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Eagle94-A1

Dealing with Helicopter Parents

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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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Eagle94-A1,

 

    You're not needed at your current babysitting program. You know they won't change, EVER. You're needed at that smaller unit. Take all of the older scouts with you. You'll start having fun again, and the Scoutmaster at the smaller unit will be blessed by your help, experience, and fellowship.

 

Don't look back.

 

sst3rd

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Wanted to give an update.  Still waiting for the meeting. We lost 2 good Scouters last nite. One is moving out of state, And I hope I got him to believe in the Patrol Method. In the 3 years his son has been in the troop, I've watched the son mature and grow up. Dad didn't really believe in the PM in the beginning, and I had to reign him in at times. But I think once he realized if adults get out of the way, the kids perform. Sad loss for the troop, and especially the son's patrol. He was PL and had a lot of new guys he was working with.

 

We also lost one because of the helicopters. He's doing one last trip. I hope that 2 things happen. #1 The Leaders meeting we will be happening soon will end all the Cub Scout babysitting. And #2 he will have fun on  that last trip, and take a break and come back.

 

As for me, I'm in a holding pattern. I am hoping and praying that this upcoming meeting will work out. Several other Scouters in the troop are tired of the helicoptering, including the SM.

 

As for siblings, my goal is to help them realize that the parents are hurting their Scouts by not letting them get away, be independent, and try new things without the family around and B) hurting the sibling because by attending stuff with older brother, he will be bored when  it is his turn because he has done it all already. It took me looking at my Webelos, who has family camped with his brothers since he was a toddler, and seeing him not want to do things because he has done them "forever."

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I started camping when I was 4 years old.  Been there, done that.  I hope I can keep doing it forever.... :)  That excuse doesn't hold water with me.  Sorry.

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We had a discussion at a recent troop meeting as to why our scouts liked to camp.  The three top responses were 1) To be out with my friends; 2) to get away from my parents. and 3) to get away from my siblings!

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We had a discussion at a recent troop meeting as to why our scouts liked to camp.  The three top responses were 1) To be out with my friends; 2) to get away from my parents. and 3) to get away from my siblings!

Whoa, that doesn't bode well for family camping......  But I must confess, 50 years ago when I was in scouts as a youth, I could easily come up with the same three reasons.

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We had a discussion at a recent troop meeting as to why our scouts liked to camp.  The three top responses were 1) To be out with my friends; 2) to get away from my parents. and 3) to get away from my siblings!

 

Yup, that was what we continue to hear too. We also hear it from our Venturing females. They don't want to be in Boy Scouts with their brothers.

 

As to helicopter parents, I have a simple solution...

KaleidoscopicDishonestHorseshoebat.gif

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I wish it was as simple as sending a SAM up their exhaust pipes. :) They have a Gunship in their corner that provides suppressing fire on occasion (why I don't know because he is ticked off at some of their antics, and I bet his APL son didn't tell Gunship the situation he encountered this past camp out). Plus they are good at evading radar, nap of the earth flying, etc.

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I'll chime in with the experience of being a newer parent in the Troop.   I'm not a helicopter parent, but... I am a parent with a strong interest in Scouting.  Some folks may feel that's just as bad, or may as well be the same thing.  My question for your friend's troop is -- how are they communicating with parents, and what opportunities are they making for the parents to be involved?  

 

An active parent can be a resource for a Troop.  Do you need fundraising, a committee position filled, support with rides, etc?  Is there any way that you can fit in a helicopter parent into your program and start more of a relationship with the family?  

 

In my experience, I have felt some frustration with my son's troop committee (my boys' experiences in the troop itself are very good) because I want to be active, but... there is a bit of an, "we've always done it this way" culture. We have some old-timers, perhaps one in particular, who has exerted a lot of influence over the adult leadership, although that is gradually changing and more parents of current scouts are getting involved.  Experienced adult leaders are wonderful, but not when it comes across as a resistance to any change or new idea. I have felt frustrated with an adult committee dominated by Scouters whose children are long grown up, and who I occasionally hear complaining about current parents not stepping up when, in my view, there's little room made for them!  Experienced Scouters get a lot done and they make the program stronger, but... current parents must be welcomed and brought into the organization, too.   There has got to be a balance and respect going both ways. 

 

Parents are part of the Scouting team, and a negative bias towards parents hurts the program.  

Edited by WisconsinMomma

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I have 2 ASM's one a parent, none not. and no other parents involved. I am not a parent of anyone in my troop either.  The three of us are involved with the program of the troop.  As far as other parents involved?  They work only to support the work of the program and do not interact with the troop as a whole.  They organize fundraisers mostly so they don't have to pay as much for scouting activities.  If someone wants a "job" we find them something to do, but usually it does not involve the unit other than MB counselor, or doing something they have a specialty at the boys have asked to have happen.

 

As far as resistance to change goes, the normal pattern of change occurs when parents step in and start messing with the program, the result of which is the destruction of the program as it was designed.  One sees this all the time when a parent wishes to "do more with their son" so they sign up and chaperone an event.  What it amounts to is father and son team up to bond, and together they ignore the rest of the boys.  Doesn't bode well for the leadership of the PL and the patrol method.

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I'll share that one of the nicest experiences I've had as a Scouting parent was a Scouting families picnic thrown by one of the assistant scoutmasters.  It was toward the end of summer or the beginning of the school year, pot luck, hang out in the backyard,  kids throwing a football, adults socializing.  I loved it because it was a chance to meet more of the families, and have more community.  

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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.

 

Good Lord - time to move on

 

Siblings / Kids staying with parents / Kid with the soccer ball needs to be dealt with

 

 

We had a discussion at a recent troop meeting as to why our scouts liked to camp.  The three top responses were 1) To be out with my friends; 2) to get away from my parents. and 3) to get away from my siblings!

 

Yes Yes Yes - Same feedback we have had. 

 

There was a really great parent we approached to be active in outings, he advised son had asked him to not be as they wanted their space.  We did have a place for him behind the scenes.  He went to camp with us for the week (we take 55 - 60 each time to two different camps each summer) I honestly did not see him speak to his son at all except on Saturday when we loaded up and headed home

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As far as resistance to change goes, the normal pattern of change occurs when parents step in and start messing with the program, the result of which is the destruction of the program as it was designed.  One sees this all the time when a parent wishes to "do more with their son" so they sign up and chaperone an event.  What it amounts to is father and son team up to bond, and together they ignore the rest of the boys.  Doesn't bode well for the leadership of the PL and the patrol method.

This topic is about helicopter parents and I don't disagree with you but not all troops work as well as the ones scouters on here post about.  I'd be glad to see an old timer with no kids leading the troop because all we have are leaders that joined when their kids did and coincidentally the rules/procedures always seem to change or bend when the scouter's child is involved and then change again after the scouter's child is no longer involved.(this is especially true when $ is involved)  Your father and son scenario would be our current leaders.  It's also amazing the lack of open mindedness that some people have.  There are always new and better ways to do things.  Meetings don't need to be boring all the time.  Dozens of emails don't need sent all the time.  Leaders with two or three years of experience don't always automatically know what's best.  I know what my son and his friends think and what they tell the BoR but somehow those requests for different things never seem to be addressed.  I'm sure our leadership would probably consider me a helicopter parent and somewhat of a pest because I question things and want what I think is best for my son and the other scouts.  I'm also a volunteer that is always there when needed (unlike most), has contributed a considerable amount of my time and money,and is concerned with more than just my son.  I also seek answers and want to be better informed.  I've organized a fund raiser and been told that I would never make more than $500 but I made $2000 and the year after that I made even more.  I found a new idea for a campout online and showed it to my son who thought it was good enough to present to the PLC.  The troop did the campout and had a great time with lots of positive feedback but the leadership had originally thought it was a terrible idea and was surprised anyone would want to do it.

 

The leaders in our troop are well intentioned but the only goal they have is to get their sons to Eagle and achieve their own personal goals.  That's where their motivation stops.  I'm ranting about this because I'm upset (more than usual) with the situation.  I found out that a leader lied to the scouts in order to manipulate them to accomplish something he felt was important.  I value honesty and integrity and I have lost sleep because of this.  I wish I could put my son in another troop but it's not realistic to pull him from his friends and classmates so I will continue to question things that involve him but I am stepping down from my position and want to distance myself.  I think that's unfortunate for the troop because they really need ever volunteer they can get.

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My replies will be in red

I'll chime in with the experience of being a newer parent in the Troop.   I'm not a helicopter parent, but... I am a parent with a strong interest in Scouting.  Some folks may feel that's just as bad, or may as well be the same thing.  My question for your friend's troop is -- how are they communicating with parents, and what opportunities are they making for the parents to be involved?  

 

Nothing wrong with parents being interested  and helping out. It is encouraged, to apoint.  The problem lies in when they interefere with the program, i.e. going behind their Scouts and telling them what to do.doing it for them, "encouraging" the PLC to change their plans made almost a year ago, taking over instruction from the PLs, doing the cooking and KP because the patrol is "doing it wrong," etc.

 

As for communictaing, we've had 2 parents meetings. While some of the helicopters did attend, not all did. And even the ones that did, it went one ear and out the other. 

 

 

 

An active parent can be a resource for a Troop.  Do you need fundraising, a committee position filled, support with rides, etc?  Is there any way that you can fit in a helicopter parent into your program and start more of a relationship with the family?  

 

Actually they are registered. 1 is an ASM with extensive outdoor expereince, but 0 Boy Scout expereince. They are treating the Boy Scouts like Cub Scouts still. The others are committee members or Cub leaders still. Again still in Cub Scout Leader mode and not Boy Scouter mode, which is a BIG difference.

 

In my experience, I have felt some frustration with my son's troop committee (my boys' experiences in the troop itself are very good) because I want to be active, but... there is a bit of an, "we've always done it this way" culture. We have some old-timers, perhaps one in particular, who has exerted a lot of influence over the adult leadership, although that is gradually changing and more parents of current scouts are getting involved.  Experienced adult leaders are wonderful, but not when it comes across as a resistance to any change or new idea. I have felt frustrated with an adult committee dominated by Scouters whose children are long grown up, and who I occasionally hear complaining about current parents not stepping up when, in my view, there's little room made for them!  Experienced Scouters get a lot done and they make the program stronger, but... current parents must be welcomed and brought into the organization, too.   There has got to be a balance and respect going both ways. 

 

True, thre needs to be a balance. In my 25 years as a Scouter, the biggest challnge is that the new parents are still in Cub Scout leader mode, and few want to take the time to to not only get trained, but mentored. They jump in without knowing what they are doing and basing their expereinces on Cub Scouts. The Boy Scout program is suppose to be more hands off, with Scouters serving as mentors and safety officers.

 

Parents are part of the Scouting team, and a negative bias towards parents hurts the program.  

 

Agree, parents are part of the Scouting team. But when they hurt the program, that is when they become a liability and not an asset. I'll give you and example in a few minutes

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Back.

 

Here are some examples of what I am talking about

 

We have a committee member who is also a Wolf Den Leader. However he was a WDL, was fully trained as such, and got that the Webelos program of Cub Scouts is meant to transition both Cubs and their parents into Boy Scouts. He camps occasionally with us, but leaves the Scouts alone until the medical issue with his son arises. Only when it is a health and safety issue, specifically the medical issue his son has, does he get involved. He doesn't pack his son's clothes, go behind him when he camps to make sure the tent is up properly, interupts the PL or other older Scout doing instruction, od cooking and/or KP for the Scout.

 

The new ASM above has indeed gone around checking and fixing tents, jumped in and taken over cooking and KP, and taken over instruction. Trying talk to get him and get him out of the Scouts' way results in being ignored or him getting angry. He is also the one who let his son sneak into the tent or shelter on 3 different occasions, then sat outside a shelter on a fourth until his son fell asleep. He has been talked to several times by me and others, yet continues to ignore us. One Scouter overheard him say he doesn't care what we say, if the son is scare and wants to sleep in his tent, he will let him. The parent does not see any harm in what he is doing. Nor does he encourage the Scout to be on his own. When I tried to talk the son into going back into the shelter, dad sat like a bump on the log not saying anything.

 

We have some Moms that camp with us. They do not bring siblings, unless Webelos and invited. They do not go around making sure tents/hammocks are set up properly, cooking is done properly, etc. In fact the only time two of the moms got involved were for medical reasons. One did minor first aid on an adult, on another trip the other did first aid and then evacuated the adult.

 

Again no going behind the Scouts, no trying to push advancement, just there for the trek. yes we have a mom whose soen will not camp unless she is there, and then goes around behind him.

 

We had another new parent, CM of the feeder pack, who still believes that everything the Boy Scouts do they should get a badge for, just like Cub Scouts. He, and several of the new parents described above, got upset because one trip did not result in a merit badge that we covered some of the skills on. The CM then publicly posted how the PLC needs to change their meeting plans so that they would nto let the troop down and the Scouts could earn the MB. SPL handled it beautifully: he posted that programing is not suppose to result in MBs, but rather learn skills and having fun and that plans for the next 2 months, which would be needed to earn the MB in question, have already been made and needed to be followed to prepare for the next two camping trips.

 

Then we got one parent who is so advancement focused, wanting her son to be an Eagle, that she has gone around the SM, and trying to play one Scouter against the other, so that her son can get MB counselor names and start earning them. The kid barely got Tenderfoot, hasn't been camping since summer camp b/c mom didn't want to do those camp outs or because they showed up late that it would not count towards adancement ( he didn't set up his own tent/shelter) and the leave because "what is the point of being here?" 

 

So my problem, and others, is not that parents are becoming involved. It is that parents are coming into the troop, ignoring the experienced leaders, doing their own thing, hurting their own sons, and the rest of the Scouts in the troop. It's to the point that some of the older Scouts will stop what they are doign and walk away from whaterver they are suppose to do because they know the interfering adults will do it for them.

 

But give them the opportunity to do something away from the new parents, and they are jumping at the opportunity and begging their parent to let them go.

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