new parents. Officially a second has backed off a lot due to other obligations. But I think he is disgusted with things and doesn't want to deal with the drama.  And a 3rd experienced Scouter has expressed a desire to transfer to another troop. I'll be active a little longer, long enough for a leaders' meeting the current SM wants because of all the crap going on. I know he is tired of all the garbage going on, and hopefully he will get things straight.

 

But it is definitely no longer fun. I already told my oldest I am backing away as It is stressing me out.

What does the PLC have to say about it?

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Also on this one  Apparently his troop growing up allowed siblings and did a lot of family camping.  Wow...that is a whole lot of fail there, maybe time to move on

 

From previous conversations with him, there were only 2 adults willing to camp. One had to bring the daughter at times, the other a Cub aged grandson. The grandson who tagged along is his nephew.

 

What does the PLC have to say about it?

 

Good question. Answer, they have never been asked. The troop has been very much adult led, not youth led. As soon as we begin starting getting on track, something happens.

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Good question. Answer, they have never been asked. The troop has been very much adult led, not youth led. As soon as we begin starting getting on track, something happens.

Then that is where I would start. The Youth need to be leading, and that is not really an option. If they adults are not on board I would look for a troop that is boy led or at least making strides in that direction.

 

My guess is that whatever the “something†that happens and end up derailing things, most likely has to do with adults stepping in where they shouldn’t.

 

If you can get the troop moving toward boy led and using the patrol method that will take a good bit of the craziness caused by adults out of things. Helicopter parents get bored when they are relegated to being distant bystanders. And the youth will almost certainly put them their if given the room and support to make their own decisions.

 

Easier said than done, but certainly worth the effort, not to mention the right way to do Scouting.

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Precisely why we do not allow “moms and dads†on outings or in meetings. The youth lead and run things, if an adult is needed it is a registered Scouter that steps in. If mom or dad wants to register as a leader, great! But that means they have an obligation to the youth of the Unit not just their child. When they have the uniform on they are adult leaders, not Mom and dad.

If you had tried to stop me, as a parent, from going to a meeting or any other event, the council would be receiving a YPT violation report from me.  That said, parents should be seen and not heard at a troop meeting (unless specifically called upon or if they are troop leaders).  

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My unit allows parents to observe but they do it on their own. Meaning they secure their own camp site, food, entrance fees, etc. They can observe but they can’t address the Scouts or otherwise interfere. Their sons would be embarrassed anyway if any of their non leader parents came. I agree that parents have no place in scouting unless they’re a leader.

Again, if I were a parent in your troop, I'd be contacting the Council. All Scouting activities are to be open to parents. That said, I agree 100% about leaving the Scouts alone, and as an ASM, I'd much rather have the parents sharing a table and campsite with me, than off where it would be easier for them to interfere with the kids. If I'm around, I can distract them, and help enforce the rules, like Scouts not entering the adult campsite without permission, etc. 

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From previous conversations with him, there were only 2 adults willing to camp. One had to bring the daughter at times, the other a Cub aged grandson. The grandson who tagged along is his nephew.

 

 

Good question. Answer, they have never been asked. The troop has been very much adult led, not youth led. As soon as we begin starting getting on track, something happens.

Sometimes you do what you have to do.  If the choice is the leader's daughter at a campout or no campout at all, that's a no brainer. A less than perfect campout is better than no campout.  

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Again, if I were a parent in your troop, I'd be contacting the Council. All Scouting activities are to be open to parents. That said, I agree 100% about leaving the Scouts alone, and as an ASM, I'd much rather have the parents sharing a table and campsite with me, than off where it would be easier for them to interfere with the kids. If I'm around, I can distract them, and help enforce the rules, like Scouts not entering the adult campsite without permission, etc.

 

Why? They can come and see whatever they want. That’s open. They can see what they want they just can’t interfere. And the Troop doesn’t pay for them to observe. There’s nothing wrong or closed about this. If they want to observe closer they can volunteer. It’s the same as at ordeal. Units and oa doesn’t pay for parents to observe and they don’t feed them or reimburse them for driving up to observe. They can follow the groups all day if they want but they can’t participate or intervene. So if you call council on my unit you’d have to call about oa ordeals too. Geesh.

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This is why I discourage by-laws and handbooks (besides the BSHB). People always take what you pose and blow it out of proportion.

 

I simply pick isolated insertion points and rugged hike plans (relative to boys' ability's). Catch us if you can. (TBH, it's usually me trying to catch up :eek: )

 

It's a little easier for me because my boys don't favor camporees and prefer to pitch away from crowds. This sometimes gets them in disagreements with program staff, but a conversation the ranger and he'll generally clear it.

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From previous conversations with him, there were only 2 adults willing to camp. One had to bring the daughter at times, the other a Cub aged grandson. The grandson who tagged along is his nephew.

 

 

Good question. Answer, they have never been asked. The troop has been very much adult led, not youth led. As soon as we begin starting getting on track, something happens.

 

Needing to accept a kid because of a shortage of depth in leadership is one thing.

Letting Mom, Dad, and Siblings overrun a patrol is another.

 

In general, when in that situation, I assign the boys fairly independent challenges that won't demand my attention. Then, I set about entertaining the younger siblings with scout-craft challenges for them. Then, we go on rounds together and they can help me set up the next activity.

 

I actually find it refreshing. I guess the wannabe cub-master comes out.

But only in small doses.

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If you had tried to stop me, as a parent, from going to a meeting or any other event, the council would be receiving a YPT violation report from me.  That said, parents should be seen and not heard at a troop meeting (unless specifically called upon or if they are troop leaders).

 

Please see my other post for context. I am defining “Mom and dad†as helicopter parents and doing more than observing. We are YP compliant on this issue.

 

If after reading my other post you would still want to have a discussion with the Council I would welcome that opportunity.

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Why? They can come and see whatever they want. That’s open. They can see what they want they just can’t interfere. And the Troop doesn’t pay for them to observe. There’s nothing wrong or closed about this. If they want to observe closer they can volunteer. It’s the same as at ordeal. Units and oa doesn’t pay for parents to observe and they don’t feed them or reimburse them for driving up to observe. They can follow the groups all day if they want but they can’t participate or intervene. So if you call council on my unit you’d have to call about oa ordeals too. Geesh.

 

I misunderstood what you had meant. The thing is, in our Troop, everybody that attends pays.  Adult leaders pay to camp (and pay for the troop fuel costs which are reimbursed to the drivers), just like the boys (and we view parents as adult leaders when they go on the campouts).  I would have felt free to watch my sons' OA ordeals, provided I didn't interfere with them or interact with them. I chose not to, but wouldn't have liked it if forbidden to, by the adults involved.   

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Please see my other post for context. I am defining “Mom and dad†as helicopter parents and doing more than observing. We are YP compliant on this issue.

 

If after reading my other post you would still want to have a discussion with the Council I would welcome that opportunity.

 

That's a different thing than what I understood in your earlier post--you didn't define "Moms and Dads" as helicopter parents.  I'm all for not allowing parents to interfere.  However, I don't think of attending a meeting quietly as interfering.  That, and IMHO, one of the most important jobs of adult leaders is to keep parents from interfering.

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I as Scoutmaster, hold a mandatory "Welcome to scouting" meeting for all new parents when their sons cross over from Webelos, and sit one on one with parents whose sons join during the year. The purpose of this meeting is to explain how a troop is run differently than a Cub Pack, and that as Scoutmaster, I am the official "Air Traffic Control Operator" and that all "Helicopters" are grounded, no exceptions. Parents seem to understand this when presented with context, why we do things this way. I keep parents who wish to stay for the meeting separated from the scouts, and remind them that they are not to interfere with the meeting, unless they witness a serious health or safety issue.

 

It works. Those parents who feel uncomfortable are given the name and number of the troop down the road. Of course, they don't tolerate helicopters either....

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That's a different thing than what I understood in your earlier post--you didn't define "Moms and Dads" as helicopter parents.  I'm all for not allowing parents to interfere.  However, I don't think of attending a meeting quietly as interfering.  That, and IMHO, one of the most important jobs of adult leaders is to keep parents from interfering.

I agree that attending is not interfering. And parents are welcome to come and observe, just not as “mom and dad helicopter “ parents.

 

We are more than glad to have them as leaders, instructors, MB counselors, etc., but not to interfere with the youth leadership and patrol method, or to be their child’s personal valets.

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Had the meeting and it was in one ear and out the other. If you try to enforce it, you are the bad guy.

 

Give you an example.

 

One of the Scouts on 3 camp outs now has snuck back into his parents' tent or shelter. Try to correct the situation and dad doesn't do a thing to encourage doing the right thing. This weekend he sat the first nite next to his son's tent until he fell asleep. When I treid to get dad away, I was told "Do yo want me to leave, because if you force this we will." Now I had enough to deal with running camporee, and went to talk to the adults that would be with the troop about the situation. They all knew about it, had no problems and one commented "glad he isn't leaving the shelter, baby steps."

 

I walked off thinking "THIS IS FREAKING BOY SCOUTS!"

 

Had a chat with the SM about all this. He does not see any problems with siblings tagging along. Part of that is his daughter will tag along on occasion. He says as long as they stay out of the way it should not be a problem. But the siblings do not. His daughter has jumped right in and do activities with the boys. The Tiger I mentioned  above I spotted  hanging around another unit's Webelos, and was all over the place getting in the thick of things. This morning while the troop was trying to pack up, he starts kicking around his soccer ball into shelters. The Scouts get and start playing a kicking game with him until the APL spots this and get the Scouts back to work. When the APL tells him he needs to kick elsewhere and points in a direction wher he could go and not be in the way, the Tiger yells "NO!" and then kicks the ball back towards the shelters, actually hitting it with the ball. That's when I told him he needed to go else where.

 

Anyway, it appears that the bulk of the adults. want it to be "Family Friendly." There is suppose to be a meeting with all the adults to set up some ground rules up. Don't know if they will get any input form the Scouts or not.

 

I am staying with the troop until after the meeting. After that I don't know. I do know that one small, struggling troop will shortly need an ASM. Something my wife suggested, and I have been invited to do, is getting back involved with the OA as an associate chapter adviser. A third idea that popped up is starting a Venturing crew.Out of the 16+ year old Scouts, only 1 showed up, and he was getting frustrated with the younger guys. I saw him away from the rest of the troop and start ranting to himself to release tension . As for the 14-15 year olds, the usual suspects were there, but I do not know how they felt. But I am going to find out. I know when they did the AT, they were vibrant and alive, now bored out of their gourd.

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